----> Investigate. If you succeed, find an Arkham Horror LCG Thread


What is Arkham Horror?

The Arkham Horror LCG is a card game set in Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Horror Universe, which is probably best described as “65% Indiana Jones, 35% Lovecraft”. The players control investigators, seeking to understand and eventually overcome the otherworldly monstrosities of Lovecraft’s fiction over the course of a series of adventures. It is therefore a largely cooperative game where players work together against the game itself.

In giving us a world in which the monstrous other that is the endless horror of the Mythos can be overcome by careful planning, quick thinking, and two fisted heroism, FFG is literally turning the central thesis of Lovecraft’s work on its head. And you know what? Who cares? It works!

What do you mean, LCG?

While it is indeed a card game, purchases are not randomized. Whenever you purchase a set for a campaign or individual adventure, you are guaranteed to get the same stuff as everyone else.

What makes this so great, then?


  1. I have a 100% original saying that I completely invented that I use to summarize when a game does theme well: The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries. Arkham Horror does theme well in all of the typical ways- cards that feel like what they’re describing, a coherent and interesting world, etc. Good stuff. But it also does theme well in another, critical way: The game creators make use of the inherent flexibility of the card game medium to play with the rules in original and interesting ways that fit the stories they are trying to tell. Want to explore a haunted museum at midnight while being stalked by a shadowy monstrosity? Arkham Horror can do that. A desperate race through a train while the rear cars are one by one being pulled into the void? Check. Have a dalliance in a mob run speakeasy? Why not? Track down and interrogate a host of unique suspects while yourself being hunted by a masked killer? Sure. Every scenario is unique not merely because the cards have different numbers and have different artwork, but because the designers have constructed a flexible, resilient system that allows for the creation of new and interesting rules and bespoke scenarios. You’re excited to see what the developers have cooked up in each new scenario, and you absolutely do not want anything spoiled.

  2. The five “classes” in the game feel mechanically distinct from each other, and each provides a different way of playing the game as well as a different thematic experience. The way a Seeker looks at the game state is very, very different from a player with primarily Guardian cards.

  3. The distinction between the classes is further deepened by the unique advantages and limitations of the investigators themselves. Each identity is essentially a sub class within a class, and some of the wilder identities diverge significantly from what their class is “supposed” to do.

  4. The random nature of the adventure decks and scenarios allow for significant replayability. Even after multiple playthroughs, you are going to have different, emergent experiences depending on your investigators, the card draws… even the layouts of the board can change significantly!

  5. Weaknesses. This is a small thing, but every investigator has to seed their deck with weaknesses when they are created, one unique to the investigator and one random “lesser” weakness. This is fantastic because it means that even when you are drawing from your own deck- your source of power- you are NEVER fully safe. It also fits the theme brilliantly.

  6. Over the course of a campaign, two kinds of evolution will happen: The first is one of the main hooks of the game- your deck changes and evolves based on experience gained in the scenarios. You gain the ability to slot in new, more powerful cards to suit the playstyle you’re going for. Awesome! But the second kind is arguably just as great… as the campaign progresses, you make choices. Things happen. And sometimes these are things you manually decide on, but often they are represented by mechanics within the adventures themselves. After the adventure, your adventure book will tell you to record them. I identified the strange solution. I let the mobster die. I turned my back on the burning building. What are the consequences of these choices? Sometimes you find out in the end, but sometimes you don’t know! You get to find out later! Tune in next time!

Okay, okay, what’s bad about it. There’s got to be something bad about it.

There are two things that are bad about it!

  1. You’ve got to buy two core sets. Listen, you just have to. This is clearly FFG policy by now and I absolutely hate it and will make no excuses for it.

  2. Have fun storing and sorting your cards, jerk! Good lord. Cards, particularly adventure based cards, are separated into dozens of mix and match sets and you need to find someplace to put them and arrrrgh where did I put my Rats cards I had no idea I’d need those again so soon were they in that one cultist barbecue mission or are they in the core set box or did I leave them in the god I hate this. FFG 100% punts on this issue. The deluxe boxes, for example, are almost impossible to even consider storing cards in for various logistical reasons that will be obvious when you pick one up and look at it with that in mind. UGH. I might have to…to…consider a third party storage solution. WHAT HAVE I BECOME?

This thread is meant to be an all purpose Arkham Horror discussion thread. Please have courtesy for your fellow forum goers and spoiler everything that might need it, mentioning of course the general nature of what you have spoiled besides it.


This is a contentious point, given that there are approximate 20 threads per day on BGG discussing it with no consensus. I played through the Zealot, Dunwich, and Carcosa campaigns (solo, 2 fisted) with a single core set. Clearly you don’t have to buy two core sets, though you may have strong reasons for wanting to.

I used a BCW Super Shoe with tall plastic dividers that I wrote on with Sharpie. One divider each for core, Dunwich, Carcosa, Forgotten Age encounter sets (4 total), sorted by set. Then one divider each for Mythos pack encounter sets (6 per expansion) and for standalones (2 total). Then one divider for each class of player card–including neutrals, sorted by XP level. Finally one for investigator cards (including their specific weaknesses and assets) and another for basic weaknesses. I stored all of the rulebooks and mythos pack sheets in a manila envelope on top. This worked pretty well for sorting and storage, though I’ll admit that the number of player cards for each class was becoming unwieldy to look through.

I confess though, that as much as I think AH:LCG is a fantastic game–probably the most atmospheric and immersive board game I’ve ever played–I could never get anyone else interested, nor force myself to love deck building, so I recently sold my whole lot to forestall having to keep up with mythos packs.

Hi Matt!

You don’t “have to” buy a second core set in an objective, scientific sense. You only “have to” buy it in a colloquial sense. That is to say, I am emoting based on my own experiences and explicitly not taking the time to make a case for my opinion. I 100% support people who are interested in the game to take the time and investigate the situation and come to their own conclusions on the matter.

Paging super money bags AH LCG fan @merryprankster

The two core set thing drives me nuts in Netrunner. Just sell an overpriced “core set companion” set and I’ll gladly buy that over buying another core set. Or design them with buying two sets in mind so I dont have a bunch of useless card duplicates!

EDIT: Actually now that I remember, you actually need to buy three core sets for full playsets of all cards. And those are the GOOD cards!

I enjoy this game, played it a few times last year right after it came out. Between me and a friend we have two base sets and all the expansions. And if I remember right, @Zebracadabra’s son was a designer.

But we hardly ever play it because: A) It’s only 4 players, and we usually have 5-6 at game night. Too many for everyone to play, not enough to split into 2 games. B) Without playing regularly through the campaign, it either feels repetitive (same early scenarios repeatedly) or too complex (setting up for and completing later scenarios as if you’ve been playing all along, though we haven’t).

FFG has cogently explained several times why they don’t make a “supplemental” pack for their LCGs, most of which boils down to losing the economy of scale…which I imagine for a niche hobby product amounts to losing a bunch of what little profit there is in making games to no good purpose.

In any case, you don’t need two core sets unless you’re playing with 3 or 4 players (in which case two cores is a must-have, since you can’t make 3+ legal decks with one core). I find the game is much more focused with 2 players, anyway, but YMMV.

Yup, Matthew was a co-designer. He’s an attorney who is designing games and a kid who excels at everything. The game has won THREE GotY awards. Wow.

Have they ever addressed their utter refusal to provide storage for the game?

Well, the new remake of the original campaign, Night of the Zealot is supposed to have storage for all of the original campaign stuff…but that of course does not begin to address the overall storage problem.

Er, well, I mean it does begin to address it, I was just engaging in rhetorical exaggeration.

I’ve heard that as an explanation and I find it pretty facile (not to insinuate FFG is being malicious). I don’t think anyone expects FFG to have the supplement pack on the shelves of your LGS next to the core set. I’d like something like a GMT P500 where only the people who want it preorder it and get it. I don’t see how the multiple core set solution is the optimal or only solution that FFG can practically deploy.

Yeah, well…this is a long-running argument and FFG appears to be doing fine selling their LCGs this way considering how many of them they’ve released. It’s probably not worth re-litigating at this late date. I guess you’re either on the core set train or you’re not.

Yeah, you’re right about that. I’m just salty that I’m hoarding all of these duplicate playsets because I can’t bring myself to throw them out.

They are nice and don’t want to put Broken Token out of business.

I only have one core set and it seems fine to me, but I only play 1-2 player games. I definitely see how a second core set would be needed for a 3-4 player game. In fact, unlike the LotR LCG I am having a hard time seeing what you need a second core set for for a 1-2 player game, though I haven’t played enough to really dig into deck building in a big way.

I do wish they would release cool storage boxes though. I have the Zealot campaign and storage box on preorder, but I wish they would do more.

I do like the novellas with bonus cards though, I think that is pretty fun.

So here’s something a friend and I were discussing yesterday as we were setting up a time over the weekend to get together and play: the Arkham Horror LCG has basically obsoleted Mansions of Madness.

I hadn’t really considered that, but the more I think about it, the more I think it might be true.

I’d say no? It’s unfortunate that FFG isn’t doing more with the digital side of MoM. (More DLC, more use of sound effects and voices, etc.) But that said, MoM is a different experience. There’s no deck building; set-up takes 5 minutes; the pace is quite different; encounters are quite different, etc.

Yeah, I quite enjoy both. Or at least, I will once my gorgeous mansion-themed storage chest arrives and there’s a sensible way to store the giant pile of minis.

Whenever I hear setup takes five minutes my ears perk right up. But it’s like 80 bones :(

Yeah, and you only get 4-5 scenarios for that expenditure. And you really should re-base the minis, which takes time and money. And they keep releasing new expansions, ignoring that they could just release DLC for the existing content. I stopped buying expansions a few months ago. It’s a well designed gaming system, but it–like everything FFG–is pricey to stay up on.