Arkham Horror Strategy Guide
Shaken, I sought the pillars of scientific discipline to hold my nerves in some semblance of strength against the alien that encroached upon my wits and my soul. The horror was no man, nor lizard, nor beast of the hunt, its shimmering, ocular form was suspended in a faint, bubbly mist; the multitude of windows rippling as they swivelled and oscillated, fastening itself to our world as my own skin and muscles roiled cannibalistically, draining me till I felt exhausted. At once the barriers of my sanity screamed for relief and I am not ashamed to say I let out a shriek in my involuntary flight from the terror.
Tackling Arkham Horror can seem complicated at first and there are many distractions and options along the way to sidetrack you. Below we have collected some basic strategy tips to assist you in your quest against the Great Old Ones.
- Designate different team roles between your investigators. Playing with four investigators then you need a least one or two dedicated clue collectors/gate sealers as well as at least one monster sweeper. Often these choices may be made for you during game setup, for example when one investigator receives several good weapons; however any investigator can get a bank loan and use the money to try and buy some weapons or spells with which to turn them into a killing machine.
- Re-assess your goals regularly. Aim to seal/close gates but if your Great Old One is a few doom tokens away from awakening and you have 4 sealed gate areas then you have to seriously consider abandoning sealing the last two gates unless you have the clue tokens necessary and are imminently ready to start doing so. You should use the remaining time you have to buy weapons and spend your monster/gate trophies in exchange for blessings. It does not matter if one person has all the weapons as you have time to redistribute weapons between players as the start of the final battle.
- It may take a few games to notice this but some of the locations in Arkham have a higher likelihood of spawning gates, these locations are top priorities for sealing as once an area is sealed then the numerous Mythos cards that target those areas for gate openings will not take effect, which adds less doom tokens and monsters and thus gives you more time. Hint: Independence Square; the Witch House and the Woods are very likely to spawn gates, the Science Building and the Historical Society are comparatively much less likely.
- Closing all the gates on the board is a lot harder than it sounds unless you have a lot of investigators. To do so you must time your combined gate entries as close together as possible as it takes several turns to travel through the gate and return to Arkham to close the gate so you need to minimise as many Mythos cards in that travel period as possible. Consider sealing some of the higher priority locations before trying to close all gates.
- Elder Signs are immensely powerful. Not only do you get to take a token off the doom track, which buys you time, but they also let you avoid making the skill check roll to close the gate (which can cost time if you consistently fail the check several turns in a row). If a player has spare money but has no need of weapons then they should check the curiosity shop in an attempt to find one. Hint: there are four in the Unique Items deck.
- If you can weather the initial storm of gates and get a few sealed then you will find the doom track will slow down and the game is mostly a more lenient ride to the finish.
- Arkham locations with a green diamond (stable locations) usually provide ‘safer’ encounters than those you might find in red diamond locations. Hint: The Woods has a habit of damaging stamina in several of its encounters, also, no matter how thematic and fun it may be to get a Twilight Silver Lodge membership, if you risk too many of the Inner Sanctum encounters then there is a reasonable chance you will run across one that may devour your investigator.
- Remember to use your focus to adjust your skills every turn. Often if you expect to fight a monster with high toughness and a high sanity check modifier then it is better to bump your Fight as much as possible, accept the automatic Horror check loss and give yourself a greater chance to kill it.
- Don’t forget to visit the Hospital/Asylum whenever you need to recharge, particularly if you are the team’s monster killer as going insane/unconscious means losing half your items and this can seriously hurt your ability to perform your role effectively.
- Don’t forget to spend your monster/gate trophies at locations around Arkham if you have time or need something specific. Of note, the Science Building exchanges these for Clue Tokens, the Church provides Blessings and the River Dock, money.
- You are usually called on to make Luck checks more frequently than Lore checks in encounters; bear this in mind when adjusting your Lore/Luck slider.
- Some encounters have the word ‘may’ typically followed by scenario with a skill check and pass/fail outcomes. If the fail outcome is particularly bad, or the pass outcome offers nothing of real value to you, consider not taking the risk. If you prefer to play in theme then do not read ahead when asked whether you would like to participate in the proposed scenario.