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tabletop games

Arkham Horror

Arkham Horror cover

We got the Arkham Horror boardgame and tried it for the first time last night. I had played it once previously, but it had been so long that I’d forgotten most of it already. We have the revised Fantasy Flight edition from 2006. There were three of us. We had to cut the game a couple of rounds and the final battle short, because it was 1 AM on a weekday. It took four hours of game time and some 45 minutes of setup time to get there. We didn’t need the rulebook for the last hour or so, so obviously things will move faster the next time, and there’s really no need to setup everything so precisely.

The basics: it’s the 1920s and you’re an occult investigator in Arkham City. Dark forces are moving in and an ancient evil god is stirring from his slumber. Working together, the players try to keep the monsters at bay by closing dimensional gates. The board works against the players – monsters have a sort of artificial intelligence governing how they function.

The components are of the highest quality and there are a lot of them. Regardless, the game is easy to play once you know the basic flow, but there can be a lot of exceptions on the board at any one time – it’s easy to forget a special circumstance if you don’t go through the moves in a very disciplined manner.

It looks like there’s a lot of room for replayability. It took a while to get the hang of things, figuring out what’s important and what you should be really doing, but this was fun interaction and thought exercise. The role of luck is just right, I think. You can never be sure of finding what you need, but you have a good idea of what’s going to go down. The difficulty felt fine. It was a challenge, but not impossible. The last two rounds could have gone either way. Then again, we were up against the god Yig, which is said to be a “quick” game.

There are plenty of expansions for the game, but it doesn’t feel like we’d run out of things to do and try out in the game anytime soon.

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