Chad Geister
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After several times of playing Arkham Horror, we had hit upon a strategy that worked very well for our three to five man group. As this progressed, our plays went down, and the game just hadn't seen as much table time as it had previously. I started looking for ways to up the difficulty of the game, and started by using several of the house rules by the designer to that effect. While doing that, I continued to read up and chart out the various expansions of the game to decide which one I thought we needed to pick up. After much deliberation, this had several indicators that it ramped up the difficulty and provided plenty of additional material that I wanted.

Components
True to standard FFG fare, this has quality cardboard chits and cards that are used in the game. This one is a 'big-box' expansion, which means the box has a board of its own and a ton of cards to add to the base set to get plenty of new things happening in the game. The base game sees new additions of: all types of item cards, more encounter cards for each Arkham location, more mythos cards, more otherworld cards, new investigators, new ancient ones, more allies, new monster tokens and gate tokens. The new stuff includes: injury and madness decks for choices when you are knocked unconscious/go insane; condition cards; the Dunwich Horror; and rubble markers.



Mechanics
This won't be a re-hash of the base rules of the game, I'll just be taking a look at the new mechanics that we see due to the addition of this expansion.


Injury and Madness: these decks of cards add an alternative when you are reduced to zero health or sanity. Rather than be reduced to 1 health or sanity (respectively), and lose clue tokens or items, you are instead restored to full health or sanity and draw an injury or madness card. These cards give you permanent penalties in the game, and if you ever get a duplicate injury or madness, you are devoured. As an added caveat, you can retire an investigator that has a total of two madness/injury cards, drawing a new investigator on your turn instead of moving.




New area board and travel: You get a Dunwich board with new locations that adds to the top of the game board. It functions like the standard board with a few things to note. First, monsters don't count against the monster limit, they are manged by vortices (more on these later). Second, you move between the train station (on the old board) and the bridge (in Dunwich) by spending $1 and one movement point. Lastly, things listing as 'in Arkham' count for use on the Dunwich board and sky monsters can attack you in the streets locations there. This opens the map up a lot, making it harder to manage everything and provides several new locations for gates to appear.

Tasks and Missions: These are special cards in the item decks (Tasks are in Common Items, Missions are in Unique Items). For a task, one must move to the locations on the card, in order, and spend an Arkham Encounters phase there to complete that step. After you visit all the locations, you get the listed benefit. Missions are a little more complex. You still need to move to the locations, in order, but you also have to discard the listed thing on the card at the next Upkeep phase to complete that step (so getting sucked through a gate will interrupt your attempted completion). The rewards for missions are much stronger than tasks.



Special Cards: You can now purhcase a rail pass (move for free between the train station and bridge) and may get inducted in the Sheldon Gang, with corresponding benefits. There are also Condition cards that may come into play under special circumstances. These cards provide you with strong benefits that all players may use, such as trading clue tokens like items, or exhausting a card to re-roll a failed skill check. Also of note are a few new styles of item cards, one being handless weapons that can be used in addition to two hands worth of weapons. The other new weapon type is an exhaustable weapon card. These provide stronger bonuses for combats, but you can only use them once per turn, so you can't wade effectively into a pack of monsters (like you used to with the Tommy Gun or Sword of Glory).



Gate bursts: Some mythos cards now have red borders to the location that gets a gate. When this happens, a gate opens at that location. If the location has an Elder Sign, the seal breaks first, then the gate opens, but a new doom token is not placed on the Ancient One's card. Additionally, all flying monsters move when these cards are drawn. This adds a whole new level of challenge and risk management in the game.

New Monsters: Two new monster types show up in the expansion. Spawn Monsters are special monsters that are only used for certain Ancient Ones and under certain circumstances, so they don't go into the bag, they get to the board under special circumstances. Stalking monsters are a new general type that have special movement rules. Stalkers move as normal, unless an investigator is in an adjacent street or unstable location, and then the stalker moves directly to them, ignoring the arrows on any connecting lines (even using lines that don't have arrows).

Dunwich Horror: The last thing to look at is the Dunwich Horro itself. It is summoned to the game through Dunwich Horror tokens. There are three available, and they are added to the board whenever a monster in Dunwich moves into a vortex (spaces only monsters may move into in Dunwich), additionally, the terror level goes up by one every time a monster moves into one. Once three tokens have been placed, the Dunwich Horror appears. The Dunwich Horror is exceptionally tough, with variable stats based on drawing a card from the Dunwich Horror deck. He always has five toughness, and there is a chance when he moves to add doom tokens to the doom track. If an investigator manages to beat him, any item can be selected from any deck, a fitting reward for beating the toughest monster short of the Ancient One's themselves.

Review
Pros:
Difficulty: This expansion adds new difficulty to the game, allowing veteran players of Arkham to re-experience the challenge of trying to figure out the best way to play. It mixes things up and opens up the map a lot more. With so many more things to be worrying about, it feels even more that you are on the brink of annihilation while trying to prevent the Ancient One from coming through into our plane. If you feel the base game has become too predictable and you play on auto-pilot, this will help.

New stuff: All the new things added, from item cards to investigators to monster types, all add new choices and increase the strategic options available for you. Have a weapon that exhausts when used? What single combat round do you employ it? Encounter cards also open up more choices rather than just throwing skill checks on you. For instance, one encounter card allows you to remove an elder sign on the board in order to gain a significant boon. This will spark discussion among the players for sure.

Even deeper into the theme: If you love Lovecraft, this gets even deeper into the lore, with Dunwich being the obvious one, but seeing things like the 'Color out of Space' was a nice touch as well. The encounters are more story driven, and you can see monsters like Wizard Whately and more.

Characters: The characters are rather colorful that have been added. One of our favorites, the drifter on a motorcycle that comes with a shotgun and bottle of whiskey. There are more, and they all have their own colorful new pieces added to the story.

Cons:
So much more! All this new stuff is absolutely awesome and taxes your brain even more by adding that much more to the rules. We had Arkham Horror down pretty well by the point we got this, and then the process of learning new rules started all over again.

Difficulty: I know I loved the new challenges that arose with Dunwich, but not everyone in my group has the same feeling about it. Some of the ones that loved Arkham now pass on Dunwich because we lose as often as we win. So, this one depends on your gaming group, it may not be for everyone.

Space. If you thought Arkham was big, you now need even more space to play with Dunwich Horror. We now add a separate side table when playing, so we can put encounter cards and items on it, keeping all the other relevant stuff on the board.

Conclusion
I do not regret picking this game up. Since getting it, my wife and I enjoy Arkham Horror that much more. You get a bigger rush out of winning and always have that level of stress present as you are playing. If you feel like Arkham is just missing a little something, and you're tired of seeing the same basic pattern of play, you would probably benefit from picking up Dunwich. If you still don't like the theme, or think that your base game of Arkham is maximum fun without needing anything new, you won't get much benefit from this. If you want something in the middle, I'd suggest piecemealing this expansion into your base game, such as grabbing the new Encounter cards and some of the monster/mythos cards. This can be a good way to slowly warm up to the changes available in Dunwich.

Good luck in all your gaming endeavors.

Interested in my other reviews? Check out my Geeklist
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Tibs
United States
Amherst
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cgeister wrote:
Cons:
So much more! All this new stuff is absolutely awesome and taxes your brain even more by adding that much more to the rules. We had Arkham Horror down pretty well by the point we got this, and then the process of learning new rules started all over again.

Difficulty: I know I loved the new challenges that arose with Dunwich, but not everyone in my group has the same feeling about it. Some of the ones that loved Arkham now pass on Dunwich because we lose as often as we win. So, this one depends on your gaming group, it may not be for everyone.

Space. If you thought Arkham was big, you now need even more space to play with Dunwich Horror. We now add a separate side table when playing, so we can put encounter cards and items on it, keeping all the other relevant stuff on the board.


As far as I'm concerned, the first two are also pros. All three are a rite of passage, and the last one is a necessity if you ever decide to add new towns to the board. If you seriously plan to play with all expansions you need get used to the space issue.
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Brian Mc Cabe
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Arizona
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Because of the story, I would have liked the Color Out of Space damage to be to the maximum stats, and not just a single hit.

Thanks for the review. You've reminded me of why I went 1-7 last time.

Brian
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Leandro Couto
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Your reviews are great!

I have this one unopened, I'm playing vanilla Arkham Horror for a while first before adding the new stuff. This makes me want to add the expansion in my next game! I agree the first 2 cons are pros, I like my co-ops very challenging, and "the more the merrier" already seems to be AH motto anyway.

The space issue... that's a real problem, the base game alone overwhelms my small bachelor table, it's already embarassing!
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say "em-cee-crispy"
United Kingdom
Basingstoke
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landovers wrote:
Your reviews are great!

I have this one unopened, I'm playing vanilla Arkham Horror for a while first before adding the new stuff. This makes me want to add the expansion in my next game! I agree the first 2 cons are pros, I like my co-ops very challenging, and "the more the merrier" already seems to be AH motto anyway.

The space issue... that's a real problem, the base game alone overwhelms my small bachelor table, it's already embarassing!
If I may suggest a Plano box to hold all the small components and two two-tier business card holders (each to hold 8 sets of cards), you'll get a large amount of table-top space back. I'm still trying to find a good way of holding the AO and the currently effective Mythos in a near upright position. I'm thinking an acrylic photo frame with strips of magnetic tape behind and mounting the Doom Tokens on magnetic tape, but I don't want to modify my components. That would give me even more space back
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Freelance Police
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Put the small decks on the gameboard, next to where you'd draw them. Frex, the Common Items go on the General Store space. Stack the Encounter cards into one stack, then fan them out when drawing. Cache tokens on the board (eg. Sanity on the Asylum space).

At *least* play with the Injury and Madness cards. They greatly enhance theme and make the game "easier" on players.

For more theme and if you've read the HPL stories, take out a Color Out of Space and Old Man Whately from the cup. The Color out of Space appears as the first monster at the Gardner's Place location. Old Man appears as the first monster on a Whately location (the left locations on the DH board), but does not move. The first gate of the game opens in Dunwich.
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Leandro Couto
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mccrispy wrote:
I'm still trying to find a good way of holding the AO and the currently effective Mythos in a near upright position. I'm thinking an acrylic photo frame with strips of magnetic tape behind and mounting the Doom Tokens on magnetic tape, but I don't want to modify my components.


That would be awesome! Custom doom tokens are probably not hard to make. About the small components, right now I put them on the lid of the board and leave someone in charge of handling tokens, not very elegant but does the job for now.

Sam and Max wrote:
Put the small decks on the gameboard, next to where you'd draw them. Frex, the Common Items go on the General Store space. Stack the Encounter cards into one stack, then fan them out when drawing. Cache tokens on the board (eg. Sanity on the Asylum space).


Putting small decks on the board is actually a great idea, never thought of that!
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say "em-cee-crispy"
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landovers wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
I'm still trying to find a good way of holding the AO and the currently effective Mythos in a near upright position. I'm thinking an acrylic photo frame with strips of magnetic tape behind and mounting the Doom Tokens on magnetic tape, but I don't want to modify my components.


That would be awesome! Custom doom tokens are probably not hard to make. About the small components, right now I put them on the lid of the board and leave someone in charge of handling tokens, not very elegant but does the job for now.
I stopped having a bank for Stam and San - we hand them out at the beginning and people just take them off the Investigator sheet and put them back on again as needed. The reserve is in a "Plano" should anybody need to permanently increase or decrease. That way there's little to and fro on these tokens so we don't need an accessible cache.

Quote:
Sam and Max wrote:
Put the small decks on the gameboard, next to where you'd draw them. Frex, the Common Items go on the General Store space. Stack the Encounter cards into one stack, then fan them out when drawing. Cache tokens on the board (eg. Sanity on the Asylum space).


Putting small decks on the board is actually a great idea, never thought of that!
See my comment about the need to cache Stam and San, but the small cards idea works nicely; however, the business card holder eliminates the need. (BTW, three holders is more than sufficient for a big board expansion including the Innsmouth Look deck the Dust Deck and the Injury and Madness decks.)
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Jack Smith
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I managed to get the encounter decks near their respective locations without blocking much of the game board. I found this released a massive amount of space.
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