• bgg-golden-geek

Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Revised Core Set

RRP: £69.99
Now £52.49(SAVE 25%)
RRP £69.99
[yith_wcwl_add_to_wishlist]
Nexy Day Delivery

You could earn

5249 Victory Points

with this purchase

The boundaries between worlds have drawn perilously thin. Dark forces work in the shadows and call upon unspeakable horrors, strange happenings are discovered all throughout the city of Arkham, Massachusetts, and behind it all an Ancient One manipulates everything from beyond the veil. It is time to revisit that which started it all…With a revamped system of organization and a num…
Read More
Share
Share this

Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • If you like Lovecraft you will love this!
  • Cosmic Horror
  • Mystery
  • Solo/ Co-op play

Might Not Like

  • No dice
  • No minis
  • Not competitive
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Related Products

Description

The boundaries between worlds have drawn perilously thin. Dark forces work in the shadows and call upon unspeakable horrors, strange happenings are discovered all throughout the city of Arkham, Massachusetts, and behind it all an Ancient One manipulates everything from beyond the veil. It is time to revisit that which started it all…With a revamped system of organization and a number of quality-of-life improvements, this new version of the beloved LCG’s core set is the perfect way for someone to dive into the game. The box comes with everything you need to get your Arkham campaigns started, including enough cards and components for up to three other players to join you in your quest against the Mythos. There is a reason why Arkham Horror: The Card Game has captivated players for almost five whole years!

 

The Horror

Arkham Horror the Card Game is a living card game (LCG) set in the universe of H.P. Lovecraft. Think cosmic horror, ghouls, cultists and unimaginable monstrosities lurking just beyond the boundaries of our reality. Risking their health and sanity to protect our world are a variety of investigators from across the globe with a variety of backgrounds and skills at their disposal. You take control of these unlikely heroes as they attempt to defeat debased cultists and horrific creatures, and strive to prevent unspeakable horrors from gaining power and a foothold in our world, in standalone sessions or through a series of linked scenarios.

Revised Core Set

The Revised Core Set of Arkham Horror the Card Game is a fantastic way to start your adventure. The core box has five characters to choose from, one from each of the game’s classes (guardian, seeker, mystic, survivor and rogue). Each of the investigators comes with its own starter ‘deck’ and plenty of options for customisation as experience points are earned throughout the game. Arkham Horror the Card Game can be played by 1 – 4 players and the revised core set includes enough cards for all four players to get started and play through their first campaign.

Night Of The Zealot

In addition to the characters themselves, and the cards required to shape how they will act when playing Arkham Horror the Card Game, the revised core box includes three scenarios that can be played independently or linked together as a campaign – The Night of the Zealot. This is one of the most interesting features of the game. The options for building a starting deck for your investigator can seem limitless as you add a variety of skills, events, weapons and allies. Furthermore, you can earn experience during the game to replace or upgrade your starting cards; for example more ammunition for your guns, a new spell, skills, events and abilities – such as undertaking physical training to help your investigator succeed in skill checks.

Not only can you use experience points to adapt how your investigator will perform, but the choices you make when playing, and your successes or otherwise, will likewise shape how subsequent scenarios play out during the campaign. Do you continue to fight a strong opponent hoping that lady luck will intervene or do you resign from the scenario to make sure your investigator lives to fight another day? You don’t have to succeed to advance to the next scenario – but your future experiences will be different depending upon how each scenario concludes.

The scenarios and campaigns within Arkham Horror the Card Game make the experience of playing special. Unique even. I strongly recommend that you play through the Night of the Zealot before watching any of the excellent online playthroughs. Whilst these videos can be entertaining and great to watch, exemplifying just how varied each scenario can play based upon the investigators chosen and the makeup of their ‘decks’, playing a scenario without knowing what is coming next makes Arkham Horror the Card Game an experience akin to watching a mystery film or trying to crack the puzzles in an escape room. If you like Lovecraft’s stories, the Call of Cthulhu RPG, or any of the multitude of games set within the Lovecraft setting, you will enjoy this game. Fear not, however, even those oblivious to Lovecraft are likely to become invested in the setting after playing through a campaign or two and Arkham Horror the Card Game is a good way to familiarise yourself with the Cthulhu/Lovecraft Mythos and its denizens.

Gameplay & Set up

Setting up Arkham Horror the Card game is really simple. Each investigator has its own rules for deck building printed on the reverse of the character card. For example, Roland Banks is a Federal Agent in the revised core box. Roland can choose cards from the combat-focussed Guardian selection, neutral cards and level 0-2 Seeker cards, reflecting his training in clue gathering and investigation. Don’t worry though, the starter decks for each character are well-balanced and flavourful, making an ideal introduction to the game. All you have to do is remove the cellophane and give them a shuffle.

Each scenario comes with an ‘encounter deck’, representing the enemies and events that you will face during the adventure, and scenario-specific story cards and locations to explore. Without giving anything away, our heroes find themselves in given locations and they must uncover clues, whilst defeating or avoiding enemies, to reach a positive conclusion before doom advances to a level that progresses the story toward a more negative conclusion. Don’t worry, there is a very handy walkthrough guide to help you play through your first scenario in the revised core box. Once you progress to scenario two, you have a comprehensive glossary of rules to refer to when the need arises.

A particularly interesting mechanic in Arkham Horror the Card Game is how skill tests are carried out. Each investigator has four stats; Combat, Intellect, Willpower and Agility. Depending upon the nature of the character the stats will be slightly different. For example, Roland has a respectable three for Willpower and Intellect, a formidable four for Combat, and a sub-optimal two for Agility. Of course, these stats can be modified through the use of cards such as weapons to improve Combat, esoteric texts for Intellect, mystic talismans for Willpower, and talents such as hyperawareness for Agility.

Skill tests have a target value. For example, a location may have a shroud value of three, representing the difficulty of the test to recover a clue from a location. The player checks the investigator’s statistic against the difficulty and then draws a modifier token from the Chaos Bag. The Chaos Bag contains multiple tokens ranging from +1 to -8 with some special tokens with effects specific to the scenario you are playing. At the start of the scenario, you choose the difficulty that you wish to play at (easy, standard, hard or expert). The scenario instructs you which of the 44 chaos tokens to put into the bag depending upon the difficulty chosen. When a token is drawn, the player applies the modifier to the relevant stat and checks against the difficulty of the test.

Flying Solo

I love solo games. My day job can take me away from home for days or weeks at a time and I am always looking for ways to entertain myself when holed up in a dingy hotel in the back of beyond. To that end I own a lot of games that claim to have solo modes. Unfortunately, the solo option in games can often be a clunky afterthought or, even more disappointedly, the ‘solo’ mode entails taking control of two characters instead of one. When I want to fly solo, I want a game system that has been specifically designed with solo play in mind. If the game has multiplayer options, I want it to scale effectively depending upon the number of participants. Arkham Horror the Card Game does this particularly well.

Whilst you may need to employ a different strategy in solo play, the game remains immersive and whilst challenging it always feels achievable. Whereas when playing with friends you can select complementary characters to balance each others’ weaknesses and take advantage of the areas within which they excel, you have no such luxury in solo play. You are going to fight off the enemy, uncover decadent communities and strive to protect humanity against great, unfathomable abominations and you are going to do it alone. As the scenarios progress, spending experience to hone your investigator deck is critically important.

In my current game, I am using the fed, Roland. He’s physically resilient and when he gets a weapon and an ally into play to help him, he can coast through combat. Furthermore, when Roland defeats an enemy he can automatically discover clues at a given location, potentially halving the amount of time to progress the story in a positive way – this is ultimately after all a race against time to uncover clues as doom ticks inexorably toward a less favourable conclusion.

Unfortunately, Roland isn’t particularly strong-willed. Some of the things he has seen in my latest campaign have left him traumatised; no amount of training could prepare him for what he has witnessed. In his next outing, poor Roland will start with two mental damage. Given that he only has a sanity value of five, it will not take much in the way of otherworldly experiences or gruesome adversaries to send him over the edge. At the end of his last scenario I spent Roland’s experience points to upgrade an ally and to acquire an Elder Sign Amulet. The improved Beat Cop can shield Roland from mental and physical damage whilst the amulet adds a whopping three to his dwindling sanity. Hopefully, these key cards will surface before he is tested too severely…

Living Card Games – The Next Steps

The revised core box contains three scenarios for players to experience. However, there are now multiple expansions that offer new investigators and full campaigns to play when you are ready to move on. Arkham Horror the Card Game is a Living Card Game (LCG). This means that when you purchase an expansion, you are buying a specific experience. You know exactly what cards will be in the pack as this is consistent across the cosmos. There’s no buying boosters hoping to get a stick of dynamite or a magical flute*, you’ll know exactly where to find it. After completing the Night of the Zealot, I would recommend tackling the Dunwich Legacy Campaign Expansion. This was the first expansion in the original release cycle and therefore is a good way to slowly take on board additional game design rules – plus it’s an absolute classic Lovecraft story!

Overall Thoughts

As you will have guessed if you have read this far, I am a big fan of this game. It ticks many of my boxes:

  • It’s portable if I want to take a game away for work or to a friend’s house;
  • It has great replayability – even though you learn how the scenarios will progress, how they play out varies massively depending upon the cards drawn and the content of your investigator deck;
  • The theme is phenomenal. Lovecraft’s mythos is remarkable and immersive – the amazing artwork really helps to add to the experience too;
  • The game plays equally well solo or as a multiplayer experience; and
  • It’s a cooperative game so I can play with friends to defeat the unspeakable evil (plus my daughter cheats at anything competitive and this keeps her in check) – we win together or we lose together. Wholesome.

However, further down the line, storage is going to be an issue. If you go beyond the revised core box of Arkham Horror the Card Game and an expansion or two, this becomes unwieldy and difficult to store. Whilst taking scenarios and a pre-built deck out may be easy to transport, you need to think about storage solutions and a robust filing system.

My only other warning relates to the themes and content. Arkham Horror the Card Game contains grisly adversaries, strong occult references, and artwork that may not be suitable for young children. If they’re pre-teen, you may want to consider something a little lighter.

 

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • If you like Lovecraft you will love this!
  • Cosmic Horror
  • Mystery
  • Solo/ Co-op play

Might not like

  • No dice
  • No minis
  • Not competitive