It’s time to head back into the Jungle with a new “Return To” expansion for Arkham Horror: The Card Game.
Welcome BACK to the Jungle. For the uninitiated, Arkham Horror: The Card Game is split-up into different Mythos Sets (aka Campaigns/Storylines). The “Return To” series re-visits a previous Mythos Arc and changes the campaign-up in new ways. Sometimes there are new locations added to the pool for specific senarios. Often, there are new Enemies and Encounter cards for every scenario in the Mythos. Plus, they come with a list of challenges/achievements to strive for on your run through. Basically, they up the challenge and the difficulty from the original campaign and can often change the storyline, too.
The Forgotten Age Revisited
You’ll still need the original box and the mythos packs to run the adventure. But, you’ll get a new way to store everything with the physical box from the Expansion. This might not seem like a huge deal, but as a player/collector of this game myself, I find the “Return To” boxes incrediably handy for storing, seperating, and travelling with the different campaigns.
Below you can see some of the new enemies/challenges you’ll face from the Encounter/Mythos Deck and also a pair of new location. Just from reading the cards, you can tell that the are going to add some more difficulty to the missions.
You can bet that these are just the tip of the jungle you’ll be experiencing. To help out, you’ll also recieve some new (and much appreciated) player cards to help your investigators out.
The Survival Knife upgrade is pretty amazing. Before, you used to be able to only do the counter attack AFTER the enemy hit you. With this version, you get to pre-emptively counter-attack before you take damage. That’s going to be pretty potent in the right investigator’s hands (looking at you Zoey!)
The side-upgrade for On Your Own changes it from an asset in your deck to an Exceptional/Permanent – meaning it actually costs 6 xp to add and it’s just a part of your kit now and doesn’t take up a card slot. However, it also change your deck building options so you can no longer take any allies in your deck. The trade off is you can play survivor events for 2 less with this card. It’s certainly a trade-off, but that could really help stretch your resources.
A Bit Of Advice (Or A Word Of Warning)
I’ve played The Forgotten Age Campaign. It’s HARD. Like, punishingly hard. On your first playthrough, you’ll probably take a TON of mental/physical trauma on your investigators. You’ll probably end up scrapping your investigators and running new ones at some point. If you go into this one expecting to breeze through unscathed you WILL get frustrated.
The campaign is designed in ways that force players to take trauma and make choices that you won’t understand until way later. Odds are against you to get “the best” ending on your first play through. In fact, a couple of the failure conditions are basically “you failed, reset the scenario, lose all the gained XP, and keep all the trauma and do it again.”
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the extra punishing mechanics in this particular campaign. In previous campaigns, failure meant that the next scenarios were more challenging – either the enemies were tougher, you had trauma, or some combination of both. But in this one, you literally had to reset your progress and play it again. I get that it is supposed to feel like an expedition into the Jungle and that is a complex endeavor. However, logistically in the real world, I didn’t like the feeling of “wasting” all my play time.
What I mean by that is I don’t get to play Arkham Horror: TCG every night of the week. I meet-up with my play group once a week and we have to schedule our time carefully. We treat this like an RPG session in many ways and typically only have time for one session a night. We don’t read ahead and we don’t cheat ourselves with spoilers. So when at the end of a grueling session the mission says “you failed, reset and play it again” it’s kind of discouraging. Especially when we “solved” the puzzle or figured it out and just ran out of time.
My advice is to play through this campaign at least once before you dive into the “Return To” version of it. It feels like a grind and it’s a punishing one at that. This is one of the most difficult mythos campaigns from Arkham Horror: The Card Game. If you DO manage to beat it and get “the best” ending without cheating then good for you! The “Return To” version is waiting for you. I might not be a super fan of this particular campaign, but I’m totally picking this one up when it comes out.
It’s a challenging grind that is pretty punishing. So ya, it’s Arkham Horror.