Back of the Box: Arkham Horror

H.P. Lovecraft, to me, has always been the Tolkien of horror. He excels at making the perfect mood, with carefully described images that stick in your head… if you can get through the writing. While not nearly as encyclopedic as Tolkien’s books, it’s still very dense. For that reason I lost much geek cred by admitting that I’ve never read all of the LotR Trilogy, nor have I read much of Lovecraft, relying (in both cases) on wikipedia, and whatever my friends tell me about it.
I did try to read Lovecraft though, since Cthulhuis a pretty big deal on the internet, but it was not to be. So when my friends pulled out a pretty large board, and told me we were going to play a game based on the Lovecraft Mythos, I was more excited than a person should be, and even though it took me a few sessions to get a grasp on the rules, Arkham Horror quickly became one of my favorite games ever.
As you might guess, I’d highly recommend this game to just about anyone, but my job here is to help you decide if you should invest the time and money in this game. So…

Should You Buy This Game?

Here are things to consider when you’re choosing between Arkham Horror and a nice evening out:

Things to Consider:

Arkham Horror is not a short game. It takes a while to set up, a while to play, and if you want to be able to set it up easily next time, a while to put away. It’s a high maintenance game, that asks you have a lot of patience. It’s also a game where the odds are stacked against you. Unlike other board games, the assumption is that you will probably lose. There is also little competition between the other players – you may try to get to the same clue tokens, but for the most part it’s cooperative. And this changes the mentality you have to go in with when playing a board game – instead of “How do I win?” or “How can I screw things up for everyone else so I can win”,  Arkham Horrorrequires more of a “Ok, if I kill those monsters, then my friend can get to the gate unscathed, and hopefully close it before Nyarlathotep rises and eats us.”

Of course, if you want, you can keep score, and see who did better – who closed more gates, who killed more monsters, etc… but my personal opinion is that this ruins a bit of the atmosphere the game sets up really well.


Fun Fact! Arkham Horrorwas origianlly going to be called Call of C’thulhu: The Board Game.

Double Fun Fact: Arkham Horrorwas designed by Richard Launius, who wrote up this nifty guide of House Rules he uses to make the game more enjoyable.

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  1. Written by Vizier
    on 2010-05-18 at 14:48

    I love Arkham Horror and the whole class of games that have the players working together to try and beat the game itself. The “Lord of the Rings” boardgame and “Shadows over Camelot” are also excellent ones to try if you have a bunch of people who want a gaming challenge. “Shadows over Camelot” is probably my favorite. “Arkham Horror” is probably the hardest that I've encountered.

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