When Worlds Collide
Arkham Horror The Card Game was released last week. This new Lovecraftian LCG from Fantasy Flight Games sets out to combine the best parts of an RPG and LCG into one glorious package. It is set in FFG’s Arkham Files universe and it is really exciting! The combination has not really ever been attempted before. Let me take you on a journey and describe why this excites me so much!
From the beginning of my time playing RPGs, I have loved the story elements. The aspect of not just creating conflict but also being able to express a tale that can immerse the characters and player into the world. Caring about your character’s triumphs and failures, good deeds and bad, even things like their death have all been things that have made RPGs such a wonderful thing amongst my friends and I.
Oh look a segue! Shortly after college was over I started playing Magic the Gathering quite a bit. The best part about MTG is that the milieu is so rich and full of awesome characters and world changing events. The cards do their best to express this via flavor text, but the whole story telling experience is cut short by the CCG aspect of the game. Wizards of the Coast does their best to make each event they run for each new set interesting but it pales in comparison to a true RPG story telling experience. One of the things we always wanted with MTG was a way to tell an RPG like story with character sheets and stuff that used our decks for combat. Each player getting limitations and bonuses for their deck based on how their character is built, but it never really happened.
Oh my god, look a second segue! Oh no…it’s going to collide with the first one!!! *crash*
After we sift through the wreckage, we find we have created Arkham Horror The Card Game. This cooperative card game, as I mentioned earlier, combines the deck building and strategy of an LCG with the story telling and campaign style of an RPG. Each player builds their character, a 30 card deck with up to two copies of specific sets of cards, and takes them through a short adventure. This adventure can be a one off scenario or a full on part of a campaign. The choice you make, traumas you suffer, injuries you sustain, and people you interact with all affect the campaign you are playing.
Fantasy Flight Games has done cooperative LCG’s before and even experiment with campaign style play with them. Lord of the Rings The Card Game has saga expansions that allow you to play through the books in an epic saga style with your decks gaining some cards and special things it make it feel awesome. But it was never fully integrated. It was fun but at best it was a fun romp through stories you already know. One of the best parts about Arkham is that it is saga style campaign play but all the stories are new! Nate French, one of the designers of Arkham Horror LCG, worked on both games and you can tell they learned with LOTR and they took that into this game.
FFG is really taking this idea of card games integrated with story to the next level as well with their announcement of the Terminal Directive. This is a story driven legacy style expansion for their Android: Netrunner LCG. It looks really fun and I cannot wait to see what kind of stuff they do in the future. The ability to finally have someone combining the best parts of card games with RPGs makes this player super excited!
Have you had a chance to play Arkham Horror the Card game? What do you think about this new style of games? Leave your ideas and thoughts in the comments and I’ll see you next time!