02 August 2018
Modular board and branching story paths among drastic changes to Richard Launius’ 1987 adventure
Arkham Horror is getting its first new edition in more than a decade, and it looks set to turn the horror board gaming icon on its head.
Arkham Horror’s third edition marks the next big step for the Call of Cthulhu spin-off originally created by Richard Launius and released in 1987, before being updated in 2005 by Fantasy Flight as part of the Arkham Horror Files series, which would go on to spawn Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness and Arkham Horror: The Card Game.
Mansions of Madness and Elditch Horror co-designer Nikki Valens is behind Arkham Horror’s 2018 reinvention – the designer’s last project for Fantasy Flight following her departure from the publisher earlier this year.
It’s a staggering new vision for the Lovecraftian classic, too, with the surprising replacement of the original’s traditional board with a new modular set of double-sided hexagonal map tiles that are rearranged before each playthrough for a unique layout of the infamous city of Arkham in every game.
In place of the game’s former sandbox feel, in which players raced around the city trying to hold off the forces of evil, Arkham Horror: Third Edition features a new set of scenarios – four in the main game – that follow a more structured narrative. The objectives for each game start unknown, forcing players to uncover clues in order to find out their goals and attain victory.
Within these scenarios are various branching paths that players can guide the story along, adding cards as the result of discovered clues or an increase in doom that can affect future events and even the final outcome of the scenario.
Each region of the city has a distinct deck of neighbourhood cards, which are combined with events unique to each scenario for increased variability during games.
Looking into the game’s numerous mysteries and horrors are a returning cast of investigators from the Arkham Horror Files series, made up of 12 individual characters with unique abilities and a loadout that can be customised by their controlling player before launching into a mission.
Arkham Horror’s gameplay also seems to have evolved, with a new variant of the Mythos phase involving pulling tokens from a cup (or bag), not unlike Arkham Horror: The Card Game’s chit-bag system.
Arkham Horror: Third Edition is set for release in the last quarter of 2018, following its announcement at Gen Con – so it could be you’ll be able to return to the terrifying city in time for Halloween.