Review – Arkham Horror The Card Game: Edge of the Earth Expansions
|Designer||MJ Newman, Jeremy Zwirn|
|Publisher||Fantasy Flight Games|
|Length||60-90 minutes per scenario|
It’s a tale as old as time. Investigator meets older researcher. Researcher says there’s something terrible out there in the ice, don’t let this new trip happen! Investigator says yes, but what if instead we go along and help them? In Fantasy Flight’s expansion to their Arkham Horror The Card Game, players will do exactly that, and come up against otherworldly horrors, unspeakable evils, and deadly cold temperatures. Think you have what it takes?
Monsters & Enemies
Players will battle possessed humans, evil entities with too many eyes/tentacles/teeth, and psychic forces trying to worm their way into your investigator’s head. Many of the enemy cards just feature pictures of the enemy, but occasionally there is some blood.
Magic & Hazards
Players can learn and cast spells, and can also encounter evil forces that can’t really be explained without magic. Some of the cards can be gruesome, such as one where the person on the card has black ooze seeping from every orifice on their face. Investigators can also suffer earthly dangers such as limb injury, frostbite, or panic attack. On occasion, players will draw a card from their deck and it will be an evil being making them take horror and damage tokens, or discard cards among other ill effects.
Edge of the Earth comes in two separate boxes – the campaign and the investigators. I have to assume it was in an attempt to save cash, but if you have to choose definitely go with the campaign box, as it will give you so much more for your money. The investigator box only comes with five new investigators and cards to make decks for them, but no preset deck list like what you get in the starter box for Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Speaking of which, you will need the base set to play Edge of the Earth. The campaign comes with all the cards and a few special tokens, but almost nothing else that you would need in the course of a regular game like chaos tokens, damage, horror, and clue/doom tokens.
After finishing the campaign book, I read through the designer message at the back. In it, designer MJ Newman mentions wanting to give the campaign a “horror movie” feel as the 9 expedition members are slowly picked off the longer you play; I definitely got that feeling since I lost someone before even playing the first round of the campaign! Over the 5 different scenarios, players can have a myriad of different outcomes depending on who survived, what equipment was recovered, and what expedition members are able to contribute to your survival. Players even have the option of playing the whole campaign legacy-style or playing each scenario as a stand-alone mission. While I love all the options, I enjoyed playing all the scenarios and seeing my decisions and some events outside my control still affecting the game 2 or 3 scenarios later.
Another way the game inspires dread is with the new frost tokens and the Tekeli-li deck. Frost tokens are little snowflake chits that you add to the chaos bag; the first one you draw for a test counts as a -1, and then you draw again. If you draw another frost token it’s an automatic failure, as the elements have prevented you from accomplishing your task. If you draw a different token, you follow that outcome but include the -1 from the Frost token. As you play, different bad things happen that make you add more and more frost tokens to the bag until, by the last scenario, they are all in use, just waiting to keep you from accomplishing anything. Tekeli-li is a nebulous monster of tentacles and eyes that will on occasion make you add cards from his deck to yours, both taking up valuable hand space and making you lose health, cards, resources, and take on other injuries or horror. There are rare ways to remove these cards, but only in-between scenarios. And if you’re playing an ongoing campaign, you leave them in, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before you draw another!
I enjoyed my time in the snow with Edge of the Earth. My biggest complaint is simply the lack of preset deck suggestions for each of the new investigators, similar to what you get in the core game box. Other than that, players looking for one long, or several short sessions, should definitely get the campaign box for the hours of possible play and replay value. If you’re a big fan of the Arkham Horror LCG, this expansion is a must-have.
Review copies were provided by the publisher.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a big fan of the Arkham Horror LCG, the campaign expansion is a must-have.