The Scarlet Keys!

Folks, the build up is finally over, and we are indeed getting The Scarlet Keys as the next expansion for Arkham Horror LCG!

I’m very excited. I’m imagining this as quite the globetrotting adventure, with an international secret society that puts the Order of the Silver Twilight to shame! Whether we will be going up against an elder god seems somewhat up in the air, but I’m really excited nevertheless!!

Into the Jungle…

Hey everybody,
Today is game day, and for today’s blog I’m throwing myself into the Forgotten Age campaign like there’s no tomorrow! Traditionally, I used to write up my Arkham Horror LCG blogs in pairs, so four blogs to cover the whole campaign. However, I’ve really gotten into this one, and have played the next three scenarios in pretty quick succession, so buckle up as we go on a trans-continental journey, from Arkham to the jungles of Mexico!

We’re back in Arkham – I won’t say “safely back”, for obvious reasons – for Threads of Fate, and Ichtaca has joined the investigators, demanding that we return the Relic of Ages to its rightful place. Upon checking, we discover that both Harlan and Alejandro appear to be in danger. Ichtaca impatiently leaves, so it’s up to the investigators to find out just what’s going on.

I loved this one. We’re back in Arkham, so we’ve got the familiar locations that we love so much. The encounter set uses much from the core set, including stuff from the Midnight Masks once again. I’ve lost count of how many times these treacheries are used in other scenarios, but I just love it – it feels very Arkham to me, you know? We have the Dark Cults encounter set as well, which I do enjoy, and a new set of cultists, the Pnakotic Brotherhood, who function slightly differently to the regular cultists in that engaging them adds doom to them, and their stats are buffed for each point of doom on them. So we have a lot of cultists gathering doom to themselves, and each card in the agenda deck only has a threshold of 6. Added to this, when you advance the agenda, you might well be adding doom to begin proceedings. Added to this, there is a new treachery card, Conspiracy of Blood, which lowers the threshold by 1 until you parlay with a cultist. It’s just brutal, but the whole thing works so well together that I can’t help but love it!

The big change about this one, though, is that we have three act decks in play, and the text of all of them is considered in play. There’s a lot to keep track of, but the scenario just acts like it is one giant investigation, and as such it works beautifully – yes, there’s a lot going on, but it doesn’t feel particularly hectic or anything. Instead, we’re faced with what feels very much like a board game version of the game, as we move around the fairly static locations and choose our path to investigate. I like this a lot, because it feels like we can actually play the game, rather than it continually surprising us with new locations and stuff.

That’s not to say that there are no surprises. Each act deck symbolises a strand of the investigation – looking for Harlan, looking for Alejandro, and looking for the relic itself – and the decks are built based on earlier story choices that we have made. This really gives it great replayability, I must say! As the investigation progresses, we meet folks who turn out to be enemies, and so have to defeat them to triumph in the end. I think the scenario wasn’t particularly difficult in this respect, the most annoying aspect (for me) was the inclusion of the Nightgaunt deck, as I really hate those guys! But I love an Arkham teeming with cultists, and the opportunity to uncover a conspiracy, and I think this scenario really delivered on that front!

In the end, I was able to complete all three of the act decks with two rounds of doom to spare, so recovered Alejandro, the Relic of Ages, and Ichtaca is still on side. Turns out, we’re going back to the jungle to restore the relic, so at the end of the game there was another opportunity to resupply ourselves. I have no idea whether taking a blanket along this time will be of any use, but between the two investigators, I have a decent spread of all the available items now, except for the pick axe, so let’s see whether that’ll turn out to be an almighty blunder!

The next scenario is The Boundary Beyond, and we’re in Mexico City as we try to get some information from Alejandro’s academic buddies. Something doesn’t feel quite right, though, and soon the modern-day locations start to be replaced by their ancient equivalents. The fabric of reality seems to be tearing, and the past is starting to intrude into the present, quite literally!!

This was a very interesting scenario to me. The exploration deck is made up of two versions of these ancient locations, and if you’re at a location that has a matching symbol to one that you draw from that deck, you travel to it, placing that card on top of your current location. However, there’s a 1/6 chance that you’ll draw the right card, not accounting for the added treachery cards, so you can actually spend a lot of wasted time trying to find that location. The idea is great, but the fact that you’re trying to make it happen, in-game, while the story makes it sound more like a disaster movie where you have no control over it, I did feel like this was a bit of a fail, overall. Perhaps if the locations were in the encounter deck, and you replaced them but took a sanity hit if it happened to the location where your investigators are, it might have worked better (though I feel like that’s been done already…)

To add insult to injury, the Harbinger of Valusia turns up again in this one, albeit still with the same amount of damage as when we left her. What a nightmare! Of course, I love recurring elements like this, but it did make for a difficult climax as the Harbinger was at the location where we need to be to advance the Act deck.

After the excitement of the temporal distortion, we have another Interlude where our supplies become important once more. I found that I didn’t mind it this time around, probably because there wasn’t anything quite so horrible coming my way! But we then leave the city behind, and venture once more into the jungle…

Heart of the Elders is one of the more bizarre scenarios for this game, for sure! Within the encounter cards are three distinct decks, and they’re all split off as we first explore the jungle around the mouth of a mysterious cave, before then delving into the cave to see just what we can see. I get it, of course – depending on the outcome to the last scenario, you have the possibility to actually skip the first of the two mini-scenarios, so it’s clear that the developers wouldn’t want to make a dud scenario when this was still in the monthly release model.

The second of these mini-scenarios was really interesting, as the choice of supplies that we’ve brought along was really informing the gameplay, such as locations having effects like taking damage unless you’ve brought a rope, etc. I think this is what I like as regards the supplies theme – so far, it’s been fairly limited in-game to allowing us to look at the Exploration deck if we have a compass, or somesuch, but otherwise these things have been confined to the book-keeping sections of the campaign. Hopefully they’ll take on yet more importance to the actual scenario as time moves on!

Not since Path to Carcosa have I not understood what it is that I’m trying to do, but here I think there is a level of obfuscation that feels similar to The Circle Undone, where I ended up siding with the Silver Twilight Lodge and “winning” before the campaign was truly over. This time, I have a relic, and I’m returning it to the jungle, along with an Aztec lady and a Mexican academic. After delving into the cave, I end up discovering a portal to Yoth, where several Yithians come out and said academic casually tells them to take my brains! What the?!

Okay, so from reading Lovecraft I know that the Yithians are on the friendlier end of the spectrum when it comes to extraterrestrial beings, but it still feels like a betrayal, and I kinda wish that I hadn’t tried to rescue him now! I know that it’s easy to say at this point, but I did feel like there was something up with Alejandro during the initial scenarios, but I guess it’s too late to worry now. It’s going to be interesting to see where we’re headed next, anyway!

So scenario five is bonkers, but I still find this campaign kinda fascinating. It’s definitely harder than I was expecting, but I don’t think it’s as merciless yet as many people seemed to make out back in the day. I mean, the treacheries are so annoying, and some enemies can be just brutal, but I think I’ve got a really good investigator duo in Ursula and Lily, as I have high investigation and high evade, and high combat abilities. Luckily, willpower hasn’t been a big issue so far, but with Lily having a lot of mystic cards in her deck, there are ways and means there.

Overall, I seem to be doing quite well, and I’m getting a good amount of experience to level my investigators up – in total, I’ve now gained 24 experience points, and while I have been taking the opportunity to level up cards regularly, I still have 11 points unspent following the last two scenarios. I think it’s curious that we’re headed to an Other World after the third mythos pack of the cycle, as historically these things were saved for the finale, but I wonder if that means we could potentially have even more weirdness to come? At any rate, I think it’s a decent stopping point to regroup and refuel, and I’ve also passed the threshold for the next Discipline for Lily Chen, which is quite exciting!

The Forgotten Age

Hey everybody,

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!!

March 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
March has felt like a long month, do you think? It seems to have been a long time since I last wrote one of these retrospective blogs, at least, and I was a bit concerned that I might have missed it! It’s also been a fairly slow month, in many respects, although I think that’s possibly due to me taking a week off work to sort the garden out, which meant my hobby time was otherwise fairly limited!

However, I did get the Tau Commander painted up quite quickly, which I was very pleased with! It didn’t seem to take all that long, either, so I was pleased with the progress there, though said progress then seemed to just atrophy, as I began casting about for other projects. I did have a pretty hefty focus on Warcry, and have managed to get all of the Red Harvest terrain built, as well as the Tarantulos Brood. I still have some of the Darkoath left to put together, but it’s getting there!

Warcry is such a beautiful game though, and I love how GW are still putting out content for us to devour. The Tome of Champions 2021 is a good example of this, keeping the game fresh with stuff all the time. Of course, I don’t play it anywhere near as much as I would like, so it’s hardly at risk of going stale for me, but even so! I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get some more games in soon though.

Kill Team Nachmund has been released, as well, and so I’ve also been spending time building up that, starting with the Corsairs and then terrain, as well as the Heretic Astartes upgraded models. This last in particular has now got me in full flow with my Chaos once more, as I’ve been working on some Black Legion guys as a bit of a palette cleanse following two-and-a-bit months of painting Sa’cea Sept. I do keep thinking that I need to return to the Tau, of course, but I do feel the need to get something different painted.

The Black Legion are proving to be a little troublesome for me, because of the amount of detailing etc, and I’m not all that sure about the scheme right now. I think Chaos Marines are probably just one of those model sets where they are difficult to get painted well, due to all of the baroque finery. In comparison the Tau were a piece of cake! For now, I’ve decided that I’m going to get five Marines and the Sorcerer finished, all models that I had started working on a long time ago, so it’s definitely something that I need to get finished!

Star Wars
March has been quite the month for Star Wars as well, though, as I have been reading The Fallen Star and watching the Prequel movies. My wife Jemma isn’t entirely fussed on watching them, but we started watching the Prequels mid month and have decided to just keep going through them all, so that’ll be good! It’s got me thinking about re-reading some more of the Legends books and comics, as I did talk about in last month’s blog, and so I’m planning to do something throughout the summer, so watch this space for that! Should be quite a hefty series of blog reviews and so on, but hopefully it’ll be interesting for you all!

We also had the first trailer for Kenobi, which is excitingly coming out in May, so not too long left now! Mandalorian season three is still on the cards for the end of the year, as well as the Rogue One prequel series Andor coming out at some point. This photo was doing the rounds in October 2021, purportedly showing what we could expect in 2022, but with Mando being pushed back, who knows when Ahsoka will be coming back to the screen?


Watching the movies has put me in such a Star Wars mood, though – that probably accounts for some of the hobby dip that happened. Though I have got those Legion miniatures out of the attic, so who knows whether that will be a feature going forward?! Legion is something that I have thought about a lot over the years, though my first serious thoughts came when we were a couple of weeks into the first Lockdown, and nobody really knew what was going to happen. It was a nice distraction at the time, but I ended up not doing anything with this as we all settled into the new normal, and I went back to 40k. Well, maybe something will happen this time?

I’m always a bit wary of making these sorts of announcements, because I invariably get distracted, but hopefully it’ll be a big summer of Star Wars here on the blog!

Arkham Horror LCG
I have surprised myself this month by playing a couple of games with this, getting three-quarters of the way through the campaign before (spoiler alert) my investigators were killed! In my game day blog on Tuesday this week, I had said I wasn’t sure whether I would shuffle up and try again, or accept their fate and close the book on Innsmouth for the time being. Well, I have decided to close the book, and have dismantled the decks for Stella and Zoey – they weren’t a bad pair, if I’m honest; I just don’t think I was as into everything this time around for some reason. Possibly because I was snatching games where I could, and not really making the time to enjoy the game.

I’ve since made up two new decks, using Ursula Downs and Lily Chen, and I’m pondering my next move as regards which campaign I’m going to set off for. I’m currently favouring The Forgotten Age, though the allure of the new Edge of the Earth is also calling to me! I did feel bad for skipping TFA when I embarked upon The Circle Undone, more than twelve months ago now, but obviously campaigns don’t need to be played in the order they were released, so that doesn’t really matter.


My Ursula deck is pretty standard fare, leaning heavily into her already-high investigation attribute to really bolster this, and then use it (so far as Seekers allow) to fulfil other tests, too. The theme of using one attribute for another is more prevalent in the Mystics, of course, but Lily is a curious one in that she has a very high combat attribute already, so I don’t necessarily want to include a lot of spells that allow her to use her willpower for everything. I have included those spells like Rite of Seeking that allow her to investigate with willpower though, and there are a couple of ways for her to improve her willpower too, as I tend to split my party in games, to cover more ground, and so I like to have my investigators able to be as flexible as possible.

Lily is also curious in that she is a Mystic who can only use Level 0 Mystic cards, but can lean into Guardian cards up to Level 5. Whether that’s simply to allow for her to use the butterfly swords, I have no idea, but I find it interesting that this is going to likely become a deck that bears no resemblance to its beginnings, although of course we shall see how that transpires! I’ve only played a Mystic a couple of times, but I seem to recall there are a lot of good, higher-level cards that I like. Hm.

At any rate, Mystic and Seeker are my two favourite classes, and so I am looking forward to taking these two out, whichever campaign I decide to embark upon!

The Conspiracy Deepens…

Hey everybody,
It’s game day once more, and time to continue on with my investigations into The Innsmouth Conspiracy. It’s been a couple of weeks since I last played this game, where I had just begun to realise what might be happening in the blighted coastal town…


5. Horror in High Gear

The fifth scenario sees us racing to the lighthouse at Falcon Point, after the revelations from the last scenario. This one is very interesting to me, it’s not very Lovecraftian, as it is basically a car chase in card game form, and it owes a lot to The Essex County Express from The Dunwich Legacy. The locations are all points along the Old Innsmouth Road, and when you reveal a location, it will have the “Road x” keyword, which tells you to put the next location from the deck in line. However, if you have to place more than 1 card, you also draw from a “long way round” deck, which slows your progress significantly.

Your investigators are in a vehicle, and as a reaction can get in or out, but are either classed as being in or being out of that car. Now, I couldn’t find an answer to this point when I was playing, but I decided that entering a location in the vehicle did not mean that I revealed that location – there were a couple of locations where you could spend clues to scout ahead, and peek at the next location in line, so playing the way I did meant that I could check for any “long way round” cards and avoid them.


This one was very much about location management, and we had a pretty decent headstart that made almost a mockery of the fact that several Hunter enemies were gathering at the furthest location from us. A couple of villains did pop up during the game, though mainly it was a case of investigating the locations so as to get the clues to spend that allowed us to safely exit that location. As such, Zoey didn’t have a great deal to do during her turns. I was also quite lucky in that Stella had a good combo from Lantern and Granny Orne, allowing her to buff her investigation attribute as well as lowering the shroud value of locations she’s at. That was a big help, anyway!

So I managed to evade pursuit before sunrise, and somehow was able to get 5VPs into the bargain! I think it’s definitely time to get the decks sorted out, and trade up on some cards.


6. A Light in the Fog

The next scenario is much more of a classic, creepy investigation. We’re at the Falcon Point lighthouse, in an attempt to get some answers. Everything starts off fairly standard, though I thought it could be quite brutal that doom hangs over from one Agenda to the next, meaning you’re on a fairly tight timer to get this done! Once Oceiros Marsh is defeated, the investigators have the key to explore further in the depths beneath the lighthouse, and things get very interesting as we have another of these scenarios where you’re exploring locations but it does feel very much like we’re in there – each row of locations is only connected horizontally, so you have to keep coming back to the central shaft to go further down. Very atmospheric.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I think I played this one very wrongly indeed! See, I didn’t seem to be getting very far in terms of investigation – I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be looking for, etc. So I was aiming to resign when – bam! The lighthouse was basically washed away, and the caverns I was exploring began to flood. Wondering if maybe the Agenda would still present me with some way to fail forward, I carried on blithely playing, only to reach Resolution 3, in which The Investigators are Killed. Yikes!

Now, normally I’m of the mind that I would never look at the reverse of cards that I had not revealed during the course of a game, mindful of replayability etc. But I did turn over a couple of locations and found that there is another location that can still allow for you to resign, and so reach a more favourable conclusion, so I think I might need to re-set and try again. It wouldn’t be the first time, after all!


But that said, this is what the game is all about, isn’t it? Arkham Horror LCG is not meant to be easy, you’re meant to just about make it through. While I am considering re-playing this scenario, I’m also thinking that I might just accept that this is how it ends for Stella and Zoey’s journey, drowning beneath Falcon Point lighthouse, and basically re-start the campaign at a later date. It has been a very protracted campaign this time, after all, which makes me wonder if my heart really has been in it with these investigators. I’m going to give it some thought, and see maybe at the weekend if I can come to a decision.  

If this is how it ends, then I think it has been a pretty good campaign, overall. Returning to Innsmouth does feel a little bit more forced, somehow, than the Dunwich Legacy campaign, which seemed to follow on naturally. I have the impression that The Innsmouth Conspiracy is a prequel to the Lovecraft story, and so goes some way to prepare us for the eventual raid by the feds, but it did somehow just feel a little bit forced, to me. Nevertheless, the actual story of the campaign, at least so far as I got in there, does move along quite well. We have a bit of back-and-forth across the timeline, as we move between the past and the present. The scenarios each play quite differently, and so there is a lot of variety to be had throughout.

Definitely an interesting campaign…

The Conspiracy Continues…

Hey everybody,
It’s Tuesday, which means it’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I am finally back with The Innsmouth Conspiracy for Arkham Horror LCG! I know, it’s been an age! Well, three months. But still! The last time I played this game was November, when I played the third scenario, but neglected to keep any photos of the game as it progressed. Even so, I think it’s time to see where I’m up to with the campaign!

3. In Too Deep
In Too Deep was released around the time this game took off – and when I say took off, I mean you couldn’t buy packs of it anywhere. In Too Deep was the first casualty, for me, and it took me months to get hold of it – I think it might actually have been the case that the rest of the campaign had been released by then, but anyway.

I really liked this scenario. We have the town of Innsmouth laid out before us once again, though the town has been invaded by “foul things from the depths of the sea”, and of course we need to get across town to hook up with Agent Dawson. The locals and these foul things have erected barriers in the streets though, impeding our progress, and so we need to wend our way through and remove these where we can.


For some reason, I don’t have any pictures of me playing through this one, which is quite sad really, as I seem to recall it was a good one! There is something of a timebound mechanic, as always, so while at first I had hoped to explore a bit of the town, as time goes on more enemies are shuffled into the deck, and the town comes more and more under control of these mutant hybrids.

Campaign Log
The only memories I recovered this time were a meeting with Joe Sergeant, and a jailbreak. I managed to earn a total of 5VP, but I can’t spend it yet. Interestingly, if you were defeated or made it through, the same resolution is applied at the end. I suppose it’s another of those fail forward situations, though, where we need to keep the story moving!


4. Devil Reef
At long last, I’m back in Innsmouth! It’s been a total of three months on hiatus, but here I am again, battling with the deep ones as I try to work out what’s going on. Devil Reef is another of these back-in-time moments, much like the second scenario (I wonder if they’re going to do this throughout, so each even-numbered scenario recalls more memories?) We’ve decided to go out to Devil Reef, and Agent Dawson is along for the ride this time.

This scenario is another of those build-the-map types where we start out with a few locations to travel to, but they build out from there. The objective is to find three keys, which are linked to three artifacts, which are to be discovered at three special locations, which spawn in turn from three of the five starting locations. So it’s very much a discovery type of adventure, and with there being two dead-ends, it does mean you either get lucky, or you waste your time. More excitingly, we’re on a boat asset card, which we use to travel around.

Campaign Log
I managed to discover the artifacts, though the Terror of Devil reef still lives. 3 more VPs are now mine, and I can spend them once more – again, there’s that sense of the game really staggering how we level up this time around. I like it! The subsequent Interlude, however, reinforces the idea that we’re only recovering memories, and each of the artifacts needs to be recovered properly, so it seems we’re next off to Falcon Point Lighthouse…


The storyline is definitely interesting, although part of me does feel a little bit like it is straining this time to provide a narrative around one of HP Lovecraft’s most famous stories. I am a big sucker for wanting to recreate the board game in card game form, and have delighted previously with things like the Dunwich Legacy, but here, things do seem to be a little bit forced. I think perhaps that’s down to the way it is presented though, as flashbacks come and we attempt to piece together what on earth is happening. Maybe when I’ve gone further in the campaign, I’ll change my mind? For now, though, I am delighted to have the blessed/cursed mechanic, I’m delighted that we’re in Innsmouth, but I’m just not a hundred percent made up on whether I really like this one…

January 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
January has been pretty damn productive, I have to say! I’m very impressed with myself, even if the month did feel like it lasted for about a decade. For starters, I’ve made a really good start with my new year, new army, getting two full squads of Tau Pathfinders painted, along with their associated drones. That’s been a really big boost, as far as I’m concerned, because I think I’ve shown that I can get a lot of models finished in a fairly quick turnaround. As with all these sorts of things, it’s often slower while sorting out the colour scheme, so now that I’ve got that sorted out, I think I should be able to keep the pace and have a half-decent army painted by the time Easter rolls around!

For February, I’m planning to paint up some Fire Warriors, again with their associated drones, so we shall see where I get to there.

I had my first game with the new Genestealer Cults book as well, and it was quite the uphill struggle, I have to say! The last time I had a game with these guys, it was 8th edition and I had no idea what I was up to, but the army was predominantly unpainted – this time, everything was painted, and it made such a difference to the visual style, I have to say. I had no idea about the stratagems, and I think potentially only used one or two the whole game – I was otherwise using Command Re-Roll all the time! I think I made a mistake with going all-Neophytes in my troops, though, and using the Hybrid Metamorphs for close combat seemed a bit of a waste as they really weren’t as good as I had been expecting. I think I’ve been clinging to the Metamorph bomb idea from last edition, but as I said last time, it’s something that I wanted to try, just to see what would happen.

I should clarify that the Metamorphs aren’t necessarily bad per se, they just didn’t seem to work well at the lower points limit. I think at a higher points game, they could still be useful as a bodyguard-type unit. We shall see!

For the next time, though, I’m making some swaps – so removing the Metamorphs and the truck, and taking the bikes and a group of Acolyte Hybrids. It seems there are some interesting things that you can do with the Atalan Jackals, so I’m excited to see what will happen there. I’ve made some notes, though, so have a better idea of what I can get up to with the army. Hopefully this is something that I will be doing more of as time goes on, and I try to improve as a player – I’m not talking tournament-dedicated or anything, but I definitely want to be a better player, and hopefully provide a better sort of game for my opponent. I’ll probably be talking more about this in the coming weeks, anyway.

I’ve begun the long and arduous process of going through my various piles of shame as well, in an attempt to properly thin the ranks once more. I’m sure there’ll be more to say on this in the fullness of time, of course, but I’ve discovered that I have almost 900 points of AdMech and 1300 points of Black Legion, which is quite a surprise! I have big chunks of Sisters and Tyranids, among others, which will all need to be looked at quite carefully in the coming months, as I really feel like I’m drowning in plastic at the minute. I have some projects that I haven’t touched either at all, or else for years, which is making me wonder if I’ll ever get round to them.

I think I need to be much more careful with my hobby spends and my hobby time, as the family grows and whatnot. I am somewhere in the area of having my hobby feeling a bit less enjoyable right now, like something I have to do, so it would definitely be an idea to give this some serious thought. There’s also so much coming out that I’m looking forward to…

I’ve also been chipping away at the scenery piece that I’ve got on the table, and it’s coming along quite nicely, I think! I have been through all of my Sector Mechanicus terrain pieces to see what’s going on. There is a lot still to do, but in all honesty I’m not focusing on this stuff right now, it’s all been about the Tau Pathfinders!!

It’s not been all about 40k though. I’ve been reading the Thrawn Ascendancy series, and have made it through the first two books of the trilogy so far. I’ve already written up some thoughts on the first book, which you can read here, and after finishing the second book last night, I’ll get my next instalment out sometime this week. I had the third book for Christmas, so will move on to that one next, I think.

A bit disappointingly, I’ve not been playing any Arkham Horror LCG for weeks, now! I played In Too Deep at the end of November, but for two months now it’s just been untouched! Meanwhile, the Edge of the Earth campaign that has been sleeved and is ready to go. I definitely need to get my act together, although I am clinging to the idea that I wasn’t really playing The Circle Undone until March, so there’s hope!

I am enjoying The Innsmouth Conspiracy, and I am looking forward to getting my teeth into The Edge of the Earth when the time comes! But everything has been so much about 40k so far, so I guess I need to just ride that wave!

Merry Christmas, all!

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, have a fantastic time!

I think I’m going to be quite busy for the foreseeable future – between the new Arkham Horror LCG campaign, Edge of the Earth, and also the new Necromunda stuff, it’s been a very nice haul this year! Of course, I still haven’t made any further in-roads with the Innsmouth campaign, after starting that at the end of last month, but the time will soon come, I’m sure!

Necromunda remains high on my list, as ever, and I’m really pleased to have begun painting the Zone Mortalis terrain. I am planning to make a semi-permanent market feature, gluing the stalls to the walls as opposed to trying to keep everything modular. I think the terrain could potentially stand up to having a little more permanency, after all…

The folks in Nottingham are already hard at work trying to get my money once again, though, with a new Battleforce box coming out that features new plastic Eldar and more new plastic Heretic Astartes! Just look at these Chaos Chosen! Beautiful models. 2022 could well see me finally put some serious work into these guys!

November Retrospective

Hey everybody,
The end of the year is fast approaching, and it’s been really great to have these monthly retrospective blogs to look back on the progress that I’ve made with all manner of projects – hopefully they’ve been as interesting to read as they have been to write!

For November, the pace seems to have been a bit slow, as we slide towards the festive season. I’ve been reading a lot of weird fiction this month, which has shown itself in two blogs covering a variety of stories from contemporaries and followers of HP Lovecraft, before then the man himself popping up last week with The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. I do love a bit of cosmic horror, and I think it’s been good to read some of the more extended mythos stuff this time around. It’s all very uneven, of course, and a lot of these stories could hardly be called masterpieces, though they are fun, which for me is the main thing. I am planning to read more of Lovecraft’s own horror stories over Christmas, of course, so do stay tuned for the traditional Mythos Delvings blog!

Reading so much weird fiction has, of course, gotten me back into playing the LCG. Having kinda planned out a series of games with Trish and Agnes, playing through some of the standalone scenarios, I’ve since pushed this idea to the side in favour of an actual campaign once again: The Innsmouth Conspiracy has well and truly started! I’ve built new decks, for Stella and Zoey, and hope to finish that in the coming week or so. I’ve got next week off work, so fingers crossed I can have more games then, if nothing else!

I have been trying to get somewhere with my painting though, and after a month off in October, I’ve been back to the Genestealer Cults, getting more Neophyte Hybrids painted up alongside an Acolyte Iconward and a Clamavus. These characters weren’t part of my original scheme, so it may mean that I end up not completing the 500-point list by the end of the year – that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it! I’m hoping to move onto the truck next, and still have the 5 Hybrid Metamorphs to do something with. So, we’ll see how far we get. But hopefully it’ll be a nice-looking little force, so I’m excited for that!

The Genestealer Cult hasn’t really been languishing for it, but I have moved on a little bit to another little project. After starting to read the third novel in the Grey Knights series, Hammer of Daemons, I’ve obviously moved on to these fellas once again, as it’s now a bit of a tradition for me to see how far I can get with them! I’ve got another 5-man Strike Squad on the table currently, along with a Brother-Captain. My painted Grey Knights are currently somewhere on a par with my painted Genestealer Cultists, in terms of size, so I suppose there’s a nice symmetry there in terms of building up both of the smaller forces. While I did initially think 9th edition might mean a slimming-down of my backlog, both of these armies are quite beautiful, and I really feel that I want to keep them.

My big news for November is that I’ve actually played my first game of Warhammer 40k this year, at last! Lockdowns do get in the way of these things, don’t they? JP and I took the tried-and-tested Chaos Space Marines vs Necrons out for a spin, but as ever, we spent most of the evening talking about all manner of junk and didn’t get much gaming actually done! I’m still not wholly sure about 9th edition, if I’m honest – I think it might be the subject for another blog, but I’m still not entirely in love with it. Which is slightly concerning, because if the recent pattern still holds true, we’ve only got about 18 months left before 10th edition rolls around…

It hasn’t even changed a great deal from 8th edition, really, it’s just the additional stuff in the rules have made it feel like it’s an overly complicated game now. When I sat down with the core rules a while back to try to make sense of them, it really surprised me just how little has actually changed. It certainly isn’t the seismic change from 7th to 8th that I experienced as my first edition change, but there’s something just stopping me from really enjoying it. I think this is probably something to explore in another blog, though. I might have a smaller-scale game with the Genestealer Cult and my mate James’ Black Templars soon, though, so maybe playing with a smaller model count might make things a bit better to understand, etc! Of course, that has its own problems when playing with an older Codex for the Genestealer Cult. Hm.

At any rate, I have been thinking that I would like to get more of my Necrons painted – I do have a lot of Necrons painted, for sure, but I need another ten Immortals, 5 Lychguard and 5 Tomb Blades to be finished before I can say that I’m happy with the force as it is. I’ll then be turning my attention to the stuff that I currently have painted, but which could be done better – some stuff like the Annihilation Barge could do with a bit of work to make it a bit more visually appealing, I think. So, I’d like to try and get the models that I think of as “finished” up to a better standard. Then there’s all manner of other units I need to turn my attention to.

I’m really chuffed to have got my hands on the new set for Warcry, Red Harvest, and have already started to build up some of the models from it. The design team are really knocking it out of the proverbial right now with this stuff, and I am utterly bowled-over by how good this stuff is. I think the terrain is what got me interested in this box, but the actual game content seems to be really great, too. It’s always nice when you get something like this – essentially a box of plastic – and there is a great rule set to go alongside it! My current plans, though, are to build up the new Tarantulos Brood warband, then potentially try them out in some regular games of Warcry with the core set stuff. It might be quite some time before all of that terrain is built, after all!

I have no more plans to attach to any of my hobby things right now, though. I think I just want to concentrate on getting my Genestealer Cultists done, and seeing where I can get to with the Grey Knights and the Necrons. If I can build and/or paint anything else, then that’s a bonus for me! I’m looking forward to making my way fully through the Innsmouth Conspiracy, and will have some more thoughts up here when that is all said and done. Who knows what else the month of December may hold? I do have some time off to look forward to, so there could be many exciting things yet to fill 2021!

The Innsmouth Conspiracy

Hey everybody,
It’s been a long time since I have played through a campaign for the Arkham Horror LCG but, here I am! After a recent look through the stuff that I have for the game, and that quick game with the Curse of the Rougarou standalone scenario, I’d decided to build some decks and go for a proper campaign once again. I had already sleeved up the Stella Clark starter deck, but I’ve swapped out a few of those cards now for a little more bespoke play, and after a quick search online, I thought I’d pair her with Zoey Samaras, as that seemed like an interesting combo. My previous games with a Survivor deck were in the Carcosa campaign, and I don’t think the pair of Survivor/Seeker worked particularly well (despite coming through that campaign really well, I admit!) so I’ve gone for Survivor/Guardian this time. New for me, both decks are made up of pairs of cards as well, rather than the more random mish-mash of card types I like to build! So there ought to be a certain degree of consistency as I play my way through this campaign – but we shall see!

As ever with these types of blogs, I’ll be discussing spoilers for the story, so please beware!

1. The Pit of Despair
This is a very interesting set up for the campaign. The investigator(s) wake up in a tidal tunnel, with some pretty severe memory loss, and realise they need to get out of there before they drown – especially having called out for help and heard fishy growls in the darkness. The game makes use of key tokens, colour-coded, which have no inherent meaning but are placed on locations and claimed when said location is fully explored. When you go to another location, if you’re in possession of a certain key, you’ll be instructed to read a certain flashback from the campaign guide, and note down a recovered memory. Now, it’s very tempting to just try and escape from this tidal hell, but recovery of these memories is actually key (pun somewhat intended), as they will allow you to remove certain tokens from the chaos bag for the rest of the campaign, making things that little bit easier!


I was a big fan, anyway, and I think I can safely say that I made the right choice of campaign with Innsmouth! Stella and Zoey are both pretty terrible at investigating locations though, and it’s only through Stella’s mechanic of gaining extra turns, and buffs following failed skill tests, that we made it through! But blimey – Zoey with a survival knife is brutal…

Campaign Log
I successfully recovered all four memories – the meeting with Thomas Dawson, the battle with a horrifying devil, the decision to stick together, and the encounter with a secret cult. After a short interlude, where Agent Harper helps me to piece all of these things together, 5 VPs are mine, but I can’t spend it yet.

2. The Vanishing of Elina Harper
Five weeks prior, the investigators are recruited by Thomas Dawson to help find Agent Harper, who has gone radio-silent on a job in Innsmouth. We get to the blighted town, and split up to try to find her. What follows is almost Innsmouth Horror but in card form, and it’s a lot of fun! Much like previous times where we’ve gotten to explore Arkham or Dunwich in the card game, I’ve enjoyed seeing sites that I’ve known from the board game. This scenario is very reminiscent of The Midnight Masks from the core set, and even uses some of those encounter cards. We’re trying to find the kidnapper and the hideout where Agent Harper is being held, so go round the town gaining clues, which we use to draw cards from a Leads deck, one of which can go into play (but we can see up to three). So in true detective style, we need to keep track of what we’ve seen to narrow down where she can be – advancing the act deck is done by making an accusation, but if we’re wrong, bad things might happen! We then need to fully investigate the real hideout, and defeat the kidnapper (who gains a health bonus), before we are victorious.

This was a very nice twist on the core set scenario, and one that I enjoyed a great deal. Something that I think worth mentioning about this game is how each subsequent campaign has built on the core set so beautifully, it still feels like the same game, but my goodness, it’s come a long way since the Night of the Zealot!

Campaign Log
So we rescued Elina Harper, and Zoey has taken her into her deck. There is also a Thomas Dawson ally card that could have been claimed, though I don’t know how – I probably did something wrong at an earlier point! I’ve gained three more VPs, and the mission was successful, so I can finally spend that experience! I’ve upgraded Survival Knife and Vicious Blow for Zoey, and Granny Orne for Stella, as well as swapping out her A Test of Will for Sharp Vision. Stella has fast become my go-to clue gatherer, so I think it makes sense to try to bolster that where I can. I’ll also try to help Zoey the same, because I think it would be more effective to have the ability for both of my investigators to be flexible.

So far, then, I think this has been a very strong opening to the campaign. I don’t know where I’m headed, truth be told, but I would imagine there is going to be some sort of confrontation with Dagon (given what I know of the lore) and I would expect the final pack of the campaign to take me to the underwater otherworld of Y’ha-nthlei, but that’s probably getting a bit too meta about it. I don’t know what to expect, though interestingly I didn’t have the same feeling of utter doubt as I did during the Path to Carcosa cycle, where I was wondering just what the right / best choice might have been. It’s not that this is a more prescriptive campaign, or anything, but I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this one plays out as time goes on.

One other point before I sign off – The Innsmouth Conspiracy introduces bless/curse tokens to the game. Finally! It’s a classic mechanic from other Arkham games, and I can only assume they have been at a loss as to how to introduce it in this one because of the lack of dice. Basically, we’re limited to 10 of either token in play at any one time, and various card effects will allow us to add in blessed tokens to the bag, which are worth +2 to the skill test, but do require you to draw again. They aren’t returned to the bag when drawn, so you’ll need to keep playing cards to replenish them. So far, I’ve only encountered player cards that interact with the blessed side of things, but I’ve heard that subsequent scenarios do have more to do with both types of tokens, so it’ll be an interesting ride to see how that all works out.