This is my fourth game review, liking it or not , please checks out my other reviews of Gloomhaven, Mansions of Madness 2nd ed. and Dead of Winter: Long Night. Constructive feedback is always welcome and negative ones will be disregarded… well maybe
This review is based on my experience playing only with the core box which I’ve completed the campaign twice playing solo and twice playing with my wife, and another 3 times that I dropped in the middle of the campaign.
As expected from FFG, the cards are of good quality and don’t require sleeves, if, you take good care when shuffling, the tokens are thick and have good sizes with different shapes which is a nice touch, even the small tinny ones are very nice and well suited for the game; this is not much of a surprise coming from FFG. I just wish it came with a bag for the modifiers tokens.
In terms of components, is it worth the price? Absolutely. Considering the sheer amount of cards and its quality and size, tokens, game box; it delivers more content than others LCGs and deck building games. However, the single chapter expansions are ridiculous overpriced here in Australia (~AU$30).
The rule book is short and cohesive and very well written. But I really don’t understand the rules reference book (standard FFG), with a couple more pages in the rule book everything could have been explained, it is almost all there any way.
Art and Graphic Design:
Enough FFG ! We had enough of the same art you’ve been using for the past 10 years since Arkham Horror was released. It is time to stop using the same images from archive and hire new artists to deliver a game with 100% new content.
If you own or played any of the FFG games in the Cthulhu lore (Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness) you will recognise a lot of the images, and I dare to say (speculating here) that if you played all previous games and expansions I bet that all of the images have been used somewhere in the past.
Now, regardless of the recycled images, the art is beautiful, gorgeous, very immersive, scary and very suited for the game, some images if you stare for too long can give you nightmares at night, because of that I wouldn’t allow my kids to play it until they are at least 14 yo (I’m quite conservative in this regard).
The graphic design is solid, easy to understand and recognise, except by the icon in the top of the card that tells you if the location has been revealed or not. Many times I’ve put it on the table with the revealed side up, I think instead of different symbols but with the same color a different color could have been used to easily distinguish between stances.
First and foremost this is a game based on the Cthulhu lore, so don’t expect to have an easy time and finish your first campaign with optimum results, unless you play the easiest difficulty. My biggest complaint about this game is the gap between easy, normal, hard and very hard difficulties is ludicrous. Although playing on normal is already very difficult, playing on easy is absolutely too easy, and playing on the hard mode is almost impossible to win…. at least I didn’t even get close to win (considering winning as best possible outcome), I never tried the hardest mode, it was probably developed for masochists.
First time you play Arkham Horror LCG it is a great experience, it is fun, engaging, rules are not complicated, not many things to remember, and you quickly learn that escape is your best tool for progressing the scenario. Soon after I finished my first campaign I was already looking into buying expansions, optimize my deck etc… and this is a dangerous territory to step on.
But by the time I was on my third run, more frustrated I was getting with the game. The core game felt incomplete, like if there were cards missing to allow me to have an optimized deck, or that playing solo with one investigator was impossible but with another was totally fine, or that the game was too punishing and unfair on several situations, and because I already knew all the possible outcomes of the campaign and events I was only playing to see if I could beat the unbeatable.
As an LCG this game has been developed aiming consumers to continuously support its development by buying expansions therefore, if you are only planning to buy the core box, have in mind that there is almost no point in playing it more than a handful of times. Once you learned all the events, acts and possible solutions (it will only take you about 10 hours of gameplay for this to happen) there will be literally nothing new left. The amount of cards available allows for very little deck customization (if you stick to each investigator class requirements), the difficulty is too high to try anything higher than normal, unless you want to see if you can get luckier next time.
Adding expansions is the only solution for extending the replay value of the core box, this is good and bad. Good because FFG is releasing single scenarios at an impressive rate, and one full campaign is already on retail. The bad is because the core box is possibly too expensive in terms of $$ per hours of entertainment; I paid AU$74 for the game and played about 10 hours and I don’t have any interest in playing it again for a long time, this is ~AU$7 per hour, and for a game this is extreme low return, in comparison to Mansions of Madness, a game that for me doesn’t have a good replay value either, I paid A$140 and played for at least 35 hours (if not more) that is A$4 per hour of entertainment (which still too high).
Arkham Horror LCG is a well-designed game, with solid game mechanics, easy to teach, that has been developed by a team with vast experience with LCG development and on-going support. It has the capacity to hook you and make you addicted for possibly many years.
The core box is lackluster in content, in spite the fact is comparatively cheap for the amount physical content that comes inside, it allows for very limited deck building options, the classes and investigators are poorly balanced for solo play but have great synergy for playing in duo, frustration can be something constant due to the steep difficult gap between easy, normal and hard modes, and many times I felt the game was unfair.
Final point is that, if you are ok with the LCG concept, enjoy horror based games, with great (recycled) art, very good story, as fun to play solo as in duo, and you have about $150 spare; buy this game and all the available expansions I’m certain you will have a great time. But if you are only thinking about buying the core box…. stop right there, it will be a waste of money that will lead to a good dose of frustration and very limited replayability, if you don’t believe me go ahead and let us know after three play sessions (5-6 hours).
Art and Graphic Design:
! We had enough of the same art you’ve been using for the past 10 years since Arkham Horror was released.
Now, regardless of the recycled images, the art is beautiful, gorgeous, very immersive, scary and very suited for the game
Yes - some new art is most welcome! But:
- the art they re-use is gorgeous (as you said)
- re-using art lets them push scenarios/expansions out faster (and hopefully new expansions mean some new pieces of art)
- it's only us loons who buy several Arkham Files games and all the expansions who realise how often each bit is re-used, and, tbh, FFG has us hooked at that stage.
Certainly this game seems to have opened up LCG/CCGs to a new audience (Arkham Files fans) and opened up Arkham to card game fans. The former may recognise some of the art but the latter won't. I can happily accept re-using the art to let these people see it and to help push content out quicker!
Once you learned all the events, acts and possible solutions (it will only take you about 10 hours of gameplay for this to happen) there will be literally nothing new left.
If you get 10hrs from the base set it's still doing well at cost/time compared to cinema, sports events, many video games, etc... It's not the best, but it certainly isn't too bad if you enjoy those 10hrs!
Good because FFG is releasing single scenarios at an impressive rate, and one full campaign is already on retail.
The full Dunwich Legacy campaign isn't yet released.
Each full campaign is, iirc, 1 'big' box (containing 2 scenarios) followed by 6 further individual scenarios released monthly-ish. So far we've had the Dunwich Legacy big box and the first of the remaining 6 scenarios released. There are still 5 scenarios that need to be released to retail (over the next 5-6 months).
It definitely makes a difference (as far as cost/enjoyment) for those who are buying internationally vs domestic so I can definitely understand the reluctance.
Having to just spend MSRP (or even under if buying online with enough items to get free shipping), makes it much easier.
While I was able to have plenty of fun with just one core set (trying each different character for instance - though haven't played with Wendy yet), it does give a lot more customization options to have expansions and/or a 2nd core set. It allows people to try a lot more combinations of decks that way.
I knew going in I was going to want to do more than the core so it was an easy choice for me. If you only want to buy the core set, you can always see if you have friends or FLGS that has the game first to determine if that will be enough to satisfy you if at all possible.
If I just wanted to play the core and only the core set, I would still be satisfied, but getting $40 of enjoyment out of it (or even as low as $34 or so if online with a free shipping order) was pretty easy. I never had to think if it would be worth more than that (especially since it was never going to be just the core for me).