The Tabletop Spotlight is on Arkham Horror: The Card Game!
If you couldn’t tell from my article earlier I’m pretty pumped about this new(er) card game from Fantasy Flight Games. In fact, after our friends from Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy brought this copy over for us to review, I purchased it myself!
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is another one of Fantasy Flight Games LCG or Living Card Games. That means each pack you buy has the same cards – there aren’t any random drops with these expansions. Personally, I’ve been done with CCG (Collectable Card Games) for years now and I’ve been very happy with that decision. LCGs tend to even the playing field between the haves and the have-nots. Plus, you never have to worry about getting a pack with a terrible rare – all trade off’s I’m 100% okay with!
Now, what I really like about this game is that it’s a very strange blend of Card Game and RPG. You and a friend (or up to 4 players with another core set) take the role of Investigators in the classic H.P. Lovecraftian setting of Arkham Horror. The core set has a campaign you can play through with some strong narrative ties. Instead of a character sheet with stats, your deck represents your Investigator. As you complete scenarios you are rewarded with experience points that you can then spend on upgrading your deck.
This strange blend of “card-game deckbuilding meets RPG” is what really appeals to me. On top of that the campaign log helps to tell your story from one scenario to the next. Your choices of cards, actions you take during the game and success or failure all have an impact on the next scenario. It’s all extremely well done and the way FFG has tied the narrative to the gameplay is really impressive.
For example, in the first scenario there is a very powerful Ghoul that shows up. If you happen to kill the Ghoul then he stays dead for the next scenario. If you don’t then he may show up again later on down the road and cause you trouble. At the end of the scenario you also have an option that I won’t spoil. Depending on what you choose, it could impact your deck or your abilities for the rest of the campaign. Player choice matters!
Another thing that sets this game apart is that for the skill checks you don’t roll a dice. You actually have to draw modifiers randomly from a bag. This can lead to some tense situations! Luckily the active Investigator (the one making the check) can use their cards to bump-up their modifiers. Any one else in the same location can also assist them in by donating 1 card from their hand to the test. The tests are based on 4 different abilities and most cards have a symbol (or multiple symbols) on the left side showing what tests they help with.
There is a lot more to this game and I could ramble on but I think you should just go play it. The game is probably best suited for a smaller group and you’ll want to have a dedicated crew of 2-4 players. It also helps if you’re familiar with the rules as the timing of things can be a little tricky. It’s not that complex but it will take a couple rounds to really understand how the game is played. It’s also not “easy” if you’re playing the game correctly. If you’re following along with the book and only reading what you’re supposed to then it’s a really fun game. It’s in stores now so go check it out!
Something evil stirs in Arkham, and only you can stop it. Blurring the traditional lines between roleplaying and card game experiences, Arkham Horror: The Card Game is the Living Card Game® of Lovecraftian mystery, monsters, and madness!
You and your friend (or up to three friends with two Core Sets) become characters within the quiet New England town of Arkham. You have your talents, sure, but you also have your flaws. Perhaps you’ve dabbled a little too much in the writings of the Necronomicon, and its words continue to haunt you. Perhaps you feel compelled to cover up any signs of otherworldly evils, hampering your own investigations in order to protect the quiet confidence of the greater population. Perhaps you’ll be scarred by your encounters with a ghoulish cult. No matter what compels you, no matter what haunts you, you’ll find both your strengths and weaknesses reflected in your custom deck of cards, and these cards will be your resources as you work with your friends to unravel the world’s most terrifying mysteries.
Meanwhile, each of your adventures in Arkham Horror LCG carries you deeper into mystery. You’ll find cultists and foul rituals. You’ll find haunted houses and strange creatures. And you may find signs of the Ancient Ones straining against the barriers to our world… The basic mode of play in Arkham LCG is not the adventure, but the campaign. You might be scarred by your adventures, your sanity may be strained, and you may alter Arkham’s landscape, burning buildings to the ground. All your choices and actions have consequences that reach far beyond the immediate resolution of the scenario at hand. And your actions may earn you valuable experience with which you can better prepare yourself for the adventures that still lie before you.
“The Horrors in Arkham are unlike any you’ve ever experienced…Unless you’ve been there you just don’t know.”