Finally, I have time to outline the session of Arkham Horror I played with a couple of coworker friends of mine. We decided that gaming in an almost empty warehouse would provide a nice creepy atmosphere for the night, so we, having lockdown privileges, sequestered a grim conference room complete with indoor windows to the rest of the warehouse, giving our session a real True Detective feel. I decided that some angular modern classical music would be in order so I took the opportunity to play Kronos Quartet's Black Angels album in full, which added to the feel rather nicely. Someday Kronos should do a series of pieces based on the Cthulhu mythos. Any would-be composers out there?
Now, for those who haven't played Arkham Horror, it's complicated. Very, very complicated. The setup takes a good fifteen minutes straight for a trio of newbies. May I present: the board?
Yes, it's as complicated as it looks to set up. Actually, even more so. And the rules . . . the word "Parliamentarian" comes to mind. I'm not even . . . sorry, there are plenty of great tutorials on how to play on Youtube. You should watch them. Also, be sure to look for cheat sheets that show how turns work. These saved us. Seriously, you need them.
One of the first orders of business is determining who our ultimate bad guy is. This was done by random draw, though we left Azathoth out of the draw pile. No one can beat Azathoth, and if they tell you they have, they're either lying or have no other life outside of this game. Liar, liar . . .
Anyway, we pulled . . .
Yog-Sothoth, The Key and The Gate.
I played, appropriate for being in Wisconsin, Monterey Jack, adventurer. My job was to run around and open and, if possible, close gates. I started off drawing an Elder Sign as one of my equipped items, which makes it easy to close a gate . . . A gate. We needed to close 6, I think, to keep ole Yog-Sothoth from putting in appearance. And we had a limited amount of time to do it. But doesn't my heroic visage here inspire confidence?
+Daniel Nicholson and Tony Vandersheuren played Amanda Sharpe, a student, and Joe Diamond, a private detective, respectively.
Luckily, as I said, I was able to shut down a gate early on, this one to Yuggoth. Shutting down a gate isn't usually this easy.
And why do you want to shut down gates? Because lots of little critters like to come through them. Okay, not so little, in some cases. Take the Gug, for example, that Joe Diamond ran into, a twenty foot tall abomination with a mouth like a fanged . . . well, remember those nightmares back before puberty started for you boys. Yeah. That.
Thankfully, Joe Diamond is as much a thug as a private eye. And he had happened upon a rifle, so bully for him. He waxed the Gug quickly (and another later that night, and even more impressively, a Star Spawn of Cthulhu).
Not to be outdone, Amanda Sharpe also had a run-in with a baddie. But this was a lowly Warlock, and she had dynamite, so, no problem,, right?
Never say "no problem" around Arkham Horror. Amanda did, and totally failed in combat. It's like she freaked out and dropped the dynamite while in another dimension, which means it doesn't blow up bad guys. She ended up in the infirmary. She spent a good chunk of the game there, unfortunately. She was book smart, not street smart.
Joe Diamond, on the other hand, was kicking butt, closing a gate through brute force, followed by the use of several clues that allowed him to seal it. If I remember correctly, he closed a couple this way.
However, it just wasn't fast enough. Market District got particularly flooded with bad guys, effectively cutting off the upper left quadrant of the board as they spread through town or hovered overhead, waiting for one of us hapless investigators to come cavorting down the street.
And, as bad luck would have it, Monterey Jack found himself coming through a gate and being ejected right into the middle of all the action. If there's one thing I've learned from this game, it is: do NOT mess with ghosts. Oh, you can go around flaunting your Ghostbusters cred, sing the song: "I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts." Well, YOU WILL BE, SUCKER!
And that is exactly how Monterey Jack ended up in the infirmary for the remainder of the game, completely weaponless and with no money to spend on a good gun (his bank loan had come due and, well, Monterey Jack isn't too good with finances):
So how did it end? Well, it didn't. Our lives interfered and we had to head out, having had a blast and knowing that, even if Monterey Jack had recovered, Amanda Sharpe was perpetually in and out of the hospital, and it was only a matter of time before Joe Diamond lost his mind (he got some seriously lucky rolls). Besides, ole Yog-Sothoth was two turns away from coming out of the closet, we had two more gates to shut, and nothing to do it with.
Imagine 28 Days Later, but it's Cthulhu baddies, including Yog-Sothoth, instead of zombies. *shudder*. Monterey Jack was probably happy to be in a bed pumped full of morphine just before hell was about to be unleashed on humanity.
And that's my kind of fun . . . I guess . . .