Article

True Solo or Dual-Handed Solo in Arkham Horror – The Card Game, Issue 2: Dual-Handed Solo

Written by Gladwin J. Singh

Introduction

In my previous post, I wrote about the pro’s and con’s of playing the Arkham Horror LCG true solo. Although I have a high preference leaning towards playing true solo, I cannot deny that playing dual handed solo has its perks as well, and as mentioned before, I played most of my Arkham Horror LCG games dual-handed solo, before eventually going into true solo.

So far, the common dual-handed solo investigators I have used and paired together are:

  1. Roland and Wendy
  2. Skids and Agnes
  3. Mark and Daisy
  4. Mark and Sefina
  5. William and Lola
  6. Jacqueline and Stella

While not all of them were chosen to pair with each other based on combos that I could achieve, it was mostly because I had a limited card pool in the early stages of playing the game, and so I could not build the decks that I wanted nor create a perfect pair of investigators for a campaign. Although, I would say that I truly enjoyed my Mark and Daisy pair, mainly because I could build Mark Harrigan to be a complete monster killer while Daisy focuses on getting all the clues. The pair did really well in The Path to Carcosa campaign. 🙂

The classic Roland and Wendy duo take on the ‘Return to The Night of the Zealot’ campaign. With both investigators having a decent intellect value of 3, I didn’t feel the need to include as many intellect boost cards in the decks. Instead, Roland’s deck was geared to battling the monsters and Wendy’s deck was geared at completely evading and exploring as many locations as possible to gain clues.

Dual-Handed Solo

Here are some of the pro’s and con’s of playing Arkham Horror dual-handed solo. Please understand that this is purely my own opinions based on the number of times that I have played.

Pros of Playing Dual-Handed Solo

  • Cover more grounds (especially scenarios with 9 or more locations)
  • Play to your investigator’s strengths (If I play Mark, I want him to be the best monster killer. If I’m playing Daisy, I want her to gain clues easily)
  • Activate more actions (especially on locations/acts which allow you to activate certain actions which are beneficial to progress the act deck. If you played true solo, you’d be doing everything by yourself, taking up more actions and time)
  • Face the treacheries together (Imagine Daisy drawing an enemy card. Instead of having to face the enemy, Mark can engage the enemy while Daisy freely moves away to investigate. Similarly, having both investigators in the same location allows for commitment of cards to boost skill values to face the non-peril treachery cards in the mythos phase. The same applies to investigator weaknesses that remain in the threat area. If I played Roland Banks and drew his signature weakness, ‘Cover Up,’ I can have another investigator in the same location as Roland to help him discover more clues to get rid of that weakness)

The main reason I would enjoy playing dual-handed is that I get to play my investigators to their strengths and bring out their capabilities, without having to limit my deck-building options to create an all rounded investigator. The fact that I didn’t need to bump up Mark’s intellect skill, allowed me to focus on building a killing machine and healer investigator deck. Not only was I able to easily best the monsters, I had the cards to treat my horrors and damages as well, which allows me to maximise his signature asset card, ‘Sophie.’ With Daisy and Mark, I really enjoyed going through The Night of the Zealot and The Path to Carcosa campaign all at once. YES, you heard me! I played The Night of the Zealot and continued with the same investigators for The Path to Carcosa too.

Cons of Playing Dual-Handed Solo

  • You need more clues to advance the act deck ‘per investigator.’
  • The ‘boss’ enemy has a higher life count ‘per investigator.’ (Imagine going up against a 9 life Hastur with two investigators, which will basically double up his life value to 18)
  • Heavy Management of two characters/multi-tasking (Now, this may not necessarily be a downside to dual-handed solo, but for some, including myself, it is an overwhelming task to control TWO investigators for a campaign. There’s just a lot of up-keeping and management of actions, that I just can’t focus on one individual investigator. I might get carried away performing Daisy’s actions, that I probably overlooked certain actions that I could achieve to benefit Mark as well, like boosting his skill to beat an enemy or gain clues, for example: Encyclopedia.

Once again, the multi-tasking part may not necessarily be seen as a downside, and I will agree to it as well. This is just my personal perspective, from the many times that I have played the game. While I enjoy the idea of controlling two investigators that have been built specifically to their strengths, to take on a campaign, I always struggle to make the best of it. I’ll have those moments of ‘ahhh… I just realised I could have done this with both investigators but I forgot to…‘ or maybe deck-building mess like ‘Damm it… I could have put this card into that deck to help with this particular situation.‘ For example, when playing The Devourer Below scenario in the The Night of the Zealot campaign, I controlled Wendy and Roland. I over-looked putting ‘Hiding Spot‘ in Wendy’s deck, which I know would be useful in that particular scenario to evade from a bunch of enemies in one particular location. I was too busy trying to build Roland’s deck that I over-looked something as simple as that card for Wendy. But that’s just me, and maybe with more practice and getting used to, I should be able to avoid such errors in the near future.

Conclusion

Hopefully both articles were able to give you a brief insight into playing true solo and dual-handed solo. Both ways of playing offers its own significant advantages and disadvantages as well. Now that I have played this game for a year plus and recently invested in 3 investigator starter decks as well, I have a sufficient variety of cards to build the decks that I want to maximise my investigators strengths, especially if I plan on taking the true solo path. Although, I still wish I can get my hands on the player cards from The Dunwich Legacy campaign. So if you’re new to the game and want to know which expansion you should get first…my suggestion would be ‘The Dunwich Legacy‘, mainly for the player cards. I think the storyline is good too but that’s not for me to say since I have never actually played it.

My Mark and Sefina duo took on The Path to Carcosa campaign and we did quite well, although the duo wasn’t really the best combination since Sefina and Mark have low intellect values. Sefina became the designated investigator to gain clues, using Lock-picks mostly, and cards to boost her intellect value such as St.Hubert’s Key and Perception.

I know I did not mention much about deck-building here, and obviously it is a vital element of the game. Deck-building is another area in which I still feel that I lack the proper awareness to build a solid deck. Hopefully in the future I can write more about deck-building, but if you are keen on topics on deck-building, you can always check out ArkhamDB and ObscureStudies. I just created my Dexter Drake‘s true solo deck to take on the ‘The Innsmouth Conspiracy‘ campaign. We’ll see how that goes.

In desperate times, if Wendy has to kill, Waylay is the way…
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