Survivors! Where should we start with this game?
Well the answer is simple, we start with the Core Set. What an incredibly cool game this is, it all starts in your own home. You can all read the first scenario, just slam the link button. The gathering is the first story that immediately drags us into the dark world of this LCG.
We all know Magic the gathering and other card games that we all grew up with, but this game really is Next lvl. You don't have to buy boosters or booster boxes just to hope for that one card. No no. When purchasing your first core set you know which cards you will receive (also with all other expansions, by the way) it is a living card game. This means that every turn a totally unexpected action or event can take place that blows you off your seat. If you just thought you could sit back and enjoy the choices you have made, they will fall into nothingness and you will have to come up with a completely different tactic to get you out of this grueling situation.
Just like with LOTR LCG, you have a quest or assignment to complete. Such as obtaining so many quest points to go to the next stage. Well you have to do that with Arkham Horror to bring the act card to a new stage. The only difference is that Arkham Horror can also let you advance the act deck in other ways. Such as coaxing a certain character or defeating a bad ass monster. You play at all times against an encounter deck that you must put together in advance with the explained cards that you can find in the booklet. Each round that you repeat a scenario can therefore be completely different. With LOTR LCG, the main thing you need to do is get quest points and go through the different stages. Arkham Horror is really based on the campaign modes and that means that you have multiple endings per scenario. Such as Resolution 1,2,3,4 or even 5. These R endings have to do with how well you and your other investigators go through the play session.
Each ending has a minus or plus point. Depending on how you played it. This can have serious disadvantages for the next story you start. Each cycle has one major extension and 6 chapters. You understand the further you get in the story the more difficult it becomes. So that means if you and your friends are doing badly, you can expect a nice obstacle in the next chapter.
We also have to talk about the locations and travel promotions. As in LOTR LCG, you must and can go to certain locations. In LOTR LCG I personally did not find this very chill. Often also, because it did not yield much. Take, for example, The Hills of Emyn Muil, a location-bound scenario from LOTR LCG. You are really just increasing your quest points to move on to the next scenario. I think this is the stale mechanism of LOTR LCG while Jessie thinks this is quite cool. Also in Arkham Horror you have locations where you have to go, only this one has a lot more depth and is a crucial part of the game. Not only can you only find clues at locations, you also encounter or leave the enemies here. Some scenarios can only be achieved to finish in certain locations or just to run the agenda as a team at certain locations.
Back to The Gathering, it all starts in your study where suddenly your house turns into a home nightmare. After escaping from your study, all kinds of new locations come into play. You never know what lies behind the location, because this only becomes visible when you have actually been there. That's what makes the locations so cool in this game. After visiting a location, everything becomes much clearer to you about what you have to do to continue.
Next time we will discuss the First impression further.
Jeroen - Team dutch blogger