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Arkham Horror: The Lurker at the Threshold - Board Game Box Shot

Arkham Horror: The Lurker at the Threshold

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Across Arkham, strange doors to other worlds have been opening. They seem to be a living part of an ancient and arcane creature that has been reaching out, tempting the unwary with eldritch power. Now people are vanishing without a trace, and it’s up to a handful of bold investigators to confront the profane being who dwells just beyond these passages. But even working together, will they be able to destroy these unnatural and deadly gates without themselves striking a terrible bargain with the Lurker at the Threshold?

The Lurker at the Threshold is an expansion for the Arkham Horror board game by Fantasy Flight Games.

This expansion features:
  • 1 Herald Sheet
  • 18 new Gate markers
  • 110 new Ancient One cards
  • 56 new Investigator cards, including new items, new spells, Relationship cards, and horrific Dark Pacts made with the powers beyond!

User Reviews (7)

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I'm Completely Obsessed
Book Lover
Advanced Reviewer
62 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“Cross the Threshold, If You Dare”

The Lurker at the Threshold is the third small box expansion for Arkham Horror (or fourth, if you count the Dark Pharaoh un-revised edition), and like the others it introduces a new herald and some related cards. It’s a bit unusual amongst the Heralds, as the basic theme of the Lurker is that investigators can draw on eldritch powers in their efforts to thwart the Ancient One, provided they are bold, foolish or desperate enough. As you might expect, meddling with ye forces of darkness can carry a terrible price.

Here’s my take on a few of the major components of the expansion:

The Lurker at the Threshold: The most unusual thing about this Herald is that other than drawing a Reckoning card with each new Gate, and a -1 penalty to close/seal gates, the Lurker’s other two game effects can be avoided – unless the investigators give in to the temptation and form Dark Pacts with the Lurker. Of course, it can be tempting to risk it in order to get a little boost, and in keeping with the feel of eldritch pacts with dark powers the more dire your situation is, the more alluring the benefit of a Dark Pact might seem (some cards, like “An Offer You Can’t Refuse, can force a Dark Pact to be taken, too).

Reckoning Cards: Reckoning cards represent occurrences tied to the Lurker and its influence, particularly upon those who have accepted Pacts. Generally speaking, these are bad, and the more your investigators have dabbled with Dark Pacts and the Power from the Lurker, the more dangerous Reckonings can be.

Relationship Cards: Though a minor addition to the game, these are fun. Relationship cards provide small bonuses reflecting the relationship between the starting investigators (replacement investigators don’t get one). These are usually minor bonuses, and you need to remember to use them, but they can be helpful and for the roleplaying gamers provide a little extra something to the investigator team. These cards remind me of the bit in a lot of RPGs where they suggest that the players establish pre-game connections between their characters.

New Gates: The Lurker expansion replaces the Gate markers with new ones, and gates now tend to have special effects linked to them (some gates move, some devour investigators if they open on an occupied space or cause sanity loss if an investigator fails an attempt to close a gate). This adds a little added flavor to the game and makes gates more interesting.

Cards: As usual, there are some new cards to add to the Arkham Horror decks – a few items and spells, encounter cards, etc.

Overall Impression: I liked this expansion. It is definitely unique amongst the small box AH expansions and adds some fun, new twists to the game. Thematically, it’s a very cool set, and players can have a lot of entertainment from the temptation of fighting the Mythos by delving into the very powers they are struggling against.

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3 Beta 1.0 Tester
Critic - Level 1
61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“The Lurker, a helpful Herald”

The Lurker at the Threshold has come to Arkham to pave the way into our world for the Ancient Ones! Gates to Other Worlds are now more dangerous with penalties for failing to close or seal them and with the addition of moving gates not even the streets are safe. The Lurker Herald brings Dark Pacts to the game whereby investigators can trade sanity or stamina for Power tokens to aid them in their quest but the more indebted to the Lurker you are the less likely you are to survive.

While Lurker comes with new types of all the cards from the base set the best part of this expansion is the new gates. Instead of all gates only going to one Other World there are now split gates which lead to two but have a more difficult modifier for your close/seal rolls. Also introduced are penalties for failing your rolls to close which can cause you to lose stamina, sanity or even make a monster appear. Gates can now move like monsters and a couple add doom tokens or devour investigators making gate openings much more tense.

The Relationship cards in Lurker are a nice addition giving an investigator a bonus shared by themselves and the investigator next to them. While most are pretty good there are a few which are hardly used and one that is almost useless.

The new Investigator cards are light on items but there are a lot of new spells. Most spells differ from the majority of spells in Arkham Horror as they promote cooperation by giving benefits to other investigators even if they’re far away on a distant planet.

The Lurker Herald makes closing gates more difficult but it’s Dark Pacts actually make the game a bit easier. Since Power tokens are easy to acquire and can be spent in place of clues players can load up on Power and seal gates without the need for spending time gathering clues. The Reckoning cards, which are drawn when a gate opens, have some nasty effects which target investigators with Dark Pacts and/or Power but are relatively weak in comparison to the boon Power tokens are.

The new Mythos cards don’t add too much difficulty although they bring more gates bursts and double gate openings. The Location cards and Other World cards add more variety but aren’t very thematically tied to the expansion’s premise.

Overall the Lurker at the Threshold is a good expansion but it doesn’t ramp up the difficulty nearly as much as others do. The new gates and relationships make it a worthwhile purchase alone but the Herald sees very little use in our games as they’re so open to abuse they can make the games much, MUCH easier.

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61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“An Indecisive Expansion”

We’ve played a lot of Arkham Horror in our day. At one point, we were playing it at least once a month, or perhaps more. So it’s only natural that we eventually we got sick of it. It’s since been relegated to special occasions, and only then with a handful of players to keep it from bogging down too much. Hence when a friend gave us a copy of The Lurker at the Threshold Expansion when it first came out, we just never got around to playing it until recently, when we tossed this in to see how it plays. The theme of this expansion is that there is a mysterious eldrich being that is opening gates to other worlds, and offering power with a terrible price.

In describing The Lurker at the Threshold, I’m going to assume you’re familiar with Arkham Horror in general (if not, you can give my Halloween podcast a listen). For the most part, it’s a standard small-box Arkham Horror expansion. There are some additional Mythos cards, which are fairly generic in their effects. The only nod to the theme is that some of them will open two gates instead of one, but without adding tokens to the Doom track. There are new Arkham Encounter and Other Worlds cards, which are also rather generic. And there are some new Common Items, Unique Items and Spells, most of which seem very powerful and cool.

The theme comes in with the new Gate Markers, Dark Pact Cards, Reckoning Cards, Power Tokens and of course the Lurker Herald. The Gate Markers replace the ones that come with the base game, with some additional markers for The Dunwich Horror and The Kingsport Horror expansions. They add two new elements to the game. First, some are split gates: they can take you to one of two Other Worlds, and closing them is subsequently more difficult. The remainder add an additional symbol to the gate which give it different behavior — some gates will do terrible things if to an investigator on it when it opens (e.g. devoured), some will do terrible things to an investigator when failing to close it (e.g. lost stamina), and some can move.

If the Gate markers convey the sense of gates opening unexpectedly, the Dark Pact cards, Reckoning cards, Power tokens and Lurker Herald work together to convey the “power at a terrible price.” The Dark Pacts come in three types: one allows you to trade Sanity for Power (and use Power as either a clue token or gain Stamina), one allows you to trade Power for Stamina (and use Power correspondingly for Sanity), and the last allows you to gain an ally, until the Ancient One awakens (and use Power for money). When the Herald is active, you can choose to either invoke its help with spells and then take a Dark Pact, or you can just choose to take a Dark Pact at the beginning of your turn.

The Reckoning cards also come into play when the Lurker is active. These are drawn every time a Gate is opened, and represent the price for the Dark Pacts and Power tokens. In general, nasty things will happen to those with either a Dark Pact or Power — you might be devoured, or drawn through the nearest gate, or lose Stamina or Sanity. The other effect of the Lurker is to reduce the ability to close gates.
Finally, to balance the evil of the Lurker, there is a new deck of Relationship cards, one of which is drawn per player at the beginning of the game when you choose random items. This is played to your left, and represents the relationship between you and the player to your left. This grants you such niceties as gaining money, items or allies when your partner does, or gaining bonuses on certain checks. They are always good, never bad.

So with all of that, the core part of this expansion (the Herald et al.) left me a little flat. To be fair, we forgot and didn’t turn over the Reckoning cards early on in the game, and later on we kept opening the same gates, or hitting sealed ones, so they didn’t come up. But even so — since none us had Power or Dark Pacts — the effect would have been nothing. As far as that, I have to confess I’ve never understood the draw of accepting an evil card for a short-term power boost, just to pay the price later. Since there’s nothing to force you to take such a card, most of us ignored them until we were close to wrapping up — and only then just to try them out. The only card I could find that forces you in that direction is one Reckoning card that gives Power to players with Spells. At one point I ran out of clue tokens, so I suppose it would have been nice to have the ability to generate Power and use them as clues, but nothing in the game felt urgent enough to cause me to want to do that. And on top of that, the new Mythos and Encounter cards, which can add a lot to the story part of the game, did almost nothing to contribute to the story of the Lurker (the one exception are the Mythos cards that open more than one gate).

Ironically, the optional parts of the expansion — the new Gate markers and Relationship cards — worked the best for me. The split Gates in particular were nice, and the Relationships give you more connection to other players without having to be in the same location. However, I’m not sure those alone are enough to buy this expansion. We might play with this one again and just use those bits, but we’re more likely to play with one of the other expansions instead.

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I play blue
El Dorado
Guardian Angel
61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“More Power?! Yes, Please Mr. Lurker!”

The Lurker at the Threshold (LatT) is the fourth and last small box expansion for Arkham Horror. LatT is centered on a malevolent being that opens doors to bizarre worlds and tempts investigators with power all the while leading them to the clutches of the Great Old One. Investigators must toe a fine line, using only just enough power to explore these strange new worlds and closing them before the Reckoning dealt out by the Great Old One occurs.

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. Also included are Relationship cards and new gate markers.

Set-up for Arkham Horror is not made more difficult or longer with the inclusion of the LatT expansion. The expansion cards are simply shuffled into their respective base game deck. Each investigator receives a Relationship card. The new gate markers replace the existing markers entirely. Quick and easy!

If playing the Herald variant then set-up will take a moment longer. The Power Tokens are placed on the herald, the Dark Pacts are placed near the herald and the Reckoning deck is shuffled and set aside. Still pretty quick!

Unless using the herald variant, there are only minor changes to the game mechanics. The Relationship cards and new gate markers offer subtle changes to the game mechanics. Relationship cards describe the affect between two investigators whose lives are intertwined. Each investigator has a relationship with two other investigators in the game. Relationships can grant a bonus to skill checks, help an investigator obtain cash or grant an investigator extra movement points in certain situations to name most of them.

Each gate has a special ability which usually comes into play when an investigator fails his skill check to close the gate. The ability could add a Doom Token to the Doom Track, bring a monster into play, devour the investigator or cause the investigator to lose sanity or stamina. Another ability allows gates to move during the Monsters Move part of the Mythos phase. There are also split gates, which are a new feature. Split gates allow the investigator to choose between two Other Worlds to explore.

Using the herald variant will significantly alter the game mechanics. And quick frankly, the herald variant should be utilized to get the flavor of this expansion. Investigators can make a Blood, Soul and Bound Ally Pact with the Lurker to gain power. These pacts allow the investigators to gain Power Tokens which can in turn give investigators a good amount of flexibility when facing the dangers of the Mythos. Power Tokens can be used as a substitute for taking either Stamina or Sanity damage, can be used as a Clue Token or used as cash. However, investigators with at least one pact must face the consequences. A Reckoning card is drawn and resolved any time a gate opens. Investigators with pacts could lose sanity, stamina, clue tokens, or items. Basically an investigator is given a choice to lose something or something detrimental occurs like the Terror level increases or a Doom Token is added to the Doom track. However the Reckonings could also grant more Power Tokens and give investigators spells. A Reckoning card is also drawn and resolved when an investigator takes a Pact in an emergency situation to get him/her out of trouble.

The LatT expansion is very popular expansion among Arkham Horror players because the herald variant makes the game easier and is a lot of fun.

The best part of this expansion is the herald. The Power Tokens grant players so much flexibility, that it makes the game easier. Having extra clue tokens, stamina, sanity or cash at your fingertips allows players to go after closing and sealing gates with a vengeance! It is also a lot of fun wielding this power! I enjoy the Reckoning cards too. It’s always a tense moment when drawing these because you don’t know if you are going to gain more power, lose some stuff and/or something bad happens.

I’m not a big fan of the relationship cards. These cards tend to make the game easier too. However, the relationships tend to be somewhat situational and can be fiddly. Many of the relationships have conditions which need to be checked frequently and I tend to forget to use them.

The new gate markers are a nice touch. If I remember the ability on the gate, it can be an anxious moment when trying to close the gate because many times the life of your investigator hangs on one die roll. The moving gates are a fiddly pain. Gate movement is infrequent so I tend to forget to move them. However, things get interesting when gates move into the streets or stable locations because these gates can’t be sealed.

All things considered, The Lurker at the Threshold Expansion for Arkham Horror is a must-have expansion for Arkham Horror fans. This expansion is easy to incorporate into the base game and the Lurker’s power is just a lot of fun to play! I highly recommend the Lurker at the Threshold expansion.

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Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
61 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“Nice Expansion”

The features included with this set add fun twists to the game. I really like the new gate markers and I doubt I’ll use the old ones in the future since they add more strategy and surprises to the game (split gates, devouring gates, etc.) . The relationship cards are fun and actually help the investigators (imagine that!) although one needs to be on top of them because it’s easy to forget to use them.

The Dark Pacts with the Lurker do seem overpowered and can often be used to get one out of a difficult situation with minor risk (note, however, that they do increase the game complexity and counter fiddling somewhat). Still they’re fun to work with.

Definitely this is a must-have for anyone who owns a few of the other expansions.

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Gamer - Level 3
61 of 81 gamers found this helpful
“Worthy expansion”

Fairly cheap and adds some nice touches. The ability to make pacts can give you advantages early, but it cost you eventually. Relationships are fun. And new location encounter cards are always welcome.

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Gamer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Novice Advisor
60 of 82 gamers found this helpful
“Nice...not thrilling, but nice”

It’s a very nice expansion to have. I particularly like the Lurker at the Threshold mechanic, which offers ever present ‘temptation’ to the players. All in all, it works very well.


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