On the night before Thanksgiving, I got an unexpected call from Arthur. He said Mike was in town, had heard that I had a Lovecraft board game, and asked if they could both come over and play Arkham Horror. I asked, “Now?” Response: “Yes.”
I’d planned to spend my evening doing other things (well, playing World of Warcraft or Skyrim), but what the heck? Let’s play a game. I quickly pushed the cat food into the bedroom and moved furniture around to create space for the huge game board.
I’m so glad I did. We all made mistakes, both in playing the game and interpreting the rules. We still had loads of fun. With three players, the game was just as complex as I noted in my review; parts of the game became simpler with more players, parts became harder.
At the end, the Great Old One we fought was Hastur. The mad god pounded on our sanity. First my character fell, then Arthur’s. Finally it came down to one single die roll by Mike: make the roll, and Hastur perished; fail and the world was devoured.
Mike did it! We won!
This is why I enjoy gaming so much: The delight of unexpected and challenging moments that can be shared with friends.
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After re-reading the rules, I discovered I made some important mistakes in interpreting the rules for Arkham Horror that night. I know no one is likely to read this comment, but I want to set down my mistakes so I’ll remember for next time. And I certainly hope there’ll be a next time!
– This didn’t come up, since everyone fought and had one-shot encounters with the monsters, but: If you choose to evade a monster, there’s no horror check if the evade succeeds. If you fight a monster, there’s only one horror check at the start of the combat; there’s no horror check in subsequent rounds.
– Big mistake: You don’t need five clue tokens to close a gate. You need five tokens to _seal_ a gate. Sealing gates is a good thing, but if you just want to close it down (and risk a new gate will open at the same location), you don’t need clues.
– I didn’t understand what the Outskirts were for. If you have to place more monsters than is allowed by the monster limit, you still have to pick the monsters anyway. The “excess” monsters go into the Outskirts space on the board. When the number of monsters in the Outskirts exceeds a limit (5 for a 3-player game), the Terror track goes up by 1. This gives players more incentive to fight monsters, because the game gets harder as Arkham’s Terror increases.
– I got this part right: If a Mythos card has an Environment section, and there’s already an Environment in play, the new Environment overrides the old one. I got this part wrong: If a Mythos card has a Rumor section, and there’s already a Rumor in play, the new Rumor does _not_ override the old one. This is nasty, because most of the Rumors have a progressive flavor that makes the game harder over time.
As it was ending I noticed we all forgot about our characters’ abilities. My character had a skill that reduced the san damage he took by one, which meant he would have survived longer and made for a less exciting win.