Arkham Horror – Day Trip to Dunwich

After successfully completing the campaign scenarios from the core set – and when i say successful, I mean not going completely mad or dying – my regular card game partner, Dean, and I decided it was time to crack open the first big box expansion for Arkham Horror LCG, Dunwich Legacy.

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After spending time in Arkham investigating dark horrors emanating from the home of one the players investigators, this first expansion, takes us to the fictional town of Dunwich, in the Miskatonic Valley in Massachusets, to investigate further unnameable tentacled beasts and their acolytes.

Dunwich Legacy follows a similar format to other Fantasy Flight Living Card Games in that the expansion comprises a big box and then a series of regular issue smaller packs of cards.  In the case of Dunwich Legacy, the first box introduces 5 new Investigator characters and the first 2 scenarios in the campaign – a total of 156 new cards.
The campaign continues with each smaller data pack introducing the next scenario in the story.  There will be a total of 6 scenario packs for the campaign, issued on a roughly monthly basis.  Each pack provides 60 new cards.

As well as the scenario in each pack and its related encounter cards, there is also a wealth of new skill, event and asset cards to supplement the existing and new investigators in their battle against agents of the Cthulhu Mythos.

 

The set up

The investigators are brought to Dunwich by a professor and old mentor from the MIskatonic University, to investigate the disappearance of 2 of the professors colleagues who have been involved in uncovering sinister behaviour in the town in recent weeks.

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It is possible to play Dunwich Legacy using the same investigators you played in the core set campaign.  Although an admirable idea, it’s worth reviewing the state of your investigator at the end of that campaign, although they can recuperate their physical health, you’ll likely find they were left with rather more permanent mental scars from their last Mythos encounters.  This has you at an immediate disadvantage going into Dunwich.  The campaign recommendation is to approach Dunwich with new investigators – unless you’re feeling particularly bad ass and invincible!

 

New investigators means new skills, new tools and new weapons.  There’s also a number of improved versions of cards from the previous set, so if you’re using your existing investigators you’ll be able to give them a better chance of foiling the minions of the Cthulhu Mythos.

For our first outing to Dunwich we decided to go with new investigators.

 

Scenario Play

Unlike the core set campaign where scenarios were conducted in a specified order, for Dunwich Legacy the investigators have a choice of where to start their investigation.  Based on the last known locations of the 2 missing professors, you can head to the university or a gambling club.  Whether you start at one location or the other will possibly affect the state that you find yourself in heading into the other scenario.  Because ultimately you will investigate both locations.

The scenarios follow the same investigation mechanics that take you to various locations around the Miskatonic University campus, with the missing professors colleagues guiding you towards your first clues.

We chose to head to the gambling club first… it’s a smaller space, maybe it’ll be easier to control any beasties than the wider university campus.  As with the scenarios from the core Arkham Horror set, the investigation starts out innocuous enough, looking for clues.

Obviously, I won’t reveal any spoilers here, but suffice to say, this is a step up from the core set.  You’re expected to know the mechanics and prepare your investigators for whatever they may encounter, both physically and mentally.  There’ll be no handholding this time round !

We chose to split up to cover the club as quickly as possible, and although things started out quiet, though albeit very creepy, I found myself alone and facing unspeakable horrors from the beyond.  In a brave and rash attempt to allow Dean to carry on the investigation, I decided to lead the beasts away.  Unfortunately for me, the abominations of the Mythos first left me a gibbering shell of a woman until ultimately dying.  Dean however managed to escape with the required information for the next scenario.

We decided to carry on to the second scenario at the Miskatonic University campus.  For the sake of speed, I decided to resurrect my character – or was it her twin sister?

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Ignore the gore and carry on!

I’m doing my best to avoid spoilers for the game, so won’t go into any details for the next scenario.  But as we play this game more, we’re starting to appreciate the depth of strategy and tactics that unfold.  Although there is a random element with the card draw during the Mythos phase which can scupper your best laid plans, having a good strategy to start with goes a long way.  And there are so many ways you can approach the scenarios.

Dunwich Legacy has a very different feel to the scenarios that the core set.  Which bodes well for the future expansion packs.  It’ll be interesting to see what those small 60 card packs add to the ongoing campaign.

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Like a favourite TV show, I can’t wait until the next instalment !

 

Conclusion

Despite the horrific ending to the first scenario, the game was thoroughly enjoyable.  As with the core set, the theme and atmosphere come across really well, possibly even more so.  The artwork is fantastic and the story elements of the campaign leaflet and the cards themselves all add to the immersion.

Dean and I play Arkham Horror for the story, the challenge is secondary for us.  For that reason we won’t continue the campaign as it stands, but will likely return to the first scenario and play through the box set again to soak up some more of the atmosphere.

This is the beauty of the game, the stories can be played stand-alone or as part of the ongoing campaign.  You’ve also got the different investigator options.  So if one dies, another investigator can take their place.  You just need to fill in some backstory to explain the new recruit entering the campaign.

It all adds to the role playing aspect of the game.

Next time i’ll cover how we got on beyond the first scenarios in the Dunwich Legacy campaign box and onto the first of the Mythos packs of the continuing story – The Miskatonic Museum.

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