Top 20 Thursday
On Thursdays, I take a look at a game in the top 20, talk about one aspect of the game that I believe helped it secure its spot in the rankings, and then mention a few titles you may enjoy if you liked the game of the day.
Today’s game is perfect for ringing in the spookiest month of the year.
#Number 19 – Arkham Horror: the Card Game
For some, the Cthulu mythos is one of the most played out themes. I, however, love it. I love the sanity shaking, reality-bending, and doom ridden narrative of H.P. Lovecraft’s genre. The stories are just weird enough to catch your attention but fantastical enough to not keep you up at night.
A quick glance at the top 100 games on BGG reveals three Lovecraft games: Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Mansions of Madness, and Eldritch Horror. So the question is what pushes the card game above the rest?
For a while, one of my friends and I got together and played every new expansion for the card game. Unfortunately, he moved away, and with him went my Arkham Horror: the card game partner. But before he left we got through the first two expansion sets and I started on the third without him before realizing that it didn’t play well as a true solo game—one investigator, instead of multiple. Altogether about 40 plays of the base game plus expansions. I think it’s fair to say that I got a solid taste of all the goodness that this game has to offer.
I’d argue that one of the main reasons that it is in the top 20 and beats out other similarly themed games is because it combines an excellent narrative arc with one of the most flexible game systems I’ve ever seen. One of the most fun parts of playing a new booster pack was seeing what new way they used the game system.
The thing that made the game system so flexible is that they used cards to signify locations and integrated new rules by putting actions on the location cards. So, while the base structure of the game stayed the same, they were able to make each adventure feel extremely thematic by changing the way your investigators typical action interacted with the unique environments.
Every adventure felt so unique and always pushed the narrative of the story arc in a unique way. If you’re a Lovecraft fan and you have a consistent gaming partner who doesn’t mind deck-building, you absolutely must check our Arkham Horror: The Card Game. It’s brilliant.
Other Games to Consider if you like Arkham Horror: the Card Game
If you like the theme and the fact it’s a co-op, but don’t like the deck-building aspect try Eldritch Horror. Eldritch Horror remains my favorite Lovecraft game because of the fairly simple gameplay, narrative elements, and inevitable edge-of-your-seat dice roll moments. Just enough strategy to get the whole table engaged, but also make for a fairly laid back narrative adventure.
If you like that it is a co-op and a pre-game deck-builder, you should check out the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. It’s the original co-op living card game and those that have followed it for the last ten years have adored it. Not to mention it has one of the best IPs of all time!
If you like the theme, but you wish you actually did some deduction work during the investigations, you should check out Mythos Tales. Mythos Tales follows the lead of the game Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective and places the players in a competition to solve the case just as well as Armitage, who is solving the case at the same time as you. It’s great at low player counts and scratches the itch of truly trying sleuth your way to stopping the rebirth of the Ancient Ones.