The Essex County Express

Hey everybody,
I’m on scenario four of the Dunwich Legacy campaign!

The Essex County Express

This one was a lot of fun. It’s quite different from any of the previous scenarios in the game up to this point – the premise is that the investigators are on the train from Arkham to Dunwich, when a rift opens in the sky, and the train cars begin to get sucked into the beyond! The investigators must move to the front of the train to attempt to get the engine moving forward again. It’s not so easy as moving from location to location with each action, however, as each train car must be fully investigated before moving on to the next one.

The Essex County Express

As I said, it was a lot of fun, this one. When it was first released, I was a bit baffled: a Lovecraftian adventure centred around a train? However, the storyline of the rift in the sky, and the mechanics of moving forward from one side to another, while battling the emerging monstrosities, somehow works really well! Additionally, there are passengers that you must deal with, and you can either choose to rescue them or leave them to their fate, causing you to lose sanity if they are sucked into the rift! See, when the agenda deck advances, the leftmost train car is removed from the game, as it is sucked into the beyond!

I mean, there are more enjoyable scenarios in this campaign, from my memory of playing last year, but this was definitely a good one, regardless!

Campaign Log
Not a lot to say on this one, really. Got 3VP, and did a couple of upgrades to Akachi’s deck after picking up some more mythos packs for my collection. I took a break for the Dream-Eaters cycle, as I hadn’t been playing the game so it had fallen a bit out of favour. Well, it’s time to catch up now, for sure!

The Miskatonic Museum

Hey everybody,
Tuesdays have always been game days here at spalanz.com and, while I might not always be able to fulfill that with today’s crazy world, I thought I’d still take some time today to talk about the latest game in my Dunwich Legacy campaign, and have some reflections on the campaign system for Arkham Horror LCG as well. Let’s go!

Miskatonic Museum

So I played the third scenario in the campaign at the weekend, and had a blast as I went round the Miskatonic Museum, searching the darkened exhibit halls for a copy of the dreaded Necronomicon. The campaign is set in the months following the events of The Dunwich Horror, for those who don’t know, and the investigators are following up on some of the worries of Dr Henry Armitage, the librarian at Miskatonic University. As readers of the original story will know, Wilbur Whateley attempted to steal a copy of the book from the library, and was injured in the process – the game takes this and further expounds that the University’s copy of the Necronomicon was then sent to the curator of the Miskatonic Museum for safekeeping.

This scenario was not perhaps as immersive as the last, as there were a few more game-mechanics involved to simulate wandering the darkened halls of the exhibits. As we moved through the museum, the only monster in the entire encounter deck is the Hunting Horror, which never really dies but goes back to “the void” when defeated, from whence it can strike once more. As it turned out, I had some very good set-up draws for Roland, and he was perfectly equipped to dispatch it each time it turned up, meaning it wasn’t so much a threat as simply an annoyance. But I suppose, that might be the point.

Akachi was therefore left to do a lot of the investigating, which didn’t always work well despite having Alyssa Graham out from the start, giving her +1 to her intellect. As such, the game was a little slow. The object of the scenario is to fully investigate the Restricted Area of the museum, which is one of the many Exhibit Hall location cards that forms part of that separate deck. We ended up finding it fairly quickly, as it happens, and so a couple of card effects allowed both investigators to clear the location of clues very easily.

Akachi has taken possession of the book – in my head, it makes sense from a thematic sense, not just because she needs all the intellect help that she can get. As a Mystic, she would doubtless be attracted to preserving the tome, even if she isn’t going to use it herself – Roland, as a Federal Agent, would perhaps not be interested in keeping the book but rather turning it in (or worse!) Anyway.

Miskatonic Museum

Campaign Log
The investigators took custody of the Necronomicon, but sadly that does mean that we have given in to the temptation of power – we’ve added a cursed token to the pool (more shortly), but we have each gained 3 XP!

Now, I have never thought twice about the Chaos bag since I set up my very first game of Arkham Horror LCG almost four years ago. As it turns out, I’ve been playing the Dunwich Legacy campaign, both last year and in this most recent run through, with five additional negative counters! What kind of masochist am I?! I’m playing on Easy mode, because I’m overwhelmingly into the story rather than being brutalised by the encounter deck, but even so! What a fool. So I’ve sorted the bag out now, which is a good thing!

I’ve also been making some upgrades to the decks! In campaign mode, you can upgrade or swap out cards at the cost of experience points earned through each game. Cards have an experience cost denoted by the pips that they have in a crescent underneath the card’s resource cost, in the top-left corner. I’ve managed to get quite a bit of experience for my investigators so far, so it’s time to kit them out anew!

Akachi has upgraded copies of Shrivelling and Alchemical Transmutation to higher-level copies – cards will often have a better version for a higher experience cost, allowing you to hit harder or whatever. If you upgrade cards like this, the experience cost is only equal to the difference between the copies – a 3-cost card upgraded to a 5-cost card will only cost 2 experience, for example. However, you can also swap out a card for a completely different one, which I’ve done in a couple of instances, as well.

Arkham Horror LCG

Roland’s deck, however, felt a bit more difficult to upgrade. Akachi had a clear path, really – upgrading her spells to better copies of those spells, while keeping the majority of her supporting cards the same. For Roland, there weren’t a great deal of cards for him to upgrade to. However, I’ve come across a couple of gems that are definitely worth mentioning. The above Keen Eye is a Permanent card, which doesn’t have a resource cost in the top left: it starts the game in play, and can never be discarded. It costs 3 experience to purchase, however, so it’s not something you’re going to play with in your very first game! However, if he has the resources to play it, it can be very strong! I’ve also gone for the Guardian tarot card that came out during the Circle Undone cycle, giving him +1 strength.

These cards are pretty neat, as they are a new type of slot (so don’t take up a hand or body slot, etc). While Roland might not be one for reading the Necronomicon, I can totally see him being the sort of superstitious type who might well be carrying a tarot card with him.

I really like the deckbuilding in Arkham Horror LCG now. When I first started playing, I was a little bit dismayed that I couldn’t find viable cards to include in my strategies, but I think that was probably my inexperience with the game showing – thinking about what you want your investigator to do usually makes your decisions quite easy. For Roland, I wanted him to fulfill the roles of fighter, healer and investigator, which he is quite well-equipped for, having access to a lot of healing cards as a Guardian while also being able to tap into the Seeker cards for investigation. Akachi, on the other hand, was initially a bit more complicated to build for, until looking properly into the Mystic possibilities, I turned up a lot of ways of using Willpower for other tests (such as fight or investigate actions). With a massive Willpower attribute to start with, along with myriad ways of increasing her attribute there, she is again quite straightforward. Of course, the Mystic class does have a lot of tricks that you can use, which can make it less than simply straightforward

I’m really enjoying myself with this game though, and I’m looking forward to playing through all of the scenarios on offer!

The Dunwich Legacy

Hey everybody,
After beginning once again to follow the campaign of the Dunwich Legacy last week, it’s time for part two of my adventures, as I head for the seedy gambling den of the Clover Club, on the trail of Dr Francis Morgan!

The House Always Wins

This was a really enjoyable scenario, I have to say! It starts out with the investigators trying to get into the exclusive Clover Club, which is fronted by the La Bella Luna restaurant. When you’re in there, it’s all a bit tense but nothing bad really happens until you deal the first Criminal enemy damage – it’s really evocative of being in the gambling den and trying not to draw attention, scoping things out while all the time being scrutinized by the criminal underbelly. I’ve never really had that sort of feeling before, where you play a game and it almost plays out like a film in your mind’s eye, you know?

For example, one of the locations is the bar, where you can “have a drink” to gain two clues. Importantly, none of the locations in the club offer you clues at first, but you gain them through taking actions other than simply investigating. Roland walked up to the bar and took a drink, so he was able to get two clues but it’s going to come back later on, I’m sure of it – however, it really felt like he’s been looking around and has found nothing, so has heavily sat down on a stool and ordered a Manhatten or something.

Anyway!

Things didn’t stay calm for long, of course, and as soon as it became inevitable, I had Roland shoot the Pit Boss and another of the mobsters, and all hell seemed to break loose as a result! Roland was definitely playing more true to form in this one, I think – he has been something of the investigating investigator so far, while Akachi was actually able to deal more significant damage with ease, due to using her willpower attribute to fight thanks to spells such as Wither and Shrivelling. Here, however, Roland was able to perform as I had expected, shooting everything in his path and healing Akachi when it was needed most. Indeed, the tactic of almost leaving her to just take damage while she went around gathering clues, then Roland healing her up for her to keep going, worked out quite nicely!

When it was needed most, however, Akachi was also no slouch in combat, having really great stats across the board. She finished off the Conglomeration of Spheres enemy (after the hilarity of Roland shooting it almost to death), and proved instrumental in gaining the trust of Peter Clover himself. It was an epic struggle in the end, although I completely didn’t realise that there was another exit to the Club, and allowed the agenda deck to tick down without fully exploring the locations, meaning that I was forced into the fourth resolution – the club pretty much explodes, and we’re dragged from the rubble by the police!

Campaign Log
Naturally, the O’Bannion gang has a bone to pick with the investigators, and unfortunately, Dr Francis Morgan was kidnapped. Each of my guys has suffered 1 physical trauma because of the club collapsing on top of them, which I’ll come to shortly, and due to this catastrophe, the investigators were unconscious for several hours. However, we have each gained 4 XP and an additional 1 XP from the experience!

Interlude: Armitage’s Fate
The Dunwich Legacy campaign also includes a little story piece in the back, where the story is determined by the outcome of the previous two games. Now, as I had been unconscious underneath the rubble, Dr Henry Armitage was kidnapped! That’s now three academics that I have proven unable to rescue. Some record here, huh? However, we were able to glean some information from his notes, which has given us a bonus 2 XP, so my investigators now have 11 XP each to spend on upgrading cards in their decks!

Some more thoughts
I really liked this scenario! I think we see a glimmer here of how stilted some of the scenarios are, in order for them to tell a story that has a logical progression into one of the four prepared resolutions, but once you’re over the amount of stuff that you need to do during setup, it plays beautifully. Despite the fact that they both suffered physical trauma, I’m quite excited to see where this could go – during campaign play, trauma basically lowers your maximum health or sanity (the game refers to “taking damage”, whereas all the other Arkham Files games refer to “losing health/sanity”, and so I think of it this way). Last time, I took Ursula and Jenny all the way through the eight scenarios, but I’m intrigued by the possibility that I might lose one of these investigators…

I’ve not yet given much thought about upgrading my decks, but I am hoping very soon to buy a second core set (finally!) which would be a very useful purchase for making the decks more consistent. I find that, even with four full cycles of cards to choose from, I do have some limited choice with card pool, and so noticed today that both investigators were drawing some fairly chaff cards. It would be much better if I could get that consistency that would allow for every draw to have much more impact. So that will be interesting.

I’m considering trying out one of the standalone scenarios next, but playing it as a part of this campaign, so we’ll see how that goes! In my next campaign blog, though, I’ll be sure to detail the upgrades that I bought – stay tuned!

The Dunwich Legacy

Hey everybody,
After a long time flirting with this game, I think I have finally taken the plunge to go all-in with the Arkham Horror LCG, and have been playing it quite a bit in recent weeks as I attempt to once more get to grips with things. Last summer, I managed to get myself through the entire Dunwich Legacy campaign, but only chronicled the start of that adventure here on the blog –  The Dunwich Horror is my favourite Lovecraft story, though, and I feel that the campaign deserves another run-through, so I’ve decided to tackle it once again, and will be coming back here regularly to talk about my plays! That is, at least, the plan!

The Dunwich Legacy

Dr Armitage is worried his colleague Professor Warren Rice, might be in trouble, so he has asked for your help in finding his friend. He seems unreasonably nervous about his colleague’s disappearance considering Professor Rice has only been “missing” for a matter of hours…

Much like last time, I’ve started with Extracurricular Activity, as we try to find out what’s been happening with Dr Armitage’s colleagues. It was a lot of fun to get into this scenario, I have to say – I’ve played The Gathering so many times, it’s a very nice change to have what I suppose is a “proper” game, as things get underway and we can see what the game has got to offer. I’d made up new decks for Roland Banks and Akachi Onyele recently, so set out with this pair and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

The Dunwich Legacy

I’m very pleased to say that I didn’t remember the scenario all that much as I was playing it, so I wasn’t able to “game” it as I thought might be possible in these sorts of circumstances. Looking at my blog from last year, I turned out rescuing the professor, but the students didn’t make it out so well. This time, however, due to a combination of events in the encounter deck and a random path of exploration that turned up a lot of clues, I found myself in the dormitories and rescuing the students, leaving the experiment in the alchemy labs.

Interestingly, I didn’t have a great deal of enemies come out of the encounter deck, so the game did feel quite relaxed, although the treachery cards that I drew were just horrible (more in a bit!) Of course, I’m not an expert at this game yet, so I did still need to consult the rulebook at times, but I think it went quite smoothly overall! I think the worst part, for me, was a string of failed investigate checks – both investigators had an entire turn where nothing happened because all the checks were failed!

The Dunwich Legacy

Campaign Log
So: Professor Warren was kidnapped, but the students were rescued. I managed to accrue 4 victory points, so both of my investigators have got some XP to play with, although I think I might play another scenario before I start looking to upgrade the decks.

Some thoughts
I find these decks curious to play. Akachi is built as quite a powerhouse, if I can get the right pieces of her deck into play. Something I noticed with the core set play-throughs is that she was a bit useless until the deck “comes online”, but once she was there, I kept drawing cards that felt redundant. This time, however, it was a slightly different story as I was getting some pieces that I needed, but I was also getting a lot of good stuff overall, which made it feel like she was a real player. Roland, by contrast, had some real bum draws, and wasn’t getting very far with either the investigation or combat. I drew Pushed into the Beyond for him rather a lot, also, which discarded anything useful that I managed to play! I do often find this with playing card games, that I will usually find myself just accumulating resources with nothing to spend them on – not sure if I need to give the Roland deck a tweak, but then I’m not really sure what I need to put in there!

Both signature weaknesses were drawn for the investigators, and both were overcome, which I was very pleased about.

It was a lot of fun though – stay tuned for scenario two, coming soon!

Dipping into Madness…

Hey everybody,
Today is once again game day here at spalanz.com, as I was lucky enough to get some time to myself yesterday where I could actually play some games! I know, it was quite spooky really! My daughter is now thirteen months old, and is certainly in more of a routine where I can plan stuff like this, so it was definitely time to grab that while I could!

I managed two games, along a similar theme, and it was just glorious.

First up, we have Eldritch Horror. This is one of my all-time favourite games of globetrotting mystery and supernatural dread, although it suffers somewhat for being such a juggernaut to set up! This time around, it took some time for me to get back into the swing of things, although I think it was literally just one round for each of the investigators – Mark Harrigan and Diana Stanley – before it all came flooding back, and I was off! I chose these investigators because I had finally actually read that little introductory blurb at the start of the rulebook, where it seems to be the pair of them looking into the weird occult mysteries of the world…

I followed this up with Arkham Horror LCG, a game that I have been trying to get back into for a couple of weeks now. I have built two new decks since I last played back in the summer of 2019 (when I actually ran through the entire Dunwich Legacy campaign). Roland Banks is the first investigator that I ever used, and even though I’ve not exactly played this game a lot, I have something of a soft spot for him all the same. Akachi Onyele is usually a very powerful investigator in the other Arkham games, though I’ve played two games with this duo now and it’s clear already that she really needs the right spells out to be any good. That’s probably a bit harsh, but in the game yesterday, I noticed particularly how she just couldn’t really do anything before I had Wither out, whereupon she became more of a tank than the Guardian investigator!

I’ve really gotten back into the whole Cthulhu mythos and Arkham Files games lately, and part of me is now really annoyed with myself for having sold off my Arkham Horror 2nd edition collection last year. I got a good price for it, don’t get me wrong, but it was such a good game, and I never got round to featuring each one of the expansions on the blog before it went.

However, I’ve found myself looking into getting the 3rd edition for Christmas, so that will be quite nice when the festive season is finally here! Definitely need stuff to look forward to as we’re on the cusp of a new lockdown, as well!

Eldritch Horror was just lovely to get back on the table, I must say. I’ve still got a couple of expansions for that game to feature up here, so I’m thinking that I’ll get back into the tradition of looking at those roundabout Christmas time! Indeed, playing yesterday’s game was mostly about getting back into the game so that I could look at playing the expansions – seems like I’ve only played some of them once or twice, but The Dreamlands box is still in the shrinkwrap! I’m really behind with the times here.

I kinda fell away from the Arkham Horror LCG last year, thinking that I was barely playing it anyway, so didn’t buy any of the Dream-Eaters cycle as I had three full campaigns still to play through. However, I’m now thinking that I need to catch up with it all! I’d spent a few days recently looking into it all as if from scratch, and have sleeved all of my cards and bought the ‘Return to’ boxes to make sure everything is stored up properly, so I’m really finding myself quite hungry for more now!

Having taken that time to get to know the game again, though, I can definitely see myself playing this one for a long time yet. It seems as though the Dunwich Legacy campaign is fairly tame in comparison to some of the later ones, and a lot of people seem to favour the Path to Carcosa set, so I’m thinking that my next proper foray will be there – everything is ready for me, anyway!

Interestingly, now that Lord of the Rings has finished, I’m finding myself almost moving away from that game in favour of this one. For sure, I’m not going to be sacking off my collection of the older game, as I’ve had far too much fun with it over the years to want to be without it, but I think that game did seem to suffer a little for the designers’ efforts in making it more challenging. Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf are still the high watermark for me, although I’ve not played so many cycles from the game I could be selling it short. However, with Arkham, it seems to have been designed as fairly tough from the outset, but the variable difficulty of the Chaos Bag allows for it to still be enjoyable. In fact, as I think I’ve talked about before, the game really benefits from not being a simple kill-the-monsters sort of thing that Lord of the Rings can sometimes become – the encounter deck for Arkham is very often full of treachery cards, with just a couple of enemies to keep things interesting. There are so many different moving parts in the game that keep things moving, so that the formula allows for much greater variety on the whole.

Like I say, I’m not getting rid of Lord of the Rings, but I do feel that Arkham Horror has overtaken it in my affections lately!

What’s New?!

Hey everybody!
Well, it feels like a long time since I’ve had the time for some rambling here on the old blog, but there seems to be so much going on right now, even considering the ongoing global pandemic, that I feel I just have to try and catch up with it all!

Of course, it was the Warhammer Preview again today, and we’ve seen a bunch new boxed games coming from the vaults of Nottingham, such as the new Blood Bowl, and the next season of Warhammer Underworlds:

Forget about the Lumineth – we’re getting Slaanesh cultists, even a Slaangor!

Look at these guys! They look amazing, so perfect and stuff. Exactly what I would want to see from Slaaneshi cultist models. Have we got all the flavours of Chaos cultists now? I really hope that this signifies the release of actual Slaanesh mortal cultist models – for years, all that we’ve had are the Hellstriders, we definitely need more. With these, and the upcoming boxset with Daughters of Khaine, it seems like Slaanesh is firmly back in the frame!

I still haven’t even tried Warhammer Underworlds, but I won’t let that stop me grabbing this for the Slaaneshi chaps!

So, I wasn’t expecting this. In truth, I don’t know what to make of it, either. Warcry is fast becoming Age of Sigmar: Skirmish, and it feels a bit wrong. I mean, one of the best things about the game is how much it is focused on the Chaos warbands in the Varanspire, vying for the attention of Archaon. Hm. At any rate, Warcry is getting battletomes, which seems to be an effort to combine what happened with the Tome of Champions and peppering in stuff like the Monsters and Mercenaries book, and the White Dwarf articles. Interesting.

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Is your Kill Team ready to enter the Pariah Nexus?

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And what’s more, there’s this! It seems there’s been a lot of talk about what is in store for Kill Team with the new edition of 40k out in the wild. Well, it hasn’t been forgotten, at least! But while we’re seemingly getting Marines vs Necrons, I’m hoping that we’re going to get something similar to the Rogue Trader box of yesteryear, with the Inquisition getting some amazing new plastics! Well, hope springs eternal…

What else?

The last adventure pack for Lord of the Rings LCG has been released, and I’m a bit sad by that fact! I mean, let’s talk about this for a moment; I haven’t played it for quite some time, and I certainly haven’t played some of the later cycles, so I certainly have a lot still to get through, regardless of the fact that it’s finished! I think the latest pack that I’ve played up to is the Haradrim cycle, although it’s all very patchy following the Ringmaker cycle… I’ve got plenty more years of this game left to me, anyway!

I’m really feeling in the mood to get into the Arkham Horror LCG again though, as it’s been well over twelve months since I had the run through the Dunwich Legacy cycle, and Innsmouth is of course a classic location for the mythos. I really need to get to grips with this game, as it’s such a great way to get my Lovecraft fix!

However, for the time being, I’ve been thinking about trying to actually accomplish something as we’re heading into Lockdown number two, and I’ve been thinking about finally getting some of the Ossiarch Bonereapers models that I was so excited about last year. I mean, sure, I’ve got plenty to be getting on with, but I thought it might be nice to get a bit of a special project going on – and it’ll give me something to focus my Arkhan the Black around! So stay tuned for that!

A catch-up!

Hey everybody!
It feels like it’s been a while, doesn’t it? After celebrating my blog’s sixth birthday, it seems like other things have come into play, and I’ve not had a great deal of time for much else… well, let’s see, shall we?

To start with – check it out! I’m calling these chaps done for now – last weekend, there was a painting competition at my local Games Workshop (that is, a competition that was held via facebook, given the current climate). The brief was to paint an infantry unit at minimum squad size, and while there are perhaps a couple of details I could improve upon, I still like the fact that I’ve managed to get these done! The start of my Blood Angels – so let’s see what comes next, eh?

In the meantime, I’ve decided to resurrect this old project, and have been putting some details on to the chap in the middle there with the plasma gun. They’re real nice models, as you can see, and while the trim there is quite fiddly, it’s nevertheless really gratifying when these things start to come together like this! Of course, it’s going to make it difficult to keep going with the entire platoon, for sure, but it’ll be worth it!

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#nowReading #Warhammer40k

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This week, I’ve started to read The Emperor’s Legion, the first book in the Watchers of the Throne series by Chris Wraight. I’m only about a third of the way through it, but already it’s gotten me really hooked! I’ve felt a little let-down with some of the 40k novels that I’ve read lately, so it’s really nice to finally be enjoying one again! The book has three point-of-view characters, one of whom is a Silent Sister, and one a Custodian Guard. I’ve been considering building up the Custodians that came with the Battle of Prospero box back in the day, and I’ve also thought about getting on with the Sisters of Silence that have been built since 2016!

Yet again, lovely models!

Let’s move away from plastic now, and instead take a look at some paper products! Arkham Horror LCG is something that I want to keep playing, but haven’t really had a great deal of time for since baby Phoebe came along last year! I did manage to get through the entire Dunwich Legacy campaign before her birth, though, and it’s certainly whetted my appetite, and while I’d been buying all of the cycles without playing, the most recent cycle, the Dream Weavers, was the first one that I didn’t get. I was actually thinking about calling it a day with the Circle Undone, but now that we’re off to Innsmouth, I’m thinking I may need to invest in this one, as well!

The expansion feels like it’s a bit of a return to some aspects from the classic board game, with blessings and curses, and flooding locations!

As the Lord of the Rings LCG appears to draw to a close with the Vengeance of Mordor cycle, the fourth pack of which arrived last week, I think it’s time to get back into this game above all, and get playing more once again. I’m hoping that I can persuade Jemma to join me on this venture, as well – husband and wife against the shadow of Sauron, what could be better?

I’ll be sure to update you all with progress, at any rate!

Magic the Gathering is something that I’ve definitely moved away from in the last year or so. I think War of the Spark was the last set I bought cards from, and haven’t actually played the game for a long time! However, Ikoria has caught my eye because (a) it has massive creatures, and (b) we’re seeing a return of the Tarkir shards! There’s a massive creature in the Mardu colours (red, white and black – my favourite!) that is a “dinosaur cat nightmare” – I mean, what’s not to like?!

The Shards also get Ultimatums, there are new tri-lands with the land types so that you can tutor for them; the Tarkir dual lands are back, and we even get a new Narset planeswalker card! There are a lot of nice cards in this set, and a lot of them would fit nicely into decks that I remember playing and enjoying from back in the day. I need to fight the impulse to get some of these cards!! But they’re so nice…

Oh, Ikoria is testing my resolve not to buy more cardboard crack!


Finally, let me go off-topic now, and fill you in on what I’ve been doing in the couple of weeks since my last blog. I’ve started work on another blog – though don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing my ramblings with you all here! I’ve been learning French once again, after having gone sixteen years since I did my A levels, and thought it’d get me into doing a lot more with it, as I try to put everything that I’m learning into practice! So I’ve started a blog as I try to make sense of it all, which can be found here, if you’re interested in that kind of thing!

The Dunwich Legacy campaign

Hey everybody!
It’s campaign time for today’s game day, as I bring you my first thoughts and news on how I’ve fared with playing through the first two encounters of The Dunwich Legacy campaign.

Back in June, I played the first scenario, Extracurricular Activity, and this past weekend I finally got to the second scenario, The House Always Wins, so thought it probably time to give some thoughts here as I’m way behind with playing this game!

I was playing my Jenny Barnes and Ursula Marsh decks, one that has a strong emphasis on investigating locations, the other that is attempting to be a bit of an all-rounder deck. I don’t think I did too badly in the first scenario, but the second was a bit close to the wire for me, as all hell seemed to break loose and I was close to losing the game!

Professor Warren Rice was last seen working late at night in the humanities department of Miskatonic University.

The Dunwich Legacy deluxe expansion was the first such for the Arkham Horror LCG. As with all such deluxe expansions, we get two scenarios in the box, along with all of the new investigators we’ll have for that cycle, and a bunch of the “filler” cards that get used across each of the different scenarios in the cycle. What I found quite interesting, having come at this game from my long-standing Lord of the Rings obsession, is that the deluxe box used some of the filler cards from the core set too, something that wasn’t seen in the older LCG until the seventh deluxe box.

The premise of the box is that Dr Henry Armitage, that venerable old stalwart of the Arkham Horror universe, has enlisted the help of the investigators to find two colleagues – Professor Warren Rice, and Dr Francis Morgan. The investigators can choose whether to go find Rice first, or Morgan. Without really thinking about it, I set up Extracurricular Activity first, so found myself on the trail of Warren Rice!

Arkham Horror LCG Dunwich Legacy

I find it difficult to get going with Arkham Horror LCG games, because I haven’t played it enough to get a real feel for the game. Lord of the Rings LCG has seen my table so often over the years, I can go for a long stretch without playing it, and still pick it up quite easily. With Arkham Horror, however, it always takes me a lot of time and effort to get back into it. Unfortunately, I invariably then play just one game before packing it all away once again… bah!

In my attempt to ensure I found Professor Rice, and thinking that I was playing the scenario, I inadvertently allowed a horrible monster to attack the students in the school… whoops… I managed to conclude the scenario (I wouldn’t really say “win” by spending clues in the Faculty Office, discovering the professor bound and gagged in his own closet. The fiends! Ursula has now got his ally card added into her deck, which is nice!

Campaign Log:
The investigators rescued Professor Warren Rice.
The investigators failed to save the students
2 VPs were won by each investigator.
Ursula Downs has identified the solution.

In front of La Bella Luna stands a man in a pinstripe suit who sizes you up as you approach. “Enjoy yourselves,” he says with a snake-like grin as he holds open the restaurant’s front door.

Just over two months after starting on the campaign, I returned to it this weekend with the second scenario in the box, The House Always Wins. We’re going to the Clover Club, a decision that I found frankly bizarre when the expansion was first announced, but what the hell!

After the events at the University, my intrepid duo of Jenny and Ursula now entered the sleazy life at the speakeasy, as they attempted to track down Dr Morgan. First of all, I have never played a game where I managed to gain so many resources and do so little with them as when playing this one – I think Jenny managed to gain pretty much the entire bank of resources by the end of the game!

This scenario really pleased me, though, as quite a lot happened that felt quite thematic for the sort of story we’re telling here. It came right down to the wire, with the agenda one doom counter away from the club collapsing around me!

Campaign Log:
Naomi has the investigators’ backs.
Dr Francis Morgan was kidnapped.
1 VP was gained by each investigator.

“I’m afraid I must apologize. There’s something I didn’t mention to you earlier.” Dr Armitage then spins a tale you would scarcely believe had it not been for your harrowing experiences earlier that night…

I really enjoyed playing through the two scenarios in this expansion. While they were separated by months, it’s nevertheless quite easy to pick up the story, and whether through the design of the game itself, or just the fact that I’m wired that way anyway, I thought it felt like a well-matched pair of games, despite the different locales.

The Dunwich Legacy is set several months after the events of The Dunwich Horror, one of my all-time favourite Lovecraft stories. While nothing in the deluxe expansion really feels like it bears anything but the most tangential relation to that story, I do get the feeling that we’re gearing up for a cycle of adventures that deals with the fall out from the destruction of Wilbur Whateley’s brother.

I think it’s interesting to see the comparisons between this game and Lord of the Rings LCG, which took quite some time to develop its campaign play system. I mean, there was always an element of narrative thread running through a cycle from the off, but it wasn’t really until the saga expansion idea that we began to see a real campaign implemented. Right from the off, Arkham Horror LCG gives us this, with real consequences in-game for the events of the previous outing, and adding cards to our decks if we manage to discover certain things, etc. It’s quite fascinating really, to view this game as an evolution of the older game, and I find it interesting to read comments from folks who have praised this as almost the pinnacle of the co-operative LCG. I say this, because I find the campaign structure to be so well-integrated overall that it becomes almost impossible to play a scenario out of step with that campaign. I mean, for sure, there’s nothing literally stopping you from doing exactly that, just picking up a mythos pack and going at it, but the game is so narrative-focused, and the story of the campaign is so deeply ingrained that it becomes almost cheap to just play it for what it is. Of course, I’m not trying to say that Lord of the Rings LCG is better because you can so easily play those packs as a stand-alone adventure, but I feel like there could well be a limited replay value to Arkham Horror LCG that I hadn’t previously considered.

I said earlier that I haven’t played the Arkham Horror LCG enough to feel like I’m all that fluent with the gameplay yet, which could well be in part due to this limited replayability issue, but I’m hoping that I can change that soon. Having played through the core set campaign two or three times in a previous effort to get into the game, it does feel really nice to finally be moving on with the game, and experiencing more of the stuff it has to offer, as that experience can feel quite stale, even with a year or more between each play through.

All of this may sound like I’m actually quite down on this game, but I’m definitely looking forward to moving ahead with the campaign and seeing how I fare in the rest of the cycle and beyond!!

Games updates!

Hey everybody!
I may be in the middle of moving house, but I’m still trying to keep abreast of all the goings-on in the games world! There is, after all, quite a great deal happening in the world, and I feel like it’s a glorious time for us nerds as we move into the summer.

First up, I want to talk about Lord of the Rings, and the first pack preview for the upcoming Vengeance of Mordor cycle.

After your adventures in A Shadow in the East, Dorwinion seems to be bright and beautiful, free from the taint of evil that the mysterious cult had swept over the land. After a month of peaceful travel, your band of adventurers have made their way back to the capital city to enjoy one last night of the citizens’ hospitality before returning home. You are glad for the rest, but your thoughts cannot help but drift back to the horrors you witnessed in the shadow of Mordor, and wonder whether the evil has truly been rooted out.

Your fears are confirmed when you awake in the middle of the night to the sounds of clashing steel and cries of fear pouring in from the streets. The enemy has gotten Inside the Walls. Thane Ulchor, a traitor to Dorwinion, has returned to the city with an army of Easterlings. His agents within the city slew the guards and opened the gate to let them in, and now the battle rages in the streets. It is up to you to defend the helpless citizens, support the city guard, and push back the invading forces before the city falls into the clutches of darkness.

I feel very much like this cycle is setting itself up a little like Against the Shadow, which was an urban cycle focused on Gondor, and began with a pack set in the city with the task of rooting out a traitor. While comparisons can be made with controlling locations and Assault on Osgiliath, I think this one could be quite interesting, with the locations you control having effects on them that remain in play even after the card has left play.

Of course, the most interesting aspect of this pack is the new Tom Bombadil ally card, which is shuffled into the encounter deck if you manage to play a copy of the Tom Bombadillo! card from your hand. It’s an interesting way to bring in an ally like this – previously, they’ve been included in the encounter deck as Objectives. It’s exciting to see that the game is still bringing us new ways to play, even this far in the game’s history.

I’ve not been playing Lord of the Rings nearly as much as I’d like to this year, though I have rediscovered my love for the adventure card game with Arkham Horror LCG, and recently picked up the Return to Night of the Zealot box from my local store. While I’ve finally made it to playing The Dunwich Legacy, I think it might be fun to give this one a try and see how much more difficult the additional cards make things!

I’m still not caught up with the current cycle, which I think has now seen the final pack released, but I am looking forward to the next box already, as it looks really interesting with its dual-planes of play. I’ve already talked about this in a previous blog, of course, but I really need to catch up with this game and put some time aside to really investigate what it has to offer. I mean, it’s really not that I dislike the game, it just doesn’t seem to have the table-time that I think it needs. Symptomatic of the times, of course, as I don’t seem to be playing anywhere near as much as I’d like. I guess I’m mainly painting miniatures these days, which brings me on to…

Warcry, the skirmish game set in the Mortal Realms, the game I’d nearly forgotten about with everything else going on, has had another warband revealed, and it is just weird!

The Unmade are just…well, weird! They look like some wonderful Drukhari experiment or something, and I can probably see myself getting hold of some of these models simply to paint, though I’m not sure if they’ve taken the spot of the Iron Golems as my favourite.

They look… I don’t know, almost too-40k. Especially that elongated champion-like figure. Very much John Blanche-esque, make no mistake!

They could also make some useful Cultists for 40k, thinking about it…

Model of the set is probably this chap with the chain, though. The models coming out of Nottingham these days are all pretty amazing, but the sense of movement in these warbands is just phenomenal, and I thought it just looks really, really cool!

Of course,

Where the hell did this come from?! Talisman: Batman?! Not only a re-skin of the classic game, but a Super Villains edition, where you navigate the hallways of Arkham Asylum, evading Batman to free the inmates! Sounds hilarious, and it’s always interesting when you have the opportunity to play as the villains!

I’m actually trying to thin out the boardgames collection once more, as space is currently at a premium while we get settled in the new house and prepare for the arrival of the firstborn, but it is definitely very tempting, I have to say!!

Core Set 2020 is now out, with no real storyline as such (well, it’s a Core Set, so…) but focusing on the life of everybody’s favourite pyromancer, Chandra Nalaar. The set focuses on three-colour wedges, which I like because it’s the first time we’re seeing this since Tarkir block, the set that I really started playing in. I’ve not played in prerelease, of course, but I would like to get my hands on some of those cards for my decks!

There is always something quite nice about a new Magic set, and especially seeing a Core Set again. I’m really trying hard not to fall into the spiral of the cardboard crack, but Magic is probably the best one-on-one card game experience I can think of, so I think it will always be there in some form, and I enjoy collecting at least a few cards from each set and seeing what I can do with them!

Apparently, it’s summer now…

Hey everybody,
It’s been raining something terrible here in the UK for the last week or so, which has left me with a lot of indoor pursuits to take my mind off the fact we’ve had more than a month’s rainfall within hours. I’ve already talked about getting back into Magic, which has been very exciting as I’ve been rediscovering that classic. I’ve got quite a bit more to discuss on that, of course, so those blogs will be peppering my site over the coming weeks and months. I’ve already got some lined up, to keep things going while I move house (though when, exactly, that will be, remains to be seen!) so I thought I’d check in with everything else that has been going on!

First of all, I’ve really gotten back into painting, and have been really getting somewhere with my Skitarii army ideas from days gone by. I’ve been toying around with quite a number of list ideas, though for now I’m trying to focus on painting up what I’ve got built, and ensuring I can bring down the pile of shame into something more akin to a proper army.

I’ve managed to get two lots of five troops, along with one HQ and one elite slot finished. Once I’ve finished up the Tech Priest Enginseer and the next ten Vanguard painted up, I want to move back to making the two lots of five troops into two lots of ten, which I’ll probably do alongside another character model. I’ve also built up five Sicarian Infiltrators, which I really like – especially that Princeps model! I love the insane technical details on these models, and I’ve really enjoyed painting the abundance of clips and plugs and screens on the Enginseer, so I’m expecting to enjoy him as well!

It’s my plan to get 500 points of AdMech painted up soon, so that I can start to play games with them. I don’t have an Imperium army that I can play with, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they work. Once I’ve got those 500 points finished, I can keep painting and adding to the collection, but at least it will be an army that is seeing some action, at last!

Skitarii list 500 points

My thought process here is to keep adding units that interest me, or that I feel that I need, once I’ve been able to try the army out and see what it’s all about. I’m guessing that heavier artillery will be a requirement, and I’ve already started to put some paint on the first Dunecrawler twelve months ago, so hopefully that will be making an appearance before too long!

On the subject of painting models, I’ve also been fidding with some Necromunda miniatures, the Delaque gangers that I’d built back in December. I want to get into this game so badly, but finding people to play with has been proving a bit more difficult than I’d thought – hopefully soon, though, I’ll be able to get either the Delaque or Van Saar models to the table and try it out! I just hope I actually enjoy it!

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I’ve also been reading Warhammer 40k novels quite voraciously, as I try to work my way through quite the backlog that I have! The Space Marines Legends series was a short-lived set of hardbacks that focused on a single Space Marine hero from one of the popular first-founding chapters. I’d read the first book in the series, Cassius, back in 2017, and was quite impressed overall. Lemartes takes us to the Blood Angels, and discusses the cursed sons of Sanguinius with the dual flaws of the Red Thirst and the Black Rage. We follow a Chaos incursion on the planet Phlegethon, which the Blood Angels are sent to put down. The Death Company are unleashed on the cultists, along with those brothers from the Fourth Company who are particularly susceptible to the Red Thirst. When the cultists bring down the wrath of Khorne on the planet, these brothers almost lose themselves, but fortunately the unbridled fury of the Death Company is able to bring down the greater daemon Skarbrand.

It’s an enjoyable enough novel, though it felt a little bit like a non-event in the grand scheme of things. I also read Azrael recently, by the king of the Dark Angels, Gav Thorpe, but I was particularly unimpressed with this one. It just felt interminable, and the plot was particularly uninspiring overall. Also dealing with a Chaos uprising, and showing Azrael’s ascent to Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter, I was hoping we’d get to see a lot more of the inner circle, but instead it all just fell a bit too flat for me. Ah well!

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A bit more recently, we have Cadia Stands, which is something of a tie-in to the Gathering Storm series that brought 7th Edition to a close. The novel deals with, well, the Fall of Cadia, as the forces of Chaos emerge from the Eye of Terror for Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade. Yes, he’s had a Thirteenth Black Crusade before, but this is a different Thirteenth Black Crusade. I really found myself enjoying this book, as we followed groups of Cadians around the planet. I thought it was really quite interesting to see how the soldiers reacted to the increasingly Chaotic events on-world, as some struggled to evacuate from the warzone.

The book has been followed up by Cadian Honour, which seems to follow up on one of the soldiers featured in Cadia Stands, Minka Lesk. I’m not normally one for Cadian stories, as I’m not a fan of the army in-game, but I enjoyed this one enough that I’m thinking I’ll probably give it a try soon!

Arkham Horror LCG

From 40k to Lovecraft, and it’s been quite an adventure this afternoon, as I’ve finally started playing the Dunwich Legacy!

I’ve been playing this game for what feels like a long time now, but have never made it past the Core Set. Back last October, I finished the core set campaign, Night of the Zealot, and so built up some decks with the new cards and thought about starting up the Dunwich Legacy, but other things seemed to get in the way. Well, I’m pleased to report that I’ve finally made it to Dunwich!

I’ve played the first scenario, Extracurricular Activity, using my Jenny Barnes and Ursula Marsh decks. I know Ursula is a more recent investigator, but the deck was built, so there we are! I really enjoyed it, seeing how the game has evolved from the core set already was quite interesting. There is a strong discard theme in the first scenario, at least, which I wasn’t expecting – I didn’t quite see my decks completely discarded, but even so, it was something I wasn’t really prepared for, and the hate leveled at investigators by the Agenda for having a large discard pile was really something!

Arkham Horror LCG Dunwich Legacy

Overall, I’m really enjoying this game. I’ve been buying everything for it as it has been coming out up until the current cycle which, due to real life intrusions, I hadn’t been aware had been released! When I popped by the games shop recently, it turns out pretty much the entire cycle has been released now, though I’m fairly sure I’ve only picked up the deluxe cycle.

FFG have recently announced a fifth deluxe expansion, The Dream-Eaters, which has also taken me unawares! The way the campaign works for this expansion is quite unique, as it features scenarios set in the real world and in the Dreamlands, and you choose one of the two for your investigators to follow. There is still talk of a cohesive eight-part campaign, though, so it sounds as though it will still be a traditional cycle. I may even have caught up with it all by then, and be able to play this one as it happens!

While I am loving this return to the Arkham Horror LCG, and finally getting round to seeing what I’ve been missing all this time, I’m also excitedly awaiting A Shadow in the East, the next deluxe expansion for Lord of the Rings. I haven’t played that game for a long time now, I know, but it is still up there for me, and I look forward to getting my grubby little hands on it!