Edge of the Earth: Ice and Death

It’s been ages since I started to play the Edge of the Earth campaign for Arkham Horror LCG, but I’ve not yet had a chance to talk about it here. I started this one three months ago now, shortly after finishing the Forgotten Age campaign, and have so far played the first two scenarios.

The campaign is basically a re-tread of At the Mountains of Madness, as we head back to Antarctica to see what happened out there. There is a huge chunk of story to read through as we start, whereupon we set off with our party. Now, so far one of the main objectives has been to try to keep the party alive, but as soon as we land on the ice, one of them dies! It’s quite grim, and as things move on, the disaster movie feel is real. Some of the party go missing in the night, and we have to mount a search party to rescue them.

The first scenario is a bit fractured, and gives us opportunity to park things rather than play through it in one go (though of course you can go through it all if you’re so inclined). We begin by basically heading to the frozen wastes, and after the crash-landing I mentioned earlier, we then set about trying to find a suitable camp site. The objective here, then, is to explore enough locations to find one with a high Shelter value, which will thereafter serve as our camp. After this, we have the opportunity to set a Checkpoint, preserving the game as it is for another time, or else pressing on with part two!

It took me more than a month to finally get back to part two, where we’re on the trail of one of our party members who has gone missing in the night. Whoever has disappeared from camp has a “possessed” version of themselves that we’re trying to find – we can fight them, at which point they are killed, or we can Parlay with them, to bring them to their senses.

We then hit a second Checkpoint, when something massive erupts from the snow and we have the option of running away, or standing and fighting these monsters! Naturally, I ran away, which meant that I skipped the third part of the scenario in its entirety. It’s touches like these that could never really have been implemented in the previous game model for the LCG, because Ice and Death is too big of an encounter to fit into a single mythos pack, but you’d never have had a pack where you had the option to skip that scenario completely.

We have plenty of Interludes along the way in here, as well, and there is a lot of text to read through as we make our way through the campaign. It’s surprisingly wordy, and I wonder why the design team have chosen to make it so. It’s almost like they have too much story to cover?

So far, then, the campaign has clearly deviated from those of the past, and it seems to break away quite a bit from the main “action” of the game. There is an awful lot going on, and I really like the sense of foreboding that comes through from the whole thing. But I can’t help feeling like I’m not actually enjoying this campaign, so far. Now, I know I’m only really one scenario in, but despite the theme coming out quite well, I’m just not as enamoured of this one as I have been of other campaigns. The sense of not knowing what the best choice is, which came through so well in previous campaigns, is missing here – perhaps because the storyline seems to be trying to re-tread the Lovecraft novella so closely. I do feel like Path to Carcosa was the high water mark for this game, and it hasn’t really been able to get back there, despite the fact that I enjoyed The Circle Undone, too. It is entirely possible that I’ll change my mind, the more that I play this, but somehow I don’t see it happening.