Entry 0036: Let the Madness Inside and Settle


LP: I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night by the Electric Prunes

1986 Germany Reprise Records REP 24 033

Favorite Track: Get Me to the World On Time


I am obsessed with a board game called Arkham Horror. It is large, complex, contains way too many small pieces to lose, and, what I feel, is enough randomization to make every game unique and interesting. There are 48 investigators to choose from and 24 Ancient Ones to battle. There are 8 expansions that add and change the crazy rules. A massive dining room table is required to hold all the pieces or you have to make good use of counter space, card tables, the floor. Up to 8 people can play cooperatively at the same time, but you can also play alone.

And it is fun to play the game alone.

Inspired by the campaign my friends and I did with Arkham Horror back when we first got it in ’09, when I play alone usually once a month, I mimic the campaign settings we used in the past. With much better results as I won 8 games in a row before I finally had a total party wipe the other day. In brief, the settings are: Investigators can only be used once–if they are ever devoured they are permanently lost; Ancient Ones can only be used once–if the Ancient One wins, they are the Ancient One for the next battle–if the investigators win, they are the investigators for the next battle; Heralds are only used once wheres as Guardians and Institutions can be used twice; no items, curses, blessings, etc. are carried over strictly because it makes set-up easier.

Okay, I can see through my blog into the terrornet and see that everyone has stopped reading. Good. Because I am now going to summarize the 9 games in the campaign so far.

Game One: I start the campaign against one of the most ferocious Ancient Ones: Atlach-Nacha. All gate openings are gate bursts. I choose Mandy the Researcher, Skids the Ex-Convict, “Ashcan” Pete the Drifter, and Lily the Martial Artist. The Its Raining Cats and Dogs environment lasts nearly the whole game costing everyone a movement point. Skids gains an Elder Sign and the Good Work Undone rumor is passed early in the game. However, despite decent gate control and removing 4 doom tokens (one by Elder Sign, one by killing Barnabas Marsh, and two Eltdown Shards) Atlach-Nacha threatens to awaken. The Stars Are Alright Rumor claimed an ally and a third (!) rumor, Cover-Up is eating Clue tokens. The investigators have to chance final combat and go get blessed at the South Church. Skids is eaten by a Moonbeast becoming the first casualty. Zoey the Chef is the new investigator because of her ability to turn Immunities into Resistances. She is given the shotgun. By the skin of my pants with some lucky rolling, Atlach-Nacha is defeated!

Game Two: Bokrug, a personal nemesis, is the subject of occult rituals. Mandy, Pete, Zoey and Lily again set to work obtaining clue tokens and quickly three of the six needed seals are on the board. But Bokrug and the Beings of Ib have a way of luring investigators to sleep. Strange fog stole Mandy to the Strange House in the Mist where she fell at the Wireless Station and went to the hospital. A rift opened and nasty monsters plagued the streets of Arkham. They managed a fourth seal but then the Servitor of the Outer Gods fell on Zoey’s head and left with her soul. Minh the Secretary arrived with an Elder Sign! Some fortunate monster movements later, and the last two seals keeps Bokrug lost in time and space.

Game Three: In evil Innsmouth, the Esoteric Order of Dagon begain chanting for Yog-Sothoth while summoning the herald Father Dagon. The game was a challenge. Monsters were everywhere including the Servitor, hungry for new blood. Minh read tomes to gain clues while Pete took a Bank Loan and hoarded weapons. A key play was made by Minh who used the Silver Key to sneak past the Servitor and a Tcho-Tcho to gain 3 clues. The Mythos deck threw me a rabbit’s foot and the feds and the merchants cleaned out the streets of monsters. Mandy became deputized, took the patrol wagon to the Marsh Refinery and sealed a gate that wiped out some heavy monsters. Pete defaulted on his Loan and lost his Sword of Glory (insert penis joke) but he blessed Minh who walked away with the last seal.

Game Four: Eihort is next. Eihort is sneaky. It doesn’t seem so bad but before you know it you are rolling for the investigators lives. The game started inauspiciously. Feds again clean up the board. Seals happen fast. The fourth and fifth seals are about to be placed when the game throws No One Can Help You Now which prevents gates from being sealed. Mandy goes insane and Pete loses Duke to get pass a Priest of Dagon. Finally, the environment changes and seals 4 and 5 happen. But then no body can get 5 clue tokens. The Deep One Rising track keeps rising until, at last, right before a victory by seals, a Formless Spawn falls into the portal and Eihort awakes triggering Lily’s “This is It!” personal story. Oohh something I have never seen before. Unfortunately for Lily, it will be the last and she dies from too many brood tokens. Minh and Mandy finish off Eihort with Shriveling. A close one!

Game Five: I take a big risk this time and choose Rhan-Tegoth. Possibly (besides Atlach-Nacha) the most unfair Ancient One in the game. I help the investigators by giving them Noden as a Guardian. Kate the Scientist replaces the lost Lily. They work as a seasoned team using Elder Signs, Golden Swords, Flux Stabilizers, and teamwork to put seals on the board despite an early Cultist blood sacrifice to Rhan-Tegoth. Pete is almost devoured evading a Moonbeast. He hides in the Silver Twilight Lodge, joins the membership and immediately owes dues which causes him to go insane and lose his membership. Oh Arkham. A blessed Kate skillfully dodges three monsters, enters the final gate, casts Find Gate and seals for victory.

Game Six: I played this one on a snow day from the library (!!!) while drinking tequila at 11 in the morning. Thematically I choose Ithaqua and boost it up with the Tulzscha herald. Cultists are time bombs on Elder Signs. Mandy, however, kills the starting Cultist with a lucky roll. The bad luck happens fast. Every investigator picks up an injury or a madness card. Kate gets both: an injured arm and necrophobia. A Color From Outer Space gives Kate another necrophobia and she is devoured. Michael the Gangster flies out of the Boarding House with Tommy Gun shooting in a rage. He manages to cut a path to the Curiositee Shoppe and buys an Elder Sign. The bad luck breaks; possibly Noden was watching after all. A strange power flux returns Michael and Minh. Both seal for victory.

Game Seven: After the winter of the last game, I celebrate the spring with Cthugha and Ghroth, a herald I had never used previously. It was a game of monster surges and insanity. Pete goes to the Black Cave, trips, falls into a shaft that takes him to Leng where he meets the King in Yellow and is lost in time and space. Ghroth makes Mandy go insane. Monster surges keep the doom low. Minh gets lost in time and space. Michael becomes insane, attempts to go back to Kingsport, sees a man jump in front of a moving train, and returns to the Asylum. Minh becomes beloved of Bast, one of the rarest things to ever happen in Arkham Horror (!!!!!) Six seals follow.

Game Eight: Ia! Ia! Shub-Niggurath and the Black Goat of the Woods herald. Real nasty. Monsters are everywhere and most of them are extremely hard to kill. Opening possessions also come up weaponless. Fearing a total party kill, I play the investigators completely ballsy. Minh, in particular, has a rough game as a zombie and a ghoul haunt her the whole game. Michael again makes some deft sneaking and buys an Elder Sign. The Science Building is used heavily to get clue tokens. The terror level shoots up and the General Store closes. But then some weird good luck for our investigators: 3 out of 4 Mythos cards have gates prevented from opening by Elder Signs. Pete seals for victory at Unknown Kadath and a classic Arkham Horror game was played.

Game Nine: It was a sunny day. Birds chirped. You would think nothing was amiss in the world. Save for Zhar. Even early in the game, I thought I was going to win: Mandy kills two creatures to become Blessed, Pete buys an Ancient Spear, the perfect weapon to defeat Zhar, and everyone has a physical weapon plus a magical weapon or spell. Four seals happen. But the Southside Strangler kills all the allies. A gate burst happens. Minh becomes lost in time and space and loses valuable clue tokens. Zhar awakes. Minh is grabbed and she dynamites herself to death. Michael scores many successes with his Tommy Gun before a tentacle pulps his head. Blessed Mandy kills Zhar…just for his twin to show up! An Enchanted Tommy Gun does damaged before she is devoured. Pete rallies. Zhar’s Twin is halfway dead. But Pete is exhausted. He dies finally. Zhar will be up against four new investigators when I play again.


Do you want to play?



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