Raf Cordero
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Bolingbrook
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A note about spoilers: this review may contain light mechanical spoilers critical to my evaluation of the game. I also will freely discuss anything that you could pick up by reading the rules or the scenario set-up instructions. I promise that there will be no story spoilers for the Dunwich Legacy.

To say that I was excited for the Dunwich Legacy would the understatement of the year. I could not get enough of The Arkham Horror LCG core set and really wanted to see where it would go. I was also a little nervous. I’m always wary of campaign games becoming samey, and part of my excitement was a hope that they’d find ways to push the system and make the expansion feel like new gameplay and not just a new story.

Nailed it.


The sprawling set up of the first scenario. Or the second. Your choice.


If you’re reading this I’m going to assume that you’ve played the core set. If you haven’t, skip the rest of this paragraph - there be spoilers. One of my favorite moments of playing the core set was realizing that every cultist in scenario 2 had an alternate way to deal with them. You could chat them up for a few hours (burn actions), evade them, etc. It was a simple thing but I appreciated them quickly messing with the base resolution method. Sure you could fight them the old fashioned way, but you could also employ other methods (thematically appropriate!) to make the story yours. This continues in a very strong way in the Dunwich Legacy.

Dunwich comes with two scenarios to kick off this campaign and they both change the basic mechanics around investigating and advancing the Acts. In one, clues are spent as currency to dig through the enemy encounter deck in search of a VIP. Burying him in there is a clever way to represent that you don’t know exactly where he is and to have clues represent searching specific buildings for him. In the other, clues aren’t even obtained by the normal investigation method. You’re in a casino and you gain clues through small games of chance that mimic casino games.

I love it.

Not just because it’s fun - it is - but because of what it means for the system. Buying into an LCG means buying into a promise that the game is going to continue to be awesome. The Core Set lays a foundation that must be built on. In a campaign LCG like Arkham, these Deluxe Expansions both expand and lay their own foundation for the campaign to come. We already know that there will be at least 8 scenarios in the Dunwich Campaign and I think it’s awesome that the foundation is already changing some of the basic assumptions and mechanics.

This is carried over into the resolutions. No spoilers, but the resolutions in these two scenarios are both less “Good, Better, Best, OH GOD IT’S AWFUL” and more “Well, we got the McGuffin but that bus full of kids got sucked into a hell portal”. On top of that, you’re given the agency to make that choice directly a couple of times. To do this at the start of a campaign is great. Characters will join your party, cards get added to your deck, and things get written down in your campaign log that won’t matter at all for the scenarios in this expansion. There are even encounter sets you won’t be told to use.


My university experience was less occulty, but there still quad-guitars.


It’s both infuriating and tantalizing. “Why am I writing this down!?” and “What will this mean?!” are things I thought multiple times across my multiple playthroughs. In fact, my one gripe about this expansion is how open ended it is. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown accustomed to binge watching TV shows but I’m finding it difficult to wait for more expansions. Especially since I want to keep playing but now I have informed knowledge about how the scenarios work. I’ve settled for noting what happened on my first playthrough and making that the official log. Ashcan Pete will have to live with the consequences of my uninformed actions.

Oh, right. Ashcan Pete. He’s one of the 5 new investigators that the expansion brings us. They, along with a pile of new character cards, make up the other half of this expansion. For the most part, it’s pretty good. There are new Level 0 cards for every character class and a few new upgrades as well. The new Investigators all fit right in with their class as well while playing very differently. Our new Mystic takes on more of a support/healer role than Agnes, and needs to be built around accordingly. Again...their abilities tie in beautifully with their fiction.

Jim, the Mystic, comes with a trumpet. His jazz stylings can be used to heal the team so long as he forgoes the bonuses he’s getting from the chaos bag and opens himself up to the penalties associated with the Skull tokens. His personal weakness may be my favorite card in the new set...he plays his Final Rhapsody as the fates come back to wreak havoc on him. Ashcan, my favorite new Investigator, can discard cards to ready Duke, his loyal dog. Ashcan is a drifter and thus has no attachment to things; it’s him and his dog against the world so what good is it keeping a Flashlight around anyway.


The new squad.


While the new cards are great, I do wish there were a few more of them. The new investigators all have stringent restrictions on their decks that means using almost all of your class cards without regard for their synergy with your specific ability. I expect we’ll be seeing many more with the upcoming expansions but I almost wish there was one fewer class. It’s a minor gripe however, and I do enjoy replaying scenarios with new investigators.

All in all, Dunwich is a fantastic follow up to one of 2016’s best games. It both builds on the promises of the core while serving as a foundation for its own new story. While two scenarios may feel light, they can be played in either order opening up the replay factor a little. It also means we’ll all have very different stories to tell at the end of this campaign.

___
This review was originally posted on Ding & Dent! A list of my reviews that you can subscribe to can be found here. If you listen to podcasts, I discuss it on Ding & Dent in Episode 33, beginning at 34:30.
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Darren Priddy
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Nice review & looking forward to this on how much this will add to the base game.

Slightly sad though with this expansion where it's still using the tiny box over an Eldritch Horror size full box to act as storage for the whole game.
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Raf Cordero
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Bolingbrook
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Thanks!!

Yeah all the deluxe expansions for the card games are this size now. If you take the insert out it should all fit in the core box. I ended up going to binders anyway
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Richard Pickman
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Great review! Sounds really exciting!

fox01313 wrote:
Nice review & looking forward to this on how much this will add to the base game.

Slightly sad though with this expansion where it's still using the tiny box over an Eldritch Horror size full box to act as storage for the whole game.

I'm using the box from The Dreamlands to store my Arkham Horror LCG stuff.
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Isaac VanDuyn
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Is there any need to buy multiple copies of the deluxe expansion in order to have more complete deckbuilding options, similar to the core set?
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Robbie M.
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mrisaka wrote:
Is there any need to buy multiple copies of the deluxe expansion in order to have more complete deckbuilding options, similar to the core set?
There are two of each player card, enough for one player to have max copies.
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Raf Cordero
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Bolingbrook
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The only reason would be if you wanted expansion cards in multiple decks at the same time, otherwise no.
 
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Orlando
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Excellent review. Makes me mad it's out of stock everywhere!
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Raf Cordero
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Bolingbrook
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Inkwell84 wrote:
Excellent review. Makes me mad it's out of stock everywhere!


Wow that was fast!
 
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Crusher Crancko
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Granollers
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does dunwich expansion add full deck sets for
new characters or it can help to build full decks foe characters from the core set?
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Raf Cordero
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Bolingbrook
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It adds a few new cards for each class (color) but not enough to build an entire deck. Basically you can now build a deck for any investigator in the game using cards from both, but your deck can't be completely 100% Dunwich cards, as there aren't enough.
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Mark Hunter
Canada
Red Deer
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Inkwell84 wrote:
Excellent review. Makes me mad it's out of stock everywhere!


I searched all of the online stores in Canada with no luck but found one copy just laying there on the shelf at my FLGS today. Just laying there. Crazy. It didn't lay there for long I can tell you!
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Jade Youngblood
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Didnt realize this was out! It still shows as a pre-order at boardgamebliss which I happily ordered weeks ago. Still no movement on the shipping side
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Alex Ngui
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are you talking about the Dunwich Expansion or the base?
The base is sold out in Canada. There was a restock a month ago, but sold out quickly.
The Dunwich Legacy Expansion just came out today, March 31.
 
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