This article will look at an individual scenario of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. These will be my impressions after playing through the scenario and will be focusing on the mechanics and how those reinforce the story elements of a given scenario. These articles will contain extensive spoilers and assume a familiarity with the terms and mechanics of the game. Please do not read on if you have not played the scenario in the title yet.
Our first steps into the jungle were fraught with danger: snakes, the local population not taking too kindly to our presence and the possibilities of just getting lost among all the vegetation. The journey was not in vain however and before us lies the ruins of the Eztli civilization. We may have picked up some local knowledge, our new allies keeping us safe, or perhaps we thought we knew better and have fought our way to this point. Either way our path lies in only one direction. Within.
The Temple of Doom
We know where the entrance to the temple is but what lies within is anyone’s guess. We are once more going to be using the Explore action to pick our way through this treacherous building. A few locations and some treacheries make up our exploration deck as before.
The Agenda and Act deck give us hints of what is to come. The Agenda tells us that doom on locations is going to be a thing as we aren’t going to remove it when we advance. That means we have a constantly building clock that we are going to have to manage. Our act deck for now is straightforward, giving us the Explore action and requiring a bunch of clues to advance.
As you move through the temple picking up clues you soon realise that the hieroglyphs on the walls point to a central chamber where the artifact Alejandro seeks must be. We shuffle this chamber into the remains of the exploration deck and check out supplies for chalk: either removing this act as normal if we do or adding it to the victory display as a point of Vengeance if we do not. Act 2 sees us continuing to move through the temple seeking out clues to tell us more about the Chamber. Only once we are inside the chamber will we be able to learn more about the situation we find ourselves in.
A mysterious artefact lies at the centre of the chamber and emboldened by our success we grab for it! What’s happening? The temple shakes and rumbles as it rearranges itself into a straight line from the chamber to the exit! All existing connections are ignored and each location is just connected to the ones it is adjacent to. We run, escaping the temple by the route we came in, resigning at the Entryway to complete the Act deck.
If only it were that simple. By the time we get to the chamber the first Agenda is bound to have flipped and a big old snake person is going to turn up and is not very happy about you coming to disturb it’s home.
Some groups might want to evade this as long as they can, pulling it to different corners of the temple but when everything collapses into a straight line you can’t really do that anymore and are going to have to time getting past it pretty precisely. You can shoo it away in a manner of speaking but this particular problem may end up coming back as they disappear into Out of Play when you put enough hits and evades on them. Surely once it is there it will never come back in future scenarios, that would be mean.
For the first time in the game, the scenarios in the box can outright Kill your investigators. If you fail to get out of the temple in time and you have killed a bunch of snakes then their friends come to tell you how much they liked you doing that, Killing you outright. If you’ve been more cautious you might survive this resolution, but you may end up playing the scenario again! The only real reason to do this is to try and get more experience out of the scenario and now you know what to expect you may have more luck in that regard.
The other resolutions end up with you leaving the temple with the Relic, though depending on choices Alejandro may end up in possession of it. We add more marks to Yig’s fury as we progress, note down how badly damaged the Harbringer is then venture off to study this mysterious relic.
These two core set scenarios each end with an Interlude, the first was how prepared you were for the journey ahead, this one telling the tale of the fallout of your expedition into this unfamiliar jungles. Most of this is adding flavour that will be referenced later, asking the investigators what they want to do with the artefact. Notably if they left with it in their possession but end up giving it to Alejandro, we add a tablet token to the chaos bag for the rest of the campaign. A hint that not everything is as it appears here perhaps? The designers just messing with us? Who can tell?
When we setup the chaos bag at the start of this campaign we put no cultists or tablets in it. Depending on how we dealt with Ichtaca we will have a cultist or a tablet token in the bag as well, but for now that doesn’t really matter. The scenario is telling us that there are bigger issues at hand than how we dealt with the tribe in Untamed Wilds.
No doubt the real ramifications of those choices will come back to haunt us later in the campaign.
Much like the encounter deck in the Untamed Wilds this one is mostly made up of cards from the Forgotten Age with only a small number of core set cards. It’s good to see them experimenting away from the core set, something we have seen in Circle Undone as well.
Two of the sets we have used during Untamed Wilds: Agents of Yig and Poison. Bar the Chilling Cold set from the core everything else here is new. The Doom of Eztli set has only the location cards and the Harbringer in it, mainly being used for the Exploration deck.
Yig’s Venom has some really nasty stuff in it that surprisingly enough backs up the poisoned mechanic. We have a monster that will hunt the poisoned investigator in Fang of Ying, the item disabling treachery Snakescourge that gains surge if you are poisoned and finally Serpent’s Call that is only a single copy of because it is pretty nasty. This final card either poisons you or gives you two more encounter cards if you are already poisoned (remember you can’t choose to become poisoned if you already are).
Temporal Flux introduces the first hint that we may be crossing ages as well as continents in this particular campaign. Tear in Time is relatively easy to pass or even take the hit from now and again, though will effect a smaller group a bit more due to the action loss. Lost in Time is an absolute horror of a card and in one particularly memorable playthrough involved me losing me playing a single gun 3 times. If you are going to play assets, make sure you have one you can afford to lose.
Now we are into the classic ancient temple problems with Deadly Traps. Entombed is one of my favourite pieces of flavour in the deck, allowing you to finesse or stronk your way out of the situation, but also giving you a bit of a boost if you fail it the first time round as you scramble your way out of the pit. Final Mistake is a bit more straightforward, just getting harder as the scenario dumps doom all over the place.
Finally we have Forgotten Ruins a set designed to slow us down. Ill Omen persuades us to split up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but can lead to investigators getting out of their depth. This is especially true so early on in the campaign. Deep Dark reduces the number of clues we can discover from each location whilst Ancestral Fear sees either doom dropping all over the place or Yig’s Fury slowly ticking up.
Fly you fools
Doom of Eztli certainly picks up the pace after Untamed Wilds, throwing us into a race against the clock, a proper big bad enemy and a mysterious temple. It’s all very Indiana Jones. I liked this adventure much more than the first one. It really gave a feeling of the pulpy nature of this cycle and I would love to see more scenarios with a bit more of a daring do attitude to them.
For now we head back to Arkham, deciding what to do with the artefact along the way and untangling the Threads of Fate.