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.


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!


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...


  1. Really enjoyed reading through your session! I have yet to face Shub, but she certainly frightens me with the whole monster token bit, but I always forget about the sneak check! Arkham Horror game sessions are great, and really mimic a real story. Look forward to reading more of your sessions!

  2. An update... in a previous solo match played last night, on the second turn, one of my investigators who was touring R'Lyeh was caught off guard by a drowsy Cthulhu rising from his slumber, and was instantly devoured after just a second of seeing his visage. This is why I love playing Arkham Horror :)

  3. Yeah, it happens when you go poking around in R'lyeh :P