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Subject: The Dunwich Horror Expansion- A Review rss

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"Every Board Game I Reach Is Dead"
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INTRODUCTION
The next game on my review list is Dunwich Horror. Dunwich Horror is actually a big-box expansion to the Fantasy Flight Games edition of Arkham Horror. It cannot be played on it's own and must be combined with a copy of Arkham Horror. If you don't already possess Arkham Horror, you might want to go and read the review I made on it only a few days ago, just so you actually know what I'm jibbering on about! (It's name is "Arkham Horror...My First Review!")
For those of you who don't know, the Arkham Horror boardgame series is based on the short stories of the famous 1920s writer H P Lovecraft, inventor of the "Cthulhu Mythos". The Dunwich Horror is the name of one of his short stories, in which an invisible monster that was spawned from the union of an Ancient One (Yog Sothoth in this case) and a mortal woman escapes its captivity from the family it was born to and terrorizes the small village of Dunwich (Dunwich is actully a fictional location just north of the equally fictional town of Arkham). The Dunwich Horror expansion adds locations and events to Arkham Horror that feature in this short story.

OVERVIEW
The Dunwich Horror expansion adds the small village of Dunwich to your games of Arkham Horror. As gates to other worlds open in the village and monsters start to roam about, it becomes more and more likely that something nasty lurking in the Whateley Farm is going to emerge. This is of course the Dunwich Horror, a monster of gigantic proportions which will appear in the centre of Dunwich on Sentinel Hill. From here it will menace the village and quickly speed up the time left before the Ancient One awakens.

COMPONENTS
This expansion is BIG! It comes in a box the same size as the base game, and contains roughly as much as half of the different bits that you got inside the base game! The most obvious component added to the game is an expansion to the game board in the form of Dunwich village. This adds another 11" by 22" section onto the top end of the Arkham board, making a massive 44" by 22" gaming board (the largest fixed game board I have seen to date)! This makes the game a nightmare to fit onto any flat area other then the floor. Dunwich Horror also adds a large selection of excellant new bits to the base game. These include eight new investigators, four new Ancient Ones, a pile of event cards both for the new locations in Dunwich, as well as adding to the existing selection of locations in Arkham and an array of Investigator cards including new "Injury" and "Madness" decks, which allow players to take permanent penalties instead of losing half of their clues and equipment and lying about building strength for several turns when their investigator gets hospitalised or institutionalised. The game also includes a fresh selection of monsters. Some are just additional copies of the base set monsters, although there are several new and intimidating ones! Lets not forget the Dunwich Horror itself; represented on the board as normal with a monster chit, but different every time you fight it (it's statistics come on a small deck of cards which have several different fighting abilities, meaning the Dunwich Horror is impossible to prepare for! All you know for sure is that you are going to need something BIG as the Dunwich Horror is always toughness 5 with a -4 to both horror and combat checks!). The expansion also adds to the Mythos and Over World decks (essential as the Dunwich board includes a selection of new unstable locations and two more other worlds).
The quality of these components is equally as good as those in the base game, although I was dismayed to find that all of my Dunwich Investigator Cards are a slightly different size to those in the base game (maybe a fraction of a millimetre), making them difficult to shuffle as the Dunwich cards tend to clump together. I hope this just happened to me and is not a problem encountered by anybody else, otherwise I'd say FFGs made a serious slip up.

GAMEPLAY
So how does the Dunwich Horror expansion work with the base game? Once you get over the almost monstrous new gaming board and past another 9" by 9" rulebook (thankfully with a rules errata and FAQ section to help anyone struggling with the base set rules), you start to see all the ways that Dunwich Horror not only equals but improves upon the base game.
The Dunwich area of the board can be reached by paying a train fair or using a train pass to catch a train to the village from the Arkham train station and visa-versa. The Dunwich village has a selection of stable and unstable locations just like the Arkham board, and movement about the village works just the same. The most noticable feature is a few "vortexes" that are linked to some of the street locations in the village. These vortexes are key to the arrival of the Dunwich Horror. Any gates that open in Dunwich must be closed quickly, as monsters that emerge from them and travel about Dunwich may (through monster movement) make their way into these vortexes. Every few monsters that enter these vortexes cause the Dunwich Horror to appear on Sentinel Hill in the centre of Dunwich.
The Dunwich Horror is a green bordered monster, and whenever it's Moon Symbol comes up in the Mythos phase there is a 50/50 chance it will add a Doom Token to the Ancient Ones Doom Track! This means if left unchecked the Dunwich Horror can wreck your chances of stopping the Ancient One from waking!
Dunwich Horror also adds a selection of new monsters, including a couple of new Mask monsters to keep Narlethotep interesting and introduces purple bordered monsters or "stalkers". These monsters will move against their monster movement if it means they can get to an investigator, meaning they are the first type of monsters that can move from a street area into a location in order to attack investigators!
The new Ancient Ones are formidable, two of which have "spawn" monsters. These unique monsters come into play one at a time during monster surges, do not count against the monster limit (meaning they always come out onto the board), and cause the immediate awakening of their Ancient One should they all get out onto the board at the same time. One of the other Ancient Ones causes earthquakes which destroy stable locations whenever a monster surge occurs. If this happens too often the Ancient One causes a world-cracking earthquake that destroys Arkham and ends the game immidiately!
Monsters aren't the only thing to worry about, some of the Dunwich Horror Mythos cards cause "gate bursts" instead of a new gate opening. Gate Bursts force open sealed locations (as well as adding a fresh gate to them), meaning there is no longer any guarantee that locations sealed with clue tokens and elder signs will stay that way! This mechanic brings a new level of despair as players watch in horror as gates they sealed and forgot about earlier on in the game tear open again!
But it's not all doom and gloom! Dunwich Horror adds some nifty new Investigators and Investigator cards. A prime example is the handyman who can choose to take a dollar instead of drawing for an encounter during the encounter phase, and begins the game with a shotgun(+4 physical combat and all 6s count as TWO hits!), a motorcycle and whiskey! Another example is the soldier who can never be delayed or arrested, and starts each game with a monster-killing flamethrower (+7 Physical combat!) and moltov cocktail!
Dunwich Horror also adds Tasks into the Common item deck and Missions into the Unique item deck. These generally involve moving to several different locations in a specific order (in the case of a mission a sacrifice is also required in each location, which varies depending upon the mission). Completion of these tasks and missions results in good and sometimes large rewards (a couple of the missions result in automatic victory when completed, such as all gates being closed at once, or all playerd being simultaneously devoured in order to automatically win!). These are only examples of the many new cards added with this expansion.

CONCLUSION
I've noticed that a load of BGGs say that Arkham Horror is too hard, whilst another load say that once you have worked out a strategy the game becomes too easy. I would say that the Dunwich Horror expansion does appear to make Arkham Horror harder to win, whether that be a good thing or not. The unavoidable point is that Dunwich brings a fresh edge to the Arkham Horror experience, and if nothing else is worth it just for more of what makes Arkham Horror so good! It's price may put off some gamers (normally around £23/$45), but I bet that if most Arkham Horror fans knew what this expansion contained, they would buy it immediately!
My friends and me can no longer imagine playing Arkham Horror without the Dunwich Horror expansion blended into it, even though we rarely play with the actual Dunwich area of the board (it's just too big for my gaming area! We filter out the Dunwich location-related cards and stick the Dunwich Horror in the monster bag with the other monsters, makes drawing from the monster bag each turn an intense experience!).
Therefore I rate it 10/10 along with Arkham Horror. Why? Because it is the best of the expansions to date and because it is equally as great as the game it adds to! goo
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Beau Bailey
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Good review, though I find it very surprising that you don't talk about gate bursts at all. This new addition has played a large role in all of the Dunwich games I have played. Having gates reopen that you previously sealed and forgot about is aggravating and greatly adds to the challenge.
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"Every Board Game I Reach Is Dead"
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As I said earlier, we don't get to play with the Dunwich board that often, and removing all cards that relate to it takes away a couple of the gate bursts...not all of them though! It's a good point, and one that I shall add immediately! Thanks to all for reading my review! goo
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Beau Bailey
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Narlgoth wrote:
This mechanic brings a new level of despair as players watch in horror as gates they sealed and forgot about earlier on in the game tear open and add yet another Doom Token to the Doom track!


Good job adding the new section, but gate bursts do not add a Doom Token to the Doom track. They only add a Doom Token if no Elder Sign was present.
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"Every Board Game I Reach Is Dead"
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Thanks again! Phew! Another correction, I THINK that's all OK now! goo
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William Hoyt
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A very nice overview of the new contents and how it alters the game.

Keep writing those reviews!

~Floyd
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