Hiss-terical Cattitude with Barkham Horror: The Card Game
Investigate the terrifying scenario of cat-astrophic threats in the alternate dog world of Barkham Horror: The Card Game.
October might be the perfect time for all sorts of chilling tales and spooky stories, but I knew what needed to kick off the horror… Barkham Horror: The Card Game! That’s not a typo, for it references the scenario where dogs investigate strange happens in the city of Barkham. Only the feline conspirators could be behind this meddlesome behavior!
There are some details included here that may spoil the overall story. Not everything is explained in detail, and it isn’t too tricky to figure out how this scenario plays out! Still, if you don’t want to know anything about it… Halt! Turn back.
Game Name: The Meddling of Meowlathotep Scenario
Publication Year: 2020
Designer: MJ Newman
Artists: R. Barger, R. Kendelic, M. Villeneuve, and O. Weber
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Transformed in this world of Barkham, investigators with decidedly canine features must discover clues and defeat their worst enemies… Cats, of course! The tone is very comedic as it’s meant to be a parody of the real game, yet there are tons of exciting moments and challenges!
April 4, 2019
October 19, 2023
1 Hour & 15 Minutes
34" x 28"
More Bark Than Bite?
I immediately knew I wanted to play at the easy difficulty level and focus on the story… Yet that left me with some important choices about the investigators to choose!
My experience with the series has been minimal, which is what I’m trying to make up for this month. Still, it seemed like playing solo with 2 or 3 investigators would work.
Bark Harrigan was the first one on the team! His pawfuls of weapons were just hilarious. Watch out for his bite!
Sadly, these dogs aren’t technically compatible with the rest of the game… Although why not?! Such a great idea.
Long ago, I actually played through this scenario a couple of times… Luckily, I forgot all about it! However, Kate Winthpup was along for the adventure last time.
Her sniffing ability is thematic and pretty awesome, but her nose must get tired very quickly. Ha ha!
She would be the exact opposite of Bark with her combat skill at practically nothing. Early on, I broke the main rule of everything I’ve learned: Never split the party!
Kate is about as great of a seeker as there is, though, so I made her fully equipped to deal with all of those scents.
The Official Good Boy
Duke! This familiar canine has been around in the series for ages as the ally of Pete, so it’s nice to see him take on the starring role. In a parody… But it still counts!
The focus on treats is an interesting one, particularly since they’re so versatile. Absolutely true for real life, at least according to Duke… Still in this parody land of Barkham!
With my trio all set, I was nearly ready to get started. Strange tidings were all over town with the cats.
Actually, there was a lengthy introduction with lots of choices, and these dogs followed the bacon. THE BACON!
To make things even better, I found some Calico Critters who were thrilled at the prospect of heading to Barkham!
Bark was pretty accurate with one of my newest dogs, and Kate’s stand-in was this adorable Beagle who’s been with me for ages. Then, I had to get a little creative with Duke.
This adorable crew got right down to business, exploring town and following the clues to some downright terrifying cat-like enemies. The art was both scary and comedic.
Horror media and artwork tends to scare me a little more than the average person, so I need all the laughs I can get!
It was fun to set up my play area, which required a little reorganizing, yet I was happy to use my lovely acrylic path markers! These come from BuyTheSameToken on Etsy.
Seems like I missed a placement near the right side, although I played correctly. I ran out with the intersected areas… Might pick up another set just to be safe!
There is always a lot going on with the cards, yet finding an easy way to see that information is very important.
Finally settling on this arrangement was really helpful for me to know where to look… And how to navigate!
Returning to the World of Arkham Horror
I last attempted to play years ago, often intimidated by the sheer level of content. My husband has purchased nearly everything over the years, and I’m still trying to wrangle it all into an organized system! Playing through everything in order has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Technically, I started out of order… But it worked out nicely!
This scenario isn’t complex, nor does it do all that much. By some accounts, it’s a little too basic with minimal surprises. For me, that made it an ideal place to start. A single scenario meant I could play it again without having to reset too much if things went poorly. And using the core set cards ensured I wasn’t diving into complex card actions.
Honestly, this is sort of like a single-use scenario: There aren’t twists and turns, and the outcomes are predictable. At the same time, I hope that highlights why I began here! I wanted a little bit of humor to soften this exploration of some truly frightening artwork and storylines, all in an easy-to-approach starter scenario. Definitely worked out for me!
Perhaps due to the bacon-heavy introduction sequence, Kate was completely off her game! The first attempt to sniff the starting location came up with this token.
Automatic failure, indeed, which was a great omen for this scenario. Bark and Duke weren’t at all impressed, but I think they were still really distracted by the bacon smell.
Fortunately, this early on in the scenario, it didn’t feel like a wasted action nor did it have have lasting consequences.
I figured the descriptor, “Woof!” was appropriate. As it happened, this was the rare time this token appeared.
No More Treats!
If the automatic failure token is to be feared, the weakness cards are to be dreaded. Each investigator had their own unique one, along with another basic weakness.
Not long after Pete showed up with all the treats in the world, Duke had a devastating moment… All gone!
His status as “The Good Boy” felt like it was up in the air. Much, as one might say, was the scent of bacon.
From my side of the table, I knew why cats were tearing these dogs apart: Bacon. I’m certain there was a factory churning out the smell, solely run by nightmare cats!
I didn’t do too much in terms of building a deck. Although I have so much content, I kept it pretty safe with the core set… No sense getting overwhelmed to start with.
Still, I was hoping to find a way to set off a giant explosion. Bark was all about the weapons, including dynamite!
When these terrifying felines decried the simple act of fetch again and again, that was it. They had to be stopped!
Bark blew up the pound. Technically, a cat ran off safely and these catbominations survived with their high health and possibly 99 lives, due to evil catnip tendencies.
Oh, dear! Things were progressing pretty well for the dogs. Clues were dug up, sniffed up, and potentially thrown up due to cat meddling, but it was all OK…
Squirrel! Actually, that was a treachery that took out Bark for a bit. He just couldn’t focus! Still, the smell of bacon wafted. And then, Meowlathotep showed up.
It was all under control, until an encounter card revealed a sudden flurry of attacks against all of the dogs.
No one was harmed in this reenactment, but my goodness! It was certainly an instant defeat for the whole group.
Not content to see the first set of dog investigators transform back into their usual selves, this sounded like a case for “Skids” O’Drool and Jacqueline Canine!
Skids is arguably the greatest character in this pack solely for one card. Jacqueline was new to me, but turned out to be really fun and interesting to play with her ability.
I don’t want to spoil it too much, but Take the Wheel is a card that involves running over enemies in a stolen car.
It’s absolutely nonsensical and is made even funnier with the backstory for Skids as a criminal dog!
Play Number: 4 and 5
Expansion: The Meddling of Meowlathotep Scenario
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Easy Difficulty Level with 2-3 Investigators
Outcome: 1 Win & 1 Loss
Take that, Meowlathotep! Jacqueline was actually the one who battled the most, tossing the bones she dug up to do major damage. Skids got his wish to drive around like a maniac, but with the dogcatchers so close behind, I’m pretty certain he stole their vehicle to zoom all over. Ha! Such a silly scenario, but an absolutely wonderful one!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Building decks can be lots of fun with many choices, and online resources can speed up or help with the process.
- Stories develop naturally over the course of play with the way the investigators succeed or fail with skill checks.
- Drawing tokens offers a pretty good idea of the chances of success, allowing for lots of informed decisions.
- Teamwork is important, and investigators can often help one another or take on specialized roles to advance.
- Even the easiest difficulty setting is quite challenging, as winning or simply surviving is a great achievement.
- Managing multiple investigators usually isn’t overwhelming and opens up the possibility for many interactions.
– Cons (Negatives)
- Tracking the connections to locations can be very difficult without some sort of additional path markers or tokens.
- Lots of small text can be tricky to read, especially since each card can have something important to understand.
- The rules are intricate and can get very complex, often requiring constant rulebook referencing during play.
- Setting up a new campaign or scenario takes a lot of time with multiple steps, including building decks to use.
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
Although it’s a pretty rare product, have you played The Meddling of Meowlathotep Scenario? Do you have a favorite dog investigator, even if you haven’t played? I wanted to dive into this content with a splash, and this was the right choice! Learning the rules wasn’t so bad with this scenario. Also, this is still the best parody possible. Ha ha!