Written by DarkAngelAz
*This article will contain very mild spoilers for the scenarios but nothing that isn’t immediately apparent from reading the articles on the FFG site or the box. In this piece will we take a short look at the various products out there for players and what they are. We will look at each campaign and the like in future articles in more depth.*
All of the campaigns start with a deluxe box which provides at least five new Investigators and accompanying player cards, as well as the first two scenarios of the campaign, along with that campaign’s recurring encounter cards. The subsequent mythos packs are designed to be played in order to form a complete narrative, with each choice that the Investigators make affecting the future path of the campaign. Sometimes a choice doesn’t appear to have an effect until much later on when it is almost forgotten about.
The Dunwich Legacy
This was the first full campaign released and is a wonderful expansion on the core set experience and would always be recommended as the next campaign to attempt after Night of the Zealot.
Missing professors from Miskatonic University lead the Investigators to the University, The Clover Club, and then from there onto the sleepy village of Dunwich. Where untold horrors await.
The five new Investigators introduced in this campaign are comparatively easy to play for newer players and this is a classic old-style horror mystery for the Investigators to uncover.
The Path to Carcosa
Continuing on from Dunwich, we are back in Arkham. Where a new play, The King in Yellow, has opened. Following a dramatic opening night, all sorts of incredible things occur.
This campaign once again builds on the foundations that have been laid with previous campaigns and the six new investigators are a little more complex, but interesting to play. This campaign goes in a variety of different directions and is very much like a psychological thriller.
The Forgotten Age
Often regarded by many as the hardest and certainly the most unforgiving of the campaigns, so far released, this campaign introduces several new mechanics and ways of playing the game. The five new Investigators are all part of an expedition to the jungle in search of ancient relics.
It contains, in this writer’s humble opinion, the single best scenario yet released, Threads of Fate, which is a masterpiece of design. This whole campaign plays like an Indiana Jones story, well okay Indiana Jones with a little more than mild peril and “throw me the idol”.
The Circle Undone
Witches and ancient secret organizations clash in an epic struggle of witchcraft and sorcery, which has echoes going all the way back to Arkham’s past. The Order of the Silver Twilight hosts a gathering at its Twilight Estate, where guests go missing and from there the Investigators are on a back and forth path of who to trust or not trust.
The six new investigators included here further add to the choices available for players and this campaign draws the Investigators into Arkham’s dark and secretive history.
The Dream Weavers
This campaign is a departure from all the others so far. It is designed to be played in one of two ways. The first, is as two interconnected four part campaigns, where the players play different Investigators in each and the choices they make in one will affect what happens to the Investigators in another. The second is, these campaigns can also be played separately, for those seeking a whole campaign experience in a day session or a shorter campaign.
The arc of this campaign draws wonderfully on one of Lovecraft’s best known stories, The Journey to Unknown Kadath, and tells a compelling tale.
The Innsmouth Conspiracy
Not a lot is known about this campaign yet, other than its setting. It is yet to be released but will be very much focused on Innsmouth and “The Innsmouth Look”
The standalone scenarios come in two distinctly different categories, those designed for mass multiplayer, and those designed for regular groups. All of the standalone scenarios can be added to a campaign for an experience cost, and often provide powerful rewards if successfully achieved. Many of these were first released at Gen Con, or the Arkham Nights events.
Standalone scenarios are often best attempted by decks built with higher experience and tuned for this purpose, because of this they provide a different challenge and are very good for occasional meets with four or more players. Other than scenario rewards, there are no new players cards in the standalone packs.
Curse of the Rougarou and Carnevale of Horrors were the first of these produced and were printed in house by FFG. For this reason, the print quality is a little lower than normal and they can be tricky to find at times. Both are very good scenarios that provide a different challenge or as an interesting addition to the campaign.
Rougarou takes the Investigators into the bayou down in the deep south in search of what lurks there. Carnevale sees the Investigators battling against the currents in Venice and dealing with the ancient evil hidden there.
Murder at the Excelsior Hotel is thematically the easiest to add into a campaign and has a great deal of replayability. It involves the Investigators quite literally looking into a murder at a famous hotel in town.
Guardians of the Abyss is a 2 part standalone scenario set in Egypt and is generally considered to be the toughest of all the standalone packs. It should only be attempted by higher Xp decks. It does provide some artifacts of incredible power, should the forces of darkness be vanquished.
Labyrinths of Lunacy and The Blob That Ate Everything are both amazing scenarios that work at their very best, when in the case of Labyrinths, are played with three groups of four Investigators. The Blob is an incredible experience with many players, all battling the Blob separately, and together. Both of these scenarios will also work as a single group experience, but would recommend trying them that way after you have experienced the multi group experience.
The Investigator Decks
The 5 Investigator only decks that have been released are new thing for Arkham Horror: The Card Game, possibly inspired by how Marvel Champions has been released. These five decks provide, one for each class of Investigator, completely self-contained decks that can be picked up by new players ready to advance in experience. They have a 30 card deck plus signatures cards, a new basic weakness to add to the collection, and 26 cards of higher levels to add to the deck as a campaign goes on.
These decks are an excellent jumping on point for new players who can’t get all of the earlier products beyond the core set or just want to hop into a game occasionally with friends. They are all single class decks and play very differently.
The Return to….boxes
The Return to boxes are a fantastic product for those of us who play the game a lot and frequently replay and repeat campaigns. Not only do they offer a complete storage solution, sleeved, for the campaign……they look really nice displayed too.
As to the content, the player cards tend to be new versions of both higher and lower experience levels of cards that were released during that campaign. This offers a good level of consistency design wise, as these cards are usually developed with the investigators from that campaign’s deluxe box in mind.
The Encounter cards will be a mixture of new encounter sets which replace the original encounter sets and adds variety to the play experience. Some are without doubt harder, but others are designed to make the scenarios less punishing, such as replacing Ancient Evils with Resurgent Evils. There will often be changes to the act and agenda decks, as well as new locations for many of the scenarios. I know many players who have played campaigns more than a few times will generally only play it in “Return To” mode.
Overall I see them as a very good addition to the game for frequent players who are not on a budget, as i would always recommend new campaigns and scenarios before the return to boxes.
The Novellas are absolutely not an essential purchase for any Arkham Horror: The Card Game player, as the only cards they contain are alternative versions of investigators complete with replacement signature cards. These cards can simply replace that Investigators signature cards or be used in addition to them. Some of these provide a harder level of play, others easier, most are simply different.
The key appeal for the card player is that they often release Investigators in novels prior to them being released in deluxe packs. Currently there are three Investigators released that you can only get in these books, Silas Marsh, Dexter Drake and Harvey Walters. Another new book was recently announced featuring Gloria Goldberg.
The stories are also well written, short enough to keep anyone’s attention span, and tell tales such as Jenny Barnes search for her sister, Izzie, and Silas Marsh’s return to his hometown of Innsmouth.
These are a free Print and Play product released by FFG during the Covid-19 pandemic to add some additional variety for players. They are alternative versions of two of the core set investigators which have different abilities and deck building restrictions. Each comes with its own scenario which is a modification of an existing scenario that can only be played if the named parallel investigator is one of the investigators.
These are a fun, free addition to the game and well worth downloading or sourcing printed copies for.
Barkham Horror – The Meddling of Meowlathotep
Only a ragtag band of pups and legendary hounds can defeat the Messenger of the Outer Feline Gods in this alternate reality standalone adventure for Barkham Horror. Join Bark Harrigan, Kate Winthrup, Skids O’Drool, Jacqueline Canine and Duke (with Friendly Human in tow), as they roam the streets of Barkham and avoid places lousy with cats.
This originally started life as an April Fools joke, but then seemed to take on a life of its own and became this light-hearted look at things from a canine perspective, when sniffing things is a skill, absolutely no cats allowed, and doggie treats should not be overlooked. The proceeds from this project go to charity.
So there you have it. Five full campaigns with the sixth about to released, seven one-off adventures, five investigator decks, several novellas and two print and play versions of investigators. There’s plenty to be going along with but it doesn’t all need to be consumed at once.
Join us next time where we will look in depth at The Dunwich Legacy.