Arkham is in Peril
An Ancient One stirs. The veil between our world and the dimensions beyond weakens. The evil that has taken possession of the Miskatonic University has escaped the Museum. A miasma of despair has been carried forth, which seeps into the streets of Arkham. The city chokes. Eldritch gates unleash deadly monsters, time is running out for humanity. If the Investigators are to survive, they must sally forth in search of new Allies, Spells and Items. New Skills must be learnt and Elder Signs unearthed.
The clock is ticking towards Arkham’s doom. Can you seal away the Ancient One before it awakens and consumes everything?
Gates of Arkham is the second expansion for Elder Sign. It is a cooperative dice game for 1 to 8 players, based on the Cthulhu mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. It is the first expansion to introduce a new game mode (Streets of Arkham). Which is played with stand-alone Adventure and Mythos decks. This expansion also introduces new game mechanics (detailed below), four Ancient Ones, eight Investigators, and new Spell, Ally, Common and Unique item cards. Most components from this expansion can be added to the base game to enrich your gaming experience. Only those marked (!) will be used exclusively when playing the Streets of Arkham.
The Streets of Arkham game mode will use only the 78 Arkham Adventure Cards, and 30 Mythos from this expansion. Please note, this is an expansion. A copy of Elder Sign is required in order to play.
The clock, dice and Other World Deck from the base game are needed, along with the common components (Investigator, Item, Spell & Ally Cards, Monster Markers and assorted tokens). These will be combined with the corresponding components from Gates of Arkham and set out for play.
The Curse & Blessing cards (and dice) from the Unseen Forces expansion can also be used but are not essential. Some Arkham Adventure cards will offer the player split rewards and penalties. In some instances, one of the choices will feature Blessings and Curses. An option requiring only components from Elder Sign or this expansion will always be available.
New elements introduced in this expansion include:
Skills represent knowledge and experience that the Investigators gain during the course of the game. Once acquired, a skill will remain with the player until its effect expires or a game effect removes it.
Events are random occurrences that may help or hinder an Investigator. If an Investigator begins the resolution phase on an Adventure showing an Event symbol, the player must reveal and resolve the top card of the Event deck.
- Eldritch Gates
Certain game effects will open gates at Adventure cards, linking them to Other World Adventures. Whilst a gate is open, Investigators will be unable to move to the Adventure card until the Other World Adventure has been resolved.
During the course of the game, Investigators will have opportunities to join the Sheldon Gang or the Order of the Silver Twilight. Being a member of one of these organisations has its advantages. Some tasks on Adventure cards can be ignored, and some bonuses will offer an additional item to members. But be warned, some game effects will specifically target members of both organisations. Nothing is risk free in Arkham!
Hitting the Streets
The objective in Streets of Arkham is to dash the hopes of the Ancient One you have pit yourself against: Yibb-Tstll, Ghatanothoa, Atlach-Nacha or Yog-Sothoth.
Take your favourite (or a random) Investigator in hand and venture into Arkham, depicted by the Arkham Adventure cards. To achieve the objective, players will be rolling dice to resolve tasks on Adventure cards and overcome monsters. Eventually unearthing those Adventures that offer a glimmer of hope, Elder Signs!
Gameplay is largely the same as in the base game, with one notable change. Half of the starting Adventures will be face down. Also, each new Adventure will enter play face down. The back of each Adventure will state the difficulty (Green, Yellow, Red = Easy, Normal, Hard) and have an effect. Some effects are mandatory, others are not.
When moving to a face down Adventure, the Investigator first resolves the effect and then flips the card. If the Adventure has an Entry effect on the front, it must be carried out immediately. It provides an element of risk players must contend with and players will need to take risks in order to be successful. Dodging the hard Adventures may lead to the accrual of Items. However, each time the clock strikes midnight, new effects come into play. These may speed the awakening of the Ancient One or trigger other events players must deal with.
Gates of Arkham is a worthwhile investment for fans of the Elder Sign game. Like Unseen Forces, which came before it, Gates provides new content for use in the base game. Unlike Unseen Forces however, Gates provides a new way to enjoy the game. The Streets of Arkham game mode is a great way for players to gradually increase the difficulty and hone their skills. This prepares players for the greater challenges presented in the Omens expansions (Of Ice, Of the Deep, and Of the Pharaoh).
For fans of Arkham and/or Eldritch Horror who would like to mix things up, with a lighter, quicker game experience in the same setting. Elder Sign and the Gates Expansion would be the place to start.