Gargantuan Prep: Arkham Horror, 17 Feb 2006
Tonight I stayed in from the cold and snuggled up with my old chum Cthulhu for a visit to the quaint little town of Arkham Horror. Two heroes, the Magician and the Gangster (both played by me, solo), teamed up to take on Cthulhu's pal Yig. Yig is advertised as the best Ancient One to take on for a short game, and since this was my first time playing he seemed to fit the bill.
The Magician was a strong spell caster, but only mediocre at combat. The Gangster was a one-man wrecking crew, equipped with a machine gun and dynamite at the start of the game. Unfortunately though, the Gangster's maximum sanity is quite low, making him a borderline psychopath and quite vulnerable to losing his mind to the horrors of Arkham.
My initial equipment draws were only so-so. The Magician came up a bottle of Whiskey as his unique item (i.e., almost worthless). The Gangster, on the other hand, picked up a Jewel that added three to his movement, essentially giving him a rocket booster for the whole game, as long as he didn't lose it.
Since the Magician was pretty weak, I started him out running around picking up clues and investigating places where he might find loot. He quickly had a sizeable pile of clue tokens and was ready to try closing off the evil portals appearing all over town. The Gangster, on the other hand, I put on monster killing duty. He was able to quickly take down any evil minion that crossed his path.
This is where I made my first mistake. The game is essentially a race to close off evil portals appearing all over town before you're overwhelmed or before the big bad guy awakens and uses you for dental floss. By fooling around looking for lots of clues and killing monsters rather than closing gates, I was quickly getting behind where I wanted to be.
I kicked it into high gear, sending both heroes into gates and rapidly regained lost ground. Before too long, I had permanently sealed four locations with Elder Signs (i.e., no chance of them reopening). However, Yig only needed two more Doom tokens before he awakened and there were three open gates left. It was going to be close.
I had a couple lucky turns where locations I had permanently closed appeared as gate locations, effectively stymieing the bad guys. Yes! Both my heroes battled their way over to two of the last three gates, and it was looking good.
Then my plans fell apart. The Gangster successfully dodged his way through the City of the Ancients, closing his gate and headed for the final evil rip into this dimension. The Magician, well prepared for spell combat, drew an encounter card requiring him to make a fight check or get thrown into "Lost in Time and Space" status by a giant statue. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal if he had a couple extra clue tokens laying around, enabling him to reroll failures. Unfortunately, in my desperation to get these gates closed, I had run him ragged into clueless status. The giant statue tossed the Magician into the abyss, leaving the gate open and causing him to lose a turn.
To add insult to injury, our enemy Yig chose right then to awaken, instantly destroying the Magician who was still in Lost status. The Gangster had to face big Yig all alone. The Gangster held out for two combat rounds, blasting away.... but was soon devoured. The horror! The horror!
All in all, a great, close game. The rules of Arkham Horror are a bit tricky the first time through, but now that I've played it, the game seems like a piece of cake. I hope to play Arkham Horror again soon with actual real players besides myself.