Watch Your Step
Preview Locations in Arkham Horror: The Card Game and Download the Rules
"I recall running, spade in hand; a hideous run across moon-litten, mound-marked meadows and through diseased, precipitous abysses of haunted hillside forest; leaping, screaming, panting, bounding toward the terrible Martense mansion."
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Lurking Fear
Over the course of our previews, we have explored several of the different ways Arkham Horror: The Card Game blurs the traditional lines between roleplaying games and customizable card games:
- In "Clues, Challenge, and Chaos," we looked at how your character's unique attributes prepare you for the challenges and chaos of your investigations.
- "Mystery, Murder, and Madness" explored the ways that the game's act, agenda, and encounter decks promoted a strong and immersive narrative.
- "Uncovering the Truth" addressed the ways that your adventures linked together to form an overarching campaign… and the ways that your decisions carried forward throughout your campaigns, even those character-driven decisions that don't impact the degree of your success or failure in a step of your investigation.
- Most recently, "Talents and Talismans" addressed the game's unique rules for deckbuilding, along with the ways that the changes you make reflect the growth that comes with experience.
There remain, however, a number of critical elements we have yet to crack open and investigate—the game's locations. The locations of the Arkham LCG® are critical not only because they hold the clues that you and your fellow investigators need to uncover, but because they further solidify the game's narrative and roleplaying qualities by rooting your action in actual places.
Accordingly, we unlock the secrets of these locations in today's preview—the game's final preview—even as we make the Learn to Play (pdf, 9.0 MB) and Rules Reference (pdf, 7.3 MB) documents available in the game's support section.
Just as a great horror story needs to grip you with a measure of reality before it thrusts you into its most terrifying events, Arkham Horror: The Card Game goes to great lengths to ground your investigations before revealing its unfathomable horrors.
- For starters, you assume the role of just one investigator. Yes, you have a deck of thirty or more cards, but by taking on this one character's role within the game, you gain a heightened sense of your vulnerability.
- Next, you have limited slots available to you; since you have only two hands, you'll have to decide whether you'd prefer to investigate a darkened room holding a Magnifying Glass (Core Set, 30) or a Knife (Core Set, 86) along with your Flashlight (Core Set, 87).
- And, importantly, the game's locations impose physical limitations upon your efforts. You are either at a location, or you are at a different location. In the Arkham LCG, there's no floating in the sort of undefined nether in which most other customizable card games live—where disembodied beings throw minions at each other atop a formless battlefield. If you're going to end up in some sort of shapeless nether, you can bet there will be a location for that, too!
The fact that in Arkham LCG your investigator is always at one location or another has huge ramifications in every aspect of game play. Mechanically, it limits your interactions with other cards and forces you to consider your action economy. Because moving between connected locations requires you to spend one of your investigator's valuable, limited actions, that action will no longer be available for investigating, fighting, playing a card, drawing a card, or gaining a resource. Thematically, it immerses you in the spirit of the horror story as you and your friends decide whether to have your investigators stick together or split up—so you can cover more ground. Additionally, it punctuates your game with moments of apprehension since locations always enter play with their "unrevealed" sides faceup and you never know just what you'll find until you travel to them and reveal their secrets.
Tracking your investigator's movement throughout the game's locations is actually important enough that the game doesn't come with just one card for your investigator, but two. You have the full investigator card, which comes with your attributes, abilities, backstory, and deckbuilding requirements. And you also have a mini investigator card, which is just a picture of your investigator, that you can place on the location where your investigator is situated. While the larger card provides you all the information you need to play your character, the smaller card actually represents your physical presence in the game.
The Limitations of Travel
Once you lay out all the locations for a scenario, you'll note that they are marked by a number of symbols. While it helps to arrange the locations on your table in such a way that connected locations are physically adjacent, the actual connections between locations are introduced by these symbols.
For example, when you enter the first scenario's Hallway (Core Set, 112), you'll find three symbols at the card's base. These match the symbols at the top-left of the Attic (Core Set, 113), Cellar (Core Set, 114), and Parlor (Core Set, 115). This means that—were the Parlor not closed off by a darkly shimmering field of energy—you could travel from the Hallway to any of the other three locations.
However, each of these other locations connects only to the Hallway, and as we see in the example of movement below, the limitations on your movement can have a profound impact on the course of your adventures:
1) On Agnes Baker's turn, she decides to move to the Cellar. She spends the action, moves her mini investigator card from the Hallway to the Cellar, and flips the Cellar from its unrevealed side to its revealed side. Once she discovers what lies within the Cellar, Agnes adds the indicated number of clue tokens and resolves any effect that may trigger on her arrival.
2) After Roland Banks travels to the Attic, the Investigator Phase ends, and the game proceeds forward through the Enemy Phase, Upkeep Phase, and Mythos Phase. In the Mythos Phase, the encounter deck spawns an Icy Ghoul (Core Set, 119) in the Cellar, engaged with Agnes.
3) When Agnes recoils in horror from the ghoul's appearance, Roland hears the crash of the pots and boxes that she clatters to the floor. He wants to race to her aid, but he can't go directly from the Attic to the Cellar. Instead, on his turn, Roland must first travel to the Hallway, spending one of his actions, and then use a second action to travel from the Hallway to the Cellar.
As a result of physical limitations upon his movement, when Roland finally enters the Cellar, he'll have only a single action remaining. That means he'll be able to engage the Icy Ghoul or attack it, but not both. Moreover, because the Icy Ghoul has four health, even if Roland attacks and hits it, his .38 Special (Core Set, 6) won't be able to finish it off in a single shot. Finally, Roland knows that if he takes his shot while the ghoul remains engaged with Agnes, he risks hitting her instead. Knowing all this, Roland likely curses under his breath and wishes they hadn't split up.
The Door Is Unlocked
Who will you play in Arkham Horror: The Card Game? Which path will you pursue along your investigations? What will you make of the secrets you uncover and the experience you gain?
There is a glow from beneath the next door… The Core Set makes its debut this weekend at Arkham Nights 2016, and the rules are now available. The shimmering barrier that previously prevented you from entering the next room has now faded. What will you find when you continue your explorations? Download the Learn to Play (pdf, 9.0 MB) and Rules Reference (pdf, 7.3 MB) documents now to peel back more of the mysteries of Arkham Horror: The Card Game!