Ever watched a classic heist film and wondered what it would be like to orchestrate one? What role would you play? What target would you choose? What would the prize be? Well, Arkham Horror gives you the opportunity to find out in their newest scenario pack, ‘Fortune and Folly’.
In this review, I’ll cover everything that truly made this scenario pop, and why you should line it up as the next part of your Arkham Horror campaign. As always, I’ll try my best to avoid any in depth spoilers for the story and characters as much as possible.
A casino in Monte Carlo is using twisted means to push luck in its favour. Gaining wealth and reputation in the process, but bringing grisly ends to their patrons as a result. As always, it fall to yourself and three other investigators to uncover the dark secrets behind this casino and bring an end to their nefarious ways.
Personally, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this scenario and start playing. The more I read online about the theme, mechanics and story, the more I wanted to get stuck in. So once it arrived, our group found the best heist soundtrack, prepared our investigators and got to planning.
Now You Investigate Me
When you crack open the blister pack, you’ll find three things every investigator needs to take on their local chaos filled casino. Two packs of cards and a fairly thick booklet full of story and instructions. As with most scenario packs, you don’t appear to get a lot of components inside, but don’t be disheartened. There’s more gameplay inside those cards than you could ever imagine.
As with all retail products for Arkham Horror, the quality of the cards is incredibly high. They hold their shape and don’t warp easily. It’s great to see that the stock they use for the cards hasn’t changed, and they continue to live up to the high standard of expectations that they’ve set themselves.
Another strong suit is the art throughout this scenario. As always, the artists have outdone themselves and given a true arkham twist to all of the usual heist gimmicks and tropes. Additionally, the illustrations stay true to what the player is looking for as they either prepare or carry out the heist. If you’re looking for medallion wearing staff to manipulate, the art is your best chance at spotting them.
The narrative truly is where this scenario shines the most. There is quite a lot of reading to do in the playthrough, but the context, imagery and humor pulls you in and compels you to keep reading. In fact, as we were reading through part of the intro, the list of things to look out for reminded the group of a scene out of Oceans 11, and so we couldn’t resist having heist music in the background whilst we discussed the plan and read out the rest of the introduction.
It goes without saying that the thematics were outstanding all throughout the scenario. Each Arkham horror scenario follows a strong theme and Fortune and Folly was no different. As we played through, each of us spotted film references, Heist tropes, and were able to live out some of our favourite scenes from our favourite films and shows.
However, one of my favourite aspects of the scenario as a whole was the game mechanics. Mainly, the use of card suits and numbers on the upper left hand side of the card. Rifle through the cards and you’ll find just a normal scenario deck with the usual features, and an unusual corner. However, flick through the left corners on their own and you have a miniature deck of playing cards. Given the casino theme, this was really cool to see, and only the start of the excitement. During the game, these suits can be used to play, and cheat, your way through casino games such as roulette and slots. If you lose, then the action points are wasted, but if you win, you might just open doors that will be useful later on.
The Chaos Counter
The scenario itself is split into two parts, The Plan and The Heist. These are two separate chapters of the scenario and require individual setups. Therefore, players can either choose to play one part per session, or playthrough the entire scenario in one fell swoop. And although we played the whole scenario in one sitting, it allowed us to take a break in between parts and discuss how it was going so far. As a whole, this structure was really refreshing and made us feel like we were getting even more value and playtime out of a scenario than usual.
Along the way, you’ll meet characters that play a big part in how successful the evening is, so be sure to choose your allies wisely. Some group decisions came down to a vote as to whether we interacted with certain characters, where other choices were a no-brainer as we wanted to achieve as much as we could before we set out on the heist.
There’s also a list of objectives for you to try and achieve as you play through each part. The more you achieve, the better your chances will be when it comes to carrying out the heist. Some of these objectives relate to locations or objectives, which made it really important to read the cards as you progressed. It also didn’t hurt to explore every nook and cranny so as not to miss anything important.
Overall, the gameplay was really strong, and the mechanics throughout gave it a real charm. There were parts of the game where we felt like we were gambling at a real casino with the awareness of being watched if we were winning too much. Additionally, the change in the style of locations between parts seamlessly added new content to rooms that we had relentlessly explored in the first part. It actually gave the feeling of the casino being alive.
As for exploring and interacting with the different areas. The front of house casino area was thematically brilliant. The mechanics shone through and genuinely made us feel like we were exploring a casino and inadvertently wasting our resources on gambling. Unfortunately, the back of house area really let the theme down, and seemed to just be generically themed. It played out like a standard chapter of a campaign, and didn’t really bring anything to the casino or heist theme. In addition, the mechanics in the back of the house area were lackluster and made us miss the excitement and chaos of the front of the house.
As with most scenario packs, all rounder investigators seemed to do really well in both parts. But even specialized decks were able to do well thanks to the ‘Roles’ mechanic. At the beginning of the scenario, each investigator has to choose a role to take on for the duration. These are much like the roles that people taking part in an actual heist might have. The roles are, The Muscle, The Face, The Grifter and The Thief. Each one focuses on a different skill test and provides a benefit when performing certain actions. In addition, most roles contain a means to lower your alarm level, the likeliness of being caught, so you can slip in and out undetected,
Overall, both myself and the rest of our group thoroughly enjoyed Fortune and Folly and agreed that it was one of the best so far, being second only to Machinations of Time in my opinion. The themes, mechanics and narrative gave it a unique charm that other adventure card games just can’t replicate. Furthermore, the theme allowed our silly sides to come out as we spoke in old timey voices and played heist music as we plotted our plan. I really believe that the sense of humour behind this game makes it as good as it is, and the fact it encourages it s playerbase to be just as silly; well that’s the icing on the cake.
If you can get your hands on this pack before it sells out, I implore you to do so. It’s one of the best there is in the franchise. In addition, I recommend playing this with 4 players if you can, as even more frantic decisions being made, makes this scenario so much more fun.
So, there you have it. My mostly spoiler free review of the newest Arkham Horror scenario on the block, ‘Fortune and Folly. I hope you enjoy playing it as much as we did, and I also hope you embrace your silly side too. It makes games far more interesting. Fortune and Folly is out now, so why not add it to your collection and take on the most chaotic heist in arkham history?