TableTopics: Arkham Horror
Arkham Horror is a game that I’ve only played once, but I enjoyed a lot. However, it is fairly different from a lot of other games that I’ve reviewed. Most of the games that I’ve reviewed, I would say that the average person can play without that much trouble and they tend to be easy enough to learn. Arkham Horror is not one of those games. It is a long game, it is super strategy heavy, and there are a lot of things to keep track of, and I really enjoyed this game the one time that I’ve played it.
Arkham Horror is a massive cooperative board game where you play investigators trying to stop cult members from bringing one of the old ones into the world. It is built around Lovecraftian lore and you go through the town closing portals, finding items, and defeating monsters that show up. As the game goes on, there start to become more and more things on the board and you have to balance trying to find items and things that you want/need to defeat these monsters and portals while staying alive and healing up your sanity and strength. Since everyone is working together, it is a game where everyone can work on strategy and come up with different ways to handle situations.
There are some downsides to this game, and a reason that I wouldn’t recommend this game for a casual gamer. The first reason is that this is a very long game. I think the one time that I played, it lasted just over four hours. If you aren’t really into the game, it is going to seem really long. Even as someone who enjoyed the game, it is very long and it isn’t a game that you can play all that often because of that. Which leads into issue number two. Since the game is long and you don’t play that often, you now need to remember the rules between your rare plays of the game, and there are a number of rules. Once you get going the rules aren’t actually too bad, but until you’ve played it a few times, definitely couldn’t remember all the rules. If I were to play the game now, I would have to slog through the rules again, and for an already long game, that would just make it longer. Finally, the third big issue is that Arkham Horror is very strategy heavy. Sure there is luck involved in the die rolls, finding items, and what comes up in terms of portals, but this game is so much about strategy. It is a very tough game to win, so you really want to optimize the strategy of the game. This then can mean that some players are left out a some. Kristen is actually pretty good at strategy and with games like Pandemic, Castle Panic, and other cooperative games, and some of it was length of the game, it was even too much strategy only for her.
So, what does that mean for this game? Is this a game that you should avoid or one that you should try and play with your friends? It depends so much on the group of people that you would play it with. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of some people who I could definitely play this game with and who would enjoy playing this game (and now I really want to play the game), but I also know a lot of the people who I play board games with wouldn’t be a great fit for playing this game. It is too long, it is too strategy heavy, and they wouldn’t care enough to learn all the rules for a game that they probably wouldn’t want to play again. So when you play this game, please play responsibly and play with serious gamers. This is a great game for a longer board game day with people who really want to play board games and that is what they are there for, and maybe let the social board game players play their own games off in their own table (since you’ll need a full table for Arkham Horror), but if you are looking to introduce people to board games AVOID! AVOID! AVOID!
Overall Grade: B
Casual Grade: F
Gamer Grade: B+
Now, you might be looking at the overall grade and go, that doesn’t make sense as an average of the other two grades. The overall grade isn’t meant to be an average. It is meant to focus on what the game does, in this case be a gamer game, and look at that and go, can you add in the other one at all? So the overall grade is based more off of the gamer grade since that is what Arkham Horror is meant to be, but use it accordingly.