“Friday, September 18, 1925. Arkham, Massachussetts.”
“Over the past few weeks, several townspeople have mysteriously gone missing. Recently, their corpses turned up in the woods, savaged and half-eaten. The police and newspapers have stated that wild animals are responsible, but you believe there is something else going on.”
My recently acquired Arkham Horror: The Card Game, made it to the table! I played the initial introductory scenario, The Gathering, this weekend. I followed the excellent Learn to Play guide included with the game, using the recommended investigator, Roland Banks, AKA “The Fed”:
I used the recommended starter deck listed in the guide, and felt like my opening hand was good, given that I had a .45 Automatic as an asset and Dr. Milan Christopher, Professor of Entomology at Miskatonic University, as an ally, so did not take a mulligan on the hand.
I then find myself, late at night on Friday, September 18, 1925, in my house’s Study, researching the bloody disappearances, when strange chanting starts coming from the Parlor down the hall, while at the same time “hear dirt churning, as if something were digging beneath the floor.” The Study door disappears, and we’re trapped, needing to investigate the room to find clues to discover a way out of the Study.
I bring Dr. Milan Christopher into play, as well as relying on my Physical Training to assist in expected altercations. I’m working on the resources needed to bring my .45 Automatic into play, hopefully before tougher opponents arrive.
Successfully finding a way out of the Study, we advance into the Hallway, where we encounter a Swarm of Rats and are in a fight:
Defeating the Swarm of Rats, we then move into the Cellar to investigate the situation, which is not good. Fighting off a Ghoul Minion, discovering Rotting Remains, as well as making the questionable decision to investigate without the benefit of a Flashlight, leads to physical damage and mounting horror.
The situation continues to deteriorate, as we encounter an Icy Ghoul in the Cellar, but fortunately we had our .45 Automatic out now to assist in our fight:
We were successful in defeating the Icy Ghoul, but the horror of encountering Grasping Hands in the Cellar continues to take a toll. Fortunately, we were able to find a Flashlight, which was instrumental in helping us finish our investigations of the Cellar.
We then made our way to the Attic to continue our investigations, and finally with enough clues gathered were able to access the Parlor. With increasing opposition, we completely depleted our .45 Automatic, Dr. Milan Christopher was defeated, as was a Beat Cop who came to our aid.
We barely escaped with our sanity, the mounting horror was within one more negative experience of the horror defeating Roland Banks. Physically, Roland Banks was doing okay, but it was only the intervention of Dr. Milan Christopher, and the timely arrival of the Beat Cop, that allowed Roland Banks to persevere as they went down taking the brunt of horror that would otherwise have eliminated Roland Banks.
No surprise that FFG has once again delivered on excellent quality components.
The atmosphere of the game was excellent, the gameplay, artwork, text, and scenario construction did a great job of providing a quality Lovecraftian feel and experience. The designers/developers hit a home run with this one, I can see where this game is deservedly ranked so high on BoardGameGeek.
I went with the Standard difficulty for the 16 tokens placed in the “chaos bag”, as listed in the Learn to Play guide, but given my narrow escape for the introductory scenario, I can see where I’ll lose investigators along the way in playing the campaign. For harder scenarios, I can also see where I might be tempted to try the Easy difficulty in the future. I appreciate that the designers/developers have provided Easy, Standard, Hard, and Expert difficulty options for populating the chaos bag.
I really enjoyed my initial scenario, I’m looking forward to playing the other scenarios and working my way through the campaign as my investigators gain experience and are able to put that to use in acquiring more advanced cards and developing their investigator decks.