It’s no secret that I’m an avid fan of RPGs, especially the tabletop kind. There’s something about letting your imagination roam free, fighting dragons in your mind, and getting into adventures with friends that could otherwise never happen.
But then there’s the allure of board games. Who doesn’t have a
fond happy vivid memory of playing Monopoly or Chutes and Ladders as a child, fighting over the racecar, losing pieces and then stepping on them in the dark?
Then, I was introduced to Arkham Horror. Not only is it based on H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, but it has similarities to both RPGs and board games. (Well, I guess it’s more than just similarity to a board game, since that’s what it is, BUT IT’S SO MUCH MORE.)
You are an investigator in a the war-ravaged and murky city of Arkham in the 1920s and OH MY GOODNESS you have to stop evil Cthulu-y demons from coming into the city from gateways to other dimensions before the Ancient God wakes up. You have stats like Sanity and Stamina (just like in RPGs!) and those help you fight demons and have encounters (just like in RPGs!) by rolling dice (yep, like RPGs again!) and picking random cards!
There are many different investigators to be (my favorite right now is Gloria Goldberg) and many different Ancient Gods to pit them against. Depending on which investigators and Ancient One are chosen, the game varies wildly in outcomes and offers so many unique challenges, I can never see it getting old. And if you’re a loner and hate friends, you can have a single person mode! Try playing D&D by yourself. It doesn’t work, does it?
The bad news is that it takes a while to learn to play since its system of complex rules run a good 25 pages long in the instruction manual. After that, it’s easy-peasy! The game play says it can happen in 2-4 hours, but I’ve yet to have a match last under four with more than four people playing. So, be prepared to spend your afternoon HAVING THE MOST FUN YOU’VE EVER HAD WITH CARDS AND GATEWAY TOKENS AND A MONSTER CUP.