Return to the Forgotten Age (RTTFA) is a set of additional cards for the Forgotten Age (TFA) cycle for Arkham Horror: The Card Game (AHLCG). This review covers the changes that the additional cards and rules make to the campaign’s scenarios. A spoiler-free review is followed by a detailed breakdown of the changes, including heavy spoilers.
Probably the best Return To box so far, Return to the Forgotten Age makes a lot of small improvements to the cycle. The difficulty is slightly lower and interesting secrets and extra options have been added throughout. However, if one of the controversial mechanics in TFA put you off, you won’t find a fix for it here. If it’s your first playthrough, adding RTTFA will probably improve your experience slightly, although you have to account for the slightly more complex scenario setup as you swap encounter sets in and out.
Even if you don’t have RTTFA, it’s probably worth playing with the new exploration rules which are as follows: Do not shuffle any treacheries into the exploration deck at game setup. Instead, after each successful exploration, shuffle the top encounter card into the exploration deck. In Boundary Beyond and Depths of Yoth, ignore the second rule – only add treacheries to the encounter deck when explicitly instructed to. Abilities on the starting location which allow you to use the map, compass, torches, etc can now be used from any location.
The Forgotten Age was a controversial cycle on release. It was harder, more punishing, more complex, more narratively sophisticated and longer than anything before it. Blind playthroughs were especially punishing and many people came away with a negative impression. Two major complaints were made: 1) The exploration mechanic scales poorly with group size, making an already brutal campaign even more so for true solo. 2) The supply mechanic feels capricious, unthematic and unintuitive in its ultimate effects. On top of this, Heart of the Elders is one of the most unpopular scenarios in the game.
On the other hand, TFA also has some of the best scenarios in the game: Threads of Fate and Depths of Yoth rank consistently highly, with Threads often cited as the best scenario available. The narrative is strongly developed and the player choices impactful without including the arguably excessive quantity of text in The Circle Undone. The Return To box is an opportunity for FFG to resolve the cycle’s major flaws and allow its huge strengths to shine through. Did they accomplish this?
The answer, sadly, is not really. Return to the Forgotten Age is probably the strongest of the Return To boxes in terms of the scope and scale of its changes, and how much they impact on and improve the scenarios. The campaign is undoubtedly better, so if you’re a fan of TFA already, RTTFA is going to improve it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really resolve any of the really major problems that the cycle has, so if one or more of these is really offputting to you, RTTFA isn’t going to make the campaign any more enjoyable for you.
The exploration mechanics have been revised, and substantially improved, making for a definitively better experience. Unfortunately the changes do nothing for group size balance – exploration is still significantly more action taxing for solo players, leaving the campaign still intensely solo hostile. If you’re looking for a solution to this problem, you won’t find it here.
Likewise there have been changes to supplies – some supplies now have new uses through the campaign, sometimes avoiding a penalty and sometimes adding an additional reward. The core problem of supplies that some players have, that some choices result in trauma with no warning, hasn’t been changed at all. You’re still given no indication of what supplies might do or who they might be useful for. The basic thematic problem, that even a poorly supplied expedition can’t afford blankets, water canteens or chalk, also hasn’t been addressed.
Finally although there are definitely positive changes to Heart of the Elders (mostly to A) they aren’t enough to redeem it from its status as the second to worst scenario after The Devourer Below. The requirement to play it repeatedly still exists, and although you’re offered the opportunity to skip the replay, the punishment for doing so is so harsh that you’re unlikely to want to choose it even when your group’s play schedule more or less forces you to. No card space is devoted to adding a much-needed twist or gimmick to HOTE-A or HOTE-B and they remain rather shallow retreads of Untamed Wilds and Doom of Eztli.
The final remaining issue, the overall difficulty, actually is addressed somewhat. Subtle changes to the encounter sets and to some scenarios such as Boundary Beyond make the whole campaign less difficult overall. However, the many instances of punishing mandatory trauma haven’t changed.
All those negatives aside, the changes made are thoughtful and represent significant improvements to most of the scenarios. The new encounter sets have a few fantastically designed cards that really add interesting strategic and tactical decisions. There’s a strong emphasis on adding additional paths to explore at your discretion, as well as a few missable secrets to uncover. Earlier Return To boxes often felt like they were including random variety for the sake of it, and while there’s a little of that here, most of the changes feel more purposeful.
From here on out the spoilers are going to be heavy. I’ll cover the campaign-wide changes in detail, including the new encounter sets and major mechanical changes, as well as looking at the specific changes to each scenario.
As usual for a Return To box, RTTFA includes replacement generic encounter sets. Notably it doesn’t include a replacement for Ancient Evils, although that set is only used in a couple of scenarios.
Return to the Rainforest is a location set used in The Untamed Wilds and Heart of the Elders. I’ve discussed it in more detail in the scenario section.
Expedition is replaced with Doomed Expedition. Expedition is the set with the iconic Low on Supplies card, as well as Lost in the Wilds which is like a harsher Rotting Remains which also stops you moving. The replacement effects are slightly bland – Best-Laid Plans costs you 2 actions, and Resentful Wilds encourages you to find an alternate route to explore from. Overall this is a fairly large net reduction in difficulty, which is probably a good thing in such a difficult campaign. On the other hand, Low on Supplies scaled with group size – typically a four player group will lose around 6 resources from it. Losing this card biases a campaign which is otherwise extremely punishing on smaller groups even further in that direction.
Yig’s Venom, the less interesting snek people set that includes Snakescourge and Fang of Yig, is replaced with Venomous Hate. The new Serpent Guardian feels a bit like more of the same, and Wrath of Yig is just another card that poisons you, but Vengeful Serpent is my favourite card in the box. It’s a really interesting twist on swarm, and poses a slightly different set of decisions to other cards you might want to evade. Notably, the Fang of Yig had 3 health while the Vengeful Serpent only has 2. You probably still want to favour 3 damage effects for Brotherhood Cultist, Brood of Yig, etc, but at least 2 damage effects can accomplish something now. I’d consider this set a big improvement.
Temporal Flux is replaced with Temporal Hunters. The slightly bland, less dangerous Rotting Remains, A Tear in Time is replaced with Merging Timelines which feels a lot like a Dunwich card. The difference is minor although a frequently occurring will treachery being removed reduces the relative importance of that stat in the campaign. Lost in Time meanwhile gets replaced with the far more interesting Tindalos Alpha. It’s the same effect delivered via an enemy, but there are so many more options for dealing with enemies that it creates much more interesting counterplay opportunities.
Finally the only core encounter set that’s used repeatedly, Dark Cult, gets replaced with the Brotherhood-specific Cult of Pnakotus. This is a big flavour win, and initially I liked it a lot. From Another Time is a minor variant on Mysterious Chanting. Although you could get a horrible 4 doom from one card, in practice the 2 doom from Chanting is so much that typically you have to deal with the cultist anyway. Stolen Mind is a more dangerous Wizard of the Order, and a bit of a thematic miss for me. All the cultists have stolen minds – what about this one is important? It’s not clear at all what this being is or why it’s powerful, whereas “wizard” communicates that in one word. Brotherhood Acolyte replaces Acolyte in a fun thematic way, but mechanically it’s a bit dodgy. Because the cultists either do or don’t combo with each other, essentially at random, every scenario that includes them starts to resemble Echoes of the Past, one of the least functional scenarios. If you’re doing well and easily able to keep swatting the acolytes – something that’s made easier here, as when there are no other cultists in play you can have them spawn at your location – they’ll never actually put any doom in play. On the other hand, if you’re being overwhelmed the acolytes will pile on and stack multiple doom on each other and worse, any Brotherhood Cultists hanging around as well. I don’t think feedback loops like this benefit the game very much.
Although it’s technically part of the rules for individual scenarios, there’s one consistent change to the way exploration works across most scenarios. Instead of shuffling treachery cards into the exploration deck at setup, it starts with only locations. Then, after each successful exploration, an encounter card is shuffled into the exploration deck.
This has a few interesting effects. Perhaps most impactfully, it’s now possible to find enemies in the exploration deck. In the original TFA, the exploration deck started with the most treacheries it was going to have and gradually became “safer” throughout the scenario. Now roughly the same number of treacheries get drawn, but they’re spaced out more over the duration of the scenario. This is a great change which is very easy to implement even without owning RTTFA, and it’s accompanied by a related rule that allows the map, compass, etc effects which peek at the exploration deck to be used from any location. This further discourages camping the first location which is great.
The real problem here is that although it’s a great change, exploration didn’t really need that change. Exploration worked fine, with one important exception: it scaled very poorly with group size. Exploration is both an action tax and a source of additional treacheries, and neither of those scales with the group. In a typical scenario you’ll need to explore successfully around 5 times, and you’ll hit about 5 treacheries as well. Even ignoring the effects of the treacheries, that’s 10 actions, and it’s 10 if you’re solo and 10 if there are four of you.
The exploration changes don’t do anything about this. Although the treacheries are spread out over the scenario, you’ll still hit roughly the same number so it’s still about 10 actions. If you were put off TFA by its poor solo scaling, this change doesn’t do anything about that and it would have been the ideal opportunity to do so. A more appropriate scaling would have been that each successful exploration shuffles 1 encounter card per player into the exploration deck. If this sounds outrageous to you – and it probably should – bear in mind that even that still isn’t as punishing as the situation for solo players.
There are no significant changes to the way supplies work in RTTFA. The biggest change is that many scenarios include variant locations which reference supplies, either to avoid a penalty or gain an advantage. For example, the pickaxe previously worked only with one specific treachery card, but it now also gives a bonus on one location in HOTE-B.
Most of these additional locations are variants which have a 50% chance to be included in a scenario, so the net effect is that which supplies will be useful during your campaign ends up unpredictable. In a sense this alleviates the stress of choosing supplies, because you can’t really predict which ones are useful, but ultimately I don’t really feel like this is a good thing. It strongly reinforces the blind play role of supplies being something you’ll probably be disappointed about, and the large degree of randomness means that you can’t really get around this with foreknowledge and optimal planning.
One more sort-of change to supplies is that because of changes to Threads of Fate, it’s possible to get a lot more supply points during the resupply section. With strong performance in Threads, it’s possible to enter the second half of the campaign in possession of all non-consumable supply items, at least in 2p.
Here I’ll discuss in some detail the changes to each scenario. This will definitely be spoiler heavy. I’ll also give my recommendation on whether the changes make the scenario more or less suitable for new players – if you’re reading this I assume you’re experienced, but I often play AHLCG with new players and it’s interesting deciding whether to start with the Return To changes, and sometimes I might even optionally include elements to make for a better new player experience.
The Untamed Wilds
The Untamed Wilds is a really cleverly built scenario in the sense that it barely uses any cards in its own encounter set, and Return to the Untamed Wilds reflects this by providing no new cards, instead relying on the replacement encounter sets to provide variety. The most impactful change are the four Return to the Rainforest locations which have a 50% chance to replace a matching location. Each of the four new ones requires an underused supply item to avoid a penalty, but one of the locations that may be removed is the Rope Bridge, which is a huge flavour hit in the original scenario. The connections are unchanged so the map layout remains the same.
The changes to the Expedition encounter set make the scenario slightly easier. Overall though, Untamed Wilds is largely unchanged. The identity of the scenario is still staggering around the jungle, trying desperately to avoid being poisoned, scraping together the resources to deal with Ichtaca and then reluctantly concluding that you can’t clear the clues off all the ruins. The interlude is similarly unchanged, with the potential to come out with as much as three unavoidable trauma depending on the supplies you chose to bring and whether you drew any copies of Snake Bite.
The new exploration changes described earlier are implemented in full here. This substantially improves the pacing. For new players, the changes are minor enough that it doesn’t really matter whether you play this version or not, but I would recommend using the new explore rules regardless.
Doom of Eztli
Doom is one of the more heavily changed scenarios, strangely. The highlight here is that rather than the usual Return To system of randomly selected replacement locations, instead all of the locations from the original are replaced entirely. The dungeon is also larger – 9 locations instead of 7, which makes the escape slightly longer. Honestly, I can’t see a compellingly strong reason why they all had to be replaced – while Doom was never the highest rated scenario in the cycle, it worked well enough. I would have preferred to see the large number of cards allocated here being used to make more substantial improvements to Heart of the Elders.
The major difference is that the old locations all had ways to automatically add doom to themselves, including the compellingly scary Ancient Hall. The new locations instead have largely positive effects provided you have the right supply. Only one adds doom (and includes a way to remove it on the card) so a lot less doom gets added to the board. This makes the scenario significantly more forgiving, as several encounter cards and chaos token effects care about doom on locations. It also makes the escape feel slightly odd, as you sort the locations by doom but most probably won’t have any doom on them.
A couple of locations do have something interesting on them – one location provides a shortcut directly to the Chamber of Time but only if you possess an item it’s impossible to acquire at this stage, and another allows you to find a new supply item which has no use until a later scenario. These secrets, although ultimately only a few lines of text, really add to the feeling that the campaign is grander and more intriguing.
The Harbinger gets a new card which entirely replaces her for the revised campaign. The bug in her ability has been fixed – her old forced ability reads “when” which meant it resolved before damage was dealt. It’s been changed to “after” so the final attack against her will actually deal damage, which is probably how most players were playing it anyway. She’s also lost her ability to retaliate while exhausted, which tended to shut down a lot of options for dealing with her. In its place, she has an ability which gives her Fight 2 / Evade 4 until she’s lost half her health, at which point she becomes Fight 4 / Evade 2. This creates a reward for damaging her even if you ultimately plan to evade her.
For new players, the new Doom is more forgiving and thus less likely to require them to repeat it. The little secrets added are fun, the Harbinger changes are interesting and overall I’d recommend it. However, because it’s a little easier, it is detracting from the authentically brutal TFA experience.
Threads of Fate
Threads has a well-deserved and lofty reputation as one of, if not the, best scenarios in AHLCG. The changes here are deftly designed – nothing about the base scenario is changed, but an entire fourth act is added, giving even more to try and accomplish. Threads’ only real flaw, and flaw is much too strong a word, is that it’s written as if completing all three act decks is difficult, but it’s fairly easy to do even blind. Adding a fourth act deck gives more objectives to attempt, more rewards to earn, and scales all the effects that care about how many act decks you’ve completed even higher if you’re doing well.
As with the other act decks, there are actually two “quests” available here and you choose one at scenario setup. The reward is a new ally who can remove treacheries from the encounter or exploration deck, and is surprisingly powerful. She’s also significant for being an ally you can earn if you’ve chosen to “forge your own path” and thus made other allies unobtainable. While in theory the new act deck allows for additional options to pursue when you’re brick walled on a different quest, in practice it follows the same random choice between enemy to kill and clues to parley so it doesn’t really help with that.
A major change at the end of the scenario is that rather than receiving 1 XP for each act 1 card completed, you instead receive 1 XP for each act card completed, for a possible 12 total. In exchange though, this act card XP cannot be spent as XP. Instead, it can only be used to remove trauma, remove poison, or be converted into supply points at a rate of 2 XP for 1 supply point. This means that a perfect performance in Threads (by no means impossible) leaves you able to afford all of the supply items. You can also spend any amount of XP removing trauma now, which is a partial alleviation of the mandatory trauma from Untamed Wilds.
For new players it’s possible the additional act deck could be overwhelming, but if they’ve made it three scenarios into TFA they’re probably doing pretty well. The additional act deck is only vaguely tied to the story of the campaign, which is fresh and interesting for repeat plays but thematically distracting on a first playthrough. While it’s technically harder to get to R1, since you can always resign there’s little harm in including the new quest, although narratively new players would benefit more from completing the original three first and perhaps should be steered towards them.
The Boundary Beyond
Beginning the trilogy of controversial scenarios that make TFA a hot topic for rants even a year on, the original Boundary Beyond is a punishingly difficult scenario. The card changes here are minor – six new present day locations, each of which has a 50% chance to replace the original. Present day locations include a requirement to explore, and the new ones are arguably about as difficult or more difficult to achieve than the old ones.
Some are mirrors of each other – the old Chapultepec Park required a will test, the new one requires an agi test. Some are much more demanding – the old Xochimilco requires you to spend 3 resources, while the new one requires you to attack or evade an enemy, something which simply may not realistically occur. Ultimately these location changes provide a small amount of variety which in my opinion doesn’t justify the card space.
The far more impactful change is that Return to the Boundary Beyond implements only half of the new explore rules. The exploration deck starts with no treacheries, and none are added during play (except Timeline Destabilisation which remains as punishing for Finn as ever). This removes the whole first stage of the scenario, where you pick a location whose requirement you can meet and then camp the exploration deck trying to cheaply remove all the treacheries – a big improvement to the play and pacing.
The scenario is still very difficult and very swingy – it’s still just as hard to meet the exploration requirements, and just as hard to get the clues from the ancient locations, and the location connections still change in a way that’s very hard to keep track of without connector tokens, but at least you don’t have to worry about treacheries in the exploration deck.
In my opinion the biggest blind problem with Boundary Beyond is that you have no clear indication that you should be focused on completely clearing ancient locations before the end of agenda 2, and in particular that three locations cleared is the magic number to impress Ichtaca. Neither of these has been improved, and the trap on Window to Another Time is still there.
For new players the slight reduction in difficulty here is probably a very good thing. I probably wouldn’t personally bother to randomise the present day locations when playing with new players as they don’t really add anything except to raise the difficulty back up again.
Heart of the Elders
Heart of the Elders, which is one pack divided into two scenarios, Part 1 and Part 2, referred to somewhat confusingly as HOTE-A and HOTE-B, is generally considered to be the worst scenario available, or battles for that position with The Devourer Below.
HOTE-A is a retread of The Untamed Wilds, while HOTE-B is a retread of Doom of Eztli. Neither is as interesting as the original scenario. HOTE-A includes a frankly bizarre rule that you can restart the scenario as often as you like, keeping your progress towards the 6 total objectives and encouraging weird, time consuming micro-optimisation like restarting if you get a bad hand or restarting if you randomly drew a location without enough VP for your tastes.
Sadly the Return To fixes neither of these problems. HOTE-A gets a minor bugfix to remove an exploit (players could save up clues to avoid spawning a boss until they were ready to complete the scenario) but in exchange makes the boss significantly easier to deal with. It also adds a couple of new enemies which interact with a secret item the players may have discovered all the way back in Doom of Eztli. Neither change is very impactful unless you were using the exploit.
There’s also a major rule change, that rather than playing the scenario again if you fail to complete all 6 pillars, the players can instead take twice the difference as Yig’s Fury, all be poisoned (or take trauma if they’re already poisoned) and then move on. This is, frankly, a bit of a Hobson’s choice. Repeating HOTE-A is annoying and time consuming, but because no penalty is accrued for replays, ultimately doesn’t cost you anything in terms of long term campaign performance. By comparison, a large amount of additional fury and all being poisoned is a huge penalty. In practice being poisoned here isn’t as bad as it would have been earlier in the campaign, but by this point players have been trained that it’s to be avoided, so offering them a choice to be voluntarily poisoned seems very odd.
The sort of play group that’s going to have an issue with HOTE-A (for example, having limited weekly playtime and not being able to simply extend that playtime indefinitely to replay again and again) are unlikely to be delighted with a fix that means that in order to keep playing the game on their schedule, they all get poisoned. I would have much preferred to see this whole structure rethought – a simple fix would be that replays of HOTE-A are not possible, and instead you get one chance and then take the remainder as fury. Alternatively, a scaling penalty for repeating HOTE-A could then get so out of hand that a penalty for skipping the remainder would be welcome by comparison.
HOTE-B gets some random variant locations very similar to Return to the Rainforest which require supplies. There’s another secret item to obtain here, and I’d like to give a special shoutout to the card Chthonian Depths (chthonian being one of those fancy Lovecraftian words which is essentially just an elaborate way to say “underground”) which the artist has chosen to depict with a huge number of chthonians, the monster type. Ultimately the changes are very minor and HOTE-B is still very short and easy.
Overall the changes make very little difference to either scenario, which is a real shame. They were bad and boring before and they’re bad and boring now. Both scenarios are still missing a crucial twist or gimmick to differentiate themselves. There’s so much narrative potential in “we have to go back to the jungle” but neither the original, nor Return To versions come anywhere near fulfilling it. I wish some of the card space devoted to new locations for Doom of Eztli or Boundary Beyond had instead been spent on really fleshing these two scenarios out into something special.
New players probably won’t notice any difference between the original and revised scenarios. If you played Return to the Doom of Eztli, the payoff for the secret supply item is here so both should be used.
The City of Archives
The third and final scenario in the controversial middle part of TFA which makes everyone who didn’t hate trauma hate the cycle anyway, City of Archives is alternatively very highly rated and very poorly rated depending on who you’re asking. It’s one of the boldest and most imaginative scenarios, with a huge number of encounter cards, a very unique thematic and mechanical setup, and asks you to approach the game in a totally different way. It’s also incredibly punishing and very sensitive to the deck and investigator you’re playing, in some cases completely destroying your ability to accomplish anything.
The Return To scenario doesn’t really do anything to this formula. Like Return to Threads of Fate, what’s added is a new wing to the city layout, adding a 7th and 8th optional objective to complete (with a final total of 6 needed still). In practice this makes the scenario slightly easier – you can skip the two that are hardest for you to complete. It also allows you to entirely avoid one enemy type by not completing either of the objectives that would cause them to chase you. There’s a bit of fun theme added here, but ultimately the scenario is exactly the same.
To me this feels like a slightly missed opportunity. While I come down strongly on the side of City of Archives being a brilliant scenario, I do think some allowance should have been made for decks which just don’t work, and this would have been the opportunity to do that. An example would be to give Yithians higher base state, but only double the icons on item cards, or allow investigators to keep their original abilities. As it is, City of Archives is a hilarious romp for some and a miserable nightmare for others, and this isn’t a great state for TFA to be in.
For new players the changes make the scenario slightly easier, although it’s also possible to waste even more time wandering from room to room accomplishing nothing. There’s no strong reason to play it or avoid it, and it makes no difference to the rest of the campaign.
Depths of Yoth
Though not quite as popular as Threads of Fate, Depths of Yoth is easily the second most popular scenario in the cycle and still very highly rated. Personally I consider it to be a masterpiece of scenario design.
The Return To recognises this and makes only the tiniest change – a new treachery which gets shuffled into the exploration deck on each new level. This treachery is not very impactful, and really just prevents you from just assuming every exploration will always be successful. As Depths of Yoth didn’t include treacheries in the exploration deck before, the major explore changes don’t apply here.
I don’t have much to say here. The scenario didn’t need changes, and didn’t get any. It does still have the slightly clunky problem that Yig’s Fury makes you skip agenda cards rather than accelerate through them, meaning you miss a chunk of the narrative setup, but that’s not a simple problem to solve mechanically and is very easy for players to resolve by just reading the cards they skipped. There’s another secret here that combines the previously useless strange liquid with the item that randomly might not show up during HOTE-B, but it doesn’t pay off yet.
With the difference being so slight, new players won’t notice the difference between the original and revised scenarios.
I’m not really a fan of Shattered Aeons. It’s another finale where you journey beyond time and space while reality breaks down around you and you visit every location from Arkham Horror (the board game)’s gate deck.
The Return To changes are minor. There’s a new otherworld location and two new shattered locations, none of which are thematically or mechanically significant. There’s a new, potentially very brutal treachery, so if you feel like Shattered Aeons was missing that feeling of utter failure that Umordhoth’s Wrath or The Final Act bring, then I guess that’s fixed now.
The exploration changes here can make the whole scenario quite swingy. Locations get added to the exploration deck about as frequently as treacheries do, so it’s possible, even likely, that you’ll breeze through without much trouble. On the other hand, it’s possible to have to chew through a lot of locations to make any progress. Overall the new locations do make the scenario slightly more difficult, because of the way you have to clear them to avoid the penalty for moving back.
New players will probably struggle with Shattered Aeons and don’t need the additional difficulty from the added locations. The new ones also aren’t as cool, and diluting the chance to see Atlantis, Valusia or Pnakotus is actually slightly weakening the narrative. With new players I would probably use the explore rules but not bother with the new locations.
Turn Back Time
Technically secret, but at the point where we’re discussing Return to Turn Back Time it’s a secret that’s hard to keep. This final scenario is only available by successfully navigating the “forging your own path” choice.
Since Turn Back Time is set in the Doom of Eztli map, all the changes from that Return To apply here – less doom on locations makes it less harsh. The major change specifically to Turn Back Time is the secret item that requires a randomly missable location in HOTE-B, and the strange liquid that requires you to avoid skipping agenda 2b in Depths of Yoth. With those two together, you can unlock a secret passage from the entrance straight to the Chamber of Time, essentially skipping all of Doom of Eztli entirely.
This has a strange effect. You save a lot of time, but on the other hand the Harbinger now also has a shortcut directly to you. I ended up dawdling around drawing cards before spawning Yig because I’d arrived so quickly I wasn’t really set up yet. The combination of the revised, doom-free Doom map and the shortcut really felt like it took a lot of the wind out of Turn Back Time (what wind hadn’t already been removed by Flamethrower’s existence, at least). It’s supposed to be a secret, final, borderline insurmountable challenge, but assuming you hit the secret it’s now significantly easier to complete.
It’s unlikely that new players will get to Turn Back Time unless you specifically prod them in its direction. If they do, the scenario won’t make sense unless you play the same version as Doom of Eztli.
Overall the scenario changes are minor. The great scenarios are still great, the bad scenarios are still bad, and nothing major has been changed. I don’t expect any of the changes made will make anyone believe that a scenario is worse that it was before – a big step up from Return to the Path to Carcosa – but you’re honestly still just not getting that much value here.