After the surprising turn of events at Innsmouth, I’ve decided to go much further afield for my next Arkham Horror LCG campaign, to the jungles of Mexico in fact! It’s time to embark on another epic journey, as Ursula Downs and Lily Chen take on the snake people!
The Forgotten Age is the third deluxe expansion for the game, and introduces a couple of interesting elements to the overall game experience. To start with, both of the scenarios in the expansion feature a mechanic called Explore, which replaces the traditional board-style layout of locations with a deck of locations and treachery cards. It’s very interesting, as it mimics the idea of being on an expedition really well. You might be lucky and draw the locations you need that will help you to gain clues, but then again, you might not!
Somewhat linked to this is Supplies, a seemingly arbitrary decision at the start of the campaign for investigators to bring certain things with them, such as medicines, provisions, a map, binoculars, etc. Then, based on what you have, you can scout a little ahead in the Explore deck, looking for the locations and putting the treacheries at the bottom of the deck.
There is also a new Vengeance keyword, which works much like a negative Victory. It doesn’t negate Victory, but cards with Vengeance X also go into the Victory display, and buff some enemies or treacheries (or even mythos token effects) the more of them there are. It pays to avoid killing Vengeance enemies, but it can be tricky to keep them at bay…
Alert is a new keyword that acts a little bit like Retaliate, allowing the enemy to attack you if you fail an Evade test. I’ve read that the addition of new ways for enemies to fight you, coupled with a seemingly arbitrary system of reward and punishment based on what Supplies you took, has been the main cause for this campaign receiving so much negative press. I think that’s unfair, as so far I have no reason to hate these mechanics; they’re basically a new aspect of the game for me, and something that will go a long way to make this campaign feel different.
I’m taking a pair of investigators about whom I’m really excited. Ursula Downs was originally published in this expansion, of course, and Lily Chen came in the recent Edge of the Earth expansion, another exotic adventure mystery!! I’m definitely excited to be using the two of them, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their decks will grow over the campaign.
1. The Untamed Wilds
This scenario is quite a standard explore type of mystery, showcasing the new mechanics while otherwise being nothing massively new. We’re on an expedition into the jungles of Mexico that has been funded by Miskatonic University, and led by the renowned historian Alejandro Vela, to go in search of the Eztli, a somewhat mythical lost race. We build the map as we go, thanks to the explore mechanic, which I am a big fan of. A bit like we saw in The Circle Undone, there is a fail forward element here where, regardless of the outcome, we end up in the same narrative point at the start of the second scenario.
There’s then an interlude that pretty much follows which supplies the investigators chose to take with them, and something that I found particularly shocking was the fact that, as nobody thought to bring a blanket, we’ve now got 1 mental trauma from all the tossing and turning!
2. The Doom of Eztli
We’ve made our way through the jungle, and we’ve found a strange temple that seems to thrum with power. It is also guarded by horrible snake creatures. However, we’re trying to find a central chamber, the resting place of a powerful relic. Just what has this Alejandro got us into, eh?
The objective here is to find a hidden room, the Chamber of Time, and once that has been investigated the chamber re-orientates itself, and the whole temple complex itself, into a linear path, and the investigators basically have to escape. Classic Indiana Jones style adventure, including a race through a crumbling temple! Somewhat on theme, my investigators basically burst through in the final round, happily accepting a fairly hefty chunk of damage from attacks of opportunity in order to escape. You could just picture them both leaping from the exit, clothing torn and covered in dust…
I’m really enjoying this one so far. In fact, I’m a little bit mystified as to why it has had such bad press online, as it’s a really good start to the proceedings, in my view. Sure, the first scenario is a little tame, but I suppose I have been spoilt a bit by playing later campaigns that have more going on, maybe.
Pre-Colombian America is something that I really enjoy, as well, so I’m really excited to see where we go next! The decks have already been levelled up a bit, and I seem to have thrown in my lot with the native woman Ichtaca, putting myself somewhat at odds to Alejandro. I can’t help wondering if that was a good idea though, as I’m already thinking that I may be headed for catastrophe over an apparent obsession with the relic that was pulled from the ruins. I’ll say this for the writers on this game – they’re very good at making me that little bit paranoid about my game choices!!