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I'm a Player!
Go to the Arkham Horror page
BaldMike70 {Avid Gamer} Jul 28th, 2014
“Easy To Learn, Engrossing, Long Playing Lovecraft Horror Board Game”

I feel almost foolish to be reviewing Arkham Horror. It’s a game that has been a staple of the Board Game world for a long time. It is one of the hallmarks of an in depth, immersive table top game. It’s not just a classic, it’s a benchmark of the industry…

So, why review it at all? Because, you may be like me – someone who had always heard of Arkham Horror but never tried it.

My wife and I were at a convention in Philadelphia and saw it marked down in the one and only game booth. I’d read reviews on it but had never had the chance to try it, but since my wife and I are both H.P. Lovecraft fans, and have been wanting to get more cooperative games we had to own it! (We tend to buy all games with the connection to the Cthulhu mythos. Others to try are Cthulhu Dice, Smash Up’s Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion and Munchkin Cthulhu. )

If you’ve never seen it in person, Arkham is large. The board takes up some ‘real estate’! Then, there are decks of cards for each location, a deck for the Outworld locations, another deck for the Mythos occurrences which occur each round, some small cards for Retainers, Curses/Blessings, Bank Loans, Spells, Common and Unique Items and Allies. After that, the other components include a large number of monsters, 16 Playable Investigators, several Great Old Ones and tokens for Life, Sanity and Money.

(Player Tip: You can reduce table space and perhaps speed up time by downloading one of the Arkham Horror apps. I downloaded one from the Google Play store for free and it has a filter to include either the base game or any of the expansions)

One major aspect that should be noted before diving into Arkham… its long! Really long! As in – set it up in the early evening and play it all night long, long! Now, if that doesn’t bother you, read on. If on the other hand, you have ADHD or your life just doesn’t allow a really long game, then there are other game options that provide much of Arkham Horror’s feel without the time commitment. Eldritch Horror is a similar game that takes less time. Fantasy Flight also has the Elder Sign games which are much faster. Still, Arkham has its own place in the family of Mythos investigative games.

So, what about complexity? I’ve found that learning Arkham Horror isn’t terribly difficult at all. Sure, there are specific things which happen each round, but they are easy to follow. This is a Cooperative game so the pressure to defend yourself from other players doesn’t exist…which is a good thing as any number of nasty’s are waiting to kill you! In one game, Characters were cut off from each other by Maniacs wielding axes, a vampire (NOT the modern, cute, sparkly type or the ones that show up on teen dramas), two Gaunts trying to overwhelm and Shogoth! NASTY!

But, is it fun? Yes! Provided you don’t mind the length of game play, this is a game full of Mythos feel. Each turn, either another portal opens sending more and more monsters out into the town or, if a portal tries to open at a location already containing a portal a particularly nasty event occurs – A Monster Purge occurs, sending a large number of baddies out from all available portals! Another way to infuse Mythos feel into the game is by reading the location event and Other World Event cards aloud. The flavor text is particularly Cthulhu –esque.

Personally, my wife and I really like Arkham Horror. We don’t play it as often as we’d like due to the length, but I’ve found it to be a wonderful solo play when I have extra time.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 6 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I play yellow
Gamer - Level 4
Go to the Mystery of the Abbey page
Fleahost {Avid Gamer} Jul 27th, 2014
“Name of the Rose meets a meatier Clue”

This game has fired Clue for me. Like Clue, Mystery of the Abbey (MOTA) has players trying to find out ‘Who done it?’ One of the monks of the abbey has been found dead, and all signs point to foul play. There are 24 suspects (none of which are the players themselves)and are each represented by monk cards. One of these is randomly selected and placed under the board as the culprit. These potential murders have traits which include their Order (Franciscan, Benedictine or Tempar, fat/thin, beared/clean-shaven, hooded/bare-headed, and rank (Father, Brother & Novice).
Unlike Clue there is no roll and move mechanic. Players all move one or two spaces and the abbey can be traveled from one end to the other in three rounds. The different rooms have special abilities. Players gather information through these rooms, asking other players questions and by passing cards during Mass (which takes place at the end of each game turn-4 player rounds).
When a player ends their movement in the same space as another they MUST ask a question of that player. The game gives rules on what can be asked and what can’t and players cannot lie in their answers. The player being asked can place their finger over their lips and take a Vow of Silence (refusing to answer the question). If they do answer it they may then ask the first player a question which MUST be answered. All these questions are alound and public.
After 4 player turns all players are called to Mass in the cathedral. An Event card is played and one or more monk cards are passed to the player to your left.
Players can make revelations and accusations. These work in a similar fashion to the suggestions and accusations in Clue but are not game enders. In Clue you make a suggestion, which forces a pawn to be moved to the room and players are required to show a card from their hand-what do you mean I have to go to the lounge? I just spent 10 minutes moving to the ballroom! While there is a room in MOTA that simulates this, MOTA has revelations. Players make a positive statement like, “The culprit is a Templar”. This revelation that proves correct yields +2 points. Each false one -1 point. Accusations name the murderer. If no player can sho that named monk card the player gets +4 points. If that card is shown -2 points. Thus it is possible to win the game even if you aren’t the one to properly accuse the correct monk!

Replay Value: More than Clue for sure. The Event cards shake up the game and you’ll see different ones each time you play. There are also many variants you can use. Included are several blam\nk cards you can customize!

Components: Days of Wonder-should be enough said but here goes:
I think are fantastic. The board is a good size but not enormous. Players are given a colored page with a picture of all of the monks and a player guide to conceal it. The player tokens are resin and the dice are wooden. The cards are of good stock and stay true to the theme. A small metal bell is used to mark the turns of the game.

Ease of Learning: The basic rules are not that hard. The player guides help you remember what room does what special action. The trick is learning what questions you can ask to garner the most information, but keep in mind this is public knowledge.

I love the theme (I love The Name of the Rose). I like the idea that none of the players are the killer. It bugged me that in Clue I could be Prof. Plum AND be the killer but not know it. If the game seems slow at first don’t worry, it picks up as it goes! Again this has murdered Clue for me.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
12 out of 12 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
I play green
Go to the Castellan  page
AndreaC {Power Gamer} Jul 27th, 2014
“Light, fun and surprisingly strategic”

The real beauty in this game is that it can be played happily by a 10 year old, and it gave my gaming friends a stretch in plotting a strategy to obtain the best possible point score.

The game comes somewhat overpackaged – primarily to pull the buyer into the look and colours in the game. It breaks down very simply into the box which comes inside the packaging – half the size, but which works surprisingly well in keeping all the bits! The pieces are all plastic with grey Walls and Towers for building the castle; along with my favourite colours (green and yellow) for the players’ Keeps. The pieces fit quite neatly together, but while the set is still new, you may need to slot the Towers/Walls together in from underneath rather than on top from time to time.

The green/yellow version arrives with five sets of rules for various languages; while the blue/red version has one simple set in English. The blue/red version is the ‘expansion’ supposedly, but there is really no reason not to purchase that one as your primary set if you prefer the colours.

The game set up is very quick – sort the Keep colours and shuffle the cards of the same colour into their two separate decks. The Castle Walls and Towers can stay in the box until needed. From new; the set up takes no more than about 3 minutes; to pull the packaging apart and tear open the plastic bags. We had a friend to show us how to play and we were underway in under 5 minutes – a super fast time to get playing a new game. The rules are extremely simple though, and even with having to read rules, unpack to first play would be less than 10 minutes – especially if, like me, you are happy to just play the game as it comes, rather than having to have the entire game strategy in mind before you get underway.

So the play of the game is in building the Castle. Starting players have 4 cards each. The cards depict the pieces allowed to be used in making your courtyards. It is enticing to use all your cards at once to build the most impressive first courtyard, but the crunch comes when you realise you are only allowed to draw one additional card at the end of your turn. This makes future builds quite limited. There are three special cards which allow one extra draw, but I often find these in my last round!! >.< The scoring all comes from having the most Towers in your Courtyard, so you do want to make some fancy styles of courtyard. And then you need to decide when to use your one double Keep scoring tile.

The best way to play this game is as a four player version; this adds complexity to the way the castle constructs and how you might be able to fashion your courtyard. The four player game is much more interesting for 'gamers' and was still finished in a leisurely 45 minutes.

I find the two player version quite simplistic after the four player game. It is over quickly and the strategy is far less, as it is much easier to 'set yourself up' for a pre-planned courtyard. With the four player game, this is virtually impossible! :) Of course this makes the two player version just great for young players, a very quick fill-in game or for late night not-too-much-thinking times.

Value for Money? At the price, the game is not too expensive. However I feel that at 'double the price' (needed for the four player), it IS somewhat expensive for a very simple, not too challenging game.

I enjoyed discovering this game and it makes me smile to be writing this review on it. Long term I'm unsure it will stay at the front of the shelf, but I'll be putting it on the table several times before that happens.

And anyway, how would you not want to pay green?? :)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
11 out of 11 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Go to the King of Tokyo page
AstaSyneri {Avid Gamer} Jul 27th, 2014
“Smashing to play with your kids”

King of Tokyo currently is my favorite game to play with my five-year-old son. He immensely enjoys the theme and has the dice mechanic down pat.

The randomly drawn cards add a tactical level to make it interesting to me, so that I look forward to every new game we play.

King of Tokyo is a perfect father-son game and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. I still need to win, btw – my kids (8d, 5s) for some reason always end up killing my monster before I can succeed :D.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
6 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful
Player Avatar
Go to the Castle Panic page
Gunslinger123 {Avid Gamer} Jul 25th, 2014
“fun co op castle defending”

This is a fun solo or co op game. You have a board that in the center, like a dart board, has you castle towers. You the randomly draw orks and monsters to enter each turn. You then draw cards that kill or hurt these monsters that want to destroy the center castles. I also have the expansion with a wizard tower that gives you magic cards that help you kill these monsters. In a but shell that’s it. I like this game and it makes you make choices that use your resources. Use them all up and defend your castles.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 14 gamers thought this review was helpful

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