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List Price: $59.95
Your Price: $47.99
(Worth 4,799 Funagain Points!)
from 6 customer reviews
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The town of Arkham, Massachusetts is in a panic. Horrific and bizarre events have begun to occur with increasing frequency -- all seeming to point towards some cataclysmic event in the near future that may spell disaster for everyone. Only one small band of investigators can save Arkham from the Great Old Ones and destruction!
Arkham Horror was originally published by Chaosium, Inc. almost two decades ago. This new, updated edition features stunning new artwork and graphical design as well as revised and expanded rules! No fan of the Cthulhu Mythos will want to miss this opportunity to acquire this classic Call of Cthulhu boardgame!
Fantasy Flight Games
Players: 1 - 8
Time: 120 - 180 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Est. time to learn: 30+ minutes
Weight: 2,480 grams
All-Time Sales Rank: #247
Language Requirements: Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is a domestic item. Game components are printed in English.
- 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
- 189 investigator cards
- 8 Ancient Ones sheets
- 20 doom tokens
- 179 Ancient Ones cards
- 60 monster markers
- 16 gate markers
- 3 activity markers
- 1 terror track marker
- 6 closed markers
English language edition (Currently Restocking)
silver line edition
miniature Cthulhu figures (Restocking)
Average Rating: 4.2 in 6 reviews
H.P. Lovecraft, though writing letters to the great authors in his time, was mostly known for "Pulp Fiction" in dime horror magazines while he was alive. His work never received the acclaim it deserved until after his death.
This classic cooperative game is as dark and complex as the literature that inspired it. You play the role of an investigator who is battling monsters, finding clues and resources, trying to close the gates of the underworld so the great one doesn't emerge. At the same time you are trying to protect your physical well being and your sanity.
This game is not for everybody, but once you are hooked, it's hard to stay away from this game with it's many expansions. There are legions of fans of this game, you may be the next.
Horribly organized rules (i.e. during this phase, see monsters later in book, flip flip flip, monster can do blah blah see sky for details in diagram, flip to page...) would have been much better if everything was written in the same order as phases of the turn happen in the game rather then jumping all over in the book. It's a long game, figure about 4-5 hours for your first games.
Now the good news is that it's absolutely worth it. The most fun I've had playing a board game in a long time and I've played a lot of games even some other cooperative games (Shadows Over Camelot, Lord of the Rings). Wonderful atmosphere.
The only things that should change is a re-write of the rules so at the very least your not jumping all over to find stuff, and some redesign of the main board so that it is more efficient at using space (i.e. at the main street locations leaving enough space to put the deck encounters for that area) and maybe put a turn phase list on each corner.
I've played this game 5 times this month and I'm looking forward to playing it again. Now that's a great game.
I must admit that it does take a little time to learn the rules. This game requires people to work together like very few games I've seen. For example trading or giving items to each other deciding what each person is going to do who's going after what etc. This is much more cooperation and not negotiation It is the only board game that I've seen like this. Much more like a D&D style cooperation.
People work together to keep a horrible horror/god like monster from waking up. Each of these wakes to a different set of gates opening with various world conditions present. But before the monster wakes players go about closeing gates that let smaller monsters out into our reality. The better people work together the better chance of winning. We don't count points at the end to find out a single winner but rather consider us all winning if we can prevent the monster from waking (you can defeat him if he awakens but it is very very rare).
The more people you have the longer it takes with 3-4 players most of our games take 2-3 hours. This is a great game for people who like games but don't enjoy the potential bad feelings of the winner/loser games. It actually tends to bring people together for us.
I would give this game 5 stars but the rules are more complex than most people would like.
My husband is a massive HP Lovecraft fan, and we both love board games, so this seemed perfect for us. It arrived very quickly and we decided to invite my brother over for a quick (one to two hour) game. Excitedly we opened the box... and spent the next 90 minutes punching out cardboard pieces and shuffling card decks. Set up accomplished we turned to the rule book to see how to begin, only to realize that the rule book is quite complex and 24 pages of solid information long. We abandoned the game for the night, sent my brother home, and vowed to come back to it as a 2 player game after we had gotten some sleep and had both read the entire rule book. The next day we each spent over an hour reading the rules and we proceeded to set the board up for game play. We still had to consult the rule book nearly every turn and the game play (with the shortest-play villain) took over 5 hours. The problem is the rule book. The rules contradict themselves and there are no clear answers anywhere in print or on-line. That said, now that we've got the hang of it and have made up our own rule clarifications, it is quite fun. I expect it could be a great 3-5 player game, if we can ever convince anyone to come over and play it however the number of game pieces are daunting to many (as is the geeky RPG board game factor). It is okay with just two of us playing but I really feel it needs a few more players to really shine. It is a shame the rules aren't clearer, but I still recommend it... especially to HP Lovecraft and RPG fans. It is certainly a refreshing change of pace to have a co-op multi-player game rather than a competitive one. For fans of this game (or genre) that want simpler rules and faster game play, I highly recommend "Elder Sign". It is a similar game by the same creators that plays twice as fast and is still just as fun.
In the past couple years, I was introduced by some friends to the Cthulhu mythos, which for the uninitiated, is a literary universe begun by HP Lovecraft. The stories are dark and horrific, involving monsters from beyond the deep -- probably the most famous being Cthulhu himself and the terror, insanity, and destruction they cause. While not necessarily my cup of tea, I understood why some people were drawn to these tremendously dark tales, and so wasn't surprised to see Arkham Horror (Fantasy Flight Games, 2005 -- Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson) being republished this year. Not only was the story behind the game of interest to people, but the fact that it was a cooperative game also caught people's interest.
After several playings of the game, I confess that it is intriguing and fun. Some have compared it to Betrayal at House on the Hill, since both are horror-filled, but each fills a different niche. Arkham Horror (AH) is a game deeply rooted in the Lovecraftian mythos, with a fair amount of complexity. Betrayal is simpler and is based on "B" horror movies. AH is probably the most complex cooperative game I've ever played, yet the payoff is probably equal to the time put into the game. Instead of going over the rules (which are quite lengthy), I thought I'd just comment on parts of the game...
- Rules: I'm not a fan of complex games, and AH is about the most complex type of game I would ever be interested in playing. The twenty-four page rulebook is very large -- the same size as the box and each full-color page is packed with rules, diagrams, examples, and illustrations. Once a player learns the game, it's fairly easy to proceed; but I found myself referring to the rulebook often. After a couple of complete games, the dependence on the rulebook will shrink; but the huge amount of options offered by the game pretty much demand a rulebook of this size. If complex rule sets scare you, then this may not be the best pick for you; but I assure you that the end product is worth it.
- Components: I don't know for sure, but I think that there are more pieces in AH than in any other game that I own, even the massive, component-filled Twilight Imperium, 3rd edition. There are twenty-one different DECKS of cards, piles of money tokens, clue tokens, stamina tokens, sanity tokens, skill sliders, etc., etc. In fact, there are seven hundred and thirty-seven total components in the game! Now, that makes setup time a bit long and demands the use of plastic bags (the plastic insert holds the cards well, but not the multitudes of pieces.) But at the same time -- WOW! -- the game has so much inside. After one game, I mentioned to a person that we hadn't even seen 1/4 of the cards provided with the game, and they mentioned that it meant replayability was high. All of the components are of high quality -- the tokens are shaped in different shapes and are thick, two-sided tokens. The cards, which come in two different sizes, have different colors, icons, pictures, and text -- all of which help differentiate between the two of them. There is a LOT of text in the game, enough that it would be a major problem for anyone who is not a native English speaker.
- Setup and Time: Just a quick note -- the game takes a LOT of space. Not only does the game take a while to set up, it also takes up a lot of room on the table. This isn't a game you're going to play at a moment's whim -- a game can take anywhere from two to four hours. That isn't a negative assessment of the game -- a person should just be prepared to invest some time when playing the game.
- Cooperation: AH is a cooperative game, in that all players are working together to stop unspeakable evil from destroying the world. That's a noble goal and all, but some people just aren't going to like it. There is a method to get a final score, similar to Lord of the Rings, but in the games I've played -- no won really cared -- we won or we lost. Now how does the game compare to other cooperation games? It's not as simple and linear as Lord of the Rings; it doesn't have the traitor dilemma from Shadows over Camelot. In fact, I think it most closely resembles Vanished Planet, if Vanished Planet increased its complexity ten-fold. Much of the game is spent with players discussing what to do each turn. This wasn't a problem for me -- I like deliberations in a game, but a few players felt like the game was playing us, rather than the opposite way.
- Theme: In theme, AH is going to be compared to Betrayal at House on the Hill more than any other game, as both are cooperative (kind of) horror-themed games. But the horror factor is different in each. In BaHotH, the horror is the in-your-face, "jump" type horror you'll often find in a "B" horror movie. In AH, the horror is more subtle and sophisticated and is of the type that drives people mad, rather than slashes off their head. I thought the theme worked really well. The amount of flavor text and good illustrations work well. I'm assuming that the game would work better with Lovecraft fans, but I played the game with many people who had no idea who Cthulhu even was, and they still enjoyed the game.
- Characters: One thing that AH has over other cooperative games is that each player controls a completely different character. Of all the aspects of the game, this is one that impressed me the most. Every character has different statistics, starting possessions, and different special abilities -- all that seem to fit quite well with their back story. And every character has something that makes them special. So far, no one has complained about a character; for while some are weak in a particular area (say -- physical combat), they are strong in another (perhaps magical ability). The divergence of investigators is so great that the game pretty much has a role-playing game feel, with each of the players striving to use the characters that they have to the best of their abilities, to help the party as a whole.
- RPG: In fact, while I haven't seen AH advertised as a role-playing experience, that's what I feel it works best as. Players must work together as a team to beat the game; and since each player controls a unique character that brings some sort of special ability to the table, all are important. In one game I played, one player used Joe Diamond, the private eye, who with a couple of guns, walked around like a killing machine for a while. But Joe, as tough as he was, couldn't handle creatures that had physical immunity and had to depend on the "weak" Professor Harvey Walters to handle them. Together (this was a two-player game), they managed to make a tremendous team, stopping the evil.
- Players: The box says that the game handles from one to eight players. So far, I've played with 1, 2, 4, and 5 players, and all of them seem to work well, although it does appear that the number of players does affect the difficulty. I don't think I'll play a solo game that often, because it just seems like a lot of work to set up a game, where I am the only participant (I have the computer for that). But with two or more, everyone seemed to have a blast. Because everyone is interested in everyone else's encounters, there doesn't seem to be a lot of downtime in the game.
- Difficulty: This is a HARD game, but it is beatable. I think the final, evil enemy that is randomly chosen for each game has a major impact on how hard the game is. Some of the enemies, like Azathoth, must be stopped before they enter the fray with the players, others, like Cthulhu himself (itself? herself?) put different restrictions on the players, causing them to have a difficult time when attempting to complete the game. The game is challenging, which is important for a cooperative game; and AH leaves players with enough choices so that when they DO win, they can congratulate themselves on a game well-played, and yet not feel as if they've "solved" the game.
- Monster Movement: There are a lot of interesting mechanics in the game, but I really enjoyed the monsters' movement. At various points in the game, monsters roam throughout the streets of Arkham. Each monster has a symbol on it, denoting what alternate dimension they are from. At the beginning of each turn, a Mythos card is turned over, which has a variety of effects on the game, including the monster movement. On the board, each space is connected to other spaces by white and black arrows. Each Mythos card shows what type of monsters move, and whether they follow a black or white arrow. This gives monsters a random movement that can't be determined yet follows some general patterns. I thought this was exceedingly clever, and hope to see it in some form in other games.
- Monsters: The monsters themselves are a very varied lot. Some of them have different movement abilities (a chart for these would have been nice), some are immune to magical weapons; others can't really be killed (they'll show up again), while still others can't hurt investigators but can scare them half to death. I thought the range of monsters was really neat, although players will often be turning the counters over to examine the special abilities and stats.
- Skill Checks: The combat system and skill check system are fairly simple, WHEN you know them. I found them a bit difficult to explain, as I'm not sure I've played any game that had a system like this before (modifiers affected the number of dice rolled, not the number on those dice). Once players get the uniqueness of the system down; however, it's pretty simplistic. I liked the fact that two of each character's stats were tied together. If one stat was raised, the other lowered, and vice versa. This meant that no investigator, no matter how powerful, was always weak in something, and kept players on their guard. There are some "lucky" and "cursed" cards in the game that are crucial for these tests, and Ally, skill, and item cards also enhance the tests. In this regard, the game reminds me slightly of Duel of Ages. Both games, taken clinically, are a series of tests that are resolved by die rolls. Yet the thematic events behind these tests keep them from becoming dry or boring for me.
- Final Fight: If players don't accomplish one of the victory conditions of the game (shutting down gates, etc.), eventually the big bad bruiser of an enemy will attack players. In our games, we almost hoped for this; because this final confrontation, while long and hard, has such a rewarding benefit and is a climatic ending to a tense game. Still, rushing to shut down the last gate before this beast of evil is released also brings a lot of tense fun to the game.
- Cards: Apparently the original game had a reference book that players looked up when having an encounter. AH uses several decks of cards instead, and I think that works fairly well.
- Stress: Good cooperative games have a nice level of stress in them -- will you finish the game? In this one, the stress is that players must save the world from Evil So-and-So. And it never seems that players can keep up. If they shut down one gate, another opens. If they kill one monster, two more appear. The terror level keeps rising, driving away valuable allies and shutting down useful stores. And that stinkin' Cthulhu is just sitting in the background, laughing and waiting to come in and sweep the invaders away. I LOVE this level of stress -- it's a lot of fun and bands the players together in a way that even Shadows Over Camelot didn't achieve.
- Fun Factor: There are dozens of other factors that I could talk about when discussing this game, because there is so much involved in the game. AH is definitely a "meaty" game. And, if you enjoy the theme and the various decisions to make in the game, it's a lot of fun. Some people, who don't care for horror themes or cooperative play, will not be interested in this game. Others, especially those who want to play an RPG-like game with a horror theme, will have a great time.
This is certainly a game that you should try before you buy if you can. If you are a Cthulhu fan or love cooperative games, then it's a no-brainer -- get it! The good amount of complexity, the massive amount of pieces, and the various options may not be for the fainthearted, though; so you should check it out and see if that's your cup of tea. For me, I really enjoyed it. Arkham Asylum was one of the games that I lay awake at night, wondering what would have happened if I had done something differently. It's one of those games where we didn't talk about the mechanics afterwards, but rather the story. It's one of those games where everyone stands up and high-fives each other when something good happens for the team. That, my friends, is a game I'm glad to own.
"Real men play board games."
Set-up is very slow as the game has nearly 400 heavy cardstock pieces and about 600 playing cards of varying sizes. Most of the pieces are actually placed around the game board, requiring a very large table to play on. Some of the pieces can be kept in the box, making it a bit easier to get to during the game. It took about 30 minutes to setup all the myriad of pieces for the game. However, once the game is setup, play happens fairly logically.
Each player has a character sheet with three slider tokens to mark his skills. He also has a pool of sanity and stamina points that he uses during the game to stay healthy and sane.
Throughout the game, there is the ever- looming great Ancient One (picked randomly before each game) that threatens the city.
The players all cooperate in trying to prevent the Ancient One from awakening and entering the city. They do this by closing the gates that open up each turn. As a gate open, it also spawns monsters in that area who wander the board, looking for fresh players to devour.
Combat is somewhat simple, but takes a bit getting used to. A player rolls his fight skill, modified by any items he's collected, on a 5 or 6 he wins. Some creatures are tougher than others and it takes multiple "wins" to succeed. Once the monster is killed, the player collects the token as a trophy, which can be cashed in later in the game for special items or favors.
Each open gate corresponds to its appropriate Other Worldy area, where players need to go and investigate. Once the other dimension has been explored, the player can make a lore check (by rolling a successful skill check; 5 or 6 wins) to try to close the gate.
However, just because the gate is closed, doesn't mean it can't be reopened by some other evil force. To prevent this, the players must then seal the gate by using five clue tokens. These are gathered as the players move around the city, visiting locations, and encountering the vileness therein.
Once a gate is closed and sealed, no more evil can happen there.
Also, each time a gate is open and monsters appear, a doom token is added to the Ancient One. The doom tokens keep track of the amount of time before the Ancient Evil awakes and attacks the city.
To win the game, the player must seal a minimum amount of gates equal or greater than the number of people playing and possess the trophies from the closed gates. This is calculated for all players combined. So, if four people are playing and one person has three gate trophies, and a second closes the last gate and collects the trophy, that satisfies the victory condition and the players win.
All in all, not a bad game, just a fairly high learning curve. My advice, play the game solo (yes, it is setup so one player can play) for a few games to get a few of how things transpire before inviting your friends over to play it.