Investigator and Player card Traits in Arkham Horror LCG

A great post on the FFG Arkham Horror Community caught my eye: SamWeiss wondered if investigator traits meant we could start making some cool teams. That got me thinking about what the current trait list looks like.

First we’ll look at the Investigators, and then the player cards.

Investigator Traits

Which are the most common investigator traits? Could we team people up to make some trait-related stories? Let’s have a look:

All those Drifters? Were they stuck under the boardwalk in Arkham?

Luke Robinson (added with the Dream-Eaters campaign) takes the Drifter count to 5. You’d have fun choosing 2-4 of those to play with.

Luke: the 5th Drifter

For me, the most fun team would be the Performers, specifically the musicians. Patrice, Marie and Jim would be a great thematic team. Bring along Lola or Sefina and you have a totally arty crew.

How about Detective Joe Diamond with 3 criminals (Tony, Finn and Skids?). What would that group’s back story be?

What other combos do you think would get the Role-Playing stories flowing?

How many traits does each investigator have?

You’ll notice that some investigators appear twice in the chart above. That’s because some have more than one trait. Our friend Luke is unique among investigators:

That’s right: The Dream-Eaters gave us our first triple-trait investigator. He’s a driftin’, dreamin’, wayfarin’ guy (come to think about it: what is a wayfarer?)

Voice of Reason: Wayfarer: someone who travels on foot. Anyway – this is good fun and games, Andy, but what does it all mean?

Oh, hello Voice of Reddit Reason. I wondered when you’d pipe up. What does it mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. One of my highlights of Circle Undone was when an Investigator’s trait determined a scenario outcome. I’d LOVE to see more of that. Perhaps the musicians might find an advantage at the speakeasy clubs of Arkham? Or the scholars get around Miskatonic Uni easier? Or Carolyn’s medic skills might help her at the asylum?

Now let’s look at player card traits.

Player Card Traits

Currently there are 80 traits on player/investigator cards (I’m not looking at Encounter, Weakness, Story or Treachery cards in this analysis. Signature cards are included).

Pop quiz: what are the 3 most common traits on player cards?

Go on: see if you can guess the top 3. I’ll come to the answer in a moment.

How has the trait list grown over time? When did each one appear? Can we glean anything from the list, as it’s grown?The chart below shows all the traits, and which campaign they first appeared in:

Looking at the list is like a trivia game. “Boon” was added in the Circle Undone. Do you know which card(s) have that trait? (Answer here). How about “Service“? Or “Paradox” (from The Path To Carcosa)?

Since the Core Set we’ve had between 8 and 16 new traits in each campaign (only 4 so far in Dream-Eaters, but there’ll surely be more to come).

Can we glean anything from this list? Other than satisfying my pure curiosity, I’m not sure (Voice of Reason – feel free to disagree and tell me what I’m missing).

Voice of Reason: um. Hang on, if you’re admitting this is fun and games, how am I supposed to pick it apart?

I’m sure you’ll find a way, VoR, I’m sure you’ll find a way. VoR, if you think there’s something more profound to find, I’d love to see the next step in Trait analysis!

Voice of Reason: Whatevs. Anyway, you said you’d show the top traits?

I did indeed. I knew you’d want to see that. Here are the top 10 traits:

Number 1: Items. Arkham’s got 142 of the things! That’s why Act of Desperation is my favourite card. 79 of the Item cards go in hand slots. Throw them at enemies!! Some of the funniest moments in this game are when you throw inappropriate objects at an enemy and hit them. Pnakotic Manuscripts are darn painful!

Number 2 is spells. Mystics (the “difficult” class): they aren’t short of cards to play.

Number 3: Talent. Talent? Really? Yes, really × 55.

I thought Allies or Weapons would be in the top 3. I certainly didn’t think there were that many talents.

Other than an interactive trait explorer, below, that’s all I got. Is it deep analysis? Possibly not. Does it mean much? Possibly not.

It doesn’t stop it being fun to look into: traits are placeholders, a design space that can be used and accessed by the designers. We’ve seen a glimpse of that in The Circle Undone. Perhaps we’ll see a lot more of in the future? I’d definitely love to see my Investigator choice impact the storylines.

I love Traits because they give me another hook on which to build a narrative around the game experience.

Below is an interactive trait explorer. I find it a little quicker than searching ArkhamDB.com:

Interactive Trait Explorer

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