Home » Cards and Dice » How to Play Arkham Horror Card Game?

How to Play Arkham Horror Card Game?

The Arkham Horror card game is a cooperative RPG card game. It has deck-building elements, strategy, and RPG games, making it a little intimidating for new players. But it also offers something incredibly unique. 

With the Arkham horror card game, up to 4 players can explore unknown locations, fight unholy monsters, solve creepy mysteries, and much more! It’s even set in the same universe as the popular Call of Cthulhu RPG. 

What is The Arkham Horror Card Game?

What is The Arkham Horror Card Game

Released in 2016 and produced by Fantasy Flight Games, the Arkham Horror card game is rare in horror-focused games today. It’s inspired by Cthulhu Mythos of H.P Lovecraft and other cosmic horror stories.

So, if you love a good horror story, then the Arkham Horror card game is sure to be a fun time. Like many RPG games, you are tasked with going through different scenarios during the game. But this game isn’t strictly an RPG as there are also deck-building elements in play. 

Each player is an investigator, and cards describe your weaknesses and skills. However, other cards will decide who and what you are fighting against during your journey through each scenario. Players also need to race against the clock. 

The Arkham Horror card game isn’t the easiest game to get to grips with. Its hybrid RPG and deck-building gameplay have a learning curve to it. But it’s a lot of fun and sure to provide a unique experience.

What You’ll Need? 

Despite only being released in 2016, the Arkham Horror card game has seen numerous expansions. These add new investigators, monsters, and, most importantly, scenarios. However, if you want to give this game a go, stick to the standard game set first. 

It might be tempting to add new elements. But this will only make things more complicated; the product below is what you’re looking for. The Arkham Horror card game is still very popular, so finding it should be relatively simple. 

On Sale ”Arkham

Now when you open the box, you’ll find plenty packed up inside. If you have ever played an RPG board game before, this likely won’t be a surprise. But let’s take a closer look at all the key elements included. 

The Cards 

There are plenty of cards included in Arkham Horror. Investigator cards are your character, and they will have their skills and weaknesses. Certain cards will apply more general weaknesses to your character as well. 

Equipment cards involve items and weapons that can help you during the game. There are also the location and enemy cards that can come into play. What cards will be used will all depend on the scenario you are playing. 

In the Arkham Horror card game, there can be multiple different decks. This includes an act deck, agenda deck, and encounter deck. While you can play Arkham Horror with your custom deck, the base game has prebuilt decks to help you get started. 

Resource Tokens 

Each player starts with 5 of these tokens. These tokens are used during the game to use certain cards. Some cards will have a resource cost, so to use them, you’ll need to use (pay) tokens. At the end of every turn, you will usually get to collect another token. 

Clue Tokens 

Location cards will grant you clue tokens if your character is smart enough. This is found by comparing the intelligence stat on your card to the stat on the location. If you collect enough clue tokens, you can move on in the scenario. 

Doom Tokens 

The agenda card in play will have a doom threshold. Every complete round will add one doom token to the card. When the card reaches its threshold, the agenda card can be turned over. This will often be bad news for players as it will add new obstacles/ challenges to your scenario. The doom token system, in a way, acts as a timer. Players will need to move quickly, or things will get more difficult.  

Damage and Horror Tokens 

Every investigator will have their damage and horror stats. Getting attacked by enemies will add damage and horror tokens to your card. If you reach your limits on either of these stats during the game, then you will be eliminated. 

Scenario Guide 

With the base Arkham Horror card game, you will get a scenario guidebook. This will detail the tutorial scenario and a few extra, more advanced games you can play. They’ll also be a guide included that will help you get to grips with the gameplay. 

The Arkham Horror Card Game Rules and Gameplay 

The Arkham Horror Card Game Rules and Gameplay

The Aim of The Game 

The Arkham Horror card game aims to make it to the end of the scenario and complete the objective. Since this is a cooperative game, all the players will be working together. Like many RPG games, there is no one way to win. It will depend on your own strategy, luck, and teamwork. 

Setting Up 

To begin play, simply choose which scenario you are playing and then choose your investigator. One player should be the lead investigator. This player will have the final authority on any decisions the team makes. 

Then each player should take 5 cards from their deck. If you don’t like any of the cards you have, you can put them back in the deck and draw again. You shouldn’t have any weakness cards in your first 5 either. 

Check the scenario instructions in your guidebook to ensure you set up the correct decks. Each player should also have 5 resource tokens with them. Once this is done, you will start with the investigation phase. 

Investigation Phase

During the investigation phase, each player can take three actions. To make this simpler, we have listed all the actions you can take below. 

  1. Draw – You can draw 1 new card or resource token. 
  2. Play – You can play a card from your hand. Certain cards can be played without counting as an action as well. 
  3. Activate – This allows you to use an ability on one of your cards. 
  4. Move – You can move to a connected location. 
  5. Investigate – You can investigate a location. This could potentially help you get a clue token. 
  6. Fight – You can engage an enemy that is nearby in the hopes of defeating it. 
  7. Evade – If an enemy is attacking you, then you can attempt to evade it.

Enemy Phase

During this phase, the enemies will move around to attack. Not all enemies will move, but special ones like hunter-class monsters can move towards the closest player and attack them. Players that are hit are damaged using the damage and horror tokens. 

At the end of this phase, players should draw one new card from their deck and collect a resource token. Some people call this the status or upkeep phase of the game. Finally, there is one last phase to go before the end of the round.

Mythos Phase 

The mythos phase begins with a new doom token being added to the agenda deck. If the doom threshold is reached, then the card will be turned over. This will add new elements to the game; each player will then draw an encounter card. This will likely put them in a dangerous situation and make the game more difficult. 

Winning or Losing 

The game continues using this three-phase gameplay loop. You win the Arkham Horror card game when the scenario objective has been completed. This will require teamwork, strategy, and likely a little luck. 

You lose if all players die, and this is easier than you might think. But it’s also part of the fun and one of the reasons why the Arkham Horror card game is so much fun! 

The Arkham Horror Card Game – A Spooky Good Time!

The Arkham Horror card game is a unique RPG card game that lets players journey to nightmarish worlds. The game can be expanded with a wide variety of expansion sets, and you can even use booster packs to add more flavor to your deck. 

The game combines many different elements from RPG games and card games like Pokemon and Magic The Gathering. If you are looking for a fun, horror-focused card game, Arkham Horror is a must-play. 

About Bar Games 101

Bar Games 101 is a website devoted to helping you learn about the best games to play with your friends. We review the games, research the rules, and uncover helpful tips and strategies.

Get our free guide to the 50 Best Bar Games.