Just finished our first Arkham Horror game using the Kingsport Horror and Black Goat of the Woods expansions (along with the other three: Curse of the Dark Pharoah, Dunwich Horror, and The King in Yellow). It was a lot of fun, but ended badly for humanity.
- I had to put a leaf into my dining table to hold all three gameboards, and use two side tables to hold the various stacks of cards and tokens. The game has always been big; now it’s BIG! We had to walk around the table a fair bit to move our characters, read the monster stats, reach our clue tokens, etc.
- The rifts mechanic in Kingsport is a potentially fatal distraction. You can’t ignore it, but you can’t really focus too much on it. We had only three players, and that meant that we were pressed to try and get everything done without worrying about the rifts. By the time we started paying attention to them, everything was getting out of hand.
- Heralds and Ancient Ones: Having a Herald in play makes the game more difficult. Having the Ancient One associated with the Herald in play makes the game especially hard. We played with Shub Niggurath and the Black Goat Herald, because I wanted to see how the new stuff in the expansion worked, and the synergy between the Herald and the Ancient One was pretty overwhelming. With a couple of extra players, I think we would have had some breathing room, but it still would have been a real challenge.
- Kingsport recommends playing with multiple characters per player if you have a small group; once you add the third board in, there is a lot of territory to cover. And Kingsport can’t be ignored as safely as Dunwich could, because of the whole rift thing. In future, I think running with two characters each if we have fewer than five players is a good idea.
- The Epic Battle variant added a lot of flavour to the final battle when Shub Niggurath broke through. The new mechanics were good, and the flavour text was great. However, the “You Lose” card came up as the first red card, which was somewhat disappointing. I think it would be a good idea to expand the two decks, and pick the appropriate number of green and red cards randomly at the start of the game. Just to shake things up a bit.
We all died in the final battle. Tom went down when Shub Niggurath arrived, because his previous character had been devoured trying a courageous stunt to take a token off the doom track, and his new character didn’t have any monster trophies left. I fell next, to a Dark Young that got summoned as part of the Epic Battle and the customized Ancient One plot decks (my ninth injury was a duplicate – another sprained ankle). Fera held on to the bitter end, but then that damned “You Lose” card showed up, just when she had Shub Niggurath on the ropes.
Anyway, it was one of the more brutal games we’ve played, and everyone said we needed to play more often, which I took as a positive sign. I mean, we’d just had our asses handed to us by Shub Niggurath and her flunky, and it made us want to play again.
That’s a good game, in my book.