Arkham Horror Video Review

Myriad Board Games

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What’s Cool:

  • There is a background story for each character.
  • Nice slider control on your character sheet.
  • Monsters have a small story too.
  • Store owners close shop when the horror level  gets too high!
  • The game’s setting is dark and gloomy.
  • The boss fights are exciting.

What’s Not:

  • Way too many cards.
  • Spells take up space for nothing. (try a game without them)
  • Ugly Dice. They could have supplied nice dark dice.
  • You must supply your own bag or bowl. (box cover is used for all other pieces)
  • The rule book is not well organized.

Neutral Information:

  • The board is always the same at the start.
  • Can’t attack each other.
  • Can be played alone!
  • You’re going to be doing some basic math. (Nothing major)

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24 comments

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  1. This is a game where I looove the flavor but would hesitate to buy. I played it a few times but because it’s such a long play time (2-3 hours), it’s hard to justify the purchase with my play group. I give this game 10/10 in flavor though. If you are familiar with the mythos, you should play the game just for that reason alone.

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    • Patrick on October 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    May be alone here, but I really dislike this game, which is a shame because I am huge fan of Lovecraftian lore. This game, though valiantly, just gets lost in the many many many many cards it comes with and clean up is such a hassle and many of the cards are so randomly powerful against you that it feels frustrating at times. Similar to Flying Frog games, you simply move and read a card that tells you what to do. There is little room for your own decisions and you don’t really feel like you are impacting the story all that much. The game takes way too long to handle the headache of components and gameplay. I say pass on this one and find another game of fright.

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    • Tony on August 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Btw they sell separate custom dices just like you asked for.
    Just spend more money. :D

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  2. Oh, and by the way… the solo mode is broken. You must use several Characters, even when playing solo.

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  3. I like this game a lot because, like many others, Lovecraft is one of my favorite author.
    But this game doesn’t make it very often to the game table… the reasons ?

    Too many things in this game… too much cards, too much setup time, too many random elements…
    And even if some friends like it, i find the sliders on the character cards pretty useless.
    Well, useless might not be the right word, but i think it’s not necessary.
    The first edition (back then) didn’t have these sliders.

    When it comes to the huge expansions, it’s always the same thing… do i have to put all the cards and additional rules and creatures or can i just use a couple of them… does it affect the balance of the game ?

    I must confess I now prefer A Touch of Evil…

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  4. This is, by far, one of my favorite games. Everything pulls together to create a suspenseful story that unfolds over the course of the night. Not knowing what you’ll face at any given location, planning your next steps using the sliders, working with the other players to figure out the best course to close off the gates is atmospheric, tense and a lot of fun. I don’t mind the cards at all. It keeps things from getting too repetitive in what is often a three hour or longer game.

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    • TheImp on March 27, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    This is my second favorite co-op. My only issues with it are it usually takes a full night to play and there is a bit of a wait between your turns so it is a good thing i enjoy watching the game and story unfold.

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    • Dollie on December 26, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    I know a thing or two about Lovecraft.. The spells are in the game as part of the ‘gag’ it’s just the thing that comes with playing a Lovecraftian game. It wouldn’t be a true Lovecraftian game without them. As investigators encounter and learn knowledge of the mythos they will gamble with their sanity. You cannot shoot Cthulhu with a shotgun. There are games where you go around shooting the elder gods with pistols but Lovecraft fans find them to be a sort of disservice to what his literary philosophy was supposed to be about. He believed that the cosmos had an indifferent relationship with mankind and that humans have limited sensory faculties to comprehend the true nature of the universe; supposing one fragment of truth were to be discovered in a chain with another the piecing together of this knowledge would open up terrifying vistas of reality and the investigator would either go mad from the revelation or be driven absolutely batshit insane. In the Call of Cthulhu (CoC) horror roleplaying game.. all characters are either devoured or driven insane. In most games your dude gets more and more chicks, booty and reknown.. getting increasingly more badass and cool.. in Lovecraft’s cthulhu mythos everyone is a pawn in a chessgame where even the players do not understand the pieces. As children human beings stomp on ant hills; for no reason.

    My beefs with the game: the sliders. Unless you’ve played the game many times and know the mathematical probability of how many cards do what and how to best use the sliders at different locations forget it you will find moving them around to be a chore either way. its the worst mechanic to the game. the amount of cards is an obstacle no question and the game not fitting itself back in the box very well especially with added expansion compounds this issues.
    I just got a game called Tales Of The Arabian Nights. It has a spiral-bound book with like.. a sort of matrix of randomly generated numbers up to something like 2000 encounters. And that takes up a lot less space and in my eyes is the way games like this should be made. Arkham Horror is a game that should be using more paper for the cards you dont need tokens and cards for everything.
    I recommend checking out the Call of Cthulhu horror roleplaying game it is basically the same as this but in your head (where the mythos belongs)

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  5. The BEST part of this series is adding all the expansions in at once, sitting down for half a dozen hours and getting obliterated by the board game itself. My friends and I almost never win, but that is a part of what makes it so fun!

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  6. Great game, although limited playability unless you have a devoted group of gamers that are into more complex games. Plus, the time it takes to play it makes it one where you have to almost plan around the game. But, if you’re into the Lovecraft Mythos, this is a must-have game.

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  7. I really like Arkham Horror. The game system is well designed and challenging. It produces a fantastic sense of dread and at times it just seems impossible to win. And, to be honest, I find that sense of impossibility exhilarating. But, as with many games, how much you, or anyone, enjoys it is a function of their willingness or ability to get into the theme. If the theme seems silly, the game will too.

    Your comments about the spells I distantly sympathize with. But they are important thematically insofar as they staple of the Cthulhu Literary Mythos.

    As you all pointed out, there are a lot of cards in this game. The number of cards can be difficult to manage and set up, but they are essential to the game’s re-playability; allowing for complex and different characters each game and allowing for a decent variety of encounters and mythos events. I have to admit that I’m one of those gamers who finds the management and set up of the cards an enjoyable aspect of the game; so this I find to be a sort of virtue.

    I really enjoyed this game and your review of it.

    Arkham Horror: 8.5

    Board to Death’s Review of it: 9

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    • ranoobu on March 23, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    This is one of those epic type games (in my opinion) because it can take hours and hours to play… if you are into the theme and want some adventure with a lot of depth in story, then you are playing the right game.

    As others have said, the rules may be a bit intimidating. I recommend that you learn the game yourself and maybe play through a few solo games before teaching other people. Trust me, you never want to learn with everyone else.. there’s a lot of downtime you’ll include in an already long game.

    The quality is all there and the rulebook is huge!

    Note: the base game will somewhat seem really easy once you get the hang of it. You’re probably going to need at least one expansion to make the game more challenging.

    I enjoy this game, but it’s definitely hard to find the needed time to play a full game. Sometimes, we play a few hours and come back to it.. just make sure you have enough room to leave it out.. because this game takes up a LOTTTTTT of space.

    I rate this game an 8/10

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  8. With Arkham Horror, you get out of it what you’re willing to put in. Invest a little time and get back a great play experience in return.
    The rules appear intimidating at a casual glace but there is a repetitive flow to the game that anyone can quickly pick up after playing a couple of rounds.

    It does take up a lot of room, especially with the expansions and an opaque bag for the monster tiles would have been a nice touch but these are minor nitpicks.

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    • Squibz on March 10, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    I echo what some others have said, as well as what was said in the video. There are just too many bits in this for me. If someone was giving it away, I’d definitely take it, but it’s not something I’d consider buying for myself.

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  9. I think Arkham Horror is a well produced game, however there are things that make this game fall short for me.

    It’s really “fiddly”!
    -There are just entirely too many bits & pieces & sliders & upkeep…ugh… I kinda get a headache playing it ;(

    So many rules!
    -They are just entirely too many rules! It’s hard enough trying to understand them yourself when you’ve played it a dozen times, let alone, trying to teach it to someone!

    I guess I’m a eurogamer @ heart, but don’t get me wrong, Arkham Horror is a great game and many ppl will enjoy the story that unfolds as you play and won’t be turned off by the rules & all the components. It’s just not for me. I do like its’ lighter cousin, A Touch of Evil from Flying Frog Productions. So try that out if Arkham Horror seems like a little much for you!

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    • Kanin on February 18, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    I really enjoy this game. Yes I agree while a lot of pieces I think it ads to the game though as it makes for a huge variety. Was not a big fan of cthulhu until I got to playing this game and now it is one of my favorite games. My only 1 complaint is that when introducing it to new players I tend to not play with the board expansions as I feel it adds to much to what is going on. Hard enough to keep the experienced players on track, much less have to make sure the newbie player is not slacking and bringing the world to an end. All in all like I said this is one of my favorites to play. Especially in the summer as Fantasy Flight tends to hold scenarios you can download to rate you with people from all over the world. Lets hope they keep it up.

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    • Hem on February 18, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    A masterpiece. My woman’s favorite. A whole universe. Not enough space in my flat to put everything from it (original game, 3 big box expansions, 3 and soon 4 tiny box expansions). Never the same story. A real role playing board game for people not interested in real gathering role playing game with a gamemaster and all… A simplified role playing game, that is. An original universe mostly from brilliant Lovecraft novels work. Not the usual old fantasy about dragons, goblins and all. Many players love it, mine never got disappointed with that one. Amazing how the cards you draw, the story of your character and the events that take place during a game can all gather into a almost plausible written story. My woman (a mostly dark fantasy writer) even wrote one short-story out of one of our games ! A masterpiece. I give it a 9.

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  10. You have to look hard to find a game with more peices than Arkham Horror. It is jam-packed full of cards and cardboard chits, and the set-up takes a considerable time, as does the packing away at the end. The game plays from 1-8 players, and can last in excess of 4 hours, especially when playing the expansions.

    The game is heavily themed, based on H.P Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulu mythos. Fans of the books will love the adaptation, but if you have never heard of the books there is more than enough flavour text on the cards to draw you in to the story.

    The game is difficult to win (it is cooperative, with all the players playing against the board) but it offers you just enough hope to make you think you could have won it, and have a good chance next time…

    The rulebook is a bit of a mess, and I would recommend learning the game from someone who is familiar with the rules as otherwise there is the danger of getting bogged down and making the game unpleasantly long.

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  11. This game is great! I’ve played @300 times and no two games have been the same! The only thing I don’t like are the rules can go into grey areas sometime so you argue trying to figure out the correct interpretation of the rules. This game really shines with the expansions.

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  12. While the number of cards can be overwhelming they do help to create a completely different game each time, which greatly overshadows the staticness of the board. One thing I wish FFG did do was to place a difficulty rating on each Ancient One, make it easier for new owners to start out on the easier/lighter side and them progress on to the more difficult game.

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  13. Game is great, easily an 8.5 with me and my friends.

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    • RichardS on November 6, 2009 at 9:14 AM

    I have played the game twice, with one time being a lot of fun because everyone was in to the whole mythos, the second time was a downer because the players weren’t into the Lovecraftian theme. So, I would tend to agree that it’s a 7.5 – 8, leaning toward 9 when the gaming group is correct.

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  14. I’d have actually given this a 9 out of 10, but I’m a huge Lovecraft buff and I just love the way they translated the hopelessness into the game. It’s just so hard to win! Really makes you feel like you’re fighting a battle with almost impossible odds; just how a struggle against ancient, unfathomable horror should be :). Plus I really liked the cooperative aspect. Too many games pit the players against each other, it was refreshing to have a non-competitive game that everybody could be happy about when you managed to win. I do agree on the ridiculous amount of cards, though. The game just takes up waaaayy too much space and requires a very large playing surface. Setting it up and putting it away is a big hassle too.

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  15. Hey, I really enjoyed this game, though I only played it once as a learning process. Looking forward to giving it a few more tries and then maybe moving onto some expansions.

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