If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then Arkham Horror is the game for you! Read on for the Arhkam Horror review!
Set in the city of Arkham in the year 1926, this co-operative game is based on Lovecraftian lore. Players play as investigators trying to get to the bottom of the strange and horrible happenings in Arkham. Monsters roam the streets, gates to other dimensions appear, and a terrible Ancient One stirs in its slumber...
The goal of the game it to prevent the Ancient One from waking, or to defeat it if it does. You prevent the Ancient One from waking by either closing all the gates on the board (you need at least one closed gate per player to win) or by sealing six or more gate locations. If the terrible Ancient One awakens, all investigators must fight it. Should they fail, the game is considered lost... to say nothing of the universe.
AestheticsHow many of you judge books by the cover?
You have nothing to fear here; Arkham is a beautiful game. The illustrations are top-notch, and all the chits are high quality and printed on both sides. The detailing in the artwork is incredible and it does a great job of bringing the Lovecraftian universe to life. (Not that you'd actually want that.)
This is the most complex game I have ever played. We've played this game more times than I could count, and we still have to check the rules. There is a lot of information to keep track of, from simply remembering what certain symbols mean, to counting the number of monsters on the board, to remembering to roll for cards on the upkeep phase, to using your investigator's special abilities, to keeping track of rumors and environments. The gameplay is so dynamic and interactive that it creates quite a few edge cases whose resolution can come down to a single word in a description, or - in the worst case - can be solved only by searching through the FAQs on Fantasy Flight's website. This game is so complex that it really should be a computer game... there's no way that mere humans can keep track of everything that needs to be remembered.
So, this game is not for the casual player! Even after all this time, I'm still not sure we play correctly. Just last week we realized we had been forgetting a rule which would have removed monsters off the board every time we closed a gate. Forgetting that rule has definitely cost us a victory or two. Add on a couple expansions, and there's no way you could play this game as anything but stone sober and with no distractions. This game is not a party game!
|"Arkham Horror at FFG booth, Origins 2005" by Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast|
Bringing in new players is also a daunting task. The number of cards and chits laid out on a table is enough to scare away any new player, and then when you start to explain the rules they often go cross-eyed. When bringing in new players, you should expect to babysit them for their first few games - not just over gameplay like how to interpret monster chits and make skill checks, but also strategy, such as what items to buy and what locations to travel to. With a few rounds of practice, the basic rules become familiar and then you should only have to check the rulebook for the tricky bits. :D