Perhaps your gaming buddies are out of town, or perhaps you’re the one out of town. You may find yourself at home with a power outage, or at your friendly local gaming store. However it happens, you want to play a board game solo. This article is for you…
Arkham Horror is a classic tabletop game, perfect to start this review series. There are four review categories. Complexity, Enjoyment, Detail, and Replayability. Complexity will reflect how hard the game is to set up and manage- points will be scored in reverse (1 for a very complex game, 5 for a perfect amount). Enjoyment is pretty straightforward. Detail will focus on the game pieces, board, and box art. Replayability will be scaled to cost. So, without further ado- here we go.
Arkham Horror is inspired by the influential cosmic horror writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Feel free to read any of his stories before sitting down to play- The Call of Cthulhu is infamous. Set aside approx 2-2 1/2 hours to play- the longer the better. A big table to play on is also helpful. An ambient playlist like this one can also add to the atmosphere.
Arkham Horror is complex to set up, there are a lot of pieces to organise. The learning curve of the first few turns is also quite steep. There are a few things to get used to. The payoff makes it all worthwhile. The game opens up into an exciting Lovecraftian adventure once the rulebook gets put down and you get to really play. Arkham Horror is an engrossing game. There’s a good balance between luck and skill to make each game unique while rewarding you for making strategic play choices. The pieces and the board all have some fantastic detail to them. The 1920’s setting really bleeds through every piece.
Same Same, but different?
Solo play has no special variations to the rules. The game elements are scaled to the number of players. For example, the number of monsters are adjusted for optimum gameplay. You won’t quite be overwhelmed by the minions pouring forth from other dimensions. That being said, the lack of co-operation with other players does create more of a challenge. Not to mention the fear of facing an Ancient One alone.
I made use of the option to select my investigator and adversary instead of random generation. Dexter Drake the magician stood against the reptilian might of Yig. Dexter spent a few turns running around collecting clues as the monsters multiplied. Eschewing spells for a reliable tommy gun, Drake made short work of several monsters. Many more took their place as the outer dimensions spewed forth its teeming masses. Drake’s mind could not keep up with the malevolent masses, so he checked in to Arkham Asylum. He needed to restore the sanity lost during an overwhelming Mythos encounter. After he paid for the best medical aid money can buy, the mystical avenger ventured back into Arkham.
Drake fought against the monsters with renewed vigour. The mighty magician was then deputised just in time for the final showdown with the Father of Serpents. After several rounds of fighting, the Ancient One was no more. The indefatigable tommy gun smote the deity before Drake’s sanity crumbled for a second time. Dexter Drake overcame demons both within and without to claim victory.
Arkham Horror is available from gaming stores and hobby retailers worldwide.