In a flash of brilliance, a friend suggested taking advantage of the recently gained extra space at board game night to play Arkham Horror. This is, as the long time reader may recall, one of my favorite board games ever. The game does tend to sprawl a bit, so I refrained from bringing it to board game night at Quarterstaff Games due to the usual crunch on elbow room.
Board game night’s been different of late, so I took the chance and packed up Arkham Horror and Innsmouth Horror, the latest expansion to the game — and the one that happened to be already mixed with the base set from the last time I played. We started with a group of five struggling against the encroaching minions of Nygotha. The Ancient One’s ability, sending a tendril in the form of a spawn monster — which takes the place of any “A monster appears!” encounters — out to drag investigators to their doom, would set a tone for the evening, as two players would drop out as the game went on.
Things started out well enough. One of the players new to the game chose Patrice the violinist, so we had a clue mill. We racked up a ton of clues in the first couple turns, since other members in the party included Joe Diamond and Mandy, who both start with a healthy assortment of leads to follow. Other worlds were explored, gates sealed and we generally didn’t have any of the crushing setbacks that Arkham Horror offers. Then, things took a turn.
Agnes the waitress with memories of a past life stood ready to leap back to Arkham through the portal from the City of the Great Race. Joe Diamond, while bumbling around in the Abyss, happened across a shortcut back to reality. With only those two gates open, enough gate trophies held by the characters and a pile of clue tokens in Patrice’s possession for the spending, we had an almost unbeatable chance of winning right then and there. Agnes completed her part of the job with ease. And then Joe proceeded to roll twelve odd dice without getting a single 5 or 6.
It still makes me sigh, a day later.
From there, things went on a gentle slope downhill. More gates opened, Joe closed his gate the next turn and went on to kill some more monsters and putter around Devil Reef, trying to keep ahead of the residents of Innsmouth and their Deep One allies. I can’t remember how it went, but after that turning point with Agnes and Joe, the Deep Ones Rising track filled with alacrity. That’s what did us in finally.
The battle against Nygotha went shockingly well. Patrice was the first dragged underground by Nyogtha to be devoured. After that, Agnes, Hank and Joe continued to whittle away at the Ancient One. Joe was the next to go down. Then it was down to Agnes and Hank, who, thanks to a series of amazing rolls, contrived to bring Nyogtha down to only four doom tokens. In the end, it was Agnes by herself, desperately blasting away with a discarded handgun when she could no longer take the strain of slinging Shrivel. And then she fell.
That’s how Arkham Horror goes and I loved it.
Patrice’s player was greatly impressed by the game. She enthused about it to her husband when he came to pick her up. I hope I’ve got another ready player there next time it’s time to travel to a little Massachusetts town.