Arkham Horror LCG - Essex County Express - No Ticket!

Oooh we get to ride on a train this time? I've been quite excited for this one from the previews as it could be a stand-out in the cycle in terms of thematic story telling. Everyone got your tickets?

Keeping to the previous format, these pack reviews are based on the scenario itself as well as my pick of decent, ridiculous or amusing cards from the player set. If you ever want to see the full player card list, you can check out Arkham.db, which has a comprehensive card list as well as quality deck lists posted by the Arkham LCG community - highly recommended.




Designer: Nate French, Matthew Newman
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Age: 14+
Players: 2-4
Time: 60-120 Minutes
RRP: £11.99 


From Board Game Geek


The Essex County Express is the second Mythos Pack in The Dunwich Legacy cycle for Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Among its sixty new cards, you'll find twenty-eight player cards, including four copies of a new weakness.
You'll also find a thrilling new scenario in which your investigations lead you outside the town of Arkham. While the train you take may offer the fastest transit to your next lead, it may not offer the safest… When the train rumbles, shakes, and lurches to a halt, you and your fellow investigators must race from your car to the engine. If you can't get the train moving in a hurry, you and all the other passengers may fall prey to whatever unnatural things seem to be crawling, shifting, and oozing their way from car to car, growing ever larger as they do so.


THE STORY SO FAR


I didn't read up on the previews for this pack so I had in mind a scenario with a running train invaded by cultists or some nasty monster. Instead I think we got something even more thematic and fun. Your train stops and a giant rift has opened to suck in all the train cars to the depths of time and space. You have to uncover clues and pass to the next train car (which I admit is a little harder to explain in thematic terms why you can't just walk through normally) or fight past some monstrosity to head to the Engine Car and start the train up again. All the while as the agenda advances, entire sections of the train are being pulled into the rift, passengers and all making it a race against time to avoid being one yourself.

This is quite a tough little scenario in multiplayer, but wasn't too bad in solo mode. But boy is it fun! It gets your imagination going, I'm there picturing a high special effects movie scene of rift sucking carnage as I'm backstabbing blobs (yeah work that one out) and desperately trying to grab clue tokens when I'm missing my Flashlight. With more players it's pretty tense throughout as the Encounter deck will include those annoying cards to advance Doom quickly, meaning you can't always predict how much time you have before suddenly your train car gets airlifted off the track!

It's a fairly short scenario time wise making it ideal when you just want a quick standalone session. But it does have a couple of minor niggles. Firstly despite a really cool "twist" in a possible story choice during the scenario, there's no long term impact on the campaign log unless of course you fail miserably. Also I liked how the deck throws helpless passengers at you that you can save, but all that does is avoids you taking additional horror. And there's not that many of them especially in solo mode. If I saw any, I just let them die (I am Evil Homer. . . . ) and soaked up the damage. I think it would have been cool if one of them was an important VIP or perhaps there were long term ramifications of letting too many fall into the rift.


TOOLS OF THE TRADE



I'm Outta Here!


OK, this card is just hilarious! It's going to be difficult to top this one in the future, but by all means I hope they try. You're literally putting a card in your deck that makes you fail the scenario! Beats dying I guess, but have fun finding the deck space for it. Obviously this is best use in campaign mode, but even so, are you going to use it? I want to see someone use this in a 4 player game and witness the reactions!



Newspaper


In the right hands, this is one nice piece of kit. At the very least you will likely be getting 3 uses out of it as you flip between Acts and Agenda's, but what if you only had to make a few Investigate checks and you made every single one count for several clues. Enter Rex Murphy, who just hoover up clues in one gulp. They can grab multiple clues in one go. Make your boosted roll one that practically conquers an Act by itself.


Stand Together


Guardian cards do seem to favour team-work whenever possible, which is cool if you're making 2 handed decks or playing with friends. 2 resources and 2 cards is a nice boost to get for zero cost, but of course you need the XP for it. However I like this concept and will think about creating some 2 handed deck combinations in the future, one of which focusing on this style of co-operation.




VERDICT ON ESSEX COUNTY EXPRESS


This was a very cool scenario to play. Extremely thematic and creating a sense of epic scale. I could picture the whole scene playing out in my high budget movie imagination. There's a solid amount of replay value from the combination of locations and it proved to be quite a tough, but not frustrating scenario overall especially if you have more players. The only niggle is that the Helpless Passengers should have given more incentive for you to rescue them and there isn't much effect on the overall story arc here.

The player cards are hit and miss, with some I doubt I'll ever use short of having a laugh, but with some that stand out as excellent additions or upgrades to any deck. Only Rogues seemed to get the short straw on this one whereas Seekers and Mystics are quickly becoming abundant with good choices.





BROKEN RATING - 8 TRAIN PASSENGERS LEFT BEHIND















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