Arkham Horror the Living Card Game is like a tabletop roleplaying game lite. Similar to other RPG-lite games like Heroquest, Warhammer Fantasy Quest, or of course, its titular game Arkham Horror, what makes Arkham Horror the Living Card Game unique is that rather than miniatures and random puzzle piece map pieces, instead you use cards and almost a deck-building mechanic to explore the storyline and advance your character.
What is a Living Card Game?
If you’re new to the Living Card Games, this is for you, otherwise, feel free to skip to the next section down. J Living Card Games are a response to people who like the idea of a growing supply of cards to choose from for building their decks but who DO NOT like the inherit unfairness that the Collectible Card games possess in the sense of different players have access to a different collection of cards to build their decks from. In general, Living Card games sell sets, and each set contains every card from each set. Lately, each set often contains the maximum number of each card that you can put in your deck, an improvement over previous generations where you might have to buy 2 or 3 of each set to be able to build the perfect deck. Essentially, while there is still a money component to the games, there is a fixed cost of entry so that everyone knows how much it costs to keep up with the latest and greatest cards.
First of all, the boxed set contains enough cards to create two characters and run through three adventures. There are five characters to choose from, characters that will be familiar if you’ve played other games in Fantasy Flight Games “Lovecraft”-themed games. Each of these characters feel distinctly different due to both the exact starting combination of cards along with their stats and abilities.
The boxed set contains one campaign, which contains three scenarios. The campaign, Night of the Zealot, is creepy, full of flavor, and really makes me want to rush through to see what happens to “my” character.
As you play, you fill out this cool campaign log which tracks the experience you acquired going through the game along with any trauma you’ve picked up from dealing with the sanity-breaking monsters of the Mythos.
The idea of writing on the back of the book sends chills down most of my friend’s backs in its own way. 😉 “What?! But how do you play again?” Well…honestly, for me, I probably never will. Once I play this campaign, I’m unlikely to play it again, I’ll want to buy more campaigns like the Curse of the Rougarou or the Carnevale of Horrors.
BUT, if I “did” want to play again, you can download the campaign logs from their website and print more.
Instead of using dice, like most RPGs, this game does have a random mechanic, but it’s a bit cooler than dice IMO. Each campaign has you choose a difficulty level then populate a bag of tokens. The tokens have either numbers or special symbols, the meaning of the special symbols varies depending on your investigator and the campaign you’re currently exploring. Personally, I like the results of each action being more customized to who is doing the action and where the action is taking place, and there is a tactile element of reaching into the chaos bag and pulling out your success or failure.
This is where I’m uncertain, is this game replayable? Does it even matter? Anna and I recorded our lets play, and I thought to myself for the price of the game, to have effectively 3 game sessions, maybe it’s a little expensive. But looking at the math, and the amount of play-time you get out of the box, its cheaper than going to the movies, so maybe its workable.
Then I talked to Lydon, and he was saying he was sad I ended up recording the game with Anna, so we might record us playing it again ourselves. So at this point, I’ve already played the first chapter twice, and I might play it a third time. Maybe this game is more replayable than I thought.
Have any of you ever replayed a D&D module? I’ve played Red Hand at least three times, the campaign is “that” good IMO, so honestly I have to say this is going to change on a case by case basis. Each of you will have time figure out whether you’re likely to replay it, and if not, is the price of admission worth the three games you’ll get out of it.
In my opinion, this game is awesome! Fun, intriguing, and I’m really looking forward to getting the expansions after I’ve played through all 3 chapters at least once each. What do you think? Let me know below!