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Fantasy Flight Games A Call of Cthulhu Boardgame, Arkham Horror: The Classic Game of Lovercraftian Adventure
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- The classic cooperative game of Lovecraftian horror
- Based upon the works of renowned horror writer HP Lovecraft
- For Ages: 12+
- Number of Players: - 8
- Playing Time: 2-4 hrs
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The town of Arkham, Massachusetts is in a panic. Horrific and bizarre events have begun to occur with increasing frequency, and seem to point towards some disastrous cataclysmic event in the future. Only one small band of investigators can save Arkham from the Great Old Ones and utter destruction! Originally published by Chaosium, Inc., this new, updated edition of Arkham Horror features new artwork, as well as revised and expanded rules from the game's original creator, Richard Launius!
From the Manufacturer
It is the roaring 20's, and while there's electricity in the air, unnatural storms are brewing as well. Strange things are happening in the small Massachusetts town of Arkham; people have gone missing, sightings of indescribable creatures grow more and more frequent. And the very air thickens with a sense of foreboding that roils like an acrid mist through the streets.
The Ancient Ones are stirring...
Arkham Horror was originally published by Chaosium, Inc., in 1987. This new, updated edition features stunning new artwork and graphical design (including a new gameboard, counters, cards, and playing pieces) as well as revised and expanded rules from the game's original creator, Richard Launius.
Players can select from 16 unique playable investigator characters, each with unique abilities, and will square off against the diabolical servants of 8 Ancient Ones, including Ithaqua, Hastur, and the terrible Cthulhu! No fan of the Cthulhu Mythos will want to miss the opportunity to acquire this classic Call of Cthulhu board game!
Arkham Horror is a cooperative game for 1-8 players ages 12 and up, and can be played in 2-3 hours.
For entertainment purposes only and contains small pieces which could present a choking hazard.
Top reviews from the United States
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So here's the thing. I hate playing board games against my wife. Not because she isn't competitive or anything. Its just...when I win I feel terrible because I feel as though I've made her sad. When I lose...I feel even worse, because I just lost. The struggle is real.
So this game is great. Its a large-scale, long, cooperative game with a VERY high replay value. Additionally, the odds of winning are, for us, 50:50, so each game is a struggle to play our very best and beat the Ancient Ones.
Quick premise: You play as an "investigator" in the town of Arkham which is being overrun by Lovecraftian monsters. Your job is to kill the monsters and close the Portals through which they appear. Close enough portals down, win the game. Beat the "Ancient One" who is threating to breach our dimension, win the game. Alternatively if they ancient one awakens and you don't win the ensuing dice-roll frenzy, you lose. Sounds simple, but with all the different items, companions, and varied options for movement and events the game is never the same.
The game really needs 3+ players to be competitive, but it is designed in such a way that two people can play two investigators each and it still works very well. The game is even designed that you can play solo as multiple investigators, but for me that has less appeal.
Regardless of how you want to play, this game is a lot of fun. It is massive (your whole kitchen table will be covered with decks, board, etc.) but once you get the basic mechanics down it really isn't difficult to play. I have recommended this to anyone I know who is interested in board games as a worthy addition to their collection.
Arkham is one of my favorite boardgames. It certainly feels epic and takes a long time to play. Usually 3-6+ hours, depending on how well you know the rules, and how many people you are playing with. You choose an investigator character and can lightly role-play together in a group to cooperatively save the city (and the world) from an ancient one (of your choice, or not). Your mission is to collect items, spells, and weapons to fight monsters in the street, and simultaneously travel though and close inter-dimensional gates (that release those monsters). Ultimately you are on an in-game timer, based on how many rounds those gates stay open. If you don't close them all or have too many monsters in play, the ancient one awakens and you have to fight it. The rules are complex, but not impossible to get the hang of. They certainly feel daunting at first. I recommend finding streamlined rule-books online, pouring over the rules included, and/or playing a few dummy games first. This is also a game that requires a lot of table space. 6 people will be kinda cramped at a 4x3 foot table.
Arkham is not a kind game to it's players, and it gets a lot of flak because of it. Events at locations are often random, or based on high-stakes rolls. Healing takes a long time. Combat is multi-stepped, and full of conditions. Travel can be made difficult by environmental conditions drawn every round. Each round has phases that must be done in order. People always forget to reset their abilities sliders and retcon them later. You never seem to have enough dice to roll to complete that tasks you want. And sometimes the game just doesn't care, and trouble befalls you "just 'cause". Some view this as a challenge, others as annoyance. Eldritch horror might appeal to the latter. It is more forgiving and often has a way to resolve any conflicting rules you encounter (something lacking in Arkham, and can be the subject of disagreements). But what Eldritch lacks, is the ultimate strength and draw of Arkham (for me, anyway): The immersion. There is undeniable flavor to this game, and people who normally have not, or do not like, to role play, end up impersonating their characters. Memorable events and games end up being recalled during sessions at later dates. And the flavor-text on almost every card, provides texture and nuance to your experience. The game is just plain fun; when it works, it really works.
Supreme quality, as expected, from Fantasy Flight. Everything is printed beautifully, and utilizes thick cardboard. Though I recommend finding your own organization system for the myriad of tiny chits/chips required for play. I use a combination of mini bead organizer/tackle box, rubber bands, and plastic zip baggies. A committed player might buy sleeves for all the cards, slots to hold ability sliders, and figures for investigators. They are available but not necessary. Anything placed within the included plastic stands, will get worn along the base. You can put clear tape on the bottom of the character chit/chip to reduce wear, but sometimes damage is unavoidable.
All in all, this is a stellar boardgame, and I am always excited to play it. It is different every time. I can't say the same for many other games.
The only real drawback is the learning curve, as learning this without someone already familiar can be tedious and daunting. The setup time can also add up with all of the various cards and pieces. I certainly recommend it in spite of these obstacles, as neither Eldritch Horror or the Arkham Horror Card Game comes close to the depth this game has
Top reviews from other countries
Having just acquired a gift voucher for Amazon, I decided to spend it on a copy of the game and I am so glad that I did because I can honestly say that this is an excellent game. Since I set up my first game I have not packed it away; I have so far played 7 solo games and I have won 3 of these (and I expect this ratio to rise as I become more and more familiar with the strategies).
Of course, if you are going to play solo you will need a degree of honesty and willpower to stick to the rules but as this is a co-operative game, I suppose the same could be said if you play with others (the aim is to beat the game itself - not the other players). I haven't yet been able to play with friends or family but I am greatly looking forward to the opportunity to do so as I am sure that this can only enhance the experience.
This game is obviously very well play-tested and even as a solo player you never really feel that victory is not achievable but it is always challenging (unless you make some really lucky draws as I did in one of my winning games). Some games will be set up to be more challenging than others based on the final boss (or 'Ancient One') that you draw as the ultimate nemesis (some bosses make for an easier challenge than others). But you can even set your own 'difficulty' level if you wish by choosing the final boss and the investigator (or investigators) that you will use (by default these would be chosen randomly).
There are already many expansions available for this game and from what I have read, these tend to raise the difficulty level as well as enhancing and prolonging the experience but I have already decided to start collecting them (unfortunately it seems that most of them are out of stock and may even be out of print at the time of this review).
Of course, there will be downsides to any game and this one is no exception. The most obvious one is that the game does require a very large playing area, even with only one player and no expansions; with more players and expansions you would need even more space. If you are considering buying this, make sure you have a lot of room available to play!
This does mean that the game also takes quite some time to set up; I have minimised this by not packing the game away since I set it up and I suspect that if this is a possibility for them then most players would do the same.
Finally - there are a lot of rules to absorb. The first one or two play throughs can be quite slow as you work your way slowly along but once you have the hang of them, the game flows very well indeed and even after only 7 games I find myself barely checking out the rulebook any longer apart from the occasional check of the reference sheet on the back page. Also - there seems to be a large online fan base, so it's easy to get help and rules clarifications if needed.
So in summary:
Pros: Absorbing, well-presented, well-balanced, well-play tested, loads of fun and ideal for solo gaming
Cons: Lots of playing space required, long set up time, lots of rules to absorb, expansions hard to come by
Can you stop the coming of an ancient Horror?
Why dont you give it a try?...
The game includes:
A character based system with use of skills and such.
A large board that is darkly beautiful
A lot card peices. Which at first may seem a complaint, but when it comes to it. It really feels a lot better than having cheap plastic No amount of moddeling could quite convey the game like the artwork on the peices.
The rules will take you either a while or short time to learn depending on how quick you are at remembering complicated rules.
But even then there will be times you will suddenly realise you dont remember something and will end up checking the rulebook.
Anyway, i could go one about this game all day. But the only true way of really getting howenjoyable this game is, is to play it. Seriously, if you a fan of lovecraft, or a Call of Cthulhu the RPG. This game is for you.
The rules are relatively simple to learn, and Fantasy Flight have provided (as ever) great pieces and board to play with. The rule book is comprehensive and easy to navigate too, which always helps. Combine all of this with the rich theme which runs deep through the game and the quality of the source material, and you have a board game which is really special.
For me, Arkham Horror should be a staple in any board game collection. It works great no matter how many people are playing, it's easy to get new people up and running, and it really promotes playing to characters roles. I've yet to have a bad game of it - even when playing by myself.
Note, though, it takes up a lot of space. The board alone is big, and each character needs space for inventories and character sheets.
This game is not quite for rookies. You can esily find the details of game online, so I will only share my impressions.
After two finished games, which is not so little, since they tend to reach 4 hours span I can say that game is actually quite fun. It gives out this Lovecraftian flair, to the point when one of my friends noted that you can esily see how the town becomes more and more hostile towards researchers. There is a big random element in the game since the encounter and mythos decks are fat. In my first game (5 players) we were quickly dispatched by the Great Old One, while in our next (8 players) game we just kicked poor guys crub in less than 8 turns, since we drawn two very lucky mythos cards.
Overall the game is very interactive, actually needs some forethought and time, so it's rather for more devoted gamers. Only hiccup is the instruction. It has no logical flow Setup -> End game -> turn order -> combat, index is useless and there are some scarcely explained concepts in combat (which happens a lot actually).
Would buy again.