Arkham Horror LCG: Dunwich Legacy Review - We've Only Just Begun!

OK first up, no story spoilers here, I wouldn't be that cruel to you all, but I will mention briefly some of the mechanics involved so you might get slight spoilers of those, though to be honest, it's more about the story right?

Arkham Horror LCG has gotten off to a flying start, luring gamers in droves to the soft embracing tentacles of Cthulhu........err I mean to a quality card game set in the Arkham universe that Fantasy Flight refuses to let leave your subconscious. It even hit my Top 10 of 2016 on a podium position, that's how good I think it is. It even replaced Netrunner for me, not because they are similar, but because coupled with Lord of the Rings LCG, I can only carry on so many LCG's and co-operative play just suits the format so much better than a tournament meta heavy 2 player competitive game for my needs.

Well as with any other LCG, expansions are going to come out at a ridiculous rate, however co-op games are easier to get to the table so getting them played and reviewed for Arkham will be much easier (just a small delay currently due to having to catch up with a review backlog for Q1). Rather than just give us a bunch of new player cards, Arkham LCG (like with LOTR LCG) will provide us with new stories to dive into which hopefully will change up the mechanics over time. But an LCG has to get the first few expansions right to keep people interested, I mean they messed up royally with Game of Thrones LCG for me (too many factions, not enough cards, same old tournament dominating meta) so it's critical that Dunwich sets a high benchmark from the get-go.





Designer: Nate French / Matthew Newman
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Age: 12+
Players: 1-4
Time: 60-90 Minutes
RRP: £24.99


From Fantasy Flight Games

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Dunwich Legacy, a deluxe expansion for Arkham Horror: The Card Game!

Several months ago, three Miskatonic University professors armed themselves with secret knowledge, traveled to Dunwich, and brought an end to the strange and terrifying creature that had been terrorizing the secluded village. Their heroic efforts brought peace to the region—for a while—but also left the men scarred by the horrors they had witnessed. Now, one of those professors, Dr. Armitage, has need of your assistance. His colleagues have gone missing, and he fears the worst…

With five mini cards and 156 full-size cards, The Dunwich Legacy challenges you to find the missing professors and launches you into a campaign that leads to Miskatonic University, the notorious Clover Club, and beyond. Five new investigators arrive to offer their services, armed with fifty-nine new player cards (including a complete playset of each) that allow you to pursue new deck-building strategies and new styles of play. Finally, you'll find all manner of new terrors arrayed against you—from backroom thugs and bad luck to arcane hexes and wholly unnatural abominations.


WE'RE NOT HEROES, WE'RE LEGENDS


Dunwich Legacy manages to both mimic a problem similar to Game of Thrones LCG, but also at the same time manage to improve on all of the other LCG's. Kinda weird, but let me explain. Typically most LCG's tend to focus on one faction in their deluxe sets, if you're lucky, two. Alternatively you might get a couple new heroes to play with. Here you're getting a whole 5 extra investigators, but spread over ALL of the 5 available factions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is a first. You may only get one extra investigator for each faction, but having 5 in general means you've got a roster of 10 characters to pick from already and we haven't even started with cycle packs yet.

That's really good variety and they all play and feel very different from their counterparts from the core set (Jenny in particular is especially good for solo players as she's fully balanced). I especially like the unique items they start with such as Jenny's twin shooters, Jim's trumpet and Ashcan's loyal dog, Duke. Certainly they're much more memorable than Daisy's bag! But then I've not read much background on these investigators, what do I know? Really should get that new Investigators book they released, oops getting sidetracked!

An important distinction though that other reviewers haven't mentioned is that the new investigators have a slightly more relaxed deckbuilding requirement than the predecessors. In the Core set, each investigator had a primary and secondary class requiring cards from both. Here, each one only has a single class, but allows you to cherry pick up to 5 other cards from any other class and not limited to just one. Does your Jenny need a Machete, but keeps a Stray Cat with her? Go right ahead, this is definitely an improvement as I don't want investigators to be pigeon holed into the same cards.

However there's a catch with all this nice variety. Arkham LCG is almost forced to repeat a similar problem that Game of Thrones LCG had which is when you've got a high number of factions, the player cards are spread very thinly across them, meaning that an individual faction may only get two or three different Level 0 cards each. This doesn't necessarily increase the card pool to a great extent as to allow multiple different builds with these new characters, but of course that will come in time and at least there is no tournament meta to contend with. On the plus side at least deck building is still pretty straightforward.


TO BE CONTINUED. . . 


Dunwich comes with two scenarios to kick off this extended length campaign that will continue through the whole Dunwich cycle for at least 8 adventures in total. Each one introduces not only some clever ways to incorporate theme, but also really do a great job of forcing story decisions on you that will have long reaching consequences eventually, but you don't know how or when. It's like watching your favourite TV series and ending up on a cliffhanger or one of those cliche, ominous, foreboding plot arc teasers before cueing the theme music (which unless anyone can suggest better will be the Doctor Who intro until further notice). Both infuriating and exciting at the same time.

As I said, no specific spoilers, but in the first scenario I tried, I loved how open-ended it was. You're pretty much thrown in without much to go on and have to uncover what you need to move forward. A clever mechanic of locating someone important is done by you using clues to dig through the encounter deck, emphasising that you don't know where they are to begin with. Now this can backfire a bit given that obviously if that card is on the top of the deck, you're in a much better place than if it were on the bottom. And before you even tackle the final Act, you'll have an important moral story decision to make from multiple objectives, each involving a completely different course of action for Act III. I love these so much and this is where Lord of the Rings LCG could stand to catch up a bit with. I have 3 possible endings for the first scenario already and as I write down the after-effects upon completion I've no idea whether my choice was technically the "right" one, but damn did I feel hardcore doing it.

The second one was a little toned down in comparison choice wise, but it felt like a collection of mini games, with multiple ways to handle potential adversaries or situations. Again it's this element of choice that (if Arkham LCG keeps embracing it) will be the keystone for its success.


VERDICT ON ARKHAM HORROR LCG: DUNWICH LEGACY


I was biting my nails to begin with, but thankfully I can say that Dunwich is a brilliant continuation to the origins of one of the best card games of 2016. Even though there's only two new scenarios, they prove that the game can be kept fresh by changing up the mechanics and offering players more narrative choices during the game. The Core Set was a nice introduction, but too combat heavy, so these are easily the best in the game to date.

With a full new roster of cool characters, you're strapped for choice as to what decks to build, however as was the issue with Game of Thrones, the cards are still spread rather thinly to accomodate the different classes as well as levelling opportunities. Arkham does mitigate this however by only requiring a 30 card deck so there's still room for variety and this will improve over time, but I guess we'll have to be a little patient for now and let some cycle packs flood in before multiple builds for each class roll in.


Hopefully you've all figured out a good way to store the cards whether in boxes or binders, because if you're enjoying Arkham Horror LCG so far, this is a must to pick up on your next trip to your friendly local gaming store.




BROKEN RATING - 9 ELDER SIGNS





YOU WILL LIKE DUNWICH LEGACY IF:



You want a lot more characters in the roster - there's loads of combinations now.


You want a change up to the story mechanics that allow for multiple methods of completion.


You love scenarios that give you story based choices throughout.




YOU WILL NOT LIKE DUNWICH LEGACY IF:



You wanted a lot more player cards to use - it still has to spread thinly for now.


You were hoping for more scenarios as LOTR usually provided 3 per set

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