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Is Arkham worth getting?


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#1 goblin981

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:59 PM

I have Elder Sign, which I love, so I looked at Arkham Horror and they look very similar.  So is it worth getting?  or are they too similar to be worth it?



#2 Julia

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

They are similar because of the lovecraftian setting and the general idea behind the games (doing something before the bad guy wakes up), but in fact they are two completely different games. ES is based on dice to roll to finish tasks, while Arkham requires a greater strategy, moving around a board collecting clues and investigating other worlds. There are a lot more things to consider in Arkham, and a greater collaboration is required among the investigators in order to win a game. A couple of things popping into my mind:

- ES is much easier to win (I still have to lose after 15 games), but it's also much more luck dependant (it's all about dice to be rolled; in Arkham you need some luck, but a good strategy allows you to overcome unlucky moments)

- ES is considerably shorter, and with a shorter setup, so that you can play several games in just one evening, while Arkham is much more an epic game, granting you a couple of hours full of emotions and fun in a single game

- AH is absolutely the game (I played) with the highest replayability: once you start adding a couple of expansions, the combinations becomes countless (ok, I guess they are countable, but still, I played 200+ games and I haven't played the same game twice) and the deck of encounters are so thick that after years you play, you'll probably find some encounters that are completely new to you.

So, finally, both games are good, with ES being considerably lighter. If you liked ES, you'd certainly enjoy Akham, and don't worry, you won't get a duplicate of a game you already own


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#3 The Professor

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:27 AM

goblin981,

     As a long-time player of the game, I want to echo the comments made by Julia.  AH is truly epic, especially with its myriad expansions, which include new locations, Invesitigators, Other Worlds, etc.  I, too, own ES, and while that's a fun and a bit of a challenge, it's much lighter in scope and story.  One of the amazing aspects to AH is that it lends itself to story-writing like no other game on the market.  If you have the time and the space to dedicate to this game…absolutely do it.  Then, come back and tell us about it, ask questions (oh, yes, you'll have questions), and write a session report or two about your game.  

When you have Sister Mary zooming down the streets on a motorcycle, wielding a shotgun in one hand, a bullwhip in the other and bringing righteous fury on the hellspawn…you'll understand the allure of AH.

Cheers, Joe/the Professor 


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#4 eiterorm

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:31 AM

As you probably realize, all the answers you'll get in this thread will be biased toward the affirmative, but I'll try to give you both pros and cons about this game.

Arkham Horror and Elder Sign are both cooperative games with Lovecraftian themes. If you liked the theme in Elder Sign, you'll love the theme in Arkham Horror, which has more ambience than Elder Sign. But even so, these games are still very different. Elder Sign is a fairly quick and simple game, whereas Arkham Horror is quite the opposite. If you don't like games with lots of rules or games which take a few hours to play, Arkham Horror is most likely not the game for you.

However, because Arkham Horror is a much more complex game than Elder Sign, you'll most probably feel that you, as a player, are much more in control of what happens in the game. There's much more strategy in Arkham Horror; a lot more choices you have to make, which can and will affect how the game progresses. You will inevitably be at the mercy of the dice and the cards when playing Arkham Horror, just like in Elder Sign. But when I play Elder Sign, I feel that rolling the dice on the different tasks overshadows the choices you make throughout the game. To put it simply, Elder Sign sometimes feels a little bit like Yahtzee. In Arkham Horror, on the other hand, I feel that the choices you make are much more important, and that all your choices balance out the randomness of the cards and the dice. It doesn't feel like the game revolves around drawing cards and rolling dice.

From what I've described above, the game might perhaps sound a little too easy. And it probably will be, once you learn the game properly. But another nice thing about this game is that it's very modular. You can add in new elements to adjust the difficulty to your liking. If the game is too easy, you can add some game mechanics which make it harder. And if the game is too hard, you can even add some game mechanics which make it easier. This you can do in a lot of different ways, and you'll find the different elements in the various expansions for the game. I'd highly recommend getting a couple of expansions in addition to the base game, because they add even more depth to the game. But the base game is good per se, and it is a nice way to start playing. You can also find a lot of fan-made content for this game, and quite a few of them are actually really great.

My biggest con about Arkham Horror is that it requires extensive amounts of table space and setup time. If you wish to play the game at a friend's place, you'll have to check that your friend actually does have sufficient table space. If not, you'll have to play the game on the floor. =P Only yesterday, I played the game at a friend's place, and we had to use two tables only to have enough table space for the base game. The game consists of a lot of different card decks and tokens which have to be arranged properly before you can play. If your friends also help you setting up the game, though, it doesn't have to take very long.

So to sum it all up: If you don't like big strategy games with a lot of rules, I'd consider a different game if I were you. Otherwise, I'd definitely go for it!

 

The Professor: I love the mental image you just gave me. =P



#5 goblin981

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:18 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys.  I definately like the theme, I've started reading Lovecraft after playing ES.  I think I will like AH.  One more question though.  How does it play single player?  I do most of my gaming alone (though get friends together when I can) so solo play is a big factor for me.



#6 Julia

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:33 AM

goblin981 said:

Thanks for the feedback guys.  I definately like the theme, I've started reading Lovecraft after playing ES.  I think I will like AH.  One more question though.  How does it play single player?  I do most of my gaming alone (though get friends together when I can) so solo play is a big factor for me.

I do play most of my games alone as well. A good thing is that you can assign more investigators to yourself, and control a whole party with no probs. The only thing you should consider is that the more characters you have in play, the bigger the interactions, so that you need some games more to "enter" the game. But after that… smooth. Many people here solo the game, and we are all happy. Actually, Arkham is probably the best "epic game" around to be played solitaire


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#7 The Professor

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:09 AM

@ eiterorn: You will never look at Sister Mary the same way again.

@ Julia:  Thanks for reminding me about solo play!

@ goblin 981:  Having played nearly 100 recorded games (and over 100 played), nearly all of them have been played solo.  As I'm in the D.C. area and most of my friends and family live in Philly, we only get to play a few times a year.  As for me, I've even built a 3.5' x 7' table to acommodate all of the boards plus the expansion pieces.  It plays exceptionally well solo…and the beauty of it is that you can play a few rounds, and if you have the room, leave it set up and get to it when you can do so.

Cheers, Joe


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#8 Tromdial

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Playing this game solo was the biggest sell for me, and for as long as I have heard people playing this game, I thought it would be a swell investment.

If you are also interested in the Arkham universe and solo play, Mansions of Madness's new Call of the Wild expansion has made solitaire scenarios possible. It offers two maps for exclusively this purpose but I imagine creating your own maps and proxy your own Event decks would be very easy and worthwhile. I know the new solo Mansions play will not be as involved as Arkham Horror though but if you like to sandbox and make your own scenarios, Call of the Wild blew the door off again to make way for creativity.






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