Cthulhu Week: Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight Games
August 19, 2009
Remember board games like Monopoly, Clue, and Candy Land? Arkham Horror is nothing like those games. In fact, Arkham Horror leaves those games quivering in the corner, gibbering incoherently at mind-shredding visions of extra-dimensional terror. Also there are tentacles.
Published by Fantasy Flight Games, the epic board game specialists, Arkham Horror is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the extended Mythos he created. It’s the 1920′s, and the university town of Arkham, Massachusetts (as wall as the neighboring communities of Dunwich, Innsmouth, and Kingsport) is beset by cosmic forces that are determined to rip through the thin boundary between our world and any number of strange and terrible outer realms. The goal of these Ancient Ones, as you might imagine, is to devour all of humanity. In this cooperative game, the players are all investigators working together to find clues, fight monsters, and arm themselves against the teeming servants of these ancient gods. With a little skill and no small amount of luck, they just might succeed in preventing the awakening of such horrific beings as Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth, and even Cthulhu himself.
Arkham is a sprawling game with hundreds of bits, and rather complicated rules. It blurs the line between board game and role playing game (in fact, it is based on the Call of Cthulhu RPG). You select a character representing one of many period archetypes—the reporter, the professor, the private eye, etc.—, and each has a special ability, a range of skill points, and stamina and sanity points that represent their physical and mental well being. You can obtain weapons both mundane and magical, spells, artifacts, and allies to help you the other investigators survive the dangers that lurk around every corner.
All you need to play is the core game (recently back in print!), but there are, at present, six expansions (the two most recent, Black Goat of the Woods, and Innsmouth Horror, are not pictured above) which add new cards, characters, monsters, board segments, and rules variations.
You can pick up Arkham Horror at your Friendly Local Game Store, or, barring that, the game and all expansions are currently available for purchase at www.fantasyflightgames.com.