Arkham Files must be one of Fantasy Flight’s most popular IPs, as it keeps getting new games year after year. Eldritch Horror and Mansions of Madness are still going strong, not to mention the Arkham Horror LCG, but now it’s Arkham Horror’s chance to take back the spotlight.
I enjoyed the previous Arkham Horror edition, but it did seem to drag on quite a long time – and it tended to stall, where near the end you’re not so much accomplishing as you are staving off inevitable doom. Hopefully things have been cleaned up here, leading to a strong story-driven experience that doesn’t sputter to an unfortunate end.
The taste of it I got was a good one. The board is completely different and now entirely modular, allowing hexagon-shaped locations to connect via roads. It results in a similar configuration with a natural flow from one location to another, although with perhaps fewer decks of cards on the table per game.
It was easier to avoid getting stuck in the streets, and monsters tend to occupy locations now. This is a welcome change – one of the worst parts of Arkham Horror 2e was having to go out into the streets to fight monsters and then not have any useful encounters, instead just being stuck outside and vulnerable.
You’ve still got to collect clue tokens and stave off doom, but from what little I experienced it felt more dynamic and less bogged down in upkeep at the end of every round. There’s still upkeep, for sure, involving drawing from a bag to add doom tokens and monsters to the board.
What was most intriguing was the way the scenario evolved. We didn’t have much information up front; only a brief intro, and a goal to accomplish to start to uncover the mystery. Once we resolved that, we were given a new card which began to reveal more about what was happening. That sort of lands it somewhere between the intense story-driven nature of Mansions of Madness and the globetrotting action of Eldritch Horror, which makes sense. I’m eager to play more, and I’m hopeful the full game keeps things moving along.