Arkham Horror: The Card Game Revised Core Set Review
In this review we will take you through what Arkham Horror: The Card Game Revised Core Set is all about. I won’t be revealing any spoilers but you’ll find out answers to your questions.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a living card game that follows on from games such as Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror. It puts you into the Lovecraftian world of mysteries and mythos. You’ll need to work together to survive and if you solve the mysteries you may well be victorious….or be led into madness.
Let’s delve further into this excellent card game.
Table of Contents
- What is Arkham Horror: The Card Game About?
- Is Arkham Horror: The Card Game Well Made?
- Is Arkham Horror: The Card Game Easy?
- Can Arkham Horror: The Card Game Be Played Solo?
- Can You Play Arkham Horror: The Card Game More Than Once?
- Is Arkham Horror: The Card Game Worth Buying?
What is Arkham Horror: The Card Game About?
Arkham Horror: The Card Game was released in 2016 by Fantasy Flight Games. We are reviewing the revised core set which was released in 2021. The original had enough cards for 1 or 2 players but the latest revised core set has enough to support up to 4 players.
It also has some more benefits such as a chaos bag, improved storage, re-written Learn to Play Guide, and additional tokens. The decks are also pre-built enabling you to jump right in and play which is a great benefit.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game sets you as an investigator in an H.P. Lovecraft world. It is a cooperative game. There is something dark, ancient and sinister stirring in the town of Arkham. A mystery that you must solve.
The possible investigators are made up of unlikely individuals such as a waitress, librarian or even an urchin. Each has their gifts that can be used to uncover the source of the problems and work to solve the mysteries and defeat the ancient threat.
In the revised core set you get The Night of the Zealot introductory campaign to play through. This has three scenarios for you to play through in order to complete the campaign. With other expansion campaigns you typically get 8 scenarios and are bigger. Each scenario can be one game session.
Each scenario is designed to be played in an order and create a sequence. As you proceed onto the next scenario then the actions and results of the previous scenario will carry over and affect it.
Lovecraftian games are meant to be dark and so don’t be surprised if any of your investigators die or even go insane. This is all part of this fantastic genre in which you will often find yourself fighting more for survival than defeating the evil that stalks Arkham.
Each investigator has their own deck that you can build or keep the already built on out of the box. A scenario will have an agenda deck and an act deck.
Different scenarios will have several possible endings called resolutions. Some of these will be positive and sometimes bad.
The agenda deck represents the dark forces of mythos and tracks its progress through the scenario. If the agenda deck runs out then it is likely you will have a rather negative resolution to the scenario.
Whilst the act deck tracks the progress of the investigators. If your act deck runs out and you are still alive (at least some of you anyway) then you are likely (hopefully) to have a more positive scenario.
The scenarios are split into rounds and each round will look something like this:
- Mythos phase (skip on the first round of the game)
- Investigation phase
- Enemy phase
- Upkeep phase
Typically the Mythos phase progresses the dark forces progress and bad thing happen. Next you get to do some investigating and take your turn. Each player takes a turn and can perform three actions in any order of the following:
- Draw 1 card.
- Gain 1 Resource.
- Activate an -> (action trigger) ability.
- Engage an enemy at his or her current location.
- Investigate his or her current location.
- Move to a new connecting location.
- Play an asset or event card from his or her hand.
- Attempt to Evade an enemy engaged with him or her.
- Fight an enemy at his or her current location
Now it is the enemies turn and they will resolve their move in the following order:
- Hunter enemies move.
- Enemy attacks.
Finally in the upkeep phase things are resolved for the enemy and the investigators to ready them for the next round.
The above rounds are repeated until everyone is dead, exhausted or insane or you have reached a resolution.
If you have reached a resolution then you may carry over into the next scenario.
Is Arkham Horror: The Card Game Well Made?
The revised core set has some improvements over the standard game. There are things like the Chaos Bag that holds the Chaos Tokens. In the prior version you had to source your own container.
The rules have been rewritten to make them easier for beginners to understand. This has changed things like bringing the fundamental concepts forward. Also adding more pictures to accompany the text and help you understand.
Some of the art has had a refresh but in my opinion this is negligible from the original. It does not really change the game or seem much of an improvement, it is just different.
The box is also much bigger than the typical LCG square boxes and follows the Marvel Champions’ more oblong box. This has a plastic insert and is meant to allow more space for expansions as well as the core set.
The components are well made with tokens made from punch cards and the card decks of good quality. The artwork is great and gives the real lovecraftian feel. Why there was a refresh of artwork I don’t know as the original seemed fine by me. In the revised core set you get:
- 5 Investigator Cards,
- 5 Mini-Cards,
- 111 Scenario Cards,
- 245 Player Cards,
- 61 Resource Tokens,
- 44 Chaos Tokens,
- 27 Horror Tokens,
- 40 Damage Tokens,
- 57 Clue/Doom Tokens,
- 1 Campaign Guide,
- 1 Learn to Play Book,
- 1 Rules Reference Guide
On the whole this game is on par with other living card games. The artwork is good and the level of quality is what we have come to expect from these games.
Is Arkham Horror: The Card Game Easy?
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is not an easy game with multiple ways in which to lose a scenario. Part of the charm of this game is the inevitable exhaustion or even death of your investigators. Let alone the fact that the stirring menace actually succeeds in its evil plans.
The game does provide you with a leveling system that will allow you to decrease or increase the difficulty. This is set whilst setting up the scenario so you can change it before you start.
There is often no win or lose in scenarios, these games are not as clear cut as that. There are only outcomes dependent on the progress of your investigations or the foes’ plans.
Can Arkham Horror: The Card Game Be Played Solo?
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a great game to play solo. You have a choice of playing solo with a single investigator or two. I would recommend starting with two and then after a scenario or two giving a single investigator a go.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is number 5 in my 20 Best Solo Board Games 2022 and is a very popular game to play solitaire. If you want a game to play with 1 to 2 players then this is a really good choice. The engaging story lines as they unravel before you will keep you engrossed and wanting more.
Can You Play Arkham Horror: The Card Game More Than Once?
You can play through campaigns and scenarios multiple times. However, the first time is likely to be the best time. Flight of Fantasy has released 8 further campaigns along with 9 standalone adventures. So there is plenty for you to play through and get that first time experience with.
The game is designed to provide you with an ongoing narrative and story that you play through. You can replay any scenario with different investigators which will change the play and provide new challenges. This will require you to continue to invest money into buying further expansions.
Is Arkham Horror: The Card Game Worth Buying?
In my opinion this is one of the best living card games you can buy. The story is excellently written and you will find yourself completely engrossed in the task before you. There are plenty of surprises and dark turns.
One of the great things about this game is the collaborative aspect. You will need to work together in order to have any chance of getting a positive resolution. Which means that you’ll need to discuss how you are going to build your deck. Or even which investigators should participate in the scenario.
This makes for some great interactive conversations and just makes the game more fun.
One of the downsides to this game is that the core set comes with a 3 scenario campaign. If you play often then this won’t take you long to complete. I think this is by design as Fantasy Flight Games have created a living card game which is a model of every released expansions that they want you to buy.
So be ready to dip your hand in your wallets and purses soon after getting the core set. As you will inevitably want one of the expansion which all come with 8 scenario campaigns.
Saying all that, the game is awesome and if you love it then this game could easily become a money pit if you are not careful.
This game is an excellent living card game and fulfils the H.P. Lovecraft genre in great style. You will always be able to play through the scenarios again with different variations of investigators and still get plenty out of them. Building your decks in different ways and seeing what happens. Thene there is the changing in levels.
There is no other game that I know of where you will fail to achieve anything and still come away excitedly chatting with your friends as you had so much fun. It is slightly counterintuitive in that respect but for that reason alone you should get yourself a copy of Arkham Horror: The Card Game Revised Core Set.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game Revised Core Set