Arkham Horror The Card Game: Unboxing and First Feelings

Now, it may be fair to say I am guilty of a fair amount of hyperbole, but I’m not overstating it when I say I have been excited for this game for far too long! With a lot of waiting and most of the press going to Star Wars Destiny, FFG’s new Arkham Horror The Card Game has felt almost like the forgotten pet during Destiny’s new baby anticipation.

Destiny has all the potential of being worth the hype, if early spoilers and test plays are anything to go by, but finally, Arkham Horror has landed and it’s time for this Lovecraftian LCG have a strut. There has already been talk of monthly expansions, play mat pictures gave been seen and the new Mythos packs discussed, but the most crucial moment of the whole game is here. The core set has landed.

So let’s take a look and see if this budding living card game will make the cut or if it will just fade to black (ha ha).

First up, presentation is everything and the box itself is everything you would expect from an FFG offering. The front shows two characters in a Victorian street with the hordes of darkness around them and the tentacles of an Elder God encroaching. Despite the male character firing a weapon, the pair don’t seem to be fighting as much as desperately battling through the street, a fight for survival. Very fitting for the subject. Below reads the words “A Card Game of Arcane Mystery and Supernatural Terror for 1-2 Players,” although we have seen player mats for up to 4 players, while the back has the expected array of examples of cards or tokens. The box is sturdy and good quality, always a sign that the creators are really paying attention to every detail.

Lift the well made lid off the box, and the first thing we see is the expected marketing from FFG, but don’t expect anything exciting and new, since this is the “Winter 2015 Catalog”. One would have expected the fairly savvy company to have something a bit more up to date. Not wanting to let this sour the experience, I moved past the year old marketing and next up is a Learn to Play guide. 16 pages long and a good size text inside, this will tell you all the lovely stuff you just got yourself, as well as how to turn them into a (hopefully) good game.

At twice the size the 32 page Rules Reference will give you everything you need to know about the details of the game’s technicalities. Everything you need to know about the game is in here, logged in alphabetical order. Card Anatomy is towards the back showing you the layouts of the 10 different card types. Both booklets are well presented and printed to a high quality, echoing the presentation so far seen.

It seems and FFG game is nothing without an array of tokens, and Arkham Horror is no different. Vacuum sealed and held in two boards, one large, one small, all the tokens you need are ready to be popped out and used, with tokens representing madness, horror, chaos, resource, clues and doom.

Tokens are well made, but only cardboard. It certainly won’t be long until 3rd parties offer their own versions for you to pick up, but good care of your original tokens will see them last long enough if other FFG tokens are anything go by. The Clue tokens flip to become Doom tokens, and there are two tokens that aren’t illustrated in either booklet. The quality remains high and so far FFG haven’t disappointed.

Finally we get on to the main bulk of the Core Set, the cards. Separated into two groups and stored in resealable bags, each of the 229 cards feels resilient and flexible without being flimsy the coating is enough to lend come protection, but sleeves are a definite must for these cards. The art work is gorgeous and each card is a feast for the eye, with realistic portraits of characters, creepy horror scenes and plenty of grisly detail to please anyone.

The interior of the box has an insert that bulks out the large box with areas for up to three separate decks, although it seems made for two decks with room in the middle, possibly for your tokens. The box itself then will serve as storage for your brand new collection.

While it may be true that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, if the contents of this box is anything to go by, Arkham Horror is a high quality game that has already had a lot of thought put into it. Speaking for myself, I can’t wait to get a deck together and start playing through a few games. Of course once we have we’ll be letting you know what we think.

If you want to find out for yourself how horrifying this game is head over to the store page and grab yourself a core set now!

X-Wing Miniatures; Wave 10 & The New FAQ

Well, we wanted to to start the blog proper with something you can really get your teeth into. There’s been a few ideas tossed around and then on Monday, FFG dropped some highly anticipated news. Wave 10 announcements and the release of a new FAQ for X-Wing: Miniatures has got the community abuzz.

X-wing has never been so popular as it is now and with Rogue One on the horizon, shows like Rebels a fan favourite and and the Disney hype train showing no sign of stopping, these announcements have become huge!

So what have FFG given us? Has the noise resulted in a bang of excitement, or does the new info just whimper into monotony?

Lets go over a few things in the FAQ for a start.

Ever since their release in punishing-one-x-wingWave 9, there has been a very successful meta build of 3 Jumpmaster 5000s. One of the key upgrades for this build was
the Deadeye EPT, but no more. Deadeye has now been given the “Small Ship Only” header which means no more using your focus tokens to fire off the crushing plasma torpedoes. While this doesn’t exactly kill the build, it’s certainly a big blow that makes the list a lot less formidable.

Biggs Darklighter also gets a small hobble, with FFG now allowing attacking players to use weapons that cannot target him, making him less of a thorn in the attacker’s side without rendering him useless.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, an unlikely addition comes from the addition to the “Heavy Scyk” title of an added hull, a significant upgrade from the previous 2 hull, as well as the extra additions for just 2 points. Cluster bombs also get a slight upgrade with crit results meaning a point of damage.

There’s more about how stress works that will clarify how the rigged cargo chute interacts with pre-planned red maneuvers, ability and upgrade card timings in the timing chart for attacks, and the occasional clarification, all required reading if you want to play legally.

Enough of rules though, the real excitement comes from the new ships! The Heroes of the R
esistance release is close but that hype hasn’t stopped the Wave 10 train from leaving the station under full steam!

How’s this for an insabine-unboxedtro; “There is no starfighter more closely associated with the Galactic Empire than the TIE fighter.” seems pretty spot on right? The fact it comes at the start of a TIE Fighter to be used in Rebel faction builds tells you the first quirk of Sabine’s TIE Fighter. 

Sporting the same stats as the iconic TIE Fighter and a more colourful paint job this ship is nothing else if not eye-catching. Coming with no less than 4 unique pilots and 5 upgrades some of which will cause delicious mayhem on the board, this ship shows that Wave 10 is going to pack a punch already.

The TIE itself mirrors the Imperial TIE Fighter’s stats, with 2 primary weapon dice, 3 agility, 3 hull and no shields with no Focus, Evade and Barrel Roll actions, meaning this ship seems to be be sticking to the same build as the standard TIE, although there is nothing confirmed on the dial yet.

So let’s talk about the first Title, Sabine’s Masterpiece. A unique TIE Fighter & Rebel only Title, this 1 point card gives you a Crew and Illicit slots (only the second non-scum Illicit slot to be announced since the upgrade type’s creation) on your ship that at most usually comes only with an Elite Pilot Talent slot at most, this seems almost certainly to be a must have card on Sabine’s TIE Fighter. The artwork is top notch and it seems fairly balanced as a one off card.

The second upgrade is sure to be a pain for sabines-masterpieceswarms and arc dodgers alike. The EMP Device Illicit upgrade is a one use card that dishes out 2 Ion tokens to anyone at range 1 of your ship. Enemies, friendlies and the ship that used it, all will take a steady white forward 1 on the next turn allowing you to set up for a potentially devastating attack. 2 points is the cost and this card seems to be similar to many of the Illicits we’ve seen that mean that judging the exact moment to use this ability can be the difference between a devastating deployment, or a crippling waste.

A new Modification that could be a great companion to the EMP comes in the form of the Captured TIE. This Mod means enemy ships with lower pilot skills than yours cannot attack you until you either perform an attack yourself or you become the last remaining ship in play. This would seem to be a great card to add on to high PS ships loaded with bombs and the EMP, making them great for rushing in and causing some mayhem.

Also in the pack is Crew Card Captain Rex who gives you a conciliatory Focus token after a missed attack, for 2 points. A great help if you’re high PS and in a situation where you’ll be taking a lot of hits later.

Last but not least, the Captured TIE Rebel only TIE Fighter only Modification means enemy ships with lower pilot skills than yours cannot attack you until you either perform an attack yourself or you become the last remaining ship in play. This would seem to be a great card to add on to high PS ships loaded with bombs and the like, making them great for rushing in and causing some mayhem.

condition-card-referenceBefore we talk about Pilots, let’s talk about the new game mechanic that Wave 10 is going to be introducing, Condition Cards. According to the newly released reference card, “Condition cards are cards assigned by Ship and Upgrade cards that represent persistent game effects.” these Conditions are almost certainly going to introduce a new level of tactical play, but only if the conditions balance the risk/reward ratio in the right way.

New pilot Captain Rex is up first then. A 14 point, PS4, unique pilot with no extra slots on the upgrade bar, Rex comes with a Pilot Ability “After you perform an attack,
assign the “Suppressive Fire” Condition card t the defender.” This card means the defender rolls 1 fewer dice when attacking any ship other than Captain Rex. If you do target Rex, or if Rex is destroyed the Condition is removed, and the same goes for if Rex doesn’t perform an attack during the attack phase.

Ashoka Tand, the highest PS pilot at PS7, allows you to spend a focus token to give a friendly ship at Range 1 a free action. Married up with a ship that has got Jyn Erso as crew means the potential for arc dodging, or getting more modifiers on your ship, something that will be really helpful with no target locks coming with the ship.

The final pilot announced is the lady of the sabine-wrenmoment herself Sabine Wren. Sabine gives you a similar element of surprise that a decloak action offers, with a free boost or barrel roll action before you reveal your maneuver. At 15 points and PS5 Sabine is in a good position to get arc on the lower PS swarms but can potentially traffic higher PS ships causing a headache at the critical moment. It also means you can get into more defensive positions not usually available to a ship like the TIE Fighter.

The overall feel of what we’ve seen from Sabine’s TIE Fighter the ship can be a lot of things, be it an artful dodger, a swarm buster or a control ship. The new Upgrades and Titles give us some new ideas that will apply quite nicely to not just the new TIE. The real news here, though not overly fan-fared is the new Condition cards. this could be a really fun new addition to the game, but only if the cards are balanced enough to be useful without being overpowered.

What ever happens, Wave 10’s hype train seems to be at full speed and we can’t wait for it to arrive! Make sure you get your orders in here.

CHG