Unboxing: Path to Carcosa
The latest Arkham Horror story line kicks off with The Path to Carcosa expansion – come take a deep dive into the contents of this one, if you dare!
The Path to Carcosa is coming soon to all retailers but we were lucky enough to snag a copy of it at GenCon 2017. The Arkham Horror LCG is a more “narrative” driven card game so if you don’t want to have some of the cards spoiled (and thus part of the story) you might want to sit this one out:
Much like the Dunwich Legacy Expansion, The Path to Carcosa is a launching point for a new Arkham Horror story line… But, let me back up a bit before we get into Carcosa – I want to explain how these expansions work so that you’ve got a better idea of how this fits into the big picture.
Arkham Horror is a Card Game where 1-to-4 players take the role of an investigator who is trying to uncover a (generally) sinister plot involving some part of the Lovecraft Mythos. It’s a cooperative game and it’s a very narrative driven experience. My friends that have played it with me say it’s somewhere between “Netrunner” and an Lovecraft RPG. There is deckbuilding and there can be an RPG element while you’re playing as well – if your committed to staying in character that is!
The core game play involves the investigators attempting to complete scenarios made up of different locations, encounters, an Agenda Deck, and the Doom Deck. The players are trying to advance the Agenda Deck before the Doom Deck gets to the end. If the players complete all the Agendas then they “win” the scenario. If they do not, or are forced to retire, or are KO’d then they “lose” the scenario. Now, I put win and lose in quotes because sometimes surviving the scenario is actually the win condition. But sometimes losing via retiring early isn’t as bad as losing by KO… It all depends on the scenario. If you’re playing the game according to the spirit of the rules, you also don’t know which outcome is the “best” option – it’s very much like a modern “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, only instead of flipping to page 42 or 19 depending on your choice, you play your cards and hope for the best.
So what does this have to do with Carcosa and where does it fit in? The stories told in Arkham Horror follow a logical sequence and each of these large expansions kicks off a new story. I believe FFG refers to these as “Cycles” to borrow another CCG/LCG term. For example The Dunwich Legacy Cycle consists of the Dunwich Legacy and the 6 smaller expansions that follow. If you want to complete the story arc you’d need all 7 expansions. Included in each smaller expansion are more player cards as well as the next leg (or two) of the adventure. The Path to Carcosa is the start of the next new story – that is where it fits.
“This sure sounds like a lot of stuff – so what am I getting myself into?” Great question. As I mentioned, the game is a deck building game. Ideally, when you start a new story, you choose an investigator and construct a deck for that particular investigator. Each investigator has unique and specific deckbuilding instructions so they all play slightly differently even though the goals might be the same. There are also 5 different “classes” for the cards. For example, William Yorick is a Survivor and the majority of his deck will be the red Survivor cards. He can have neutral cards in his deck and also can dabble with the blue Guardian cards – but he doesn’t have access to the other “classes” of cards like the green Rogue cards.
“You mentioned it’s an RPG – how does that factor in?” As you play through the scenarios in the expansions, you also gain Experience Points for completing objectives, defeating enemies, and sometimes just for surviving – it will say on the cards/scenarios. In between scenarios you can then spend those points to “upgrade” your deck. Some cards are “direct upgrades” meaning they can replace the xp-free versions. Some are just new or better and are worth taking and replacing a card that would be less effective. It really depends on how you build you deck. You still have to follow the deck building guidelines but the expansions add a TON of new options.
The Path to Carcosa adds 6 new investigators, each with their own unique “perk” card and “weakness” card. On top of that, it’s got the first big chunk of scenario cards for the next adventure. Theoretically, you could start with the core game and play straight through the story line with the same investigator – you’d have a pretty powerful deck! But you’d also have more weaknesses and trauma (which is damage your character starts the game with – either physical or mental damage). It’s suggested that you use a different investigator for each new story arc and there are lots of investigators to choose from counting the Core Set, Dunwich and now Carcosa.
If you’re looking for a card game that really does a good job of combining RPG elements into a engaging and challenging way then check out Arkham Horror. If you already have but want to continue your adventures then pick up The Path to Carcosa when it hits shelves later this year!
A new theater production is coming to Arkham all the way from Paris. Unsurprisingly, it’s been all the rage in conversations among Arkham’s socialites. But in your efforts to learn more about the play, you’ve uncovered a darker history. Disappearances. Suicides. Delusions. Insanity. Wherever The King in Yellow is performed, madness follows close behind…
In The Path to Carcosa, the second deluxe expansion for Arkham Horror: The Card Game, it becomes your task to uncover the secrets of this unusual play. The expansion’s two scenarios kick off The Path to Carcosa campaign with a trip to the Ward Theatre and an invitation to the formal dinner party hosted by cast and crew. But with every answer you gain and every clue you uncover, you only find yourself falling deeper into mystery and madness.
Along with its new scenarios and encounter cards, The Path to Carcosa introduces six new investigators and sixty-two player cards (including a complete playset of each) that afford you new ways to explore and enjoy the game—even as they challenge you to overcome new weaknesses.
The King in Yellow – it’s just a stage play, right?