After a ridiculously busy couple of weeks, I've finally had a chance to sit down and try Arkham Horror: The Card Game, a new LCG from Fantasy Flight Games. (For those of you who don't know already: An LCG is a "Living Card Game," which means that you buy a base set and then expansion packs that are released over time.) I already enjoy the Lord of the Rings LCG, but Arkham Horror promises something that LotR doesn't: extended campaign play with character decks that can be tweaked over time. After each scenario, your investigator can gain experience points, which you can then "spend" on deck upgrades.
The Core Set box for Arkham Horror: The Card Game includes five investigators, a set of starter cards, and a short campaign that will help you get your feet wet. The game isn't overly difficult to learn, and there is a simple startup guide to get you going before you get overwhelmed by details in the full rulebook. If you've played a Fantasy Flight LCG before, Arkham Horror will feel like a variation on a familiar theme. If you haven't, Arkham Horror is a perfectly good place to start. The contents of the Core Set box are easily manageable, and will support gameplay for 1-2 players. (You need to pick up a second Core Set if you want to play with a group of 3-4 people).
So far, I've played the first campaign with the recommended starting investigator, Roland Banks. I love the flavor text in the campaign guide and on the cards, and I'm starting to see interesting ways to make Roland's cards work better together. After the first three plays, I'm still feeling interested enough to be ambitious: I want to try this again with each of the other investigators.
The main drawback to repeat plays is that the Arkham Horror LCG is story based, meaning that everything is a little bit spoiled for you after you experience it for the first time. You already know what is going to happen, and you have an idea about what decisions you'd like to make in preparation for future scenarios. That doesn't really bother me, though—the game has an adjustable difficulty level, so I can add difficulty to compensate for my unfair advantages.
The only other issue I'm having with the game right now is that there isn't all that much in the box to start with--Arkham Horror immediately demands an expansion. I have plenty of experience that I could use to purchase new cards, but I don't have enough exciting new cards to purchase. Hopefully, future expansions will deliver when it comes to thrilling new possibilities.
If you love deck construction and Lovecraftian horror, or if you love the Lord of the Rings LCG already and you want to try an LCG with some new concepts, I think that Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a very good purchase for you. If are unsure about whether Arkham Horror is your kind of thing, or about whether you should commit to an LCG, I would recommend that you wait for an expansion or two to come out before you make a leap of faith.
My name is Liz, and I play a lot of games. By day, I am a teacher. By night, I am an avid gamer.