Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dungeon Lords


DUNGEON LORDS by Czech Games Edition
Published in 2009


Dungeon Lords. The setting for this game is the very familiar dungeon scene with monsters, traps and heroic adventurers, with one big and refreshing difference: It's the player that controls the evil Dungeonlord trying to make his dungeon into a profitable nest of evil, while the game mechanics unleash some pesky adventurers to come and explore the dungeon.
So the Dungeon Lords is a strategy game about building and managing an evil dungeon. Resources are gathered and then used to pay taxes, hire monsters, buy traps, and so on...


After playing Dungeon Lords for a few times, you really start to appreciate the hard work that lies behind running a monster dungeon like this... Your resources are scarce, and the Ministry of Dungeons is breathing down on your neck heavily. And on top of that, adventuring do-gooders come every year to make a mess of things!

It should be noted that Dungeon Lords doesn't come with solo-playing rules, but there are many different solo variants around, made by gamers themselves. I am using a variant of my own, to which I will include a link at the end of this review.



Dungeon Lords is a very well organized game. There is quite a lot of components in the game, and each one of them has their own space on some of the game boards. There are multiple game boards, up to seven that are used in a four player game. The boards are full of nice, detailed and humorous artwork, and the overall look of the game is very easy going and enjoyable.

The two most important game boards are the Dungeon Board, which represents the actual dungeon that I am building, and the Central Board, which has all the different orders that I may have my minions to carry out. One game is set over the period of two years, and the concept of the game is the following:
During the year I try to build up my dungeon, and acquire monsters and traps, so that when the year is over, and the adventurer party arrives, I am ready to take them on. Two of these years are played, after which the Ministry of Dungeons evaluates my dungeon, and I score points.

The dungeon starts off as nothing more than just three tunnels with nothing in them.

Resources of the game are food and gold... and imps, the little creatures who will do all the actual work in the dungeon.

A dungeon like this is completely defenseless, so monsters and traps are a must. Tunnels may also be shaped into rooms, which have special uses and abilities.


So without further ado, let's see what will become of my dungeon!
THE GAME BEGINS:

FIRST YEAR:

Winter:
As my dungeon has just begun its business, I need to gather resources. I send my minion to steal food from the village, and some of my imps to mine gold.

The gold that was mined was immediately used to buy traps; a Pendulum and a Poisoned dart. These will surely come in handy when the first adventure party shows up.






Spring:
I started with only 3 imps to do all the labor in my dungeon, so more will definitely be needed. With some gold and food my minion manages to hire 2 more.

My first monster is also hired; a Troll with an endless appetite. This creature will attack hard the first adventurer that comes to its sight, and it will also gladly help the imps when operating production rooms. I also send a minion to buy blueprints for one of the rooms, but he has to come back empty handed - all the blueprints were already taken. There seems to be a high demand for those...





The annual tax collection is held, and I have to pay off the rest of my gold. Luckily my dungeon is still very small, only 3 tunnels... Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to pay my taxes.

An amateurish fighter-adventurer appears near my dungeon entrance. He is waiting for some more "heroes" to come join him.

Summer:


It's time to expand my dungeon, so I order 3 of my imps to dig more tunnels. One of the tunnels is also shaped into a Chicken Coop. Here my imps can produce food.

Some imps and the Troll operate the Coop, but the food that was produced - and more - is then eaten by the same Troll. It was his payday and Trolls only want food as a payment...




An inexperienced, but eager wizard joins the fighter at the entrance. Soon the adventurers will be ready to make their move.

Fall:
I send a minion to do its best and improve my reputation amongst the townspeople. Somehow it manages to convince the people that we are not so evil...
In the meantime - however - I hire a Witch. This act doesn't exactly promote my mr.-good-guy image, as the villagers hate Witches.

Desertion! Two of my imps get bored and leave my dungeon... They will have to be replaced.

Another, even greener wizard arrives. Now that there are 3 of the adventurers, they finally have the courage to enter my dungeon.







End of the first year:
Here we are now, the first party of adventurers is attacking my dungeon! Luckily no priests or thieves joined the group, so it shouldn't be too difficult to dispose of these critters. But there are two wizards protected by a fighter, and it is those wizards that may have some tricks up their sleeves...

In the first tunnel, the fighter steps on a trip-wire. Woosh! My razor-sharp Pendulum trap cuts their column in
half, taking out the wizard that was advancing in the middle.
And before the fighter fully realizes what just happened, the Witch appears in front of him. The fighter's large
shield is useless against the Witch's wicked magic, and so the fighter must fall too.
The last, puny wizard however manages to survive, and casts an annoying spell; Graffiti. It will take some time for one of my minions to clean this mess off...

The wizard also secures the tunnel and drives away the comfortable darkness, rendering the entrance tunnel of my dungeon unusable.

In the next tunnel the wizard meets his end at the hands of my Troll.





And so the first attack is warded off, with relatively small losses.

SECOND YEAR:

Winter:
Slow start for the year: One of my minions couldn't come to work, for it was cleaning off the nasty graffiti from a dungeon wall. Another minion tried to hire more imps, but the little creatures wanted more food than what my minion had to offer... so no deal was made.

The tax day is coming nearer again, so I order my imps to mine gold. They mine some, but not enough for the taxes...




My resources are low.







Spring:
I'm having serious trouble with my resource gathering and so, when the tax collector shows up, I cannot pay the full sum. This results is me receiving a Red Mark, which will lower the value of my dungeon in the final assessment.


But on the bright side - or perhaps on especially dark side - I manage to hire a very powerful monster; a Demon! These creatures are deadly fighters, but they come with a heavy price: They eat live monsters and I am the one who has to provide them for him.

And so, I have to feed my Troll to the Demon...





A new adventurer - this time a priest - arrives to wait at the entrance.

Summer:
I replenish my trap collection a little bit. I get a "Kamikaze Imp" -explosives set for free, and I also trade my Poison dart for an Anti-magic dart.

This new dart should work fine against the priest...




Pandemonium, a room with gothic arches, grotesque statues, gate to another dimension and whatnot, is constructed to the bottom of my tunnel system. The Demon will like this...

My very few imps are sent to the Chicken Coop to counter my food shortage.

Another, more skilled priest shows up at my entrance. Apparently the adventurers are about to take a whole different strategy this time...

Fall:
Like in last autumn, I send one minion to the village to polish my reputation. Imps head to the tunnels and mine gold, not very effectively though...

The pay day for monsters is drawing near, so I need to come up with something to feed my Demon with. Another Witch is recruited, and then chosen for this questionable honor to become the Demon's sacrifice.

An experienced, heavy fighter comes to lead the adventure party. This year the group seems a lot more menacing than the last time: The fighter is difficult to defeat, and the two priests will quickly heal any damage I deliver.





End of the second year:
There they come! But I am prepared: My Demon waits eagerly to jump into action, and the Witch (the one who wasn't eaten by the Demon) is preparing her spells. An imp is strapping some explosives on, and the Anti-magic dart is set to counter the healing spells of the priests. The fight begins.

The adventurers are greeted with brutal force! As the adventure party arrives in the Chicken Coop, my
defense plan activates: At first the Anti-magic dart shoots from the shadows, hitting the priest who is coming in last. The damage it causes is minor, but now the priests won't be able to use their healing for some time.

Next, the mighty Demon enters the room, attacking the fighter. The fighter, though armored and experienced, is no match for the Demon, and falls. The priests panic from seeing such a creature kill their leader! Then the Witch appears and attacks the first priest, nearly killing him too.

After the racket finally stops, only the priests are alive, and both of them are injured and shocked.
The priests decide to leave the Coop and try another way. They enter a safe looking tunnel. There they are met by an imp... Not such an intimitading sight, but little did the priests know that this imp is carrying explosives! A big explosion later, there is only one priest left, badly injured. But to the priest's credit, he does conquer the tunnel.



The priest moves on, but the overall fatigue is too much for the injured man... he falls before he manages to cause any more trouble to my dungeon, which is fortunate for me, since I had just ran out of monsters and traps.





The second attack is now dealt with, and it's time to have my dungeon assessed. Less than 10 points would mean I didn't do all that well, while 20 points and more would be an excellent accomplishment. Also, let's see if I receive any titles...



15 points, and the Battlelord title shared with another new Dungeon Lord.


CONCLUSION:

Not a bad score! Not nearly one of my best games either, but 15 points might be a little over the average. I only got one (shared) title, so on that account the game didn't go that well. Couple of more titles and this game would've been a very successful one. My resource gathering was the one thing that slowed me down in this game: Some orders were not carried out, and as there are only 12 orders per year, each one of them counts...
But the fights went well! Only two conquered tunnels.. that's a pretty good score.

As mentioned earler, Dungeon Lords looks very good. The boards are incredibly detailed, and the cartoonish artwork fits very well in the atmosphere. This game is, above all, fun! Fun with some real strategy in it... Just by reading the rules, or watching someone else playing this game, one might think that the strategy in this game is shallow at best, but this is not the case. Even in my solo variant, the strategic choices are considerable, and in a full four-player game it's something much more.

And the rulebook of DL deserves a special mention: It's not only very well written and easy to read, it also contains some genuinely funny comments by the two "mentors" that give you - the inexperienced Dungeonlord - tips about the difficult business of managing a dunegon.

RATING: 9 /10

SOLO RATING: 7 /10

One of the greatest real strategy board games I know of. My solo rating is somewhat low because of the fact that all the solo variants I have seen are either very cumbersome to play, or then they are missing game features. The biggest problem with my variant is the absence of the "non-player inaccessible orders"... When I can't see those, I lose one important strategic option, as I cannot plan my own orders accoring to the ones that my rivals can, on cannot choose.

However, Dungeon Lords still has strong solo-playing capabilities, and I recommend it for just about any board gamer, who is interested in a bit different kind of a strategy game.

My solo variant can be found from boardgamegeek.com

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/72707/new-kind-of-solo-variant

Monday, October 17, 2011

Elder Sign

ELDER SIGN by Fantasy Flight Games
Published in 2011

Elder Sign is a dice-driven card game with a theme from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Similarities to its "big brother" - Arkham Horror - are numerous, but Elder Sign still have a lot to offer, even for an AH "veteran" like myself.
So it's the same old setting: An Ancient One of inconceivable power is about to enter our world, and only a handful of Mythos investigators are standing in its way. Along the way, the investigators have to solve mysterious events, combat monsters and visit strange places and other planes of existence.


So far it sounds exactly like Arkham Horror? The differences come from the scale of the game. Instead of taking place all over a moderately sized city, ES forces the investigators to investigate a huge, sinister and corrupted museum-complex (most likely in Arkham).
In game mechanics the differences are the biggest: AH comes with a large board, vast amount of components and an almost role-play-like character management, while ES is a relatively simple card game with Yahtzee-type mechanics.


The area needed to play the game comfortably is somewhat large for a card game, but still quite acceptable. The six large cards in the middle form the "game board", consisting of the six adventures currently available. These adventures are places and events inside - or near - the museum, that require the attention of the investigators. Completing these adventures grant the investigators with rewards, while failing usually damages their sanity or stamina.

My two investgators for this game are Michael McGlen, the Gangster, and Gloria Goldberg, the Author.

Michael starts off with a revolver and an old journal. His strong body allows him to fight terror with sheer strength.

Gloria has a lantern and a spell called "wither". Her psychic sensitivity will greatly help her should she find herself from an other world than ours.


Points of interest in the museum at this point are one mysterious tome, and some remains of a High Priest. Pool of blood has also been sighted on a floor, and it seems that something has broken free from under a heavy stone slab - the slab lies broken now.

The Ancient One is none other than Nyarlathotep - the Crawling Chaos, the soul and messenger of the Outer Gods.

Now that he is waking up, some of his avatars are likely to show up in the museum... These extremely dangerous monsters are not to be taken lightly.



If Nyarlathotep wakes up and devours the investigators, all is lost. On the other hand, if the investigators manage to find enough Elder Signs, they can ward Nyarlathotep off with the eldrich powers of these symbols... The race against time is on.

THE GAME BEGINS:

1st day:

Michael goes to find some help. He read his Old Journal and succeeds, alerting people about the impending doom in the museum. He also finds some food, and learns a "Cloud Memory" -spell.

Gloria inspects some very bizarre exhibits! The artifacts injure her both mentally and physically,  but she finds two Elder Signs among them. This is a good start. Gloria used her lantern to help her in this dark room, and she also casts the "Wither" -spell to make sure that everything goes as planned.




Michael explores the eerie Hall of the Dead. Apparently something in there wasn't quite dead, but the strong gangster survives the adventure with his great physical strength.


Michael finds some very useful items from the Hall of the Dead; his weapon of choice, the Tommy Gun, and a magical Sword of Glory.






Gloria searches the 'Lost & Found' at the museum entrance, only finding something horrible, that drains some of her sanity!

2nd day:

Michael investigates the pool of blood that was seen on the floor of a certain dark corridor. He takes his Tommy Gun with him and finds a strange monster for the scene. The monster is killed and Michael finds another Elder Sign.

Gloria investigates the Remains of the high Priest and notices that the mummy actually still breaths!
Not giving into the her fears, she puts the priest into a deeper state of death and learns a spell called "Voice of Ra".





Michael finds another Elder Sign, drawn on a floor. Claiming it, however, requires a sacrifice: Michael must sacrifice a small portion of his vitality and his mind. This action fills Michael's head with new clues, but Doom also grows; Nyarlathotep's powers grow and a Witch is seen inside the museum.


Gloria finds the Key to Beyond. Examining it for some time, she opens up a gate to the blasphemous, sunken city of R'lyeh!
She also gains clues from this act.

Gloria should probably think about going to the sunken city, since there is lots of Elder Signs to be found... And Gloria's natural talents make her the ideal explorer of Other Worlds.



At midnight, stars are seen to align closer to the will of Nyarlathotep - the Doom increases!

3rd day:

Last night, people claimed to hear strange noises coming from the museum's Hedge Maze. Michael goes to investigate and fight furiously against an unknown monster.This monsters reveals to be no less than an avatar of Nyarlathotep himself - The Bloated Woman!.

This reeking, horrible image of a human woman enters the museum and fills the whole complex with its foul stench. All the investigators are having serious problems in concentrating.


Michael also find an Elder Sign from the Hedge Maze - this is the fifth Sign found so far.

Gloria goes after the Bloated Woman and disposes of her. No trophies are collected from this Mask of Nyarlathotep, but at least the smell dissipates and the investigators get their strength back.

Michael has collected a good selection of items. He is carrying food and whiskey to keep him alive and sane, and packing the Sword of Glory and Dynamite for tough situations.

He also reads some of the insanse play known as "The King in Yellow", and heads to examine the museum's Koi Pond. Another Elder Sign is found from the pond. Now the investigators have more than half of the required amount.



Gloria gathers her courage and heads through the gate, right into the feared R'lyeh!
Her gift, the Psychic Sensitivity, helps her greatly as she moments later appears back in the museum, sporting three additional Elder Signs and a new ally - Ruby Standish.
This quick thief had lost her way in R'lyeh, and now joins Gloria in her quest. Ruby had found magical gems from the sunken city; Ruby of R'lyeh and a Healing Stone.



Stars align some more, and a Shoggoth appears in The Graveyard! This formless entity of elder Mythos will be difficult to destroy.

4th day:

Michael uses his numerous trophies, and manages to buy an Elder Sign from the Souvenir Shop. Only one more Sign is needed, then Nyarlathotep will not be able to come through!

Gloria reads the Mysterious Tome.
She learns a spell of "Shrivelling" from the tome, but more importantly a new gate is opened - this time to the Abyss. The last Elder Sign could be found from there...





Michael arms himself with the Sword of Glory, and rushes through the gate. But no matter how hard he tries, he can't cope with the oddities of the dark Abyss - not his strength, nor the magical sword, can help him. The gangster almost loses his mind... only Whiskey saves him from insanity.

Gloria, with her psychic insight follows Michael to the Abyss. There she casts the spell of "Shrivelling", and uses all her powers of mind to find the missing Elder Sign... and she succeeds!


The 11th Elder Sign is collected, and the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep is fended off!


For now...










CONCLUSION:

Well this was an easy game. Nyarlathotep didn't have a chance, as my investigators succeeded nearly in every adventure they tried. A quick game with some amazing luck with my dice rolls.
Many players have been talking about Elder Sign being too easy, and judging by this game alone it would seem that way. But usually it's not this easy for me. My winning percentage is less than 50%, and many of the games that I have won, have been delightfully challenging.

Elder Sign is built on very simple principles, but the strategic level is high enough to form a complex game. At first it may appear that ES is just rolling the dice over and over again, but there is a lot more depth than that. Strategy comes from deciding, in which adventure you roll your dice, and when should you use your clues, items and spells. And after a while, you might even start counting the possibilities of different outcomes for your rolls, trying to tweak the odds to your favour.

Most of the different types of items and spells work exactly the same way (add a special die or store a roll for later use), which may sometimes be a bit boring... But fortunately the adventures come with a nice diversity.

The game rules are more than a little sketchy, and some of the investigators are far off-balance when playing a one- or two-investigator-game... But some simple house rules will fix this nicely.

Artwork, much of which is exactly the same as in Arkham horror, is of very high quality and builds the theme up nicely.

RATING: 8 /10

SOLO RATING: 9 /10

All and all Elder Sign is a very enjoyable "Arkham Horror -lite". Especially while playing solo, ES is an excellent choice when AH feels too massive for you, or when you want to approach the excellent Mythos -theme with a different type of a game.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Arkham Horror (second try)

ARKHAM HORROR by Fantasy Flight Games
Published in 2005

In Cthulhu Mythos, the cosmic horrors never rest.

Last time Shudde M'ell destroyed Arkham with a great big earthquake, and the whole adventure was somewhat of a total failure.

But now it's time for another story of Mythos, with new investigators, new horrors and another Great Old One.




Arkham Horror is a very well known and recognized cooperative board game, taking its players into an intensely themed world of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The city of Arkham is in a center of cosmic horrors, as a being of inconceivable horrors is looking to arrive. Portals open around Arkham to let through a variety of monsters, and strange things are happening everywhere.
Few brave Mythos investigators risk their lives and their minds to try and prevent the Great Old One from awaking...


One of the original Lovecraftian Great Old Ones - Shub Niggurath - is the main enemy in this game.

Shub Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods, is a manner of a fertility goddess of the Cthulhu Mythos.
"She" is said to have a thousand children, and these children, the "Dark Young", are likely to be encountered by the investigators before the end.

Shub Niggurath also seems to provide all other monsters with somekind of evil vitae, that boosts their toughness... In other words, every fight will be a bit tougher than they would normally be - a difficult times are ahead.



Before the horror begins, let's take a look at the investigators:

Wilson Richards, the Handyman.
Wilson has traveled around for many years, seeing some very strange things in his life. So this Handyman is not easily startled... but upon arriving to Arkham, even he is worried. There is something very wrong in Arkham, and Wilson is about to investigate the matter.
Armed with a shotgun, Wilson uses his motorcycle to quickly move from a place to place. And with his unlimites focus, he is able to quickly adapt to any situation.


Rita Young, the Athlete.
Rita is a quick, agile and resilient young athlete, who received a scholarship to Miscatoninc University. This brought her to Arkham, but here she finds that someone, or something is after her. Rita is not one to run away from troubles, so now she prepares to face her pursuer head on...
Rita doesn't have very much equipment to start with, but her scholarship grants her money to perhaps buy some. Her best attribute is her speed, and she is also a pretty decent fighter.


THE GAME BEGINS:

It all begins as a gate to The Dreamlands opens up in the woods. A huge Chthonian comes through it, but the creature is immediately destroyed by the local townspeople.

Wilson investigates "The Unnamable", a strange old house at Merchant District. There he is attacked by a horde of rats charghing from inside the walls! Luckily he manages to run out of the house before anything bad happens.



A gate to the planet of Yuggoth appears into the black cave. A flying Byakhee comes out of it.







Rita tries to read her the Old Journal she's carrying, but can't make anything out of it. She also visits the Historical Society, where she reads more journals about dangerous adventures... From these tales she discovers a newfound bravery from within herself.

Wilson gathers some clues from Hibb's Roadhouse. There he is approached Joey "the Rat" Vigil, who offers to sell some equipment to Wilson. The Handyman is not interested at the moment.

The Stars are right! The arrival of Shub-Niggurath gets closer and closer... a sacrifice is needed to slow it down.

Also, a new gate opens at the Science Building of Miscatonic University, from which another Chthonian comes through.

This Chthonian immediately induces an earthquake, which injures both of the investigators.



Wilson wanders around the Unvisited Isle. He finds a clearing with some very potent magical energies, which allow him to disrupt the gate at the University long enough to banish the Chthonian from Arkham.

Rita explores the Witch House, when suddenly a gate opens up and swallows her! She quickly finds herself from Yuggoth, disoriented from the sudden trip through dimensions.

A ghost appears to guard the Arkham end of the gate.




In Yuggoth, Rita faces one of Shub-Niggurath's Dark Young. The creature damages both Rita's mind and her body, but the agile athlete manages to escape.

Wilson also experiences an unexpected voyage through dimensions. A gate appears and transports him to Another Dimension.
Meanwhile in Arkham, monsters are pouring in. The dreaded High-Priest-not-to-be-described is seen...

Rita loses her scholarship... apparently trips to another planets make her retainer unhappy.

Wilson gets lucky in the Another Dimension, as he finds a body of a dead Dark Young. He claims the creature as a trophy, also learning some clues from the site.






Rita is cursed! Her endeavors are lot harder to accomplish from now on.

While in Another Dimension, Wilson comes across the Colour Out of Space! This mysterious and mind-wrecking entity almost destroys his sanity, but whiskey helps in situations like these...
After this shocking encounter, Wilson escapes the Colour.







In Yuggoth, Rita's returning to home is delayed further, as an unknown alien consciousness overtakes Rita's body... Some time passes as Rita is forced to obey its every command.

The level of Terror rises in Arkham, as more monsters come through the open gates. A strange Man in Black is seen at the French Hill streets... This figure makes promises of power, but there is something very wrong in him.

Wilson returns to Arkham's Unvisited Isle, and closes the gate behind him. He also had the knowledge to seal it!

Now now more gates should open at this location, and some hope is restored to Arkham.







Rita is still looking for a way out of Yuggoth, she has been there for some time now...

Terror rises in Arkham, and some notable characters turn missing; a renowned Professor Armitage being one of them.

Rita manages to shrug off the curse from her shoulders.

Wilson uses his trusty shotgun to shoot and kill one of the Byakhees flying around.

Rita finally gets back to Arkham, appearing back through the gate at the Witch House. The gate is closed and sealed.

The guardian ghost is still present in the house though...





Rita has no means to fight against the ethereal ghost, so she tries to sneak out of the house. This - however - proves to be a very difficult task; the ghost easily cathes her! The details of this encouter are not known, but when Rita wakes up from St. Mary's hospital just a moment later, she suffers from a difficult memory loss... Skills and spells have become harder to remember for her.

A ritual in Silver Twilight Lodge goes horribly wrong, releasing more monsters into Arkham's outskirts.

Wilson decides to clear the streets from unwanted visitors: He finds a human whose mind has been corrupted by the Mythos, easily blasting him away with his shotgun.

The other enemy, High-Priest-not-to-be-described, is a lot more dangeous foe. Wilson almost falls before this horrifying character, but manages to down it with his trusty firearm.
This fight leaves Wilson in a very bad shape, both mentally and physically.


Wilson goes to the Ma's Boarding House to recruit an ally. Ruby Standish, a thief, joins him. Ruby also gives Wilson a magical Golden Trumpet.

Rita goes to The Curiositie Shoppe to buy an Enchanted Blade... Just in case she meets any more ghosts!





The Stars are still right. Shub-Niggurath will wake up soon!






Rita tires to decipher the Old Journal of hers again, still without success. She goes to Hibb's Roadhouse, where the bartender sells Rita some important Mythos information. Rita gains a lot of clues.

Wilson takes his new ally, Ruby, to downtown streets and sacrifices her to fight off the worst of the Mythos; the Stars are no longer right... Ruby Standish is no more, but Shub-Niggurath's awakening is now few steps farther away.
The townspeople give the investigators some items to show their gratitute: Wilson gets a bullwhip and some research materials, while Rita gets and ancient tome of secret knowledge.

Wilson visits Arkham Asylum to restore his lost sanity. After this he quickly drives to St. Mary's hospital to heal his injuries.
Now the Handyman is ready for action again!

General store closes, as the Terror rises again.


Rita takes her time and studies through both of her old books, learning a "Cloud memory"- spell, and some clues.









Drake's Carnival arrives to Arkham. Its wonders offer important knowledge, at the cost of one's sanity.
A gate opens in "The Unnambale".

Wilson goes to Historical Society to study some historical records. There he comes across a piece of vital information, gaining a lot of new clues.

Rita visits Silver Twilight Lodge. There she manages to catch a thief who was trying to rob something of value from the Lodge. The thief gets away, but leaves her loot behind - a Sword of Glory. Rita takes this powerful magical weapon for herself.

Both of the investigators set out for another adventure in the other worlds:

Rita enters a gate to The Dreamlands, skillfully evading a Gug that was guarding the gate.
Wilson takes a gate to Abyss, destroying a Ghost before entering it. For normal monsters, Wilson would've used his shotgun, but for this spirit he had to use the Golden Sword of Y'ha-Talla, he had found from his earlier adventures.




Rita happens to find a quick way back to Arkham! Using her Gate Box, she appears back through a different gate than the one she used before. She comes back to Arkham from the Black Cave. The gate behind her is closed and sealed!
Three locations have now been sealed... three more seals, and Shub-Niggurath cannot awake!

Wilson gets lost in the darkness of the Abyss... He loses some time, but his Golden Trumpet keeps the horrors away. After this he finds a way up from the Abyss, into the upper Dreamlands.

A Nightgaunt circles around the skies of Arkham.


Rita completes a Mineralogy Report. She is well rewarded, and John Legrasse, a police inspector, joins Rita as an ally.

Quickly after this, Rita enters another gate. This time she goes to the City of the Great Race.





In Dreamlands, an unknown entity attacks Wilson, damaging his stamina and sanity.
Wilson finds a way back to the waking world. He appears through the gate in the woods, which he successfully closes and seals. Only two more seals to go... Closing of the gate also banishes the Gug, as well as the Nightgaunt, away.

Fighting her way out of the Yithian city, Rita also gets back to Arkham. This time she isn't able to seal the gate though.

The streets of arkham are filled with angry people, protesting against the unearthly exhibit at the museum.

Wilson visits the Silver Twilight Lodge, where he is offered a membership. Wilson - however - doesn't have the required amount of money, so he is quickly escorted out.

The citizens of Arkham rise up and drive away most of the monsters from the city! Thing are looking up, but the arrival of Shub-Niggurath is still very close.

Rita tries to reach another gate, but she is interrupted by a Ghoul. The Ghoul is easily killed, and Rita also manages to fight off the protestors raging through the streets.






Wilson explores the Arkham Asylum. His visit is cut short, as he is injected with a sedative of some sort, and escorted out.

Some more monsters pour in through the four open gates. A Mi-Go gets close to Rita...

Rita - wanting to quickly seal another gate - sneaks past the Mi-Go and into "The Unnamable", from where she finds a gate to Celeano.
Wilson takes Rita's place and guns the Mi-Go down with his shotgun. "Blue Watcher of the Pyramid" - a powerful magical item is found from the creature. This item can be used to destroy almost any monster... but using it will be dangerous for the user as well.


Terror and Doom rises! Shub-Niggurath's arrival is at hand...







As the situation is getting very dire, Wilson decides to use Blood Magic to delve into Dark Mysteries. This act nearly kills him, but the result is still a success; Wilson gains valuable clues.

Rita gets back to Arkham and uses her knowledge to seal yet another gate. Only one seal to go, but time is really running out!

Wilson desperately rides his motorcycle around Arkham, gathering clues.

Time is out. A gate to Plateau of Leng opens, and with this, Shub-Niggurath awakens!

The investigators got close with their seals, but now they must face the Black Goat of the Woods!




The Final Battle:

Shub-Niggurath is completely immune to physical harm, so the investigators must rely on their magical weapons. And so Wilson draws his Golden Sword of Y'ha-Talla, Rita wields her Sword of Glory, and the two brave investigators go against a foe so terrifying, that their chances of success seem minimal...

The combat rages on, and the investigators are doing admirably; they actually manage to damage the mighty Shub-Niggurath. The creature is more than half way done for, when Rita Young cannot take it any more; the brave Athlete is devoured by the Black Goat of the Woods. Wilson carries on...

Wilson Richards uses his magical sword with great skill, also using his bullwhip to distract the Great Old One. While the attacks of Shub-Niggurath are getting stronger and stronger, Wilson has to resort to his uncanny sneaking skills to avoid being devoured.

And he succeeds! Shub-Niggurath is pushed back through the dimensional rift, to the void from where she came! Arkham is saved!


CONCLUSION:

This game was about as good as Arkham Horror gets in solo! It was a long run (like AH always tends to be), but not too long, and it was very exciting and interesting to the end. At one point it seemed that I would win by sealing the gates, then my luck changed and the Great Old One suddenly awoke... here I thought that "I'm done for", but then the final combat went really well. Wilson would have lasted maybe two more turns, until he would have been devoured as well.
After all, a nice run with enough challenge, nice encounters and cool fights. AH at its best!

If you haven't already, please check out my earlier review of Arkham Horror. That game didn't go quite as smoothly...