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The Arkham Almanac - The Time Has Come.

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If you've been following along with this blog, in last week's entry I posted the 2nd half of my Favorite Expansions for Games Ranking in the Top 100.

The last entry on that list was for Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror Expansion and it was the only expansion that I had not yet had a chance to play personally.

Until yesterday!

We sat down to play a 3 player game of Arkham Horror - each player with 2 Investigators each and we added in the Innsmouth expansion as I had been wanting to play it since I've owned it. One thing we learned almost immediately with this expansion - it is relentless and steps up the difficulty very quickly.

Within the first few turns, the Mythos Card draw had already had us place 3 counters on the Deep One's Track and the Terror Level had been raised by 2 - and we hadn't even got our feet wet (so to speak). Luckilly, there were two Investigators in our group that could not ne arrested (Wendy Adams - Street Urchin and Mark Harrigan - the Soldier), so they were dispatched up there in anticipation of Martial Law eventually being declared and were good candidates for placing clue tokens on the Deep One's Track to counter it's effects. We also had Patrice - The Violinist, who gained clue tokens relatively easily and could allow others to use hers when they were spending them, so she was able to feed them to others as they needed them to close gates or place on the Deep One's Track.

However, this blog entry is really not about a Session Report for our game, instead it's for the discussion of an idea I've had gestating for awhile in my head and it always bubbles back up to the surface after playing a game of Arkham.

The Arkham Horror Game Series:

Take a good look at all those photos - there are 4 large box and 4 small box expansions all together. Along with all that gaming goodness comes new rules that add to, replace, or change existing rules in the game. Even for the most devout fan of the game, keeping everything straight in your head during a game is a daunting task at the very least.

I think that Fantasy Flight Games needs to make a comprehensive rule's manual that combines all of the base game and expansion rules into a single document where everything is discussed in it's appropriate place in the flow of the game.

As it stands, each time you play with an expansion, you are flipping back and forth through several rule books, looking for relevant sections that the additional rule may affect, checking the FAQ to clarify things and struggling to remember all this and keep it straight while also trying to enjoy the game and be immersed in the setting and what is going on.

Now, I am already aware of (and use extensively) Universal Head's AWESOME Rule's Summary, as well as the fantastic, online Arkham Horror Wiki, but they aren't the same as what I am proposing.

The Rule's Summary is great to see the general flow of things and see how and when something fits into the game flow, but you often still need to go read up on the rules (both the original rule as well as the addition) and this is where the flipping back and forth gets tiresome.

Imagine a rulebook like the Duel of Ages: Masters Addendum, where all 9 expansions are combined into a single rulebook. As new additions to existing rules were added over the multitude of expansions, that system suffered from the same problem that Arkham, now does - wasted minutes (repeatedly) of asking yourself "Where is that rule again?" or "What happens with this addition in play?". The Master's Addendum effectively combined the entire series of rulebooks into a single cohesive document that is very user friendly.

I would even suggest taking it a step further by incorporating all the FAQ sections into the rulebook - and locate them in the sections where they are relevant, not in another index that you have to search through to locate what you are trying to find out. How often do you read a rule, still have a question and then need to search through an FAQ to see if it addresses the anomaly you are dealing with.

I can also see a huge encyclopedia of other needed information added to it at the end. How about a summary of all the Ancient One's and how they change the game? Or an Investigator's Listing comparing all the starting equipment, abilities, personal stories, and skills in one place for easy access?

There could be a complete compendium of all the Monsters from all the expansions along with a listing of WHAT monsters come with each expansion so you can add or remove them easily! Why there aren't expansion symbols printed on the Monsters themselves is a mystery worthy of the Investigators themselves!

Are you with me here? Do you see how awesome this could be? Call it the Arkham Almanac, or Arkham Arcana or the Enclyclopedia Arkham Horrorica for all I care, but let's talk about this and see what kind of great ideas we can send to Richard, Kevin, Christian and the rest of the Fantasy Flight Games team!

Discussion Points

What do you think of the Arkham Almanac idea? What are your experiences with having to look-up rules and other important information during this or other games? What would you like to see included in a product like this? What fan produced documents cover some of these ideas already? What format would you like to see the Almanac in? Would you purchase a product like this?
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