|They city of Arkham|
Arkham Asylum by Fantasy Flight Games is a board game set in the world of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Strange events are happening around the city of Arkham... several investigators, controlled by the players, have to go around the city collecting clues to what's been going on. Each round, a portal to the outer realms opens, spilling monsters and worse into the city streets, and it's up to the investigators to fight the monsters, and even more terrifying, dive into the portals to close them and stop the eventual awakening of one of the Great Old Ones, a being so powerful and horrible your very sanity could be destroyed!
For this game, we used the Dunwich Horror expansion to extend the board and add several cards to the decks. Three players, DanTrollBlitzer, Leland and myself took control of four investigators. With two or three players this feels like the right amount of characters. The number of investigators used controls several things, including how many monsters can be loose on the board at a time, influences one of the winning conditions, and determines how quickly the "terror track" rises. The "terror track" shows what the current fear level of the inhabitants of Arkham are feeling as strange events and monsters continue to show up in the city, occasionally closing stores and other locations where investigators will want to go. For this game, we chose the last four investigators we hadn't used yet...Diana Stanley the redeemed cultist, Marie Lambeau the entertainer, Wilson Richards the handyman, and Rita Young the athlete.
|Investigator card, ready to go|
The game progression is fairly simple... first each investigator takes a movement action. Usually this involves trying to reach a space with a clue token (you need 5 to close a gate permanently), come into contact with a monster to battle it, or move toward an open gate in order to dive into it to try and close it. Then, there is the encounter phase. Unless you have taken a special action, like trying to heal either you body at the hospital or your sanity at the asylum, or if you finish your movement in the streets, you have an encounter at the location you are standing in. There is a deck of cards for each location's encounters. Sometimes they are beneficial, most depend on the roll of the dice, and some are downright awful! But all are interesting. DanTrollBlitzer has a standing rule that says, "If the card starts 'Do you place your hand/ do you talk to the man/ do you pick up the item' then the answer is NO!" I, on the other hand, NEVER RETREAT and will often attempt to play along! Certainly they add flavor to the feeling of insanity that begins to sweep through the city. Once everyone in Arkham has had an encounter, anyone in the outer realms had a Other World encounter. These are also often very bad....mostly. Finally, at the end of the round, there is a Mythos card, which contains either a News Headline (Murders in the Easttown Streets!) a Rumor (Profane Relic Seized!) or an environment card (Icy Conditions). After resolving the effects on the card, it tells a location where a new clue appears, dictates the location of the new gate that opens, and gives directions to how the monsters on the board move.
|The Redeemed Cultists goes shopping|
|Terror reigns in Arkham|
|Marie prepared to fight Abhoth!|
Next gaming day in July 16th! Anyone is welcome to join!