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Tentacle & Elder Sign Tokens, A Tale as Old as Time

Perhaps this is one of the toughest element of the game, knowing that every time your hand reaches in to the chaos bag, there is a chance that you will definitely reveal that red token. Without the right cards to help cancel or mitigate the effect, there’s nothing else you can do but fail.

Written by Gladwin J. Singh

Let’s be real… The probability of you drawing either one of these two tokens, should be the SAME. After all, there is only one of each token in the chaos bag.

Yet, for those who have been playing the game, you know damm well that you end up drawing that red Tentacle token more times than you would draw the Elder Sign token.

Here’s a scenario:
Wendy Adams performs a skill test to evade The Ghoul Priest. Before performing the test, she commits a few cards to boost her evade level from 4 to 7. The evade value of the The Ghoul Priest is 4.

She draws the Tentacle token…

Wait a minute! Wendy Adams reaction triggered ability allows her to cancel the effects of a chaos token by discarding a card from her hand and then redrawing a new token (once per test). Anyone playing Wendy be like ‘You thought I would fail! I always get a second chance foo!’

Wendy redraws from the bag.

She draws the Tentacle token…again. (-_-) Welcome to Arkham Horror: The Card Game…

Throughout my one year of playing the game, I’ve drawn more Tentacles than Elder Signs. Frustrated? yes. Furious? definitely. The “My life sucks and everything is pointless” moment. Of course!

So what should we do about it? Is the game rigged? Should the Tentacle token be removed so that players still get a slight chance at succeeding in a skill test? Should we add another Elder Sign token into the chaos bag?

There really are no answers to these questions. We’re supposed to enjoy playing this game but the Tentacle token just kills that joy, unless you have certain cards, abilities to mitigate, or cancel the effects of the token (which comes with a price of many XP’s and cards from other expansions).

I will offer my perspective and take on the matter. I shall stay consistent with what I last said in my previous article, which is to embrace The Mythos, and that means embracing that Tentacle token. Not just ONCE, but multiple times in a scenario. But that’s just me and I’ll explain why…

In the world of AH:LCG, we can’t expect happy endings and easy wins. Everything comes with a price and/or consequences. That token creates a sense of impending doom, a sense of helplessness, and just how fragile our investigators are, despite their many abilities and traits. You could commit so many cards to boost your skill value and end up drawing that token regardless. I think that resonates with us in the real world as well. No matter how skillful you are in life, the possibility of failure will always be there. This game, in my opinion, tries to blend in reality( our reality) with fantasy (The Mythos), and it works! After a scenario, I often think to myself:

If this actually happened in real life, it would be believable, wouldn’t it?

You could play this game on ‘Easy’ mode and you will still draw that damm token! The chaos bag is just super punishing that way. Then again, it is through these difficult aspects of the game that keeps us wanting more, because ‘winning’ a scenario or even the full campaign then would be very rewarding. Such applies to life as well? haha. cringe.

I’ve lost so many games in AH:LCG and yet, I still play it. It’s actually one of my most played games, despite only playing it for a year! There’s just so much of excitement, uncertainty, and adrenaline rush in it. I think all that comes from the fact that there’s an Tentacle token in the bag.

I remember completing ‘The Devourer Below,’ scenario and despite the difficulty of that scenario (Let’s just say I lost that scenario more than 10 times), I just wanted to play more scenarios out there. As of today, I have the complete ‘The Path to Carcosa‘ expansion cycle. It was definitely an expensive investment but I’d like to think it was worth it. I know there’s like 5 different cycles out there. Unless you’re a ‘completionist’, you don’t necessarily need all of them.

To summarise, AH: LCG is a cooperative (NOT COMPETITIVE) game, and you are free to create your house rules to suit your own preferences. Some people may want to remove the Tentacle token, or add an additional Elder Sign token. It’s really up to you and you should not let anyone tell you otherwise. For many of us adults, after a hard or treacherous day at work, it would probably be very demotivating to pull out a Tentacle token, and subsequently ‘losing’ in a scenario. Therefore, it totally makes sense if people wish to remove the Tentacle token from the game, and wanting to enjoy a more casual and easy roleplaying and narrative session.

Maybe I’m just exaggerating this part but we all have our jobs and commitments in the real world. Playing AH:LCG, or any other table top game for that matter, gives us a chance of escapism and…you know… enjoying our favorite hobby. When our day sucks and we really just need a ‘Win,’ don’t we all deserve an ‘Elder Sign?’

Just another day of playing AH: LCG…

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