Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekend Boardgame Sept 3 2011: Arkham Horror

Hey Geekshelfers!  I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  I was lucky enough to get together with some friends from work this long weekend to play some Arkham Horror.   

Simply put, Arkham Horror is a boardgame set in the fictional town of H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham, Massachusetts where you and up to 7 other players cooperatively play as investigators running around town killing monsters, sealing portals to other dimensions, and trying to stay alive and preventing the Ancient evil from awakening!

Here's what the board looks like with The Dunwich Horror expansion added to it.  In case you hadn't noticed, the game takes up quite a bit of room!
Setting up...
 And if that isn't enough, Fantasy Flight Games have been releasing expansions (both big and small) that add more characters, encounters, monsters and Ancient Old Ones to the mix.  Here's a picture of every expansion that my friend Jason brought over.  YIKES!
Jtop brings over a couple of expansions...
 I'd recommend playing with only 1 big box expansion (the Dunwich expansion, in this case) and mix and match the investigators and monsters from the other expansions if you want to amp up the variety and make things more interesting.  Trying to juggle more expansions beyond the first one just makes things a bit too unwieldy and confusing.
Base game with Dunwich Horror expansion
 Anyway, the game promptly began and we were already feeling the pressure.  The base game is hard enough as it is, but adding an expansion certainly ratchets up the difficulty level for sure.
And so it begins!
 Not too long after starting the game, things spiraled out of control and we had gates and monsters popping up.  For reference, if a portal (or gate) opens, the Ancient One inches closer and closer to waking up.  This is bad.  This is like the coming of Gozer in Ghostbusters.  Yup.  HORRIBLE!
...Already losing :(
As I mentioned, we were overwhelmed by too many open portals and Nyarlathotep , the Ancient One awoke and promptly devoured all the investigators.  We all lost.  Bye bye. Game over.

See, I told you it was gonna be bad.
A swift defeat from Nyarlathotep. 
 After a bit of huffing and puffing, we quickly restart the game with the same investigators and pick a new Ancient Evil.  We worked better as a team this time around and had a better balance of killing monsters and even sealing one or two gates here and there!
Just a couple of geeks.
 Money is quite helpful in the game as it allows you to buy some weapons for your investigators.
"I'm rich, biatch!"
 And with weapons, you can take on and kill several monsters like Leo Anderson here!  After killing monsters, you can claim them for yourself as trophies.
Jtop as Leo Anderson  : "Come get some!"
 Towards the end of the game, more gates opened and Shub Niggurath, the Ancient One begins to awaken.  As I said, each time a gate opens, you add a doom marker to the Ancient One's card.  Here, you can see that he's 2 gates away from waking up....
Shub-Niggurath about to awaken!
 Realizing that there is no way for us to seal all the gates in time, we make a last ditch effort to stock up on spells and weapons to get ready for our final battle.
Spending the last turns beefing up our characters
 It was a close call but we ended up defeating Shub with nobody getting killed at all!  We worked together as a team healing and buffing each other as we chipped away at the Ancient One.

The Great Old One is defeated!  The world is safe.  For now
I know the game looks a bit complicated with all the bits and rules.  However, if you've got the patience to learn the rules or just play it with someone who knows it inside and out, you'll have a blast with this game.

The game can be quite hard, especially with the expansion or two thrown in so just be prepared for that.    However, this is a game that has the potential to tell a grim, macabre story and if played with the right group, can be totally, out of control, wall to wall fun.

For more information on Arkham Horror, please visit

Happy Gaming guys!

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