Ted Swalwell
United Kingdom
London
Greater London
flag msg tools
badge
Gamer in All Mediums
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The King in Yellow

Hello folks, I've found some time, and so I've decided to review another one of the games I've been enjoying of late. Any of you who've read my first review (Innsmouth Horror) will know that I'm an Arkham Horror fan and, by some accounts, a newbie. Nevertheless I recently obtained my first small box expansion and, having played with it a few times, wish to give the (limited?) benefit of my limited experience.

The King in Yellow is a small-box expansion which, for the uninitiated, means it doesn't contain a board to add to the Arkham Horror game. It does, however, contain a herald, additions to most of the investigator decks (spells, unique items, and common items) and to the Arkham, Mythos and Gate decks. It also introduces the eponymous king in yellow, the Herald of Hastur, and a generally nasty guy who, like most heralds, will make the game harder for the investigators. The game's theme is the also eponymous play which, canonically, is associated with Hastur and making people go mad...so, business as usual for the intrepid investigators.

Theme

First, the theme is conveyed really very well. I am a big fan of all of Arkham Horrors thematic things, and I think it generally conveys Pulp-Cthulhu very well. If anything, this expansion is even better as, to me, the mysteriousness of the play as presented on the cards, and the slow creeping insanity of blight (see below) add a more traditionally Lovecrafitan element as many things in the new King-themed events, encounters and items are left mysterious and unexplained and there is just a sense that something dreadful is happening. The new gate cards are the only ones not to benefit from this play-house theme, but they are welcome additions to the gate deck being as flavorsome as the rest.

The three 'Act' cards add a new way for the game to end, being turned over by mythos cards, and needing sacrifices from the investigators to stop. I've had a game end by Act and it's not pleasant; the deck adds suspense to every mythos phase and, once the second card is down, you know any draw can be the end...exactly as it should be.

The herald supplied is also one of the best. In the thread of my Innsmouth review I said how I like the heralds from that box, but the King in Yellow is much better. The best addition is the blight deck which represents the madness of the play in Arkham. Characters mentioned on the cards become evil and each adds a difficulty for investigators to overcome, and this can occur whenever the terror track increases, with the only way to stop it being to take a doom track token. This adds new fear of terror rising (normally fairly sedate) and given some of the new mythos cards simply cause terror rises, this can be a grave threat. Obviously Hastur also benefits from this, and playing with both would be a challenge for any Arkham Horror veteran.

Gameplay

This leads neatly onto the play of the game. As with the other small-boxes there are two ways of playing. Simply adding the cards to their decks, representing the play becoming a common part of Arkham and simply making matters slightly worse leads to a much more dilute feel. The King cards, being less numerous than the other big boxes are very much a minority in the decks and so are a rare occurrence. This adds something, but not much, to the game by doing the generally good things of increasing variety as other expansions. The only way this will have any great effect is if you choose to use the herald, who is as undiminished as and GOO or Investigator taken without their particular pack, but, in my opinion, this loses a lot of the best part of the pack; the theme. This is worsened by the addition of further expansions which dilute (and are, in turn diluted) so this very much makes the events fade into the background, and makes the Act deck much less potent.

The other method is to play 'touring', which places all the King cards on top of their respective decks. This works surprisingly well (but is a very hard game) and lets you experience most of what the pack has to offer, whilst giving you a concentrated burst of the themes of the King- to quote the bard, the 'play's the thing!'. The constant terror threats and Act deck rising makes the game very difficult, but in my opinion this shows off the best the box has to offer- every other mythos card seems to refer to a great play made of Arkham, and the final act card's curtain fall just seems to fit. Playing this with the King in Yellow herald (and a terror-based GOO of your choice) makes for an enjoyable way to see the end of the world happen very swiftly...

The herald is the best I've seen, and as I say is undiminished by other expansions and so a worth addition alone, making much of the previously oft unremarkable terror track and adding quite an odd selection of hindrances.

Components

Because I feel it should be here, but, as usual for FFG products, the cards are well made with good artwork and seem sturdy enough. The new tokens are of the same quality as the base game. No complaints.

Conclusion

All in all, the game adds a nice bit of variety and a few good twists to the base game. The herald, by far the focus, is one of the best I've seen adding tactical choice to the game as well as being a nice thematic addition to the crew of nasties. Blight adds both a new challenge and a sense of consequence which is really not normally attached to the Terror track, whilst the items and spells have got genuine use which, for the most part, is a common problem with new items (the Blue Flame spell is particularly nice- a persistent magical shotgun!).

Add many expansions and this diminishes the impact somewhat, but it's still full of worthy additions to the Investigator, Arkham, Mythos and Gate decks which alone make it worth picking up for any fan.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell InGA
United States
Johns Creek
Georgia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
T0bias wrote:

Do I get this and the vanilla game?
Or do I also need Dunwich?

(I'll get one of those, since I don't feel like spending more cash on Arkham Horror.)



This one just adds to the base game. (You don't need Dunwich to play it.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ted Swalwell
United Kingdom
London
Greater London
flag msg tools
badge
Gamer in All Mediums
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Do I get this and the vanilla game?
Or do I also need Dunwich?

(I'll get one of those, since I don't feel like spending more cash on Arkham Horror.)


As above: you only need the base game to play any of the expansions in any order (though, later expansions will assume you have the previous ones where it matters: you will get story cards for every character, and battle cards for every GOO, not just the ones which are base game/that expansion.)

Indeed, I'd recommend playing with a limited number of expansions even if you got them all: adding all of them takes from each of them by lessening their impact.

This said, you've asked a good question in if you ought get only this one: Dunwich adds more to the base game basically doubling it in size, and has another board with all the accouterments. If you're just getting one expansion then you also avoid many of the problems of Dunwich (which consist of the Mythos deck becoming too big). However, as above, I love the theme of the King in Yellow, far more than I love the (lack of a real theme) in Dunwich.

This, I think, is what it should come down too... If the KiY theme really appeals to you, get the King as it adds a lot. If not, however, get Dunwich as it makes the base game more better.

Yes I know that makes no grammatical sense, but I hope you get what I'm trying to say.

*Edited for formatting...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.