Before everything else, I would like to thank Evgeni for the nice work he’s done with the new impression of me (now updated as part of the logo)! Great work, mate!
As I wrote in ‘Board gaming session #0’ last Sunday we were a man short – our Necromancer Anton was away with some real life stuff. Our best bet goes that he was engaged in some dark arts with little fluffy mammals and their not so well-being, which unfortunately stopped him from attending our board-gaming session. So, opposing the Overlord in the epilogue of Descent will happen most likely this Sunday.
As Marin was late again we’ve started with playing Dungeonland as we’ve waited. I’ve got some Steam synchronization problems and couldn’t load my save from the cloud, so me, Evgeni and Rado had to play on one PC – two with PS3 joypads and one with the keyboard and mouse (which turned to be pretty nice and funny). We’ve just managed to beat a level when Marin finally appeared, at least bringing some popcorn and coke.
I didn’t get who decided that we are playing Arkham Horror instead of Runebound and before I could say a word, Evgeni has already put all the cards on the table and we were about to start. I didn’t mind as long as Rado was preparing popcorn in the microwave (me and Marin seem to eat too much popcorn on Sunday for some unknown reason, maybe it is the Overlord’s curse because we are awesome).
So – some first impressions:
Arkham Horror is an adventure cooperative game in H. P. Lovecraft‘s city of Arkham and main goal for the players is to close gates to alien dimensions which open trough out the city and to prevent the awakening of an ancient powerful (overpowered?!) evil being.
First of all the game is huge! Really nice we have a big table on which we can place the map of Arkham, character sheets, dozens of dices and hundreds of cards. Preparing the game just to start could really take some time. As both I and Marin haven’t played it, and Rado and Evgeni had some previous experience with 2 finished games, they explained the rules on the go. We’ve randomly decided with which character everyone starts and picked the easiest final boss just for the educational purposes. Rules are not hard to remember, but they are just many. Because all of the players play cooperatively against the ‘AI’ everything beside our tactics is decided by drawing cards from different decks and/or rolling dices. This provides different encounters and situations every time you play but at the end I didn’t like depending so much on luck (maybe also one of the reasons I prefer Descent for now). I understand that there is no other way around in which ‘AI’ could be presented in-game – if there was a kind of Overlord again, it could be different.
Game’s map, cards, tokens and character sheets are professionally made. Arkham Horror also looks pretty lengthy – we’ve played for only about 3 hours and it seems we’ve barely touched the surface. Evgeni and Rado explained that the second time they played it took them about 12 hours and won by a tiny margin before the ancient evil awoke (or was it already awaken at the end and throwing hell on them?). Because game is really hard – you feel the impending doom and that ‘AI’ is really doing its best just to make you feel miserable, small and wretched. We’ve had several lucky situations, but just as we thought that we would actually make it through easily, we’ve found ourselves bitch-slapped and thrown into oblivion. Yes, the game is actually that evil!
Unfortunately as always hours of playing board games felt like minutes and we had to call it end for the Sunday. At the end I was left with some mixed feelings – I both liked and disliked this first experience I had with Arkham Horror. It felt good, new and fresh playing it, but maybe I didn’t like so much the setting (I’ve never read anything from H. P. Lovecraft), the randomness and its length. However first impressions are not always accurate and definitely I will give it a chance again in the future. Somehow, for now I am staying much more positive about Runebound, although it also depends a lot of dice throwing and luck (I guess setting issues of the fantasy lover).
Upcoming Sunday looks like we are going to have another board game session (I hope pretty much everyone is free) and we will be finishing Descent. Evgeni told me yesterday that he bought Descent’s first expansion: Lair of the Wyrm. I am pretty excited – someday, when we start the campaign all over again, we get new Heroes, new Overlord cards, new tiles, new monsters, new quests and new Overlord Lieutenants.
Stay tuned – once I get some more impressions either of Arkham Horror, Runebound or Lair of the Wyrm a review will be on the way. Until then – I wish you all ‘good dices’ rolls’ in and out real life. 🙂