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Arkham Horror - A Geeklist Game Review
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Here is the next in my series of GEEKLIST GAME REVIEWS!

One thing that I like a lot about this format is that it lends itself well to displaying a lot of images in a nice layout. You can re-arrainge your entries on the fly and organize your thoughts as you make the Geeklist.

For my 7th review in this format, I picked a game that I've only recently begun to fully appreciate - Arkham Horror. I had actually played the game when the Fantasy Flight version was released back in 2005, but it fell very flat with my regular gaming group on the first - and very long, playing and never hit the table again. With our Christmas Game White Elephant Exchange this past year, I received my own copy and decided to give it another chance. I've since played it several times and have re-introduced it back to my group - who now actually enjoy it.

The key to this change of heart is having at least one person who is very knowledgeable of the rules. This helps to keep the game flowing along and moving at a good pace. We also have not used more than 5 players since that first time and our games have been finished in 3-4 hours.

This geeklist will attempt to not only go over the basics of gameplay and what all the components in the base game are for, but also will provide detailed information on all the expansions as well.

The Arkham Horror Game System




Be sure to check out the other games in the series of GEEKLIST GAME REVIEWS!

Pandemic
Cosmic Encounter
DOOM: The Boardgame
Roborally
The Settler's of Catan
Railroad Tycoon
Arkham Horror


A Note on the POLLS in this Geeklist...

After you have answered a poll, the default display will be the results page. Some of these poll results are rather large and they force a scroll bar to appear and make it difficult to see the entire Geeklist. I've moved all the polls out of the Geeklist entries and into the Comments section for each entry - which seems to give the polls enough room to function correctly.

If you still are seeing a scroll bar, simply click on the "Questions" tab on any poll to minimize it again to remove the scroll bar (you may have to do this on several open polls to work).
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1. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Arkham Horror



"The year is 1926, and it is the height of the Roaring Twenties. Flappers dance till dawn in smoke-filled speakeasies drinking alcohol supplied by rum runners and the mob. It's a celebration to end all celebrations in the aftermath of the war to end all wars.

Yet a dark shadow grows in the city of Arkham. Alien entities known as Ancient Ones lurk in the emptiness beyond space and time, writhing at the gates between worlds. These gates have begun to open and must be closed before the Ancient Ones make our world their ruined domination.

Only a handful of investigators stand against the Arkham Horror... Will they Prevail? "


With that brief introduction, the tone is set for an exciting and tense game where the players must race against time to seal all the gates before the Ancient One awakens.



Arkham Horror is a cooperative game of adventure for 1-8 players which can be played in 2 to 4 hours. The game is set in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts made famous by H.P. Lovecraft in his writings about the Cthulhu mythos. Players choose from 16 Investigators and take to the streets of Arkham. In Arkham Horror, a terrible creature from beyond time and space is waking, roused by dimensional gates that are opening all over the city. The players must join forces to close all of the gates before this Ancient One awakens. If the Ancient One defeats the players, all of Arkham is doomed.

Before the game, one of the eight Ancient Ones is chosen and it's up to the Investigators to prevent it from breaking into our world. During the course of the game, players will explore the city, encountering places, people and creatures both mundane and supernatural. Players upgrade their characters by visiting locations around Arkham and in the Other Worlds, acquiring skills, allies, items, weapons, and spells through the encounters that they have. It's up to the players to try and keep the streets of Arkham safe by fighting many different types of monsters that have come through the dimensional gates that are opening. However, their main goal is to close these portals opening up to other dimensions as quickly as possible, because if too many portals open, the Ancient One awakens and the players will then only have one last chance to save the world - defeat the Ancient One in deadly combat!
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2. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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The Town of Arkham




The 6 piece game board that depicts Arkham, the Other Worlds and tracks the progress of various things during gameplay is actually not that large (33"x22" overall). The reason the game takes such a large table to play on is that there are so many other things that need to go around the table. In addition to the board itself, there are 9 decks of cards for the Arkham locations, the Mythos deck, the Gate deck and 10 smaller decks of cards that range from things like Common items or Spells to special cards like Retainers, Bank Loans and Blessings/Curses.

Also, each Investigator will have their character sheet and will need space to display their items/skills/spells ect... that are gathered during the game, space is needed for the piles of counters used in a game (Stamina, Sanity, Money, Monsters, Clues, Gate Markers, Activity, Closed and Explored Markers) and finally the Ancient One needs to be displayed prominently for all the Investigators to see.

Overall, you’ll need at least another 6"- 9" more along each of the long sides of the board and another 12" at both of the shorter ends. This game is HUGE when it is all set-up and it may generate the initial impression of "my god this game looks complicated", but in reality it really is pretty straightforward in its gameplay.
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3. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Components


Arkham Horror comes packed with a multitude of tokens, cards, Investigator sheets/markers, Ancient One Sheets and dice. There are no less than 21 different decks of cards - 10 of those being separate Arkham Location or Other World decks for drawing encounters! The base game comes with 60 Monster tokens, 16 varied Open Gate tokens, 8 different Ancient One sheets, 16 unique Investigator sheets, Clue tokens, Skill sliders, and other needed markers as well as enough other tokens to represent a player’s money, sanity and stamina for up to 8 players!



This game takes up a LOT of table space. Just laying out all the decks of cards will threaten to overwhelm most people’s tables and you may need to obtain or make some kind of card and/or token holders to manage the huge number of different items as well as conserve space.

Arkham Horror comes with the following components:


1 Rule Book
1 Game Board
1 First Player Marker
5 Dice
16 Investigator Sheets
16 Investigator Markers
16 Plastic Investigator Stands
196 Investigator Status Tokens
56 Money Tokens
34 Sanity Tokens (10 "threes" and 24 "ones")
34 Stamina Tokens (10 "threes" and 24 "ones")
48 Clue Tokens
24 Skill Sliders
189 Investigator Cards
44 Common Items
39 Unique Items
40 Spells
20 Skills
11 Allies
35 Special Cards
8 Retainers
8 Silver Lodge Memberships
8 Bank Loans
8 Blessing/Curse Cards
3 Deputy Cards
8 Ancient One Sheets
20 Doom Tokens
179 Ancient One Cards
63 Location Cards
67 Mythos Cards
49 Gate Cards
60 Monster Markers
16 Gate Markers
3 Activity Markers
3 Explored Markers
1 Terror Track Marker
6 Closed Markers


Here is a small sampling of the huge variety and number of components included in the game:




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4. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Investigators




Each player will typically portray one investigator during the game - though you can play multiple investigators quite easily if you are short on human players yet want to have a lot of investigators in the mix. One of the cool things about the game is that each investigator is unique and has different abilities, skills, items and possibly an ally or an unusual item that they start with - thus giving the game a lot of variety and ensuring replayability for many, many sessions. The standard skills - which are paired among Investigators, are "Speed/Sneak", "Fight/Will", and "Lore/Luck". The values for each pairing are inverse to each other and often have different high and low values. During the Upkeep phase, players will adjust their "Skill Sliders" up or down according to how much "Focus" an Investigator has - changing the values of a pairing to a new setting.

As the values on a paired set of skills are inverse to each other, when a player raises one skill, the other drops at the same time. For example, if a player increases their Speed skill to move more, their Sneak skill goes down as it is much more difficult to be sneaky is you are moving a large distance.

It is this reoccurring and often agonizing decision that a player must make each turn that helps to build tension in the game as often a player knows he will need high values for both paired skills in the following turn and he must risk which one he can do without.

Additional skills (Cards) are either part of the starting equipment that an Investigator has or they are acquired at encounters the player has during the game. Customizing your Investigator with new skills also contributes towards the replayability of the game and many players have favorite Investigators that they come to enjoy playing on a regular basis.


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5. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Ancient Ones




Arkham Horror comes with 8 Ancient One sheets which represent the horrific creatures from other dimensions that are trying to break their way into our world to destroy us. In each game, only one of them is chosen and they each have some effect on one or more of the various monsters that appear through the gates that open throughout Arkham during the game. They can also have a special effect over the Investigators during the game such as Cthulhu's effect on the Investigators Sanity or Stamina shown above. Ancient Ones also have a "Doom Track" which represents how much time the Investigators have to defeat it. If the players can seal enough gates and clear the board of any gates that are open, they can win the game before the Ancient One awakens.

At the end of each turn, there is a chance a new gate will open and if one does, another Doom token is placed on the Ancient One’s sheet - inevitably counting down the time before the terrible creature awakes and forces combat with the Investigators. If the Ancient One’s Doom Track fills with Doom tokens, the players get one last chance to defeat the monstrous beast in physical combat and drive it from this world - a much more difficult task to be sure!

Here are the rest of the 8 Ancient Ones supplied in the game:



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6. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Monsters


Whenever a new gate opens up, new monsters also appear at the same location. Through a simple set of symbols on both the Monster tokens themselves and the Mythos cards drawn in phase V, the direction and number of monsters moving that turn is determined and easily executed. Adding variety is that there is also a colored border on the Monster tokens which enables some monsters to remain in place, some to move twice as fast, some to fly and some to move in special ways - thus ensuring that no single strategy for keeping the Streets of Arkham safe can continually work for the Investigators and they must constantly adapt to the things that they encounter.

Each Monster that a player encounters on the streets or individual locations must either but evaded (to continue moving) or fought in combat. Evasion may be the better course of action if the Monster is too strong to defeat or if it is blocking your path to a specific location that you must get too.

The RED numbers in the upper right corner of these Monster tokens is the modifier to an Investigators Sneak value when trying to Evade the Monster. The GREEN symbol on the lower right is matched to the Mythos cards to see IF a Monster moves and the colored border is used to determine HOW the Monster moves.



Depending on the type of monster encountered, a player may have to make a "Horror Check" to see if the mere sight of the creature makes them lose some sanity. "Human-like" Monsters may not be that terrifying, but some of the other worldly unnamables that appear often can drive an Investigator mad with a single viewing!

Once a player passes the "Horror Check", it is time to fight! Combat is made by comparing an Investigator’s current Fight skill setting adjusted by the Monster’s Combat rating. For example, if a player’s current Fight skill rating is 4 and the Monster has a (-2) Combat rating, the player would only roll 2 dice for combat where he would be trying to get a "Success" of a 5 or 6 on either of those two dice. Some Monsters also are tougher to defeat and may require more than 1 "Success" on the roll of the dice to destroy them. Many Monsters also have other special abilities printed on them that give them resistance, immunity or other special powers over the players or the items that the players are carrying.

Players can also add in Combat bonuses from weapons or other items they are carrying or they may try to cast powerful spells to attack the Monster or help them in combat. Again, it is this huge variety of items, spells, skills and other factors that make each game so different and it’s the players who immerse themselves in the setting and descriptions on all the cards, encounters and monsters that will enjoy the game the most.

Here are the backs of a few of the Monsters depicting the Horror Check (BLUE #), Sanity Loss (the BLUE ovals), Toughness (drops of Blood) and Combat Modifers (RED #) and Stamina Loss (the Hearts) along with descriptions of any abilities they may have.



As you can see, there is a huge variety of characteristics, strengths and weaknessess among the Monsters - again providing substantial replayability for players of the game.
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7. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Gameplay


There will be a different starting player each turn of Arkham Horror and each turn consists of 5 individual phases that are completed by each player in turn order before moving on to the next one.

Phase I: Upkeep

During this phase, players will perform maintenance actions that are needed for items they’ve acquired, collecting money they have coming, make payments on loans, "refresh" items that were used in the previous turns and to adjust their Skill sliders on their Investigator sheet.

Ashcan Pete has a Focus rating of "1" and can therefore move one of his 3 Skill sliders 1 space in either direction during the Upkeep phase. These values are used when making skill checks in encounters, evading or fighting monsters and when closing gates.


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8. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Gameplay


Phase II: Movement

This shot shows all of Arkham - streets, locations and the Other World areas.

 


In the Movement phase, Investigators can move through the streets of Arkham according to their current Speed skill setting. The higher a player's Speed is, the lower their Sneak value is - which is used to evade Monsters that are too strong or dangerous. Investigators always face the dilemma of whether to move farther or more cautiously for their protection. Monsters move later in the turn and if you need to evade one that moved into your location, you might not be able to if your Sneak skill is too low.

In this photo, Normally, Jenny could move into the General Store for 1 Speed point, to the Unnamable location for 2 (moving through the Merchant District) or to one of the various other locations - some with monsters in them, however, since the General store is closed already, her choices are limited.



Investigators that have traveled to one of the Other Worlds through a dimension gate also advance 1 space in that world – moving closer to finding the way back to Arkham with the knowledge of how to close the gate they came through. It is this Other World travel that is essential to keeping the number of open gates down to a safe level and the encounters that players have in the Other Worlds are usually much more dangerous and bizarre than those that occur in Arkham.

Finally, Investigators in the 2nd half of the Other World locations get to return back through the gate that they arrived in and appear back at one of the open gates on the Arkham streets bearing the name of the Other World they’ve just visited. These Investigators will have a chance to close - and possibly seal, the dimensional gate that they’ve just traveled through - both of which are ways to win the game.

A better look at some of the Other World locations. You can see how each Other World location is divided into 2 spaces. Note the colored circles in the upper right corner of each location. These are used to determine the appropriate Gate card color to use when resolving an encounter in this location. Some locations have all 4 colors on them and any Gate card can be used to determine the results of an encounter.





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9. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Gameplay


Phase III: Arkham Encounters

Investigators moving through Arkham will either be in a street location (the square boxed areas), or in one of the 2 or 3 locations that are connected to every street area. Locations are where the Investigators will either have an encounter or be drawn in to one of the Other Worlds. If the location the Investigator is in has an open gate, the investigator is sucked into it and must travel to the appropriate Other World location printed on the gate token. This Investigator will not have an encounter during this phase but instead will have one during the next phase - Other World Encounters.

Gate tokens - all the fronts as well as the back side.



Investigators in Arkham locations that have no open gate on them now get to have an encounter that is specific to the location where they are at. There is a deck of cards for the 9 different districts on the board and each card in those decks has 3 locations on it. Players simply draw a card that matches the district they are in and reads the encounter for the location they are in.

The 9 Arkham Location Decks:



These encounters will provide players the opportunity to acquire new items, skills, spells, allies, clues, health, stamina and other useful things to help them in their struggle to defeat the Ancient One. Although sometimes these items are simply given to the player, the majority of the time players will have to pass one of a number of "Skill Checks" in order to receive the benefit of the location. Skill checks are simply making a die roll against one of an Investigators 6 basic skills listed on their sheet. The number of dice rolled can be modified by the text of the Skill Check itself or by other cards that come into play during the game. To pass the check, a player rolls a number of dice equal to the current setting on the skill in question and usually must make 1 "Success" - which is a result of a 5 or a 6 on a d6.

For example, if a player must make a Luck (-1) check to pass the Skill Check, he must look at the current Luck setting on his Investigator sheet to see how many dice he begins with. If that setting was 3, then the (-1) for the check means that he’d have to roll 1 less die to make the attempt - dropping him down to just 2 dice. He’d then roll those 2 dice hoping for at least a 5 or a 6 on one of them to pass the Skill Check.

Investigators that have returned through a gate will have a chance to close it by also making a Skill Check of their choice - either their Lore or Fight skill. If successful, Investigators can spend 5 Clue Tokens they may have acquired to permanently seal the gate and prevent other gates from opening up at this location.

Ashcan Pete sealing a gate with an Elder token.


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Gameplay


Phase IV: Other World Encounters

Investigators in the Other Worlds now have their encounters which are actually very similar in gameplay to those that occur on the streets of Arkham, but are usually more dangerous, more difficult and more unusual or bizarre than their Earthly counterparts. Instead of drawing an Arkham Location card, a player in an Other World location draws Gate cards until one of them matches the colors marked on the Other World location where he is at. Investigators usually will need to make Skill Checks in these encounters as well.

Here are a couple of Gate cards detailing a few encounters.

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Gameplay


Phase V: Mythos

Finally, whichever player who was the starting playing for the turn completes the Mythos phase. The Mythos phase is simply drawing a Mythos card that describes the following:
• Where a new Gate opens.
• Where new monster(s) appear.
• Where a new Clue Token appears.
• How Monsters on the board should move and finally,
• What the effects the new "Headline", "Environment" or "Rumor" text on the Mythos card are.

Headlines are "one shot" event type cards that instruct the players to immediately do something such as "Lose 1 Stamina", or to add a new monster to an Arkham Street location. There are some Headline cards that are beneficial to the Investigators as well.

Environment cards stay in play until a new Environment card is drawn in the mythos phase. The cards usually have some kind of an effect from a thematic standpoint - for example, a card might describe the freezing effects of some unusually cold weather and the Investigators must subtract one point of Speed from their movement each turn. Like some Headline cards, there are Environment cards that aid the players too.

Rumors are cards that are much more detailed in their effects and remain in play until the Pass or Fail conditions are met. New Rumor cards that are drawn while there is already one in play are ignored.

Once these 5 phases in the turn are complete, the "1st Player Token" is passed to the next player and a new game turn starts again with the Upkeep phase.


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Winning or Losing


So how do the Investigators win (or lose!) the game?

To win the game, the Investigators have a few options:

1. Close the Gates.

• If a player closes the last open gate on the board and the players have collected enough “Gate Trophies” equal to MORE than the number of players (including the one they’ve just closed), they win immediately.

2. Seal the Gates.

•If the players have sealed 6 or more gates on the board, they win.

3. Banish the Ancient One

• Once the Ancient One has awakened, if the Investigators defeat it in physical combat, they win.

The Investigators lose the game if the Ancient One awakens and defeats ALL the Investigators in combat.

Each Ancient One has a Doom Track that marks how many Doom tokens are required to be placed to wake up that particular Ancient One. Doom tokens are most commonly placed when a new gate appears on the board, but other events and encounters can also add additional tokens to the Doom Track, making it even more imperative for the players to stay on top of the number of gates open.

If too many gates are open at once, the Ancient One can immediately open - regardless of how many Doom tokens are on its Doom Track.

Also, as the number of Monsters on the board increase, there is the chance that they will overwhelm the Investigators and cause the Terror Level to increase. Depending on the number of players in the game, there is a limit as to how many Monsters are allowed to be on the board at one time. If adding a Monster to the board would bring the total number of Monsters in Arkham above the appropriate limit, the Monsters instead are placed in a special location on the board called the "Outskirts" - which also has a limit based on the number of players in the game. Every time the Outskirts location overflows, the Terror Level increases by 1 and all Monsters in the Outskirts are sent back to the Monster cup.

This section is used to show how many monsters over the limit in Arkham there are, which Monsters are in the Sky area, and which Investigators are "Lost in Time and Space" (usually from an Other World encounter).



As the Terror Level increases, certain locations in Arkham begin to close - first the General Store, then the Curiosity Shop, and finally the Magick Shop; each making it more difficult for the Investigators to obtain needed items, spells and other things they’ll need to fight off the Ancient One and roaming Monsters. If the Terror Level ever gets to 10, Arkham is overrun and all Monster limits are removed and an extra Doom token is added to the Ancient One’s Doom track! Go over twice the limit and the Ancient One awakens immediately!

Here is the Terror Track showing the levels at which each of the Arkham locations close.



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13. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2335]
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Arkham Horror - Original Edition
Chaosium - 1987

The original version of this game was made in 1987 by Chaosium and over the years has - if you'll excuse the pun, gained a bit of a "cult" following. In appearance, the game bears little resemblance to the current version by Fantasy Flight Games, but the game is actually quite similiar in gameplay in many ways - though the mechanics to accomplish those similarities are different. For example, in both games, playes travel to either Arkham locations or into Other Worlds where they have encounters (or what is called an event in this version). Instead of drawing a card as in FFG's version, players would instead roll on an "Event" chart to see what happens to their Investigator.

From the photos in the database, it looks like there were only 8 Investigators to choose from and I could see no evidence of any items, spells, or skill cards to customize them.

The graphics and artwork are considerably less professional in the Chaosium version and frankly, it gives the appearance of a child's game in many ways.



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14. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Arkham Horror - 1st Edition
Fantasy Flight Games - 2005


The 1st Edition from Fantasy Flight Games is distinguished mostly by a much darker color scheme of the board itself. Arkham streets are depicted in dark grays as if night has fallen and the overall mood is slightly more sinister. It’s also much more difficult to read some of the text on the board and FFG’s 2nd Edition board is considerably lighter and much more yellow in tone than the 1st Edition.

Arkham Horror in all it's glory!


This shot compares the 1st Edition components from Fantasy Flight Games to their much simpler counterparts in the earlier Chaosium Edition.



This photo shows a 1st Edition board being used with the newer color scheme board from the Dunwich Horror expansion. You can clearly see a difference between the two.

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15. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Arkham Horror - 2nd Edition
Fantasy Flight Games -2006


Differences include a new color sheme for the board (see the comparison in the previous entry above), updated and corrected Investigators, some minor rule changes and finally some rule clarifications. The 2nd edition rules incorporated all of the questions from the Official FAQ that came up from the 1st Edition of the game and the 1st printing of the Dunwich Horror Expansion. Three cards (Flesh Ward, Healing Stone and Lantern) as well as the starting locations of Bob Jenkins and Jenny Barnes were also revised according to the FAQ errata. No other changes were made that would affect gameplay.

1st Edition board on left vs the new 2nd Edition on the right.

 


Unpunched counter sheets:
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16. Board Game: Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror Expansion [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked]
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2nd Edition Expansion - Dunwich Horror
Fantasy Flight Games - 2006




Once again, terror has come to New England, this time spreading to the small country town of Dunwich, just a few miles from Arkham. The area is filled with rolling hills, many of which are topped with mysterious stone circles or the ramshackle houses of the recluses who live outside of town. At night, the piping of the whippoorwills fills the air, while lightning bugs dance in the witch-haunted hallows. This is a place where dark pacts with unknown forces are made, and where city folk go to disappear without a trace. But however much the people of Dunwich may distrust outsiders, they desperately need your help against the Horror that has manifested on the Whateley farm...

Dunwich Horror was the first "big box" expansion to the Arkham Horror game system and in most regards, it simply increased the number of components for each item included in the base game - giving players a much wider variety of Investigators and Ancient Ones to choose from, as well as doubling the number of different encounters they could have in the town of Arkham. Gate and Mythos card numbers were also increased substantially as were the Item, Spell, Skill and Ally decks. With this expansion, players were even more unlikely to ever have two games play out too much alike. The number of possible combinations of Ancient Ones, Investigators and Encounters is simply astronomical and the designers simply have to be congratulated on the sheer depth of their adaptation of the mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft. On top of simply increasing the numbers of each type of original card, the game extends the map that players can explore by 1/3 giving the Investigators 9 new locations to visit and 2 new Other Worlds to explore.

"We're going to need a bigger table."



These additions alone would have satisfied even the most prolific player of the base game and would have kept the average player happy for a very long time. However, Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson also added some very interesting new elements and rule additions to the basic gameplay, making the experience that players have, even richer than before.

This expansion also features revised rules and an FAQ that addresses many questions and loose ends from the base game. Replacement cards were also provided for items and spells that had been the subject of errata from the 1st Edition rules.

This expansion contains:
(BOLD items feature NEW rules, (+) items expand # of these items from base game quantity but are themed appropriately for this expansion.)

1 Dunwich Game Board
8 Investigator Sheets (+)
8 Investigator Markers (+)
8 Plastic Investigator Stands (+)
124 New Investigators Cards
24 Injury Cards
24 Madness Cards

15 Common Items (+) (Adds in Tasks to the deck)
25 Unique Items (+) (Adds in Missions to the Deck)
21 Spells (+)
11 Skills (+)
5 Allies (+)
8 Sheldon Gang Membership Cards
8 Rail Pass Cards
4 Condition Cards

7 Replacement Arkham Horror Cards
(Revised cards are: (4) Flesh Ward (Spell),
(1) Healing Stone (Unique Item),
and (2) Lantern (Common Item).
4 Ancient One Sheets (+)
3 Arkham Location Cards (+7 cards to each Arkham District)
42 Dunwich Location Cards
36 Mythos Cards (+) (New rules feature Gate Bursts)
32 Gate Cards (+)
7 Dunwich Horror Cards
28 Monster Markers (+) (Adds new Spawn and Stalker movement types)
3 Dunwich Horror Tokens
4 Gate Markers (+)
7 Rubble Markers


Highlights of this Expansion:

The new Dunwich Game Board is placed at the "north" end of the Arkham board (by the Arkham Train Station) and allows players to travel to the small, nearby town of Dunwich where still more strange things are occurring. Players travel between boards by obtaining a Rail Pass (or paying $1) and being in either the Train Station location on the Arkham board or one of the Depot location on the Dunwich board.



There are also two Vortex spaces on the new board. Investigators may never move to these areas, but monster movement results from Mythos cards may have monsters doing so, in which case they are removed from the board, placed back in the Monster cup and the Terror Level is then raised by 1. Also, a new Dunwich Horror token is added to the Dunwich Horror Track if there are currently less than 3 of them. Once 3 tokens have accumulated, the Dunwich Horror appears! (see below for a description of the Dunwich Horror).

In the base game, when an Investigator was reduced to 0 Stamina or 0 Sanity, they were sent to either Arkham Asylum or St. Mary’s Hospital and were forced to lose half of their items and half of their clue tokens as well. This could be a serious set-back to someone - both early in the game when they are just starting out (losing half of their starting items for example) or later on when they’ve built up their resources to combat the increasing terror spreading through the town. Dunwich Horror adds the Injury and Madness decks to the game, giving Investigators the choice to keep their items and instead draw a card from one of these two decks.

The Injury deck consists of cards that may be drawn when an investigator is reduced to 0 Stamina. Instead of losing half of their items and clue tokens, the Investigator draws an Injury card. He must still move to St Mary’s Hospital however or, if in an Other World, he must move to Lost in Space & Time, but his Stamina is increased back to its maximum as well. Injury cards inflict long-term penalties of a physical nature to the investigator and are extremely difficult to get rid of (there is a slight chance to cure them through an encounter at St. Mary’s Hospital).

The Madness deck consists of cards that may be drawn when an investigator is reduced to 0 Sanity and afflict the Investigator mental health in a similar way to the Injury deck does. When reduced to 0 Sanity, the investigator must move to Arkham Asylum (or Lost in Space & Time as appropriate), restore his Sanity back to full strength and draw a Madness card. Again Madness cards are pretty much permanent but there is also a slim chance to have it removed through an encounter in the Asylum.

The Injury and Madness Decks.



Tasks are Common Items with a twist - there is a small quest or undertaking that must be done to receive significant benefits. Missions are similar but are in the Unique Item deck (and could be considered a little more difficult).

Special cards include Sheldon Gang Memberships, which may be acquired at the Woods and offer players easy access to Common or Unique Items in addition to gaining money - and being arrested! If you are a Sheldon Gang member and are in a street area, you can roll a die to see what you may gain (or lose). Rail Passes, which can be acquired at the Train Station, allow players to forgo the $1 cost for riding the rails.

Finally, there are four Condition cards which are used to indicate a long-term situation or benefit. Condition cards begin the game facedown, and are normally turned faceup by means of an encounter at the location shown on their card back. Once a Condition is faceup, it is active, and remains active unless another encounter or card turns it facedown again, making it inactive once more. A Condition that is exhausted to use is turned sideways instead of\ turning it facedown which basically means they can only be used once per turn and they are refreshed during the Upkeep Phase.

Here are some shots of the many new cards included.



Other new Rules include:

Gate Bursts, which are Mythos cards that have their gate location colored red. A gate burst works the same as a normal Mythos card, unless the listed gate location has an Elder Sign token on it, in which case the gate bursts open, causing the Elder Sign token at that location to be removed from the board Doom tokens are not placed from Gate Bursts, no monster surges can occur from one, and all Flying Monsters move regardless of their symbol.

Retiring Investigators - a new rule which allows Players to voluntarily retire an Investigator with two or more Madness or Injury cards.

Spawn Monsters are also new and are not added to the Monster cup but instead enter play through specific encounters. Some new monsters also have Stalker Movement (Purple Monster boarder) which means they move normally unless an Investigator is in an adjacent space - in which case they move directly towards that Investigator.

The Dunwich Horror can be considered to be similar to a "mini- boss" in a video game, stronger than the usual stuff you encounter but not the "Big Bad" you’ll encounter at the end of a level. The Investigators can’t simply ignore it as every turn it stays in play, there is a chance another Doom token will be added to the Doom Track on the Ancient One’s sheet. Making matters worse is that the combat abilities change each new combat that occurs with the beast! If defeated, the victorious Investigator may search the Common Item, Unique Item, Skill, Spell, or Ally deck for any one card and take it. This is the investigator’s reward for defeating one of the greatest threats in Dunwich. Beware however, because the Dunwich Horror can appear multiple times in a game.



Rubble tokens are also included for when the Investigators battle the Ancient One, Shudde M’ell, who can cause earthquakes during the game.

Monster Surges are also added as a new rule in the game (when a gate is supposed to open but there is one already in that location - add a new monster to every open gate on the board), but it appears that the 2nd Edition of the game added that rule into the base rule set as my copy already described this feature. I may be wrong or misinterpreting this rule, but it seems to be the same as what is in my 2nd Edition Arkham Horror Rulebook already.

Check out the many NEW Investigators included in this expansion.





Here are the NEW Ancient Ones included in the game as well.




One of the best photos on BGG - an Investigator falls to the madness that is called Dunwich Horror!



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17. Board Game: Arkham Horror: Curse of the Dark Pharaoh Expansion [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
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2nd Edition Expansion - The Curse of the Dark Pharaoh
Fantasy Flight Games - 2006




Curse of the Dark Pharaoh is an Egyptian-themed expansion for Arkham Horror that contains 166 cards. It is a part of the Arkham Horror Series.

Professor Armitage, who spearheaded the relations with Cairo University to arrange for the trade, said that "acquiring the visiting museum exhibit is a bold step for Arkham University on the world stage," adding that the semester’s course offerings would reflect the added research potential offered by the exhibit. Father Michael from South Church, on the other hand, has asked his parishioners to boycott
the exhibit. The Father was not available for comment, but sources close to him say that he is still shaken from last year’s troubles, during which several shops closed and several mysterious killings occurred. Other sources, who requested to remain anonymous, say that another such series of "troubles" has already begun.


In the Curse of the Dark Pharaoh expansion, a museum exhibit from mysterious Egypt has come to Arkham. Benignly titled "Legacy of the Pharaohs," the exhibit in fact causes an influx of foreign cultists, supernatural events, powerful relics, and other dangers and mysteries, culminating in the all too familiar threat of an Ancient One awakening. And, of course, the Investigators are the only ones who can, by luck and lore and courage, stop it.

CURSE OF THE DARK PHARAOH is the first of the "small box" expansions and it adds some interesting elements to the base game without altering the game play too much.

The expansion contains:
(BOLD items feature NEW rules, (+) items expand # of these items from base game quantity but are themed appropriately for this expansion.)

45 Arkham Location cards (+5 cards to each Arkham District)
45 New Investigator Cards:
27 Gate cards (+)(New Dual Color Gate Cards)
18 Mythos cards (+)(New Double Doom Token cards)
21 Spell cards (+)
7 Ally cards (+)
4 Benefit cards
4 Detriment cards
18 "Barred from Neighborhood" cards
22 Exhibit Item cards


Here's a small sample of some of the cards from the various Investigator decks:




Curse of the Dark Pharaoh introduces the concept of Dual-Color Gate Cards are special Gate cards that match the colors of two encounter symbols. If either color on the card matches the encounter symbol of the Other World your investigator is currently in, resolve that card. In most cases you will resolve the "Other" encounter, but if you are in the Other World specific to that card, you will have to face the Ancient One associated with that Other World!

Another change to the standard cards from the base game is that there are a few of the Mythos cards.that now include the "Double Doom Token" symbol shown below. This has the effect of speeding up the pace at which the Ancient One awakens and adds even more uncertainty to the game.




The Exhibit Items are special cards that are similar to Unique Items, but they have no monetary value and can only be gained through Arkham and Other World encounters. Exhibit Items are most likely to be gained at Arkham locations with the Unique Item symbol. Investigators will usually be given a choice between choosing an Exhibit Item and choosing a Unique Item.

Exhibit Items:



"Barred from the Neighborhood" cards are special cards that come into play through the new encounters. Arkham is an insular town and the powers and people there are not to be trifled with. When an investigator does something to anger those in power in a specific neighborhood, or perhaps because part of the neighborhood itself becomes repellent to him, that investigator is Barred. An Investigator may enter the street of a neighborhood from which he is Barred, but he may not enter a location in that neighborhood during the Movement Phase. Barred cards are removed when the Terror Level increases.



Benefits and Detriments are similar to Blessings and Curses from the main game. Benefits and Detriments bend the rules of the game slightly, either giving the investigators new options or making things harder. Each Benefit and Detriment has a certain event or situation described beneath the abilities it grants. If your investigator ever finds himself in that situation, he discards the Benefit or Detriment. For instance, an investigator with the Psychic Benefit loses the card if he is ever lost in time and space The four Benefits have blue frames similar to the Blessing card, and include Anointed, Private Investigator, Psychic, and Visions. The four Detriments have red frames similar to the Curse card, and include Harried, Local Guide, Tainted, and Wanted.




Curse of the Dark Pharaoh also introduces the attribute of "Surprise" for monsters that come in this expansion. Also, the Gate cards that come with this expansion also are "Dual Colored" and have two colors instead of one on them. They are used when either color is called for in an Other World Encounter.


Curse of the Dark Pharaoh can be played in two different ways:

Visiting Exhibit Play Style

In this play style, the "Legacy of the Pharaohs" museum exhibit has just arrived in Arkham, and will eventually pass on to its next stop. While it’s in town, however, the strange events surrounding the exhibit will occupy most of the investigators’ attention. Ancient relics from the time of the pyramids find their way into the investigators’ hands and tales of strange insects, old gods, and exotic visitors fill the streets and locations of Arkham. As a backdrop to these occurrences and possibly influenced by them, an Ancient One stirs in its slumber, opening gates to new and terrifying adventures in other dimensions.

The effect of these new rules is that most of the encounters the players have will be themed towards the strange museum exhibit in town. You do not mix in the new Arkham Location, Gate or Mythos cards into the base set’s card decks which has the effect of having only Dark Pharaoh encounters occurring. The new Spells and Ally decks are used in conjunction with the original decks but are kept separate allowing players to find needed items more easily depending on the text of the encounters. As the Terror Level increases, an Ally from EACH deck is discarded. Players also draw Mythos cards between the original deck and the new one in this expansion, alternating every other turn.

This type of play style comes with the following warning in the rules:

WARNING: This variant is for experienced players. Gates may open more often in unexpected places in this variant and the Ancient One’s doom track is likely to advance quite rapidly! Such is the chaos created when powerful relics and ancient spirits are brought from a distant land into the already unstable mystical nexus that is Arkham.

Permanent Exhibit Play Style

In this play style, the "Legacy of the Pharaohs" museum exhibit is here to stay, and becomes part of the normal life (such as it is) in Arkham. The Ancient One and its effects on the town take a higher priority than the mysteries of the museum exhibit, but its presence still causes ripples throughout Arkham’s occult and mundane communities.

This method of play has players mixing in all the new cards into the appropriate decks from the main game, while adding the new decks to the game as well. Players will be less likely to draw the Dark Pharaoh encounters, spells, exhibit items and other things from the expansion as the decks that contain these cards are more "diluted" now.

The addition of "Heralds" to the Arkham Horror Game System was introduced in a later expansion - The King in Yellow. Since Curse of the Dark Pharaoh had already been out on the market at the time of it's release, Fantasy Flight Games decided to create an appropriate Herald for this expansion and post it on their website so fans could download it and have an appropriately themed Herald for use when they played with this expansion.

The Dark Pharaoh Herald Sheet represents a powerful supernatural entity that is preparing the way for the Ancient One. It can be used in conjunction with any Ancient One and modifies the game in a way similar to the Ancient Ones. During setup, the Herald sheet is placed to the left of the Ancient One sheet when used.

Here is the Official Dark Pharaoh Herald from FFG.




Bonus Image:

Fidel Lainez (flainez) included another bizarre image for the Dark Pharaoh.


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18. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow Expansion [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
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2nd Edition Expansion - The King in Yellow
Fantasy Flight Games - 2007




This expansion to the Arkham Horror Series, introduces a major new mechanic to the game -- Heralds, who prepare the way for the Ancient One to arrive. In addition, old familiar faces will be turned against the Investigators in ways they never expected.

Director Hildred Castaigne has brought his vision of "The King in Yellow" - a revolutionary new play, to the country’s shores. The play, which is a period piece, describes the drama and loss suffered by the noble family of a fictional kingdom reminiscent of the Mediterranean nations. "The King is Yellow" is renowned for the powerful but unorthodox philosophy it espouses. This newspaper’s theatre critic, who viewed the production in its final days in Paris, mentioned during the intermission via telegraph that he was tempted to leave after the first, banal act, disappointed in its simplicity. He was unable to be reached for comment afterwards, however.

In other news, the riots and mass hysteria in Europe have reached a lull. Authorities are unable to pinpoint a cause for the strange behavior, which seems to have been sparked by shared delusions. The color yellow seems to play a significant part in the behavior...


In The King in Yellow expansion, an infamous play titled "The King in Yellow" has started in Arkham. The play, when read or viewed, has a mysterious power to unhinge the mind. But who would believe such a preposterous notion? It is up to investigators to uncover the truth behind the "King in Yellow," and to stop the dark powers that it may awaken.

Featuring over 160 new cards, The King in Yellow heralds a darker age for Arkham Horror fans.

The expansion contains:
(BOLD items feature NEW rules, (+) items expand # of these items from base game quantity but are themed appropriately for this expansion.)

76 New Investigator Cards
19 Common Item cards (+)
22 Unique Item cards (+)
15 Spell cards (+)
13 Blight cards
7 Magical Effect cards
36 Arkham Location cards (+4 cards to each Arkham District )
24 Gate cards (+)
27 Mythos cards (+) (Includes 6 "The Next Act Begins" cards)
3 Act cards
1 Herald sheet (The King in Yellow)
10 Yellow sign tokens
3 Riot Monster tokens


A sampling of the new cards:


 
 
 
 


Blight Cards represent important people who live in the town of Arkham and who have been driven mad by seeing "The King in Yellow." One Blight card enters play each time a yellow sign token is placed on the terror track. Once they enter play, Blight cards have a global effect on the game and cannot be gotten rid of.

 


Magical Effect Cards are placed with the other special Investigator cards such as Deputy cards, Bank Loans, Blessing/Curses, etc... These unique cards represent lasting magical effects caused by certain spells in the Spell deck. When the appropriate spell is cast, the casting investigator simply takes the Magical Effect card indicated by the spell. These Magical Effect cards are only lost if the Spell card that created them is refreshed in the Upkeep phase, or if the spell is lost for some reason.

 


The three Act Cards are placed in a small deck in numerical order, starting with Act I on top and ending with Act III on the bottom. Each time one of the six Mythos cards entitled "The Next Act Begins!" is drawn and resolved, the top card of this Act deck enters play. While Act I and Act II each list a way for the investigators to prevent them from entering play, Act III cannot be stopped once it has begun. Should Act III ever enter play, an enormous charity performance of "The King in Yellow" takes place in Arkham, driving the townsfolk mad and destroying the city. In that case, the investigators immediately lose the game.

 


There is an option to remove the 6 Mythos cards that trigger the Act cards from the game in the event the players do not wish to have the added pressure on them that these cards provide.

The following items are only used when playing the "Herald" variant described below.

The King in Yellow Herald Sheet represents a powerful supernatural entity that is preparing the way for the Ancient One. It can be used in conjunction with any Ancient One (not just Hastur) and modifies the game in a way similar to the Ancient Ones. During setup, the Herald sheet is placed to the left of the Ancient One sheet when used.

The King in Yellow is here to make the way easier for the Ancient One!


The 10 Yellow Sign Tokens represent the mind-shattering power of the King in Yellow and are placed as the madness spreads throughout Arkham. When the Terror Level increases, the players must choose to either:
• Place a Yellow Sign on the Terror Track just vacated by the Terror Marker - which brings into play a random Blight card. Or:
• Place a Yellow Sign token on the Doom Track of the Ancient One as if it were a Doom Token. There is no additional effect besides the increasing speed at which the Ancient One’s Doom Track will fill.

The 3 new Riot Monster Markers are Spawn monsters. This is indicated by the red circle in the lower left corner of their movement side. Spawn monsters are not added to the monster cup, but instead enter play through special rules. In this case, the riots are placed on the board in the street areas indicated by their Starting Location (found on the combat side of each riot marker) when the Doyle Jeffries Blight card enters play. Additionally, Spawn monsters do not count against the monster limit and never go to the Outskirts, nor can they ever be claimed as monster trophies. Instead, when an investigator defeats a riot, it is simply returned to the box and removed from the game.

Uncut sheet of additional Monsters and other game tokens(front/back).

 


The King in Yellow expansion can be played in one of three ways:

Touring Performance Style

In this play style, the "King in Yellow" has come to Arkham as a touring play, and will eventually pass on to its next stop. While it’s in town, however, the strange events surrounding the play will occupy most of the investigators’ attention.

WARNING: This variant is for experienced players. The terror level may rise rapidly and the Act deck poses a constant threat to the city. Such are the subtle and terrible effects of the Yellow Sign.

In this method of play, all of the first few encounters in Arkham will be new as will the majority of the Other World encounters and Mythos cards. Most game rules also remain the same, as do the game’s victory conditions. The only new rule is that when having encounters at locations in Arkham, do not shuffle the Location deck beforehand. Simply take the top card from the Location deck, resolve it, and then place it faceup on the bottom of the deck. After going through a Location deck entirely should the players shuffle it, turning the cards facedown, starting a new deck to draw from.

The King in Yellow Item decks (both Common and Unique) and Spell deck are placed on TOP of their original deck counterparts at the start of the game. This ensures that the King in Yellow cards will get into play first. The same thing is done with the King in Yellow Arkham Location, Gate and Mythos cards. Finally, the three Act cards are placed in a separate pile - waiting to be activated by the special cards in the Mythos deck.

Permanent Performance Style

In this play style, the play "The King in Yellow" has become a regular part of life in Arkham. Although copies of the play continue to circulate and performances of it continue to run, they are not the focus of the game.

In this variant, most of the encounters in Arkham and in Other Worlds will be familiar, but spread throughout them will be encounters, events, and characters that relate to the touring play. While less likely to be encountered or acquired due to the dilution with the original decks, the new King in Yellow themed Spells and Items are available. All game rules remain the same, as do the game’s victory conditions.

"The Herald" Variant

In this variant, the King in Yellow, a powerful and malevolent being, has appeared to prepare the way for the Ancient One. This increases the difficulty of the game and makes use of the King in Yellow Herald Sheet, the Yellow Sign tokens, the Blight cards, and the Riot Monster Markers.

This variant adds the rules for the Yellow Sign tokens (see description above) and creates the possibility of the Investigators encountering one of their allies who has become insane. If this occurs from an Arkham Location encounter, the encounter is ignored and instead the Investigator must lose 1 Sanity or 1 Stamina (player’s choice). Mythos encounters are unaffected by the Blight cards.

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19. Board Game: Arkham Horror: Kingsport Horror Expansion [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
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2nd Edition Expansion - Kingsport Horror
Fantasy Flight Games - 2008




A big-box expansion for Arkham Horror, Kingsport Horror is an integral part of the Arkham Horror Series. The Great Old Ones return to Massachusetts and this time they are unleashing their monsters on Kingsport. Join new investigators to combat new creatures before battling a new Ancient One. Can you save the world before they stir in their slumber?

Kingsport includes a board, 8 investigators, 4 new Ancient Ones, 2 Heralds, 3 Guardians (like Heralds, but helpful rather than hurtful) and tons of cards and monsters.

The expansion contains:
(BOLD items feature NEW rules, (+) items expand # of these items from base game quantity but are themed appropriately for this expansion.)

1 Rulebook
1 Kingsport Game Board
8 Investigator Sheets (+)
8 Investigator Markers (+)
8 Plastic Investigator Stands (+)
3 Guardian Sheets
112 Investigator Cards, including:
14 Common Items (+)
12 Unique Items (+)
11 Spells (+)
12 Skills (+)
11 Allies (+)
52 Special Cards, including:
20 Blessings of Nodens Cards
26 Visions of Hypnos Cards
2 Beloved of Bast Cards
2 Captain of the White Ship Cards
2 Changed Cards
4 Ancient One Sheets (+)
2 Herald Sheets (+)
207 Ancient One Cards
36 Arkham Location Cards (+4 cards to each Arkham District)
56 Kingsport Location Cards
22 Mythos Cards (+)
32 Gate Cards (+)
16 Epic Battle Cards
45 Ancient One Plot Cards
28 Monster Markers (+) (Adds in Aquatic Movement and the Elusive
ability)
3 Rift Markers
12 Rift Progress Markers
4 Gate Markers
48 Brood Tokens
8 Bast Tokens
2 Aquatic Markers
1 Skill Slider (+) (For Investigator Lily Chen’s special ability)


Some of the new Investigator cards




The New Investigators.





The New Ancient Ones



The Kingsport Game Board adds in an additional 12 Town and 2 Other World locations for the players to explore and have encounters. The Causeway, Wireless Station, and Strange High House in the Mist locations are all part of the mysterious Kingsport Head. This area is very difficult to enter and travel in. Investigators who enter the Causeway or Wireless Station must immediately end their movement and players may not move there through the use of any cards or other unusual game rules - such as returning from "Lost in Time and Space".



The 3 Guardian Sheets (Nodens, Hypnos and Bast) represent powerful supernatural entities that are opposed to the Ancient Ones and are beneficial to the players as they offer aid them during gameplay. Guardians are the counterparts to the Heralds first introduced in the King in Yellow expansion. Guardians are only used with the "Herald/Guardian" variant.

New Guardians



The Blessings of Nodens deck is one of two new decks introduced in this expansion. These cards are used when Nodens is the Guardian and they give Blessed investigators an additional benefit.

The Visions of Hypnos deck is used when Hypnos is the Guardian and these cards increase the rate at which Clue tokens appear on the board as well as increasing the odds that helpful encounters will occur.

Other new Special cards include Captain of the White Ship cards (travel directly to the Other Worlds even if there are no gates), which can be acquired at the North Point Lighthouse, Changed cards (prevents an Elder Sign from being removed because of a Gate Burst), which can be acquired at the Strange High House in the Mists, and Beloved of Bast cards (Investigator may not be devoured unless desired), which can be acquired when Bast is the Guardian.



Epic Battle Cards are used when the players want to add variety to the final battle with the Ancient One. When the final battle begins, the two Epic Battle decks (8 green and 8 red) are shuffled separately and then the green deck is placed on top of the red deck. Then the 3 Ancient One plot cards corresponding to the Ancient One in play are shuffled and set next to the Epic Battle deck. One card is drawn at the beginning of each Upkeep phase of the final battle and they can alter the order in which the attack occurs (the Ancient One may get to attack first that round), add additional effects or costs to the combat, or bring into play one of the 3 Ancient One Plot cards. Another twist is that one of the cards of the red Epic Battle Deck ("The End of Everything!") immediately ends the game causing the Inspectors to lose.



Kingsport Horror also introduces the concept of Rifts to the Arkham Horror game system. Because the dimensional barriers near Kingsport are so thin, the area is plagued with dimensional rifts. These are mobile tears in the fabric of the universe from which monsters emerge if they are left unattended. Rifts are all closed at the start at the game and every time a Mythos card is resolved players check to see if BOTH monster movement patterns match that of one of the Rift tracks. If so, a new Rift Progress Marker is drawn and placed, eventually filling up the Rift track and causing the Rift to open. Rifts can move as well and they spawn new monsters as the drift around the board. Rift Progress Markers depict various locations and Investigators will need to visit the locations on the Rift track in order to gather the information needed to eventually close the Rift.



Brood Tokens are used to track an Investigators corruption caused during the game specifically by the Ancient One Eihort. Investigators receive one Brood Token whenever they seal a gate or defeat a Cultist and immediately upon receiving a Brood Token an Investigator must roll a die. If they roll LESS than the number of Brood Tokens they have, they immediately are devoured and the Brood Tokens from the devoured Investigator are placed on Eihorts sheet in place of Doom Tokens.

Some of the 28 new Monsters in the game also have a new movement method called "Aquatic" and there are Aquatic Markers to mark the locations "River Docks" and "The Unvisited Isle" on the original Arkham Horror board as being of this type. Others of the new Monsters have the "Elusive" ability and actively avoid combat with the Investigators.

Herald/Guardian Variant Gameplay

When playing the Herald and Guardian variant, powerful supernatural beings (Heralds and Guardians) hinder or help the investigators. Heralds make the game more difficult by adding game elements that hinder the players, while Guardians make the game easier by adding game elements that help them. Players may decide to use a Herald, a Guardian, or both when using this variant, but should generally only use one of each type at most.

New Heralds



Combining with the other Expansions may require a very large table at minimum and you may need a room addition as well!



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20. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Black Goat of the Woods Expansion [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
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2nd Edition Expansion - The Black Goat of the Woods
Fantasy Flight Games - 2008



A dangerous cult has risen in Arkham! Meeting in secret, these heretics and madmen consort with dark powers and offer up sacrifices to the Ancient One, while hordes of vicious monsters descend on the town. It’s up to a small band of investigators to infiltrate the cult and learn from these dark rituals, yet even the most pure-hearted may find himself corrupted in the process. Will their efforts be enough to stop the Ancient One from awakening, or will the investigators succumb, one by one, to the blasphemous seduction of its Herald, the Black Goat of the Woods?

The Black Goat of the Woods is a small expansion for the Arkham Horror board game, and is a part of the Arkham Horror Series. This expansion features 88 new Mythos cards, 9 new monster markers, 1 Herald Sheet, and 76 new Investigator cards including new items, new spells, and the dangerous lure of corruption!

The expansion contains:
(BOLD items feature NEW rules, (+) items expand # of these items from base game quantity but are themed appropriately for this expansion.)

62 Investigator Cards
11 Common Item Cards (+)
11 Unique Item Cards (+)
4 Spell Cards (+)
8 "One of the Thousand" Cult Membership Cards
16 Green Corruption Cards
16 Red Corruption Cards
107 Ancient One Cards
24 Cult Encounter Cards
36 Arkham Location Cards (+)
24 Gate Cards (+)
23 Mythos Cards (+)
5 Difficulty Cards
1 Herald Sheet (+)(The Black Goat of the Woods)
9 Monster Markers (+)(Special Hexagonal symbol rules)


New additions to the Investigator's decks



Special Cult Encounters Deck



The Black Goat of the Woods expansion introduced the idea of Gate Bursts, which are Mythos cards that have their gate location colored red. A Gate Burst works the same as a normal Mythos card, unless the listed gate location has an Elder Sign token on it, in which case the gate bursts open, causing the Elder Sign token at that location to be removed from the board. Doom tokens are not placed from Gate Bursts, no monster surges can occur from one, and all Flying Monsters move regardless of their symbol.

The "One of the Thousand" Cult Membership cards are used to denote which investigators have chosen to infiltrate the mysterious cult that has begun to permeate through the town of Arkham. During the game, investigators may be presented with the opportunity to join this cult through various cards. Members of the cult will have different encounters than other Investigators in the same location at several spots around Arkham. Whenever a player with a "One of the Thousand" Cult Membership Card has an encounter at the Black Cave, the Unvisited Isle, or the Woods, he or she must draw a card from the Cult Encounters deck rather than the deck associated with that location.



The Corruption Deck consists of cards that represent the dark influence of the mythos upon the investigators. There are two types of Corruption cards: green Corruption cards are generally less severe, while red Corruption cards can spell doom for one or all of the investigators! Players will be instructed to draw Corruption cards through the new encounters in this expansion and they may end up with several of them at once. Corruption card effects are triggered with the same Monster movement symbols used on the Mythos cards and are immediately resolved. Some Corruption cards have both "passive" and "triggered" effects. Passive effects are constantly active as long as the Investigator has the card where a triggered event is most likely a one time thing. Corruption cards are removed from the game (not discarded) when the symbols on them match that of a gate that has just been closed. When a player is instructed to draw a Corruption card and there are none left, the Ancient One immediately awakens!



A simple addition to the basic game play is the inclusion of the Difficulty cards which allow players to make any game of Arkham Horror easier or more difficult as desired. The five cards offer levels of difficulty ranging from "Discomforting" (Add an additional Clue token to each unstable location at the start of the game and when Mythos cards are drawn.), to "Ultimate Cosmic Evil" (Set the Terror Level to 5 at the start of the game and remove 5 random Allies - in addition, during the Mythos phase, draw and resolve TWO cards starting on the 2nd turn of the game).




The "Herald" Variant


Heralds increase the difficulty of the game and this expansion make use of the Black Goat of the Woods Herald Sheet and a special monster cup. The Black Goat of the Woods Herald Sheet represents a powerful supernatural entity that is preparing the way for the Ancient One. It can be used in conjunction with any Ancient One and it modifies the game in a way similar to the Ancient Ones. During setup, the Herald sheet is placed to the left of the Ancient One sheet when used.



There are also 9 additional Monsters included in this expansion, 3 "Child of the Goat", 3 "Dark Young", 2 "Goat Spawn" and 1 "Dark Druid". These Monsters have hexagonal movement symbols and can be mixed into the monster cup normally or they can be set aside separately and combined with other hexagonal monsters from the base game or other expansions to form a 2nd monster (hexagonal) cup. When a gate opens, a 2nd monster is drawn from this cup and placed at the gate’s location. Other effects include: hexagonal monsters are not removed from the board when a hexagonal gate is closed, monster surges draw half of the required # of monsters from this cup (and you add a Doom token to the Doom Track), destroying a hexagonal monster gives the player a Corruption Card and Dark Young moves as normal monsters. Clearly this variant makes the game more difficult for the players!



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21. Board Game: Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror Expansion [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
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2nd Edition Expansion -Innsmouth Horror
Fantasy Flight Games - 2009



Of all the cities found in H.P. Lovecraft’s vision of Massachusetts, perhaps none is quite so deadly as the small fishing village of Innsmouth. Decrepit and dying, Innsmouth is being consumed from within by an ancient pact once made to save the town. The investigators will find every hand turned against them as they explore its rotting docks and fetid beaches. In the end, perhaps the only way to save Innsmouth is by destroying it along with the terrible creatures that haunt its waters near Devil Reef.

Innsmouth Horror introduces several new game concepts to the Arkham Horror Series, including Personal Stories unique to each investigator as well as the Innsmouth Look. The town of Innsmouth is hostile to the investigators, and they may well find themselves thrown in jail and fed to a Shoggoth while they search the town for evidence to call in the Feds. However, leaving Innsmouth to fester is a bad idea, since the Deep Ones will gather and rise, bringing with them the Ancient One. Innsmouth Horror also adds 16 new investigators, eight new Ancient Ones, two new Heralds, Epic Battle cards for the new Ancient Ones, over 30 new monster markers, plenty of new encounters, and an expansion board featuring the town of Innsmouth. Over all, this expansion adds over 300 new cards to the base game.

With the Rulebook for Innsmouth Horror now up at the FFG website, I can give you a little bit more information about this expansion.

The expansion contains:
(BOLD items feature NEW rules, (+) items expand # of these items from base game quantity but are themed appropriately for this expansion.)

1 Innsmouth Game Board
16 Investigator Sheets (+)
16 Investigator Markers
16 Plastic Investigator Stands
96 Investigator Cards
96 Personal Stories
8 Ancient One Sheets (+)
176 Ancient One Cards
36 Arkham Location Cards (+ Adds 4 encounters per district)
42 Innsmouth Location Cards
36 Mythos Cards (+)
16 Gate Cards (+)
24 Ancient One Plot Cards (+)
10 Innsmouth Look Cards
12 Small Dust Cards
2 Herald Sheets (+)
32 Monster Markers (+ Adds Weapon Immunity)
6 Uprising Tokens
8 Ghatanothoa’s Visage Tokens
1 Zhar Token
2 Aquatic Markers (+)


The new game board depicting Innsmouth is kind of interesting as there are no new Other World locatations on it like the Dunwich and Kingsprot Horror expansions. Instead there is a "Deep Ones Rising Track that must now be watched.

If you've read the story "The Shadow over Innsmouth", you already know about the "Deep Ones". If you haven't, then briefly they are an aquatic, fish like race that lives deep in ocean off the coast of Innsmouth. They are slowly increasing their numbers but mating with the townsfolk of Innsmouth and their offspring begin life normally as humans but develop the "Innsmouth Look" as they age - ultimately turning into one of the Deep Ones themselves!



To simulate the rising of the Deep Ones, the Innsmouth board has a "Deep One's Rising" track that - like the Ancient One's Doom Track, must also be kept from filling completely as it is another way to awaken the Ancient One in play. Any time a gate is prevented from opening - such as by an Elder Sign (or an investigator's ability) OR if a monster's movement on the Innsmouth board moves it into one of the various Vortex spaces on the board, you place a token on the Deep One's Rising track. This is a pretty cool thing as normally the Investigators would be celebrating the prevention of a gate opening , now they have to be very caustious about letting it get out of control. They are not powerless against this new effect however.

Investigators in Innsmouth may place Clue Tokens on a parallel track as well which simulates the collection of evidence by the investigators in order to convince the authorities to conduct a "Federal Raid" on Innsmouth. This extra track is color coded to the various Innsmouth street and locations and during the Upkeep phase, any Investigator in Innsmouth may place Clue token(s) on empty spaces of the track that match their location color. If they can fill up the Clue Token side of this track, a Federal Raid occurs and then all of the tokens get removed off BOTH tracks - giving the Investigators some breathing room.

This mechanic adds yet another thing for the Investigators to have to watch and manage and it is a simple way to capture some of the tenseness that was in the Innsmouth story.

Also, the Innsmouth board will not be as easy for the Investigators to move around in as the town is completely under control by the forces of the Mythos. As the Ancient One's track fills, Martial Law will get declared which means that Investigators will have to make sneak checks at any street or location he ends a turn on. Each of these areas will have modifiers to make these checks more or less difficult to accomplish. Fail a sneak check and get arrested!

Along with the usual additions of new Ancient Ones, new Investigators, new Monsters and plenty of new items, spells and skills, there will be the addition of "Personal Stories" to the mix - which are basically small tasks or goals that a specific Investigator must accomplish in a certain amount of time to be successful. The tasks are tied into the backstory for each Investigator so you'll only use them when that particular Investigator is in play. There are conditions for passing or failing the task on hand and each has it's own effect on the Investigator for the rest of the game.

My impression is that it will kind of dictate (to a small degree) the actions for an Investigator in the early part of the game as everyone rushed to accomplish their story. FFG has posted the story for Jenny Barnes as an example, but without seeing any of the other stories, it's impossible to go into much further details - or know if those assumptions of mine are even correct.

What is really cool is that FFG has included a card for EVERY investigator from all the expansions which makes Innsmouth more of a "must buy" expansion if you ask me.

Here are the cards associated with a typical "Personal Story".



That Failure card is pretty grisly stuff if you ask me!

There are another 8 (eight!) new Ancient Ones, many with some very interesting effects and combat abilities. Here are the rulebook notes for all eight of them along with their picture.


[i]Bokrug

Beings of Ib can never appear on the board under any circumstance. Instead, they act to boost Bokrug’s power until an investigator placates them by spending monster and/or gate trophies as described on Bokrug’s sheet.



Chaugnar Faugn
Investigators do not suffer Chaugnar Faugn’s penalty unless they are in the same neighborhood as a sealed gate or are carrying an Elder Sign. Being in the same neighborhood or even the same location as another investigator carrying an Elder Sign has no effect.



Cthugha
Investigators do not suffer Cthugha’s penalty unless they actually spend more than 3 movement points in a turn. Merely having a high Speed doesn’t matter.



Ghatanothoa
Remember, leave visage tokens faceup after revealing them unless either Ghatanothoa’s face is revealed or there are four visage tokens faceup after revealing the new token.



Nyogtha
As a Spawn monster, the Tendril of Nyogtha cannot be claimed as a monster trophy in any way. As for Nyogtha’s attack, it represents the creature attacking from beneath the ground, pulling one investigator underground at a time. The investigator that is being attacked, however, has an opportune moment to attack Nyogtha, hence the -3
modifier instead of -8 for him.



Quachil Uttaus
During the game, the first player marker is never passed until Quachil Uttaus finally tracks down the first player and devours him. Until then, his doom hangs over the investigator’s head.



Rhan-Tegoth
For their convenience, investigators may wish to place the Stamina tokens drained by Rhan-Tegoth during the Final Battle on his sheet to help keep track of the extra successes they must inflict in order to defeat the creature.



Zhar
With respect to Zhar, "doubles" is defined as rolling the same number on both dice. For example, two 6s, two 3s, etc. To explain the Final Battle, Zhar is actually two separate creatures connected by miles of tentacles. The investigators must defeat first one, and then the other
creature if Zhar awakens.

New Innsmouth encounters may direct an Investigator to draw a certain number of the 10 Innsmouth Look cards. It appears that the majority of them will have no effect, but if one is drawn, the Investigator will have to follow the directions on the card(s) to see how it affects him.

All of the New Innsmouth Investigators with their back stories. Thanks Brian! (ColtsFan76)








Finally, here's an interesting - and very deadly, new Monster that completes the previews.



Innsmouth also adds the "Weapon Immunity" ability to certain Monsters as well.

I don't see anything in the rules about the Dust Cards so I'll have to wait until we see some pictures of the cards.

One interesting thing about the 4 previews on the FFG website is that they include brief snipets of text from the short story that much of this expansion appears to have been based on. There are several collections of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft that include the "The Shadow over Innsmouth" in them. I read it recently and it is a very spooky tale of the terrible goings on in this small seaside town and it will definitely whet your appetite for this expansion.

Innsmouth Horror looks to be another great addition to the Arkham Horror Game System. I hope to get this one eventually and add it to the goodness that is Arkham Horror! Well, that's all the information I have for now. I'll update this entry once I get my hands on a copy of an expansion at some point down the road. I'm also going to hold off on any polls regarding the content until this expansion is actually available.
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22. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Lurker at the Threshold Expansion [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
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INFORMATION COMING SOON!
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23. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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H.P Lovecraft - The Man, the Mythos, the Legend.




I thought it might be interesting to include a little bit of history on the man who created the Cthulhu Mythos that the Arkham Horror boardgame is based upon. Prior to playing the game, I knew little of the man and was only vaguely aware of his works of fiction or how much he had created to the genre of "weird fiction". After playing the game a few times, I went out and bought a collection of his short stories and I'm about 2/3 through that book. It's very easy to see how the game designers were inspired to create a game based upon this great series of stories from the early 19th century. The newest expansion - Innsmouth Horror appears to have numerous elements taken directly from one of the stories I just finished - The Shadow over Innsmouth, and if the game is anything like the story, it will be a great addition to the Arkham Horror game system.


Here is a part of the wikipedia entry for H.P. Lovecraft. The full article is HERE.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, known then simply as weird fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror; the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, who together with Edgar Allan Poe has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King has called Lovecraft "the twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."

H. P. Lovecraft's name is synonymous with horror fiction; his writing, particularly the "Cthulhu Mythos", has influenced fiction authors worldwide, and Lovecraftian elements may be found in novels, movies, music, comic books and cartoons. Many modern horror writers, including Stephen King, Bentley Little, Joe R. Lansdale, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, have cited Lovecraft as one of their primary influences.

Lovecraft himself, though, was relatively unknown during his own time. While his stories appeared in the pages of prominent pulp magazines such as Weird Tales (often eliciting letters of outrage from regular readers of the magazines), not many people knew his name. He did, however, correspond regularly with other contemporary writers, such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth, people who became good friends of his, even though they never met in person. This group of correspondents became known as the "Lovecraft Circle", since they all freely borrowed elements of Lovecraft's stories—the mysterious books with disturbing names, the pantheon of ancient alien gods, such as Cthulhu and Azathoth, and eldritch places, such as the New England town of Arkham and its Miskatonic University—for use in their own works (with Lovecraft's blessing and encouragement).

After Lovecraft's death, the Lovecraft Circle carried on. August Derleth was probably the most prolific of these writers, having added to and expanded on Lovecraft's vision. Derleth's contributions have been controversial to say the least; while Lovecraft never considered his pantheon of alien gods more than a mere plot device, Derleth created an entire cosmology, complete with a war between the 'good' "Elder Gods" and the 'evil' "Outer Gods" (such as Cthulhu and his ilk), which the 'good' Gods were supposed to have won, locking Cthulhu and others up beneath the earth, in the ocean etc., and went on to associate different gods with the traditional four elements.

Lovecraft's fiction has been grouped into three categories by some critics. While Lovecraft did not refer to these categories himself, he did once write, "There are my 'Poe' pieces and my 'Dunsany pieces' - but alas - where are my Lovecraft pieces?"

Macabre stories (approximately 1905-1920)
Dream Cycle stories (approximately 1920-1927)
Cthulhu Mythos/Lovecraft Mythos stories (approximately 1925-1935)

Some critics see little difference between the Dream Cycle and the Mythos, often pointing to the recurring Necronomicon and subsequent "gods". A frequently given explanation is that the Dream Cycle belongs more to the genre of fantasy, while the Mythos is science fiction. Also, much of the supernatural elements in the Dream Cycle takes place in its own sphere or mythological dimension separated from our own level of existence. The Mythos on the other hand, is placed within the same reality and cosmos as the humans live in.

Much of Lovecraft's work was directly inspired by his night terrors, and it is perhaps this direct insight into the unconscious and its symbolism that helps to account for their continuing resonance and popularity.

All these interests naturally led to his deep affection for the works of Edgar Allan Poe, who heavily influenced his earliest macabre stories and writing style known for its creepy atmosphere and lurking fears.

Lovecraft's discovery of the stories of Lord Dunsany with their gallery of mighty gods existing in dreamlike outer realms, moved his writing in a new direction, resulting in a series of imitative fantasies in a 'Dreamlands' setting.

Another inspiration came from a totally different kind of source; the scientific progresses at the time in such wide areas as biology, astronomy, geology and physics, all contributed to make the human race seem even more insignificant, powerless and doomed in a materialistic and mechanical universe, and was a major contributor to the ideas that later would be known as cosmicism, and which gave further support to his atheism.

It was probably the influence of Arthur Machen, with his carefully constructed tales concerning the survival of ancient evil into modern times in an otherwise realistic world and his mystic beliefs in hidden mysteries which lay behind reality, that added the last ingredient and finally helped inspire Lovecraft to find his own voice from 1923 onwards.

This took on a dark tone with the creation of what is today often called the Cthulhu Mythos, a pantheon of alien extra-dimensional deities and horrors which predate humanity, and which are hinted at in aeon-old myths and legends. The term "Cthulhu Mythos" was coined by Lovecraft's correspondent and fellow author, August Derleth, after Lovecraft's death; Lovecraft jocularly referred to his artificial mythology as "Yog-Sothothery".

His stories created one of the most influential plot devices in all of horror: the Necronomicon, the secret grimoire written by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. The resonance and strength of the Mythos concept have led some to incorrectly conclude that Lovecraft had based it on pre-existing myths or occult beliefs. Faux editions of the Necronomicon have also been published over the years.

His prose is somewhat antiquarian. Often he employed archaic vocabulary or spelling which had already by his time been replaced by contemporary coinages; examples including Esquimau, and Comanchian. He was given to heavy use of an esoteric lexicon including such words as "eldritch," "rugose," "noisome," "squamous," "ichor," and "cyclopean," and of attempts to transcribe dialect speech which have been criticized as clumsy, imprecise, and condescending. His works also featured British English (he was an admitted Anglophile), and he sometimes made use of anachronistic spellings, such as "compleat" (for "complete") "lanthorn" ("lantern"), and "phantasy" ("fantasy"; also appearing as "phantastic").



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24. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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Make Your Own Mythos!

One of the coolest things about playing Arkham Horror is the sheer variety available to players. There are enough Ancient Ones, Investigators, Heralds, Guardians, Locations, Other Worlds, Common Items, Unique Items, Spells, Skills, Gate cards, Mythos Cards and Monsters to guarentee that each and every game will be unique in one way or another.

Here are some interesting numbers:

Did you know if you own all the expansions up to (but not including Innsmouth Horror), you have a total of...



Just picking which investigators and which Ancient One you'd like to have in the game is enough to make you lose some Sanity! If there is one thing the Arkham Horror Game System has in spades, it's replayability!

However, the madness doesn't stop there. If you have spent any time in the Arkham Horror image gallery you've come across a bunch of Investigators, Ancient Ones and various cards that LOOK like they're something produced by FFG, but you know that they aren't. Where did all these home made, custom - yet completely professional components come from?

Strange Eons

Strange Eons is one of the coolest, most professional and most uniquely geeky thing to be available to gamers - regardless of what games they like! Basically Strange Eons is a "Custom Component Design Tool for Arkham Horror". What exactly does that mean? Well, once you download the program, you'll be able to create nearly ANY component from the Arkham Horror Game System that you'd like to make.

You can convert an existing creature from some other genre into something that can be used in the game itself. You can also create all new cards, Investigators, skills or design a completely new deck of cards or component to be used in your games!

Strange Eons is simply brilliant and we have Chris Jennings (thelric) to thank for this astounding piece of software. If you haven't tried it out yet, you really should!

Take a look at some of the custom stuff players have created, you may hear the call to join the cult and do some of your own!

People have made everything from new Investigators...





to Cards...




to Ancient Ones...



to Heralds...



to Monsters...



and even new Locations!



Even More Madness!

In addition to the creative components that people have created to use in their games, many, many players have made fantastic game aids to store, protect, enhance and add to, their games of Arkham Horror.

Take a peek at some of these great creations:

Monster Cups:




]


Storage solutions:




Game Aids:



]


A special Table, an Investigator stand and a space saving smaller Game board:



As you can see, Arkham Horror players have endless creativity and imagination - hopefully they make their Sanity checks all the time!
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25. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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My Recommendation

So there you have it - just about everything you might want to know about Arkham Horror and all the expansions for it so far. I've tried to be as complete as possible without overwhelming the individual geeklist entries with too much information. As it is, I think I've pushed Aldie's Geeklist code to it's limits as the system CLEARLY didn't like me trying to rearrainge these large seperate entries into a different order.

I think I was lucky to get this thing submitted before I crashed the software!

When Arkham Horror first came out, I was very intrigued by the game, but our first play was a disaster. My game group played it the week it was in the stores and looking back, I can see we did just about everything possible to make that a much of a miserable experience as possible. How did we accomplish that? Well, for starters we had 7 players - and only one of us that had even glanced at the rules. We were constantly stopping to see what to do next and each turn seemed to take an eternity. We had no idea if what we were doing was correct of not and the game ended up taking nearly 5 hours to play!

My comments after that game:

Looooooooooong. Played with 7 players... lots of down time and got mind-numbingly dull. However, I will play again - with a smaller group and see if this one cant get redeemed. Can so many BGG'ers be wrong??

Needless to say it was put on the shelf, never to come back down. Well, until now that is.

What do I think of the game today? I have now come full circle and I really enjoy playing it lately. I can appreciate the level of detail and amount of hard work that went into the game - the sheer variety of any one single component is enough to make the average game shudder in delight! It seems that I've been playing a lot of co-operative games lately and maybe that has something to do with my re-discovery of Arkham Horror. Then again, it could be that this game just needed to have another shot at winning me over - this time with a few minor changes to the circumstances of that 2nd chance.

The KEY to enjoying this game is to make sure that the person running the game KNOWS the rules well enough to not have to repeatedly look everything up. The 2nd most important thing is to limit the maximum players to 5. With those two (minor) changes, Arkham Horror went from being overly long and confusing to being playable in 3-4 hours and being very entertaining and fun.

I also think that my reading of some of H.P.Lovecraft's works helped to lure me into the mythos. As I mentioned in the Innsmouth Horror entry, I picked up a collection of his short stories and have been reading them over the past month of so. "The Shadow over Innsmouth" was one of the better ones and it captured the feeling of terror and horror that the main character experiences effortlessly. Reading about the descriptions of the coming expansion on the FFG website - with all the excerpts from the story in them, has only made me want to get into the game (and buy that expansion) even more.

The bottom line is that the Arkham Horror Game System is to fans of horror and co-operative games as what Advanced Squad Leader is to fans of squad level combat in WWII. It's a huge kit of components that allows players to pick and choose what they want to use or leave out, giving players the opportunity to tailor the game, the experience and their enjoyment to suit their own desires. On this level, it succeeds like few others.

I went from being completely underwhelmed by this game to immersing myself into the system completely through a series of fluke occurances. Take my advice and do it right - keep the game at 5 players or less and make sure someone really has a good grasp of the rules - you won't be disappointed!




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