Written by Gladwin J. Singh
*Mild Spoiler Warning: This article contains scenes and write up on the first two scenarios of The Innsmouth Conspiracy.
With the release of the latest deluxe expansion, The Innsmouth Conspiracy, I for one could not have been any more pumped to get my hands on a copy. When it was first announced sometime in Q1 of 2020, I think it brought a beacon of hope for most Arkham Horror players who were stuck in quarantine, hoping to get more content for this game and FFG delivered. I remembered watching the FFG announcement and sneak peak. The introduction of new mechanics in the game such as flooded, partially flooded locations, and the newly critical introduction of cursed and blessed tokens into the game. Of course, not to forget new investigators and player cards that will work with the new blessed and cursed tokens.
I mean, WOW! That was a lot to take in. Mainly because this was my first experience watching an announcement video like that and actually getting engrossed with the game. Though I started more than a year ago, I never really followed the news and hype of each cycle (probably for the best of my wallet). I would say that I was more engrossed with using the money for other board games instead of buying expansions for Arkham only. Thus, to finally be following the news and updates, I can now see why people really love this game and the hype factor of introducing the expansions on a monthly basis. I finally felt that. I don’t know if it’s a good feeling or not because it literally just means “Shut up and take my money!!!”
And just like that, I was lucky enough to place an order for the deluxe expansion and I received it towards the end of October. I need to stress the word ‘lucky’ because distribution of FFG games to Asia was disrupted according to my local FLGS, and it was highly unlikely that they would bring in any new FFG products, especially Arkham Horror. Now, you might be thinking, if the distribution is disrupted, how will I ever get a hold of all the other expansions for the Innsmouth Conspiracy? Welcome to 1st World Problems: Arkham Horror edition. But that’s for another time. I’m just glad to get a hold of the deluxe box and I want to share my initial thoughts on the first two scenarios, without spoiling any of the storyline.
Unlike the Path to Carcosa and other expansions that followed a linear time line, The Innsmouth Conspiracy begins somewhere in between, I think. I won’t spoil the details any further, but that’s what I’ve picked up so far from the two scenarios. In a way, I thought it was a fresh new look into exploring narrative and story building. We are so generally fixated on a linear timeline story, that it’s really nice to have a post-modern take on a narrative, where time is not bound by our preconceived notions of linearity. I’m not entirely sure if the other cycles had that same take on the non-linear timeline, but I’m just loving it for The Innsmouth Conspiracy.
I should also say that the campaign guide and log for The Innsmouth Conspiracy is a lot thicker as compared to the Carcosa campaign guide and log. So you know you’re bound for a lot of narrative and I would say, more resolutions. In other words, more replay-ability of the entire campaign.
All we know so far is, that we are investigating a disappearance of a government agent who was trying to unravel a scheme taking place in Innsmouth and that’s it. We awaken in a deadly pit with no memories of how we got there.
Already the plot was filled with mystery and the eagerness to find out what is really going on and honestly, I was hooked from the very first scenario: The Pit of Despair
Scenario 1: The Pit of Despair
If you have played the Pallid Mask scenario in the Carcosa expansion, this scenario bares a passing resemblance. Awakening in the pit, investigators must retrace their steps and find out what’s going on and why are they down in the pits. I played as Dexter Drake and while I was very confident with my deck, I was defeated before the first Act could advance. This scenario is very punishing towards the investigators health. With only 6 health, Dexter was bested by the creatures of the deep. Not to mention, the new expansion introduces flood tokens for locations which can cause some serious difficulties. Still, I enjoyed the exploration of the pits and because the scenario is like ‘The Pallid Mask,’ every game of this scenario will always be different. A total bummer to have been defeated so easily, but a fun scenario nonetheless. Arguably, it was a very hard scenario as well (I was only playing on ‘Standard’ difficulty and I still lost miserably…ah still a noob). I mean, in less than 6 rounds, I drew at least 4 enemies which slowed my progress and the treachery cards drawn almost always had me taking mostly damage than horror.
The difficulty stems from:
>many treachery cards that deals damage
>unpredictable flood level of locations can impact skill test difficulties at locations and investigator health
>Many enemies in the encounter deck
>Many locations to cover (especially for True Solo)
Scenario 2: The Vanishing of Elina Harper
Much like the scenarios “The Last King (Carcosa)” and “Midnight Masks (Night of the Zealot),” this scenario embodies the theme of searching and revealing.
With a lot of locations in place as well, this scenario proves to be just as hard as the Pit of Despair. I would say that it’s hard for True Solo, but still possible with dual handed. Right off the bat, this was the first scenario that introduces investigators to the town of Innsmouth. Thus, giving players an idea of what the town looks and feels like.
Without spoiling any more of the scenario, all I can say is that the town gives me the creepers. I mean… I get it. There is a conspiracy going on and it does feel like the entire town is apart of it. It was just amazing to be able to explore the town and all the iconic locations that were mentioned in H.P Lovecraft’s ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth‘. I truly enjoyed this scenario for bringing the town of Innsmouth to life and the general vibe of unwelcome-ness, paranoia and hostility.
Although Dexter didn’t do so well, I really am looking forward to the next scenario, “In Too Deep,” which will be in the future write-up. According to FFG, it also involves moving around a now flooded town of Innsmouth!