Arkham Horror Board Game Review Online
Arkham Horror, published by Fantasy Flight Games, draws directly from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, an influential writer who created the Cthulhu Mythos during the 1920s and 1930s. This setting, filled with crazed cultists and destructive alien entities, has become the centerpiece for numerous novels, feature films, video games, and comic books.
Players take on the role of investigators, brave men and women who struggle to protect the world from unspeakable evil. In order to do so, they must utilize weapons, spells and allies, while fighting to stay alive and retain their last bit of sanity. Succeed, and Earth survives a little while longer. Fail, and the planet is overrun by nightmares beyond your wildest imaginings.
The Cthulhu Mythos
The Cthulhu Mythos refers to a shared world created by author H.P. Lovecraft and later expanded on by Lovecraft’s colleagues and admirers. Lovecraft began weaving these tales around 1925, with his stories focusing on ill-fated encounters between mankind and ancient beings, as well as the general insignificance of humanity within the hierarchy of the cosmos.Following Lovecraft’s death, friend and fellow author August Derleth continued to publish his works and expand upon the Cthulhu Mythos. In the decades that followed, stories involving the cruel Outer Ones and Great Old Ones increased in popularity, influencing writers like Stephen King, Alan Moore, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman.
The name of the Mythos is drawn from Cthulhu, a tentacle-faced horror who remains Lovecraft’s most enduring creation. Along with beings like Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep, these powerful entities exist on the fringes of reality, their mad whims carried out by cultists who seek to bring them forth and topple the established order.
How to Play Arkham Horror – Rules
This game’s rules can be demanding for beginners, but any confusion can be cleared up through repeated play. Recommended for those 12 years and older, the game is suitable for anywhere from one to eight players. And since each turn presents a multitude of options, expect the average session to last at least three hours.
As investigators seek to gather spells and weapons to combat the forces of the Ancient Ones, portals will begin to open throughout Arkham and the various cities included in expansions. Monsters will then scurry into the world, intent on wreaking havoc and devouring anyone unlucky enough to cross their path. As more monsters appear, the overall terror level will rise and result in shops closing and townsfolk running for their lives. This causes the Doom Track to slowly increase, which will eventually lead to an Ancient One (drawn randomly at the beginning of the game) waking from their slumber and battling the investigators in a winner-take-all showdown.
Besides defeating the Ancient One in the final battle, investigators can also win the game by closing portals, slaying monsters, and preventing the diabolical being from waking in the first place. This will require teamwork, exploration of bizarre dimensions, and plenty of stealth and/or gunfire. While the rules for the Arkham Horror board game will challenge even the most experienced player, a well-prepared group working together should stand a strong chance of survival.
This Arkham Horror review includes a detailed analysis of the basic set and the expansions on the market. Opinions will differ when it comes to reviews, as the complex nature of the game and multitude of pieces can be overwhelming. However, patient players or those in a weekly gaming group may be thrilled by the game’s attention to detail and high replay value. Ultimately, you’ll need to play it for yourself and form your own conclusions.
Call of Cthulhu Games
While the 2005 version of Arkham Horror is one of the most popular releases to come along in recent years, there are a number of other Call of Cthulhu games to be aware of. The most notable is the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, a lethal RPG set in the 1920s that requires investigators to put their lives and sanity on the line against the dread powers of the Outer Gods. Modern-day settings also exist, such as the award-winning Delta Green. In this version, players often take on the roles of military or law enforcement personnel in order to combat shambling terrors and alien conspiracies. Constantly out of print, Delta Green can usually be found on eBay for several hundred dollars, which is a testament to both its quality and popularity.
For those seeking a more casual gaming experience, an array of Call of Cthulhu card games and board games exist. These range from Munchkin Cthulhu and Cthulhu 500 to Cthulhu Mash and Cults Across America. Most of these games cast players as doomed heroes desperately struggling to fight back beings that they can’t fully hope to understand.
Fantasy Flight Games also publishes the Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game (aka Call of Cthulhu Living Card Game). Like Magic: The Gathering, the Cthulhu CCG requires players to manage a variety of cards in their hand in order to win. In addition to the base set, Fantasy Flight games releases Call of Cthulhu booster packs on a regular basis and sponsors a number of live and online tournaments.
Arkham Horror has wowed critics and fans since its initial release in 1987. While the rules and artwork may have changed over time, the spirit of the game remains the same. If you’re new to the Cthulhu Mythos or works of H.P. Lovecraft, playing Arkham Horror will provide an entertaining introduction to a setting that’s been making an impression for over 70 years.