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The End is Near! The year is 1926. The place is Arkham, Massachusetts. Gateways to places horrible beyond imagination are opening up all over town, releasing hideous creatures into the streets to stalk the night. Worse yet, if enough of these gates open up, then a creature of unfathomable power will be unleashed on the world. Pitted against these overwhelming odds is a small band of investigators determined to beat back the uncaring forces of the universe. They'll have to delve deep into the mysteries of the Mythos and use all of their skills, weapons, and spells if they want to have even a slim chance of success. The classic game of Lovecraftian adventure returns in a new edition after almost 20 years!
- Ages 12+; 1-8 Players; 120-240 minutes
- Game Board, 16 investigator sheets, 16 investigator markers, 16 plastic stands, 5 dice,
- 196 investigator status tokens, 189 investigator cards, 8 ancient one sheets, 20 doom tokens,
- 180 ancient one cards, 60 monster markers, 16 gate markers, 14 miscellaneous markers
- Exercise in stress - but not from playing
I cannot recommend this game; I recommend against it almost more than any other I've ever tried. My wife and I were looking forward to a (dark) fantasy game built on strategy and cooperation more than randomness and players bashing each other. But after four attempts to get started, we have given up and count the pricey purchase as waste money. We are used to complex games, from cards to boards to electronic, as well as RPGs off the beaten track. And as writers we deal structural, character, and plot complexity little seen elsewhere.
Each time we started, set up and play began more quickly; by that I mean dropping down from 2 hours to 45 minutes the fourth time. The endless need to run to rule book continuously was further complicated by its poor organized, convoluted repetitious phrasing, all of which begged the need of legitimate editor (not an in house game designer. Add to this that Fantasy Flight Games is obsessed with not implementing or removing (from games they've bought out) textual labeling on game elements and replacing it with elaborate art and iconography that isn't always clearly representative of what some card decks are about... and you have a recipe for utter frustration. By thee time play actual began we were sick and tired of it and having no fun at all.
If you have patient and mental stamina (in serious amounts) you may wish to give this unique game a try. If the pure challenge of learning a game (aside from playing it) does not interest you, walk away now and save your money. Don't be fooled by its glitz either; dazzling and gothic artwork does not a master piece make... when it comes to games. And this one is prime example of that fallacy....more info
- Needs a better rule book
Well, maybe it's just me, but I love really detailed games like this, especially one with Lovecraftian monsters and themes, what could be better? Admittedly though, my husband did not like this one. This reminds me of when I bought a D&D game and tried to get my sister to play it with me. No such luck. Oh well.
I've never been a D&D nerd or anything like that, so I can understand that this game is overwhelming for those who have never encountered these types of really detailed games. The rules are pretty complicated and even incomprehensible at the beginning, I'll admit, and my husband felt that they take away from the fun of the game. True, I suppose. It is even recommended that the game be played several times, just to get the "feel" of it.
Let this just be a warning to those who buy this game: it is extremely detailed and complicated. Be sure you want to spend a long time first setting it up (and it does take a long time, with all the pieces that must be punched out and set up). Oh, and be sure that you play this on a very large table. Our game/card table wasn't even large enough for all of the cards and items that we accumulated. Also make sure if you play to choose a good character. The weaker they are, the more restricted the game play is.
Until we are brave enough to want to play this, I'm giving it three stars. The rule book isn't that clear and it could use a lot of improvement!
- Complicated but worth the time
Don't be mistaken, this game takes time to learn. The first time I tried to play it we probably spent 2 hours setting it up and reading the rules and at least 5 more playing while constantly re-reading rules we'd forgotten or missed. But if you can get past the initial learning curve the game is a lot of fun and has great re-playability.
While the complexity of the game make learning it a hassle, it also means that once you know the game it rarely gets boring. Since most of the major elements of the game are determined by randomly drawn cards (from events to items to the ancient one your trying to defeat) each game is significantly different. This means that some games are unfairly hard (or easy), but most of the time the level of challenge is fairly satisfying.
This game is certainly not for everyone, but if you don't mind complexity then it's an excellent choice....more info
- Highly Recommended
Pros: Very addictive. Different game each time played. Different characters to use each time. Game will last a good long time before you get to conclusion. Online faq and forum for all your rule questions.
Cons: Games can last over 2 hours if you let it. Learning curve is about 2-3 games to be played before you get the hang of it.
My game background: Starfleet Battles, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, El Grande, History of the World, Axis and Allies, Risk 2010, Shogun, Puerto Rico.
If you like any of the games I've mentioned in my background, then you'll like Arkham Horror. I rate Arkham Horror as my favorite game of all time as of now. I like it mainly because it can be played solo. Having more people also makes it a lot more fun.
Objective: To cooperatively stop the Great Old One from destroying the world. You may do so by various means. One, you can seal 6 gates to win. Two, you can do a final battle if he does awaken. For the Great Old One to awake, there are many ways for that to happen: too many gates opened, too many monsters in play, doom counter maxed out.
Gameplay: Each round consists of 5 phases:
3. Arkham encounters
4. Other World encounters
I'm not going to go into the actual rules, but if you want to see it, you can always visit fantasy flight games' website which has it there. But the game runs quite smooth once you get the rules down. Playing solo, I was able to do it in about 45 minutes. My very first time playing took 2 hours because of constant rule referencing and stuff.
Replayability: Very high. You get 8 different Great Old Ones (bosses) to fight so you get different games each time. Each one has a special ability that takes place while they are in their "slumber" so the rules for monsters can change a bit.
Overall: This game is great for the strategist as long as they don't mind learning it. My wife plays it with me and just loves it. We get to playing it several times a week, just the two of us and we've won %75 of our games. The game is heavily geared to favor the Great Old Ones so don't get discouraged when you lose. Winning the game creates great satisfaction even if you are not competing against other people. There is a point scoring system for individuals if you really want to see who was the "most valuable citizen" in the game. The Arkham Horror forum even as rules for campaign games, which consists of playing against ALL the Great Old Ones in consecutive order. I haven't tried it yet but you need all the expansions to do so, but it sounds really exciting....more info
- A fun and zany game for older kids and adults
I rank this up there with Fury of Dracula. It's a slightly complicated but very fun adventure game based loosely on H.P.Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Like Fury of Dracula, you have to play it a couple of times to get the rules down, but once you do you'll find it fun and very entertaining.
NOTE: This is not a game for younger players. I would recommend this for family game night if your kids are 12 or older.
The game takes place in Lovecraft's mythical town of Arkham, Massachusets in the year 1926. Players take on the role of any of 16 heroes in the town, each from various backgrounds (photographer, gangster, nun, student, doctor, archeologist, private eye, etc.). The game begins when a trans-dimensional door opens up somewhere in the town, releasing some gawdawful Lovecraftian creature from another world, and bringing a demonic Great Old One one step closer to awakening. The players work together, wandering around the town, killing beasties, and closing & sealing dimensional doorways in the hope of prolonging the slumber of the Great Old One. If they are not successful and the Great Old One awakens, the players must do battle with it to win the game.
All the players work together as a team (similar to Break the Safe Game), so you either win as a group or lose as a group (more often the latter, in our experience). Each player starts the game with a set of stamina points and a set of sanity points, based on their character. When you lose all of your stamina, you fall unconscious. When you lose all of your sanity, you go insane.
The game is full of colorful "flavor text" that makes it more interesting. For example during each turn players that are still in this world must draw an Arkham Encounter card based on their location in the town. These cards describe encounters that range from the mundane to the bizarre to the macabre, in very rich detail. And more often than not, they tax your sanity.
I've had this game for a week and I must say I really enjoy it. It's nearly impossible to win, but even losing you can have fun. Its dark and bizarre tone and variety of items and consequences makes Arkham Horror a great Friday night treat.
- Lovecratftian Horror
I have only just started playing more complex board games but this moves the benchmark to a new level for me. You play one of a team of investigators trying to close a series of gates through which will appear all types of hideous monsters. If you get overrun you may be devoured or worse still the Ancient One may appear and you may have a chance to fight it or suffer a fate even worse....
Depending on which investigator you are you will have some special powers, weapons and some money. However you only have a finite amount of stamina and sanity and these can be lost quite easily when fighting a nightmare like the Leng Spiders. In which case off to the Asylum or Hospital you will go....
There are a lot of game pieces and cards and dice with this game. The only fault with the game is that the manufacturers do not supply enough storage containers to use during game play for the various different types that need to be laid out.
I've played the game twice now and it has taken 4 to 5 hours on average. This will undoubtably speed up as you get used to the games rules (there are lots). The chances of winning seem quite small but that is part of the fun. This is very entertaining, not to mention claustrophobic and there is a sense of impending doom! ...more info
- Excellent, with a short, steep learning curve. Organization tips:
As some of the lower-starred reviews have noted, Arkham Horror is a fairly complicated game with a lot of components and a fairly hefty rulebook. In these terms, it's probably on the level of Axis & Allies. Plan for your first two or three games to be slow, stumbling affairs punctuated by frequent references to the rules. Once you get through this, you'll find play smooth.
The board is pretty big; a couple of card tables at least. With the cards and expansions it can easily outgrow even a large table. Again, Axis & Allies is a pretty good comparison. In a pinch, the cards and expansion boards do not have to be placed on the same table with the board. The expansion boards represent separate locations, and can be placed anywhere. The various cards can go on a small table or TV tray next to the player in charge of them (see below).
Handling the components is easy with some smart division of labor. These sets of jobs are best handled together (and the items/cards placed together).
1. Mythos cards, gate tokens, clue tokens, monsters, & Ancient One.
(Player can also call out upkeep, movement, encounter & mythos phases.)
2. Encounter cards (in Arkham and Other Worlds), drawing & reading.
3. Monster movement (assign to player 2 in a 2-player game.)
4. Items, Spells, Skills and Allies (can be communal in a 2-player game).
It's best to put the stamina, sanity and money tokens in a place where everyone can reach and use them. Place the other cards (bank loans, retainers, etc.)out of the way, since you will need them only rarely.
Good organization and division of labor in setup and during play can shorten a game by 30 minutes or more, and make things far more enjoyable. I hope players find the tips above helpful. Once you've smoothed out the wrinkles, you'll find this an exciting and engaging cooperative gaming experience that makes for a fun, social afternoon....more info
- Big learning curve, but worth the wait.
It took a few readthroughs of the 24 page rulebook to get a feel for the game. And then the first 2 sessions were slowed by lookups of particular situations.
However, once once the rules became committed to memory, the game really started flowing and delivered in its feeling of doom and desperation.
I look forward to a few more sessions in the coming days and then in adding the first expansion, The Dunwich Horror to the mix....more info
- A great game, though pacing is off
Arkham Horror is loosely based off several stories of the famous HP Lovecrafts world, with some more contemporary figures thrown in as well. You play a team of investigators attempting to prevent the awakening of one of the great horrors of Lovecrafts universe, running around town, aquiring spells and equipment, fighting monsters and exploring otherworldly realms.
The game is well paced, easy to figure out, though the learning curve is a bit steep, and is capable of near infinite replay. The characters and primary enemies are so varied and and so different to play that it would be almost impossible to play the same game twice. The "encounters" are entertaining and incredibly varied (probably close to 300 different all told, though most are for the Other Worlds).
The problems arise in a few ways. It is incredibly difficult to make money, it is very easy for monsters to quickly overwhelm the group, and the cusp of victory seems to get pushed back repeatedly, as the one gate you manage to clsoe but not seal is where the next gate appears. Dying in later portions of the game can easily spell doom, as you have to sit for the next several turns reaquiring health and sanity, and even then, theres a monster just outside that you can't sneak by and can't defeat, and never moves.
Overall, the game is incredibly fun and entertaining, but can drag if you have a run of bad luck. Its very easy to start to rush, bypassing crucial steps that could've saved you had you remembered to do them. The rules become second nature very easy, and with the addition of a few house rules, can easily become a household favorite, right up there with betrayal at the house on the hill. ...more info
- Horrific fun!
If you are at all interested in horror strategy games then this is for you. It is a team game so everyone works together to stop the monsters from running amok in Arkham which will eventually bring about the return of a dark, old one (hint: this is bad). One of the game's best features is that not only is it adaptive to the scenario (a different dark one returning granting different powers and stat boosts to the monsters), but it is also adaptive to the number of players. My wife and I play this by ourselves and have just as good of a time as when we play it with 3 more investigators. ...more info
- Play the game that hates you and wants to eat your soul!
Arkham Horror is extraordinarily complex, and can be a very long game, but it's a ton of fun. Investigators search Arkham and the realms beyond for clues, weapons, and other tools to fight the Ancient Ones. What makes it such a great game is that the mechanics make it a constantly-shifting battle. The investigators can have one thing planned, and everyone knows what their part is going to be, and then suddenly a new effect occurs, entirely shifting the dynamics of what's going on in the game. Teamwork, communication between the players, collaboration, and strategic planning are all vital to the group's success.
Another great feature of this game is that it can be played solo--an option I recommend for first-timers, before introducing it to a group. I solo'd the game before introducing it to my game group, and it was very, very helpful. As I mentioned, there are a LOT of mechanics at work in this game, and it helps to play through it a time or two to get used to what's going on. Ultimately, it's great to play with 4-5 people.
The biggest potential drawback for more casual gamers is that it's a very, very long game. 5-6 hours is probably a fairly accurate estimate of how long an actual game will take. However, the game does a pretty solid job of capturing the feel of Lovecraft's works, and for those hours, you'll feel like you're really battling for your life. Each time my game group plays this game, we come away exhausted, but also exhilarated.
I strongly recommend this game for fans of Lovecraft, horror games, and cooperative strategy games in general....more info
- A complex but enjoyable game
Arkham Horror seems at first to be an absurdly complicated game. Containing a large and complex board and many different sized and colored cards. However, after playing the game for about an hour, the mechanics and flow of gameplay seemed to become much more intuitive and enjoyable. However, players who are not accustomed to heavy-duty games such as Arkham Horror, will probably have more difficulty understanding the rules. Flowcharts of gameplay progression can be found online that make understanding the sequence of play much easier.
This game is unique from most board games in that the players are working cooperatively to beat the game, as opposed to competing with one another. In fact, the game could be played by only one player, but is obviously much more enjoyable when cooperating with other people.
Fans of H.P. Lovecraft and the Call of Cuthulu mythos will have more interest in the game then those unfamiliar with it, but as a player only mildly familiar with Lovecraftian literature, I enjoyed playing the game very much.
Gametime is fairly long, and some games can drag on for many hours, especially for players unfamiliar with the rules. Players looking for a quick fun game should not purchase "Arkham Horror", however, if you want a rich, in-depth and very involved game to spend an evening playing, this game is the right choice for you. ...more info
- A Cyclopean Game, Playable by One Player!
The town has been overrun by monsters, you're lost in time and space, about to go insane, and Yog-Sothoth is stirring.
Arkham Horror is a HUGE boardgame, loaded with counters, markers, tokens, and a staggering number of decks of cards. The game is, as well covered, based on H. P. Lovecraft's stories. As others have amply covered the mechanics, I won't say much other than to reiterate that it really is a complicated game, but you do get used to it.
I will point out one important thing: Arkham Horror is that rarity among board games, a game that actually plays well solitaire. Since the game is basically all the players against the board, one player can play it well. It rapidly became clear to me that a single player playing one investigator is inevitably doomed: gates open faster than you can possibly close them, and a single investigator has zero chance against any of the Ancient Evils. But knowing this up front, the fun is seeing how horribly wrong things can go before you get driven mad, eaten, lost, dismembered, folded, spindled, or mutilated. And in truth, this inevitable doom for the lone player captures the atmosphere of most Lovecraft stories very well, where most of the time the lone hero is done in/driven insane by the monsters.
A great game for groups and for when you can't find anyone else to probe the things that Man Was Not Meant To Know....more info
- great art, spooky fun.
I bought Arkham horror for Halloween, not realizing exactly how involved the game is. first thing, is learn how to play from someone who already knows how to play, you can learn from the rule book, but there are a lot of things to keep track of and it's difficult your first time playing.
the art in the game is astounding and is much appreciated by myself and those who I play with. it's best to have a group you can play with frequently due to the rules and learning curve. in essence, this is a Role playing Board game. very fun, and it's easy to get into the game once you know the flow of things. playing on halloween night was a very interesting experience, especially since we as investigators failed to beat the ancient one and let the terror level rise to it's maximum.
Very fun, very involved, and a high learning curve. again, learn from someone who knows how to play if you can, it will be much easier that way.
I played by myself once, and it wasn't much fun. groups of up to 8 are supported, but it's best with 4-5. feel free to modify the rules to make it easier or harder to win. great fun....more info
- Excellent Game, Requires Lots of Time
This game is outstanding in concept, design, and mechanics. Although the basic game structure will be the same every time you play; running around trying to close gates and kill monsters, there are endless possibilities for accomplishing these ends. However this game features two significant drawbacks that may scare casual gamers (or some of my pseudo-ADD friends) away: difficulty and time. Understanding the nuances of the rules took about 3 or 4 attempted plays and apparently the expansions only further complicate the matter. I feel that this is as much a benefit as it is a disadvantage because it ensures that gameplay is fun and challenging; it just takes some time getting used to. The amount of time required to play this game and finish is beyond anything else I've ever played, the set-up alone takes a good 10-20 minutes.
About the design of the game: I really appreciated the nice cardstock and cardboard pieces. Unlike a lot of games (especially a lot of Avalon Hill reprints), these pieces and cards and made to last and feature very nice artwork.
Bottom-line: This is not meant for casual gaming, but it is definitely worth the time and effort if you are willing to expend it and really enjoy a good board-gaming session....more info
- Surprisingly Fun for All
I'm not a board game person or a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, but I really enjoyed this game. The rules are quite complicated; you do learn them pretty quickly, though. The game could probably go for days; we cheated and stopped after 2.5 hours. The pieces and board are very sturdy and the art is gorgeous. As far as entertainment, this is an extremely fun game for a large group of people (at least 4). Beginners can play this game without becoming too frustrated and when you know what you're doing, it's still challenging and interesting. It has a lot of replay value. I assume this goes without saying, but not for children (too complicated and difficult and a little bit scary). ...more info
- Simply the best being murdered by cosmic horrors game out there
The game is amazingly well constructed, and even in the core form provides enough difficulty and variety to keep you coming back. You know what you're getting into if you buy this sort of game, a four hour tour with lots of tokens and rules interplays: however, I've taught people how to play in a very short period of time. It does sort of beg for expansions, as the amount of encounters is reasonably small without it, but the dangerous locations build a sort of running joke or theme among a group.
All in all, this is my favorite of the current crop of team-based board games, but be warned: The space it takes is utterly massive. The cards are large, there are tons of tokens and sliders (printed on very heavy duty cardboard), and the board itself is a triple-fold. The lone table I have is barely big enough for everything, and there are expansions that add an additional board!...more info
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