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Arkham Horror: Black Goat of the Woods - Board Game Box Shot

Arkham Horror: Black Goat of the Woods

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A dangerous cult has risen in Arkham! Meeting in secret, these heretics and madmen consort with dark powers and offer up sacrifices to the Ancient One, while hordes of vicious monsters descend on the the town. It’s up to a small band of investigators to infiltrate the cult and learn from these dark rituals, yet even the most pure-hearted may find himself corrupted in the process. Will their efforts be enough to stop the Ancient One from awakening, or will the investigators succumb, one by one, to the blasphemous seduction of its Herald, the Black Goat of the Woods?

The Black Goat of the Woods is an expansion for the Arkham Horror board game by Fantasy Flight Games. This expansion features 88 new Ancient One cards, 9 new monster markers, 1 Herald Sheet, and 90 new Investigator cards including new items, new spells, and the dangerous lure of corruption…

User Reviews (5)

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Pet Lover
Novice Reviewer
83 of 90 gamers found this helpful
“Black Goat of the Woods: Some awesome things and some so-so things”

Black Goat of the Woods is the third small-box expansion for Arkham Horror. The Black Goat of the Woods is one of the weaker expansions for the game not because it has a lot of bad components, but because of how so-so much of the expansion is. Still, there’s some great stuff here, and it can seriously raise the difficulty of the game if you use most of the pieces.

What I like

The Mythos and encounter cards for both Other World and Arkham are generally well-written and pretty difficult. I don’t integrate all of the various expansion decks, so if you play with just the base game and this, you’re bound to experience some of the nastiness.

Many of the Arkham Encounters involve the Corruption deck from this expansion. Corruption cards initially offer something valuable — clue tokens, money, some good abilities — at a cost, but if you draw too many their effects just snowball. There are ways to get rid of them and avoid them altogether, but in keeping with one of the themes of the game, you can only resist so long before things get bad.

Finally, I love the new namesake herald for this expansion. Not only does the Black Goat make monsters more difficult in general, but also floods the game with creatures stamped with the hexagon movement marker. Plus, you add tokens to the Ancient One’s doom track every time a monster surge happens…and it happens a lot with this herald in play. It’s worth noting that the expansion comes with a couple more hex-based monsters, including a few new ones.

What I don’t like

The only parts of the expansion I don’t really like are the difficulty cards, which let you change the overall challenge the game provides. Some of the variations are too specific (impacting a certain investigator) or too broad (drawing TWO Mythos cards each turn) to really been enjoyable. I’d rather just add a herald or something similar.

A few hit or miss things

The Black Goat comes with a few new spells and around two dozen new unique and common items. Some are universally great, like the.357 Magnum (an incredibly powerful one-handed weapon) and the ancient spear (which can transform into a magical weapon once per turn). But the uses for most of the items are quite conditional, so much so that you’ll probably rarely — if ever — use them.

The expansion also gives you the opportunity to join the Cult of the Black Goat. Once an investigator actually joins the cult, he or she can draw from a special deck that adds some interesting opportunities into the game (some good stuff…at a price, of course). But by the time you actually get a cult membership, the game will probably be over.

Final thoughts

While I’ve really grown to appreciate some parts of this expansion (the Ancient One cards, the herald, the corruption deck), I still get frustrated by some of the so-so aspects. If the cult membership wasn’t so difficult to get, that alone would make this one of the best expansions. But as it stands, the Black Goat of the Woods is merely pretty good.

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I'm Completely Obsessed
Book Lover
Advanced Reviewer
70 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“Black Goat and Dark Young and Cultists (Oh my... or Ia!)”

I actually enjoyed this expansion a lot, more so than other reviewers thus far it seems. Like all the small box Arkham Horror expansions, the theme here centres around a Herald, specifically the “Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young”. The bulk of the expansion’s contents pertain to the cult and monsters relating to Shub Niggurath and the Black Goat itself.

Herald: The Black Goat has some rather distinct effects of the game, the most notable being the creation of a split monster cup. Hexagon monsters (several more of which are introduced with this expansion) are used to form a second monster cup, which spawns additional monsters to the regular ones that appear in the game. It also allows Dark Young (the Thousand Young referred to in its full designation) to move, and defeating Hexagon monsters causes investigators to suffer Corruption. Monster surges advance the doom track, and half of the monsters spawned are from the hexagon cup.

Corruption Cards: This deck is part green (the top half) and part red (the bottom half) and represents the corrupting influence of the Mythos on the investigators. Each card has some sort of effect (triggered by monster movement symbols on the Mythos draws) which are generally negative and get worse as the investigators gain more of them and delve into the red half of the cards.

“One of the Thousand” Cult Membership Cards: Similar to the Silver Lodge Membership from the Arkham Horror base game, the investigators will have occasional opportunities to gain one of these cards. Cult members have cult encounters in the Black Isle, Woods and Unvisited Isle, instead of the regular encounters. As you might expect, while joining the cult may yield benefits, dabbling with the forces of the Mythos is a risky business for investigators.

New Monsters: The expansion adds some additional monsters (Dark Young, Goat Spawn, Children of the Goat and the Dark Druid) to the monster cup. As you might expect these are all hexagon monsters relating to the Black Goat and Shub-Niggurath (the Dark Druid is perhaps the most significant – he’s no Wizard Whateley or Barnabas Marsh, but he can be a real pain, especially with lots of monsters on the board)

Difficulty Cards: These cards are used to make the Arkham Horror game more or less difficult. This is the one part of the expansion I can honestly say I’ve never used, but some people might like them. They are really a very minor element of the expansion, so you can use them or just set them aside and enjoy the main parts of the expansion.

The Usual Card Assortment: As is usual in any AH expansion, this one adds some new spells, items and encounter cards to the existing decks.

Overall: I really liked this expansion, and I usually have a lot of fun when the Black Goat shows up as the Herald. It definitely creates a unique (if monster-oriented) game environment. As the small box expansions go, I feel this one is definitely on par with the other three and one of my personal favorites.

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I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel
68 of 75 gamers found this helpful
“Ia! Ia! Shub-Niggurath”

The Black Goat of the Woods (BGotW) is the third small box expansion for Arkham Horror. BGotW is centered on the mystique of the Great Old One Shub-Niggurath. Shub’s worshipers have formed a very powerful and corrupting cult. The investigators must neutralize this brutal ‘One of a Thousand’ cult if they are to have a chance at defeating the Great Old One.

The quality of the expansion components is on par with the base game and very good. There are thick cardboard playing pieces and fairly durable cards with very good artwork. The expansion rules are 2 pages and pretty straight forward. No complaints about the components.

This expansion includes additional location, Mythos, Gate, Common Item, Unique item and Spell cards to beef up their respective decks. BGotW also includes additional monsters.

Set-up for Arkham Horror is not made more difficult or longer with the inclusion of the BGotW expansion. The expansion cards are simply shuffled into their respective base game deck. The Cult Encounter and Corruption decks are shuffled and set aside. The additional monsters are tossed into the Monster Cup. That’s it.

If playing the Herald variant then set-up will take a moment longer. The BGotW Herald requires the hexagon monsters to be separated from the Monster Cup to form the Hexagon Monster Cup.

Unlike most other Arkham Horror expansions, the BGotW expansion does not significantly change or add mechanics to the game. Cult Encounters replace regular encounters at the Woods, Black Cave and Unvisited Isle locations for investigators with a Cult Membership.

Depending on the level, the Difficulty Level cards generally subtly change set-up, game mechanics and scoring. Most of the Difficulty Level cards either give extra or take away clue tokens. Others either bless or curse investigators at the beginning of the game. The most difficult level has an extra Mythos card drawn and resolved during the Mythos Phase. This is the most significant game change by the Difficulty Level cards.

The Corruption cards offer the largest change in game mechanics. Certain events occur which require a player to draw a Corruption card for his investigator. When a Corruption card is activated it could be a nuisance or minor annoying event which hinders the investigator in some way. It could be something like give a Cult Membership to another player, or deny the use of certain items for a turn or even make the investigator lose sanity and/or stamina. The Corruption cards are smoothly integrated into the game mechanics as they are activated when their symbol appears on a Mythos card and can be removed when a gate is closed.

The BGotW expansion is perhaps one of the least favorite expansions among Arkham Horror players. However, there are some things to like about this expansion and I find that I enjoy using it on occasion. There aren’t many items and spells in this expansion but it does include several notable items such as the Military Motorcycle, .357 Magnum, Ancient Spear, Ritual Blade, and the spell Steal Life. All of these items are very useful and fun.

My favorite part about this expansion is the Corruption cards. Over the course of the game a character is bogged down by small hindrances. It feels as if the investigator is slowly getting mired in corruption. This mechanic is also well integrated into the base game mechanics and flows nicely.

When I’m in the mood for a beat down, then I use the Herald variant. If you like creature combat in Arkham Horror, then this is the variant for you. This variant places an additional monster out anytime a gate opens. Not only that, but it puts the nasty hexagon monsters into play! The BGotW Herald also forces more Corruption cards into play as well. To top it all off, you’ll mostly likely get the mother of all creature combat as this variant will most likely force the Final Battle with the Great Old One! In my opinion, this is one of the most challenging Heralds to use.

I have never used the Difficulty Level cards. I’m not sure why, I guess it is because I always felt as though a certain difficulty level is built into each expansion. I use the expansion(s) corresponding to how difficult I feel like making the game according to my mood.

The Cult Encounter mechanic I’m neither here nor there with it. It’s relatively easy to get a Cult Membership as some of the Location Encounters dole them out, but once the Corruption cards get into the act, then the Cult Memberships start a flowin’. The problem with this mechanic is that the Cult Encounters tend to be terribly negative, so players avoid the locations where a Cult Encounter can be had. I think the folks at Fantasy Flight recognized this because the Miskatonic Horror Expansion includes a whole slew of new Cult Encounter cards. These cards generally have a negative AND a positive affect which makes the mechanic useful.

The Black Goat of the Woods Expansion for Arkham Horror may not be for everyone, but it has its bright spots. In my opinion it’s definitely good enough to warrant making it a part of your collection.

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Gamer - Level 3
63 of 84 gamers found this helpful
“Least fave of the expansions”

If you love Arkham, you’ll end up buying this at some point because it’s cheap. But make it last, because the other expansions are better. I don’t like the corruption mechanics or the ability to join the Cult.

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Gamer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Novice Advisor
70 of 100 gamers found this helpful

Nothing this set provides is really relevant. The problem is, the Cult membership just doesn’t come up enough to warrant keeping track of all the cards that come along with it. Even if you get a membership, if its not near the start of the game, it can still be meaningless.


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