A few months ago, I was able to play a half-game of Arkham Horror at the bi-weekly Boardgame night at Lava Java. Set in the Cthulhu mythos, Arkham is a long involving boardgame where investigators are drawn to the many peculiar events happening in small town 1920s Massachusetts. Monsters are rising in city streets, cultists are gathering in occultist groups, and whispers are told of ancient old ones, alien monstrous leviathans that desire conquest and consumption of our world. At the beginning of the game, an old one is chosen to be the foe for the players, and it is that old one that is threatening to awaken and causing gates to other worlds to open in Arkham.
The game is a cooperative game, where the players are not competing against each other, but against the evil creatures in Arkham.
Each player is dealt(or chooses) an investigator with various abilities and equipment. Investigators range from a private eye, a student, a photographer, a professor, a psychologist, even a drifter named Ashcan Pete with his trusty dog Duke. The game tends to blur the line between boardgames and roleplaying games, and involves more storytelling than that average boardgame. The game takes a long time to play (3-5 hours is standard depending on the number of players) and can handle 1-8 players. You win by either sealing enough gates so that the old one goes back to peaceful slumber or if the old one awakens first the investigators have one last ditch battle to try and defeat the gargantuan old one.
This game has a high level of replay value, and although it seems overly complicated, the fun factor is worth learning the game. Actually, as long as one player has a good grasp of the rules, they can help the other players.
In the game your character can be a sword wielding motorcycle riding monster slayer, use the Necronomicon to learn arcane spells(although this will sap your sanity), become a town deputy or a member of the mysterious Silver Twilight Lodge.
It’s a big chunk of change to drop at $50 msrp, but you will get a lot of value out of the investment, not the least of which is being able to play in Solitaire mode when you’re alone with not much to do.
If you get a chance, try it out.