Game Night: 30 January 2007

Arkham HorrorDue to some wintery weather and other extenuating circumstances, Game Night did not get underway until about 9:00 this week. Once again, the game was Arkham Horror, but this time out the Unquiet Desperado himself, Chris Miller, joined in the festivities.In as much as clinging to your last shred of sanity while battling a seemingly endless onslaught of savage creatures from Other Worlds can be called “festive”.

Once setup was complete (which took about twenty minutes), Miscellaneous G™ was playing Amanda Sharpe, the student, Chris was playing Monterey Jack, the archaelogist, and I was playing Vincent Lee, the doctor. We three investigators were all that stood between the small town of Arkham, Massachusetts and the Great Old One, Ithaqua.

It took us a little while to get into the flow of the game, and there were several points where I had to search through the 22-page rules booklet for clarification on how we were supposed to handle certain situationsUnfortunately, the rules aren’t exactly consistent on the movement of flying monsters. Reading the official FAQ from Fantasy Flight Games last night, I found that the sidebar detailing this aspect of the game omits an important aspect. Had I been handling this properly, there would undoubtedly have been several more encounters with flying monsters., but the game did go much quicker than it would have if none of us had played before.

Arkham Horror isn’t a game for the faint of heart. In addition to the aforementioned 22-page rule booklet, the twenty-one different types of cards, the myriad array of tokens to keep track of and the various modifiers that come in and out of play throughout the game, there is the realization that the investigators’ situation grows more and more hopeless with each turn. While they rush around Arkham scrabbling to gather the necessary elements to successfully close and seal gates to Other Worlds, the investigators must deal with monsters of every shape and size, ever aware that new gates are opening, the townspeople are growing more terrified, more monsters are appearing, and an ancient and powerful evil is ever closer to stirring from its slumber. On more than one occasion the question of whether it was even possible to triumph in the face such seeming insurmountable obstacles was voiced.

It is, but the task is daunting. Amanda Sharpe and Monterey Jack both successfully investigated Other Worlds and closed their gates; unfortunately, the cost of doing so was high, and left the investigators unable to seal the gates and prevent new ones from opening. All three investigators—through the casting of spells, discharging of firearms, invoking of arcane artifacts and sheer dumb luck—defeated cultists and other monsters, collecting grisly trophies to mark their victories.

Alas, we were racing against the clock, as Chris had to get up at some silly hour the following morning, so we decided to wrap up at around 11:30. Two gates had been closed, the Terror level was at 2 (shops start closing when it reaches 3), the Doom track was four or five, and there were several monsters in the Outskirts.

Chris recorded the entire game on his MacBook. The recording may go up on the Rolemonkeys feed from The House of the Harping Monkey later this week. This feed is dedicated to actual play recordings of roleplaying games, but we thought a game of Arkham Horror might be of interest to the Harping Monkey audience. Only time will tell whether we were correct. I think I’d like to try recording another game, perhaps with a bit of actual roleplaying and a couple of pictures to make it interesting.