Article

It’s OKAY to ‘Lose’ in Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Written by Gladwin J. Singh

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains several contents on the Night of the Zealot (NoTZ) campaign for Arkham Horror: The Card Game (AH:LCG).

So you’ve just completed the first scenario: ‘The Gathering,’ and gained roughly 7XP from it.

You thought to yourself,

This game isn’t that hard.’

Sure, you probably had some bad luck with the chaos bag, but overall, you survived! You probably made a new friend as well…the infamous Lita Chantler! Let’s be real though, the only reason you love that ally is because she bumps up your fight stats. Roland and her would make a great combo!

You’re so pumped up to take on ‘The Midnight Masks‘ now! Surely you would interrogate all the 6 Cultists with your newly improved deck…or so you thought. Before you know it, the agenda advances and you’ve run out of time. Three outcomes will most likely happen now…

Outcome 1: “Yikes…I ran out of time…but I’m not dead yet. Guess I should proceed with the next scenario.”

Outcome 2: “Yikes…I ran out of time… I only interrogated 2 Cultists. Maybe I should replay this scenario again for a better result.”

Outcome 3: “Ummm… I’ve been defeated. Apparently, I can still proceed to the next scenario…but I think I’ll replay it again just so I don’t take a mental or physical trauma.

Surviving the first scenario of the NoTZ definitely gives a ray of confidence. You thought the game might not be that hard after all. The second and third scenario of the NoTZ proved otherwise. It’s very common for most of us to assume that ‘losing’ a scenario by defeat or agenda advancement means that we’ve lost the game, and then we automatically restart the scenario, hoping to achieve a better result or ‘win’ the scenario. This was one of the first mistakes I made when learning to play AH:LCG.

As tempting as it sounds to retry a scenario, my advice to you is to proceed on with the rest of the campaign. This game is story-driven with a lot of narratives. Our conventional thoughts on ‘losing’ doesn’t necessarily apply in AH:LCG. In fact, so does ‘winning.’ Rather, you complete the game and achieve resolutions. Each resolution has a different outcome on your next scenario (did I hear replayability???). While your investigator may have been ‘defeated’ in a scenario, it doesn’t mean that they are out of the campaign (unless specified by the resolution).

Think of these resolutions as your consequences from your previous scenario. The fact that every action or decisions you make affects the outcome of another scenario creates a sense of realism in that. It truly enriches the narrative aspect of the game.

I for one think that this resolution mechanics in the game allows for a unique tabletop experience. For one, it still allows you to proceed on with the next scenario! I mean… you don’t actually get punished for ‘losing’ a scenario! No doubt the difficulties will increase if you didn’t complete certain objectives in the previous scenario, but hey, at least you don’t actually need to restart the entire campaign. Even if your investigator is killed or driven insane (basically out of the game), you can still pick up a new investigator for the next scenario!

I’ve been playing AH:LCG for a good one year now and I’ll admit that every now and then, I still find myself learning the rules. Just when I thought I had the game figured out, there I am back again reading the rule book and references, consulting the AH:LCG Facebook group for advice, and checking the forums on BoardGameGeek…and you know what… It’s totally okay to do so. This is a complex game. While the general round sequence of the game is very straight forward, there are tons of mechanics involved! Truth be told, it is something I am still trying to familiarise myself with.

So bottom line is,

-Carry on with your campaign, even if you ‘lose.’

-It’s okay if you could not interrogate all 6 Cultists in ‘The Midnight Masks!’ The most I ever got was 4! and that probably only happened once. (I hope it wasn’t a delusion)

-Take on ‘The Devourer Below‘ scenario even if you only interrogated ONE cultist only or none lol.

-If all else fails in ‘The Devourer Below,’ say goodbye to Lita, as you cast her into Umordhoth! This is where you get to question the morality of sacrificing one for the greater good… pffft…who knew a card game could put us in such a situation…

-It’s okay to take a physical and/or mental trauma after being defeated. Just don’t take one in real life.

-Enjoy the chaos that is Arkham Horror: LCG. Your adventure into the Mythos has only just begun.

In one of my attempts at ‘The Devourer Below,’ I was one clue away from advancing the act deck. Which would result in ‘winning’ this scenario and the NoTZ campaign, but I failed. In the next round Ancient Evils appeared, and all hell broke loose. RIPieces Roland 😞

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