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Would this work with my gaming group?


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#1 JosueCafe

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:17 PM

Everyone I've played Elder Signs with has greatly enjoyed it. Many of them expressed interest in Arkham Horror when I explained its similar premise.There is only one thing I'm concerned about: the occult content.

Personally, I'm open minded about things with occult content. I've read the Harry Potter series, as well of a few Lovecraft stories with no problem. However, most members of my group are Christians that may be offended if the occult content is a prevailing theme. So here are some questions for Arkham Horror players:

-What is the extent of the occult content in this game (if any)?

-Are you required to partake in anything (besides spells) that may be considered offensive? What comes to mind are things like joining forces with the opposing side or anything that implies worshiping or sacrificing to the Old Ones. If I can explain that we are against the occult elements, I might have an easier time getting this to the table.

-Are the event cards gruesome enough to be offensive?

-Are there certain expansions with content that I should avoid?

I know these questions seem obnoxious and irrelevant (they are to me). It's just that my friends will probably be sensitive to anything demonic or satanic in nature. Thanks in advance for any insight!

 



#2 satanito

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:27 PM

Lovecraft's mithology is not satanic, but it dwelles in the demonic.

In Arkham Horror you will find many references about them, in fact thats the point, but it depends of the intepretation of of the person who is playing it. They find Harry Potter satanic? then they will find Arkham horror satanic.Is the occult a fundamental part of the game? yes, but mostly not in a gruesome way. In my experience, the base game is pretty mild about this: the encounters can be daunting but there are not many references about entities unless you can translate them after reading Lovecraft´s work, if not, its not much problem. Any player will find things like "the house speak to you" or "there is a monster in the basement" but so, in any other fantasy game.

- Yes, the theme is about fighting the occult side cooperatively, but, you will be using spells, with names like Wither, Shivelling, or items with a pentagram on one side (not satanic by the way).

-Are the events gruesome enough? no, in the base game, no.

- Expansions to avoid? Yes. Dunwich Horror gives you the option to sacrifice "persons" to gain the favor of the old ones. The black goat of the wood, just by the name is not a good opcion, besides you can take part of a cult that want to help the old ones, and lastly The lurker at the threshold mecanics is by far the most "satanic" because it give you the option to make pacts in exchange for favors with a dark entity.

Lovecraft work IS about the ocult, so, there will be things that can be interpreted in very diferent ways; remember, his work is about horrors in the space, the sea and most importantly inside each person. I think that some may find this dificult to accept, even to table game, but i frankly believe that the way to know if they wont be ofended, is to sugest them to read a story or two of the mythos.

But be aware that, if your gaming group is very sensible, and you need to worry about offending anyone, maybe this is not the game for them. An open mind is also one that respect other people ideas.



#3 JosueCafe

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:26 PM

Thank you for your answer, satinto. It appears that the core game will not pose problems, as aiding the Old Ones is not an option. I'll definitely stay away from the aforementioned expansions, however. Even though the storyline does not actually involve "biblical" Satan or demons, I'm certain my group will object to the darker gameplay elements. This being said, I am reassured by the praises of the core set; it seems to contain enough scenarios and variety to keep us happy and entertained for a long time.



#4 Julia

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:49 PM

JosueCafe said:

Thank you for your answer, satinto. It appears that the core game will not pose problems, as aiding the Old Ones is not an option. I'll definitely stay away from the aforementioned expansions, however. Even though the storyline does not actually involve "biblical" Satan or demons, I'm certain my group will object to the darker gameplay elements. This being said, I am reassured by the praises of the core set; it seems to contain enough scenarios and variety to keep us happy and entertained for a long time.

Just to stress a little more what Satanito said. Do not see of the aformentioned expansions as a boardgaming version of the Kult RPG (or similar). One of the key element in all early expansions of AH (including DH) is the theme. A long series of elements building a really great atmosphere, mixing the roaming 20s with some gothic / supernatural horror stuff (not gore, splatter or what else, just supernatural horror, the idea that if you go to the graveyard at night you can see things you're not supposed to see). There is nothing in the game requiring you to sacrifice human beings, use crosses in unconventional ways or whatelse. Consider that one of my closest friend was a priest, and he never felt offended by the game.

I guess only a couple of things could bother some of your friends: Cult encounters from the Black Goat of the Woods expansion (these encounters never enter play once you get that they are absolutely worthless), a couple of spells and one Mission from Dunwich Horror and probably the Herald from the Lurker. All other elements from this expansions are fine, and they are worth having for many and different reasons.

As a last note, you should probably try the base game and see if this fits your buddies' likenings, and then see.


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#5 Two_Hands

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:50 PM

One think to bear in mind is that the game is based on the Cthulhu Mythos, not just the work of Lovecraft. Other writers of the Mythos (August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith, for example) took Lovecraft's atheistic and amoral universe, and changed it to be antagonistically moral. The game is more in this style so you can, for example, have your characters blessed at the church (and it's a good idea to do so). It is very much good vs evil. Unless your group is opposed to there being occult elements in the game at all, it shouldn't be an issue.



#6 Tbla

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:39 PM

Perhaps you should also be aware of the guardians (a sort of demi-gods) from the Kingsport Horror expansion. Although they are good guys that help you and have no evil connections, a strongly devoted christian might consider it blasphemous to accept the help from such deities (one of them even beeing an ancient Egyptian goddess).

That is however no argument for not buying the Kingsport expansion since it is absolutely optional to use them in play, if you don't like them you could just throw them away without affecting the game at all.

I guess that argument could be used for many elements in the game such as specific encounters or items. If you find it offensive, just get rid of it (that might however have a bigger impact on the game).

Some expansions however are not really worth buying if you remove such elements. I think mostly of the alraedy mentioned "Black Goat of the Woods" and "Lurker at the Threshold" and if you find it offensive to have your character turned into a fish-monster, the "Insmouth horror" expansion is perhaps not the best choice either.

I really hope that you and your friends can find this game enjoyable. And maybe we will hear from you again.
Hopefully this was of at least some use for you.



#7 Jake yet again

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:32 AM

Christianity, like any worldwide religion, is a broad belief. As a loose rule fo thumb, liberals probably won't have an issue with Arkham, the Christian Right probably will. 

As for specifics:

There is an OW encounter in one of the expansions which clearly implies that the Garden of Eden is merely misunderstood mythology. Those which read the book of Genesis as a literal (as opposed to a parable) interpretation may find offensive.

You might find this institution very useful: http://s1113.photobu...-Front-Face.png 

Playing with the nun and this character: http://s1113.photobu...-Front-Face.png might also be recommended.

You can also do much to set the scene. Describing the Ancient Ones as demons and monsters as hell-beasts rather than Lovecraft's original vision of alien entities in a blind uncaring cosmos will help.


Lovecraft Country Horror - A completely FREE Big Box expansion for Arkham Horror, exploring the minor locations of the Cthulhu Mythos. Contains: Lovecraft Country Board, 16 Investigators, 4 Ancient Ones, 16 Skills, 32 Common Items, 24 Unique Items, 10 Spells, 16 Music of Erich Zann cards, 76 Leads, 4 Allies, 32 Monsters, 24 Injuries and Madnesses, 54 Mythos Cards, 41 Outer World Encounters, 52 Location Encounters for each Neighbourhood.


#8 Tibs

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:13 AM

The game is a blender of Lovecraft literature. If a game like this one can shock someone to the core, then either the game is doing better than what it's setting out to do (be a horror game), or that person is hugely insecure.

Anyway, don't avoid Dunwich Horror. The one "join" element that satanito was talking about is represented by a single item card that you have to work extremely hard to complete (on the order of 1 in 1000 games). Of course, you could just opt not to follow the instructions on the card.

Dunwich is a great expansion and I'd hate for you to miss out on it.

Julia said:

mixing the roaming 20s with some gothic / supernatural horror stuff 

Actually Julia, that's roaring 20s!



#9 Julia

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:31 AM

Tibs said:

 

Actually Julia, that's roaring 20s!

::laughter:: yeah, it has sense indeed. Too early in the morning here to have the brain properly working ::laughter.: the roaming 20s… gosh, sounds like a discount on some Vodafone stuff (You&Cthulhu: Call your fave AO for the price of only two brains / month!)


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#10 Steve-O

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 03:12 AM

JosueCafe said:

Everyone I've played Elder Signs with has greatly enjoyed it. Many of them expressed interest in Arkham Horror when I explained its similar premise.There is only one thing I'm concerned about: the occult content.

Personally, I'm open minded about things with occult content. I've read the Harry Potter series, as well of a few Lovecraft stories with no problem. However, most members of my group are Christians that may be offended if the occult content is a prevailing theme. So here are some questions for Arkham Horror players:

I haven't played Elder Signs, personally, but considering both games are made by FFG and both set in the Lovecraft mythos, I would be surprised if the thematic content of the two were different enough to cause problems here.  In fact, considering how well known FFG is for recycling content across games, you'll probably see some familiar artwork in AH.

As an aside, have you known these Christian friends of yours to be offended by the likes of Harry Potter?  I mean no offense, I'm just wondering if this concern is based on past experiences or if you're just assuming that a bunch of Christians will be offended by occult stuff.  I used to hang out at the local Campaign for Christ office when I was in university (me being a practicing agnostic, btw) and I never had any problems raising various fantasy subjects with the people who worked/hung out there, that's all I'm saying.  Just because they have a vested interest in Christianity doesn't mean they'll flip out over vaguely pagan mysticism in a board game, unless of course you've seen them do so in the past…

As I said before, the fact that they've received Elder Signs well is a good indication, to me, that they'll likely be fine with AH, too.

JosueCafe said:

-What is the extent of the occult content in this game (if any)?

It is present, but not really overwhelming.  Aside from dusty grimoires and spells to cast, most of the mythology is sufficiently alien that it doesn't really bear resemblence to any particular religion, IMHO.

JosueCafe said:

-Are you required to partake in anything (besides spells) that may be considered offensive? What comes to mind are things like joining forces with the opposing side or anything that implies worshiping or sacrificing to the Old Ones. If I can explain that we are against the occult elements, I might have an easier time getting this to the table.

There are probably a couple of sacrificial events floating around (I can't think of any in particular), but mechanically speaking the currencies used to pay for such things are defeated monster or gate tokens.  So if you're sacrificing anything, it's dead monster bodies. =P

Some of the Outer World encounters (in particular) might involve descriptions that sound like worshipping other deities to some people, although I would personally characterize them as simple exploration of a VERY strange environment.  Maybe paying lip service to the Outer Gods, at worst.

There is one investigator character from one of the expansions (Innsmouth, I think?) who is an ex-cultist.  If you're really worried about offending your Christian friends, you might remove that one from the deck, or at least ask them if anyone has a problem playing an ex-cultist character.

JosueCafe said:

-Are the event cards gruesome enough to be offensive?

I wouldn't describe any of the event cards as gruesome.  Violence occasionally happens, but rarely is there even a description of blood spilled, let alone anything more offensive.

JosueCafe said:

-Are there certain expansions with content that I should avoid?

If they're fine with the base game, I can't imagine any of the expansions would cross the line.

JosueCafe said:

I know these questions seem obnoxious and irrelevant (they are to me). It's just that my friends will probably be sensitive to anything demonic or satanic in nature. Thanks in advance for any insight!

It's good of you to show concern for the feelings and beliefs of your friends.  If you have any serious doubts, my best advice would be to ask them about it.  This doesn't necessarily mean showing the game components from Arkham Horror and asking if they mind this or that.  Just open a conversation about what sorts of things they would consider inappropriate in a board game.  Try to define some specific lines they are unwilling to cross, and then we could probably give you a much better answer about whether or not this game would offend them.



#11 JosueCafe

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 04:02 AM

Thanks again for your insights, everyone! I'm definitely feeling reassured by the responses. The main game is going to hit the table soon, and probably some of the expansions if it is well received. Also thank you for respecting the possibility that my friends could be uncomfortable with some of the elements. I'm a Christian too; I'm just able to put the  darker elements within the Mythos context where it belongs. This may be difficult for them to understand, but it doesn't stop them from being my best friends in the world :)






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