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Subject: Disappointed By Arkham Horror. rss

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Jared Manning
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I recently acquired a copy of Arkham Horror, a game I've looked forward to owning/playing for many, many years. The Cthulhu Mythos is a favorite of mine, one that I'm always eager to try in game form. I've enjoyed other games that use the theme, so I expected Arkham Horror to be another welcomed addition to the genre.

Sadly, upon unpacking the game and actually attempting to play it, I was sorely disappointed.

The rules of Arkham Horror landed on me like a bus. While I anticipated some degree of complexity, I certainly wasn't prepared for the extreme difficulty of just trying to remember all of the rules, much less complete player turns and move the game along. I spent over three and a half hours trying to play the game, only completing about five turns between myself and my wife. I gave up after that, my brain fried at all of the rules, my eyes glazed over and bloodshot.

My wife sat there for the first hour, glaring at me... as if her eyes were saying "why are we trying to play a game that's so tedious and boring?" Soon enough, she just got up from the table and started watching a movie. There I was, left to play two characters because her patience with the game simply ran out.

I spent nearly forty five minutes unpacking the game and setting it up. That alone was a challenge in itself. The complexity wasn't necessarily in what the rules had me doing. More so, the difficulty was in the sheer plethora of rules I had to try to remember and perform correctly. I found myself forgetting steps every turn, having to search back through the rule-book (novella?) and correct my missteps. As the game dragged on, I found it harder and harder to sort out what I needed to do. What went where. How I rolled. Which card I must draw.

The final straw arrived. I was done. At the 3.5 hour mark, I just gave up. I sat there at my kitchen table, drowning in rules and game mechanic minutia, unable to even remember whose turn it was. Battered and broken, I placed the multitude of pieces back in the punch-boards and put everything away. My wife hugged me, knowing how sad I was with the experience.

The funny thing is that Arkham Horror accommodates the Cthulhu theme perfectly. Trying to play it drove me insane.

Those of you who have played Arkham Horror before... was my experience "normal"? Is this how the game is supposed to go? Are the rules meant to be tedious, almost to the point of mirroring busy work? Or, was I doing something wrong? I'd be curious to hear the perspective of others. I am tempted to trade Arkham Horror away, but then I would feel guilty for letting go of a game I've wanted for so long.

Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Pete
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Yep. That's what Arkham Horror is like...

Pete (doesn't think the rules are overly complex, but otherwise that's exactly his experience too)
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Michael F
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Arkham Horror was my first purchase once I realized I was "in" the hobby. Maybe I had more patience back then, but I never understood why people had a difficult time learning the game. There are a lot of things to remember, but I think this is one of those games you just have to do a trial run or two with before you've grasped everything. Just treat it as an experience more than a game. If you get a rule wrong here or there, who cares? Having fun is the most important thing.

I would recommend shelving it for a week or so, and try returning to it with a fresh perspective. If you're still not feeling it, then maybe Eldritch Horror would be a better option.
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Brad Johnson
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My experience with Arkham Horror is also similar to yours. I really want to enjoy it, but I don't. "Tedious" is the right word for it, I'm afraid. (As an experienced gamer, I agree with others that the rules are not particularly complex; perhaps a better description would be "highly fiddly".)
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Short answer is, Eldritch Horror is the new Arkham Horror.



That said, yeah, the rules can be flamboyant, but still pale in comparison to game with a "weight complexity" greater than 3.6 as specified here on BGG.

I've always let other people mod games/enforce rules. I'm too mellow and indifferent to really challenge folks on any possible rules mistakes.
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Paul DeStefano
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OK, first rule:

Make sure you know how to play before attempting to play with someone else.

Second rule:

Rule 1, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S YOUR WIFE.
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Adam Phelps
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I would suggest using Universal Head's ARKHAM HORROR Rules Summary & Reference (which can be downloaded here):
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/22286/universal-head-arkh...

It takes you step-by-step through each turn and makes the game go much more smoothly.

When in doubt, consult the Head...Universal Head™©®(All Rights Reserved)...

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Denis Maddalena
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It's a dated and clunky game, but ultimately more about the story. People are into games for different things, after all. You can do some light roleplaying within the framework of what the cards say, that sort of thing. The tons of STUFF make it a bear, but the base game alone wasn't too bad. Once you get a few expansions deep... good luck. You need a banquet table to fit the whole series.

I got rid of my set. Eldritch Horror is streamlined, offers enough of what Arkham does to feel right, yet stays pretty focused. You only pull out expansion boards when told specifically to do so (by Preludes or the GOO card), which is rare. There's a lot more clarity to the thing as a whole, and the card decks themselves aren't to completely unreasonable levels.

And Elder Sign is pretty incredible, too. Between these two, A Study in Emerald, and Cthulhu Wars, I wouldn't go any deeper into Lovecraftian boardgames (and DBGs) ... the cash cow it is has produced a lot of garbage, unless you just want the artwork.
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Mark B
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Out of curiosity, what other games have you enjoyed that use the Lovecraft Mythos? I've not played Arkham, but I've really enjoyed the Witch of Salem.
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rob cavallo
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get Eldritch Horror.

Much better.
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the bear
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one of my first games i played. I hated it, I had even put it on my for trade list for a while. Because of the theme I gave it a second chance and I liked it much more. I played it a lot more after that, and it really started to grow on me. It's very much like my love for whisky. I didn't like, drank it when I had to, drank it sometimes, now I love it. I do think a lot of things/games become much better once you play them a lot, so I still think it's a fault of the game.
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L S
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I've had a similar experience with Arkham Horror. The first time I tried to play it, it was with two other players who were just learning the game, and it was such a disaster that we stopped midway through the game. My second game was with a group that was already familiar with the rules, but even though that definitely helped a lot, the game is still fiddly and unintuitive all the way through.

I'd recommend trying Eldritch Horror instead, which is essentially the same game but with streamlined rules (and a slight Indiana-Jones-esque feel on top of the Mythos theme).
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Cardboard Hustle
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Sounds like you had a genuine Arkham Horror experience to me. Sorry your expectations got shattered.

Seriously though, the suggestions to get Eldritch Horror are legit. Give it a shot.
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Pauly Paul
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I'm curious if anyone has play both the original Arkham Horror and the
current one and how the two compare.

When I was a teenager I learned about the original and at that time there wasn't a lot of Lovecraft at all (seriously it was a desert compared to the ocean that is Cthulhu games now) and I wanted it bad. But I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy and never got to try it out.

Flash forward many years and I've gotten into the hobby and learned about the current version and all I hear about it, is that it's a beast of a game. I presume it must differ quite a lot from the original?
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Gláucio Reis
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Battered and broken, I placed the multitude of pieces back in the punch-boards and put everything away.

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Matthew Galton
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I lucked out the first time I played Arkham Horror. Had a friend who was a diehard for the game so knew all the rules. Though after buying my own copy found the rules to be relatively simple to follow. I enjoy the game but it is definitely due to story/theme as opposed to mechanics or actual "gameplay".

Eldritch horror is definitely more streamlined with better gameplay but I'd say it feels too different from Arkham Horror to be classified as a better version. Both games have a spot on my shelf.
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Larry L
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Eldritch Horror is one of my favorite games ever. However, if you had such a miserable time with Arkham Horror, do not buy Eldritch Horror. I repeat this for emphasis: DO NOT buy Eldritch Horror. They are similar enough that you will likely be miserable all over again.
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Larry L
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venrondua wrote:
I'm curious if anyone has play both the original Arkham Horror and the
current one and how the two compare.

When I was a teenager I learned about the original and at that time there wasn't a lot of Lovecraft at all (seriously it was a desert compared to the ocean that is Cthulhu games now) and I wanted it bad. But I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy and never got to try it out.

Flash forward many years and I've gotten into the hobby and learned about the current version and all I hear about it, is that it's a beast of a game. I presume it must differ quite a lot from the original?


The original is much, much lighter. It is like comparing the original tiny 3 book D&D set to 5th Edition AD&D.
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Francisco Gutierrez
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Meh. I hate to sound like a jerk, but it seems like you had a bad experience because you didn't learn the rules. I know everyone has different limits for complexity, but it should not take you three and half hours to run 2 investigators for 5 turns. Heck, with experience you can get the game finished in 4 or 5 hours.

I first got this game when I was teenager and was very used to complicated rules (rpgs) and found the game to a deep and rich experience. So much so that when Eldritch Horror was released, I found it to be a flat, boring, and repetitive experience. I sold Eldritch before its first expansion, but Arkham Horror has remained in my collection.

So, I'm sorry the game isn't for you, but if you find that one day your taste in games becomes more complex, I encourage you to give it another try.
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Dave B.
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I want to like Arkham Horror. There's a neat game with a ton of variety hidden in its absurd number of decks of cards, but it's just a mess from a usability design standpoint. So many little rules, limits, and exceptions you have to memorize to play the game.

Have I hit the monster limit? Did I overlook a monster token hidden among the noisy board art and miscount? What about the outskirts? Am I at the limit there? What are the special movement rules for the monsters with different border colors? What's the order I'm supposed to carry out tasks on the mythos cards, and why isn't it simply top-to-bottom???

And then you spend such a disproportionate amount of play time just running the automatic events of the game, as opposed to carrying out your actions during a turn.

I have Arkham Horror, but I'd pretty much universally opt to play Elder Sign.
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Lance
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Download the Rules clarifications by Universal Head here on the site. Those will help you immensely.

Eldritch Horror is a similar feeling game with a better rules set. Make sure you get an expansion for it so you have more adventure cards as the scant few you get in the base set will repeat for you quite a bit.

Good luck!

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David Janik-Jones
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RingelTree wrote:
... the original tiny 3 book D&D set ...

Still the best version.
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That's why I recommend Eldritch Horror over Arkham Horror in most cases.

It's often described as "the modernised and streamlined version of Arkham Horror", and for good reason. Arkham Horror is over 10 years old by now and it can't hide its age in terms of clunky game design.

Seriously, give Eldritch Horror a try.

The only real big difference between both games is in my opinion the atmosphere: while Arkham Horror feels more claustrophobic and darker because it takes place in a single city, Eldritch Horror delivers more of an adventure/horror experience -- which makes sense, considering the global scale and travels around the world.

If you read Lovecraft, you will agree that this is still very close to the source material (Call of Cthulhu, Mountains of Madness, ...). Speaking of scope, Eldritch Horror's stakes feel to be higher, since you are actually seeing and travelling the entire world you are desperately trying to save.

I taught Eldritch Horror to a group of non-gamers and the game was flowing without any input from me after 2 rounds (while I of course still handled the Mythos phase). Eldritch Horror will even appear in the upcoming season of Wil Wheaton's Tabletop web show, which should also give you a hint about the game's accessibility.

Geosphere wrote:
OK, first rule:

Make sure you know how to play before attempting to play with someone else.

Second rule:

Rule 1, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S YOUR WIFE.

Yes, this too.

UndeadViking wrote:
Eldritch Horror is a similar feeling game with a better rules set. Make sure you get an expansion for it so you have more adventure cards as the scant few you get in the base set will repeat for you quite a bit.

Try the base game first, there is enough variety for at least 4 (long) games here, which means hours of playtime. By this time, you should definitely know if you like the game enough to invest into expansions. The very first expansion Eldritch Horror: Forsaken Lore is a good starting point, as it mostly just adds variety to all card stacks while only introducing 2 new conditions. Since it's a small box expansion, the price is also relatively low.


Good luck !
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Brian Franzman
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It's such a shame that, for the amount of time and effort people put into playing that clunky Arkham Horror, they could simply be playing Call of Cthulhu (6th Edition) instead for a much more enjoyable story-based night of entertainment.
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Lance
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Bokrug wrote:
It's such a shame that, for the amount of time and effort people put into playing that clunky Arkham Horror, they could simply be playing Call of Cthulhu (6th Edition) instead for a much more enjoyable story-based night of entertainment.


While I agree with you, finding someone willing to run the game might be difficult.
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