One of Those Awful Nights in Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Encounter a maddening, terrifying adventure during a single night with the first campaign in Arkham Horror: The Card Game.
At long last, I’m actually digging into the content for Arkham Horror: The Card Game! After a proper start with the dog parody, it was time to actually begin an adventure. Investigators were at hand to discover with completely customizable decks… And this short campaign was far from devoid of horrors! Into the study I crept, ready for nearly anything…
This is all about my adventures through the first campaign, Night of the Zealot. Scenarios and details are definitely spoiled below. I don’t go into a lot of specifics, yet this is a game where the story is the highlight. Having the chance to go through it the first time as a complete surprise is amazing and something I highly recommend doing if you can!
Watch out! Scenarios and campaigns weave terrifying tales where clues must be discovered and enemies fought off. The decision of each investigator and their deck is vital, although winning isn’t really the goal… Just surviving and playing out the story is more than enough!
April 4, 2019
October 19, 2023
1 Hour & 15 Minutes
34" x 28"
To keep things in general order, I grabbed my collection of UberStax and UberTrayz. Perfect! This central area kept a whole lot of components and cards neatly organized.
As I’ve learned from playing this series, along with many others, the importance of an organized play area can never be underestimated. So much easier to see it all laid out!
I also have some nice deck holders that keep discarded cards in a vertical slot. Really useful for saving space.
Many upgrades exist for the original cardboard tokens, yet I rather enjoy the vintage look from years gone by!
Book Sense with Daisy
When playing solo with a pair of investigators, it’s typically recommended to split up the main tasks of gathering clues and fighting off monsters. Enter Daisy!
Despite that terrified look over her shoulder, she’s an excellent seeker. However, her deck is built around tomes, or books. All of them. A walking library, if you will!
I kept my deck-building options to a limited pool, only using the core cards and the investigator starter cards.
Ideal? Probably not, but I tend to take hours looking at my options and pre-built decks… Best to just dive right on in!
From Books to Letters
Investigator starter decks were released to provide a few more pre-built options, and I knew I wanted to have one of them as an investigator! Stella Clark was the winner.
Not only did she have some very neat abilities to deal with failure, but she had a pretty nice array of weapons at her disposal. Mail delivery in this town is a nightmare.
I also liked how there was an unintentional tie-in with letters and Daisy’s books. Seemed like the perfect team!
This campaign has never been lauded as a great one, yet I was excited to learn the rules and see the story unfold.
Well, things progressed quickly! One moment, Daisy and Stella were discussing newly delivered books before things turned strange… Where was that door to the study?!
Daisy’s home was absolutely horrible. From the attic to the cellar, nothing was as it had been. Fortunately, they worked together to unfold part of this mystery.
A strange woman in the parlor was absolutely appalling, and no one believed she was telling the whole story.
With a barricade in the hallway, Daisy and Stella managed to survive the horrors and survive the early evening chaos!
Why I Prefer Not to Perfectly Optimize My Decks
If you’re familiar with the game and see some of the cards I played, it’s probably quite clear that I didn’t do all I could to make the best decks for Daisy and Stella. The pre-built options are always an excellent choice, yet I’m one who really enjoys getting into the theme and story. Sometimes, that means I pick cards that don’t always work well together.
My reasons for playing this one are all about the stories, though. I know that means the investigators are probably going to lose a lot more, even at the easy difficulty level. No problem! One of the biggest strengths of this system is how adaptable it is to various play styles… You just need to accept the losing and going insane bit. Ha ha!
There are all sorts of decks that can be created, particularly when expanding beyond the core set. I’m slowly adding these in as I explore the campaigns, mostly so I don’t get overwhelmed. So much to discover and try out!
All Around Town
After Daisy put her foot down and ensured that her house remained standing, it was time to race around Arkham to uncover more of this mystery. In the early night hours…
Daisy’s expression continued to define this campaign, while Stella was a little more calm. She was in charge of fighting and evading the monstrosities, after all.
These acrylic path markers continue to be amazing. So easy to set out the paths during the setup process!
Naturally, it was all going well until it wasn’t. And then I had to wonder if the house should have burned down…
Cultists were uncovered, although Daisy and Stella didn’t have the right sort of plans. I figured threatening to withhold all of the mail would have sufficed. Nope.
It was all they could do to dash around town and stay ahead of the monsters… Although they were easily evaded to start with, the investigators had other things to do!
Time was running out, too, so it wasn’t so easy to track down the rest of the cultists. Many of them escaped.
But, so too did Daisy and Stella! Or at least, they were still alive at this point without any trauma. Still winning!
As I progressed, it looked like there was a need for another set of cards. That was easy enough, and even looked more symmetrical! These deck holders really are awesome.
The campaign guide turned out to be a little too heavy, and I needed to reference it every now and then. So Stella’s art took the prime spot, calmly looking at the agenda and act.
My favorite part going into the last scenario was the way I could store doom directly on the card… And even stack it!
Armed with this improved system and a few more card upgrades, Daisy and Stella headed into the woods.
Daisy’s Guard Dog
Every horror movie has always taught a lesson about not going into the woods late at night. Daisy was on edge, and understandably so. In 1925, everyone knew this!
To make things a little safer, I ensured she had someone out there in the woods… Namely, Bark Harrigan with weapons strapped to every paw. That did the trick! Ha ha!
My Barkham investigators didn’t actually serve a role, but I wasn’t about to ignore the opportunity to add a dog.
Twisted paths led to weird bits of… Well, horror stuff? It was most certainly not a pleasant night stroll for them!
End of the Road
Daisy and Stella were remotely close to victory at the end, but some bad luck resulted in the worst ending to the campaign. And no, Bark was not “Wolf-Man” Drew!
It felt like these scenarios sort of relied on getting lucky at the right time. Particularly with the cultists, had they come out in a different order, a lot would have changed.
Maybe one of the first decisions should have been presented a little differently, too… Burn that house down!
Still, I went in expecting there to be some flaws, and I was only a little sad that I kind of destroyed Arkham.
A Vroom! Epilogue
A-ha! Nothing was over the way the campaign guide said. That’s because I have dogs. And, in particular, Skids, the criminal behind any wheel he can get his paws on.
That’s right: Never fear, for Arkham simply can’t fall into darkness! Skids showed up in this sparkly red antique car that probably wasn’t around in 1925… But it’s all fine!
No Ancient One could stand up to Skids’ driving skills, especially out there in the dark woods without any lights.
In my alternate world, Daisy and Stella went on perfectly unharmed… While one dog managed to save the world!
Play Number: 6-8
Expansion: Stella Clark: Investigator Starter Deck
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Easy Difficulty Level with 2 Investigators
Outcome: 2 Wins & 1 Loss
With this short of a campaign, it was hard to make sure upgraded cards were drawn. Stella didn’t get to use her amazing chainsaw, which I was looking forward to! Alas, I believe these scenarios were designed to teach the rules with a minimal story. I still had a lot of fun, yet the real adventures are ahead in the other full campaigns!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Experiencing a scenario for the first time is full of surprises in a storyline that’s unpredictable and often unusual.
- Investigators provide intriguing characters of all sorts that can work together and focus on different specialties.
- Not too many choices are available for actions, yet there are so many options when it comes to using the cards.
- Although weaknesses can be annoying, they’re excellent at adding to the story for an individual investigator.
- The difficulty level is adjusted at the start of a campaign, yet even the easiest setting presents a great challenge.
- Rarely does a round go by without something interesting happening, particularly since time is of the essence.
– Cons (Negatives)
- Some degree of luck or specific choices are required to do well with most of the core game scenarios.
- Deck-building can be a lot of fun, yet it can sometimes be overwhelming with all of the keywords and new rules.
- Third-party path markers are practically required to understand how all of the locations connect to each other.
- Even the core set of rules is extensive and often requires referencing multiple documents during play.
Complete the Campaign or Scenario
- Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%
Goals and Milestones
Complete the Curse of the Rougarou scenario.
Complete the Dunwich Legacy campaign.
Complete the Night of the Zealot campaign.
Complete The Meddling of Meowlathotep scenario.
Continue the Conversation
What do you like about Arkham Horror: The Card Game? Do you have a favorite investigator, scenario, or campaign? I’m hoping to play through at least another campaign before the month is over… Although I will say that I miss my cozy games already! Still, this series is filled with so many stories and content that deliver all sorts of horror-based fun.