Tag Archive: Arkham Horror

Jönköping Horror v.1

Last year I wrote about making a custom board for the game Arkham Horror, and I have now returned with an update to that project. Last Sunday me and a couple of friends did a first playtest of the board and it was a complete success. We only ran into a couple of minor issues, things I expected people to comment on, so no big surprises at all. The game flowed smoothly and we had a lot of tense moments, and that’s exactly what we wanted from the game.

I was hoping to have more exciting things to talk about, but pretty much everything went as I thought it would. I guess I should be glad that all my hard work has paid off. Now I can focus on the new mechanics (public transportation, aquatic movement, companions roaming the board) I want to implement.

The basics of Arkham Horror is simple; gates to other dimensions open, horrible monsters invade the city, and the players do everything they can to stop it. That core is still intact in Jönköping Horror. I have messed a bit with the layout of the city, made the suburbs on the ends of the board feel a bit further away from the central part of the city. The location of the hot spots for gate activity are roughly at the same relative locations as in the original game, and they have roughly the same percental change to spawn gates.

Arkham Horror relies on a large number of mythos cards to control what evils the players will face. They control where gates spawn, what monsters will move where and what strange occurrences will happen in the town. Making 100+ cards was not an option for me, so I sat down and analysed the cards and looked for general trends and the frequencies of certain things. What I ended up with was a page full of random tables to control everything; where gates open, where new clues appear, what types of monsters move, how monsters move, what headlines occur, what environments happens. All the things you’d find on the mythos cards.

That’s not all the cards I’ve done away with. I have also removes the Arkham Encounters cards. When exploring the city you’ll have random encounters determined by cards. Once again I sat down and analysed and wrote small lists of 10 random encounters per location on the board, both for the 26 in Jönköping and the 8 Other Worlds. The layout of the new board and it tables was inspired by the game Talisman and it’s random encounter tables. Having the tables right there on the board gives the players a lot more information about a location, something only very experienced or really well-read players of Arkham Horror would know. This was something I got really positive feedback on. People like it when they can know what dangers they might face in the game.

Lastly, there are the custom investigators. That is where everything started actually. After playing Arkham Horror for a while I got the idea to make versions of myself and my friends for use in the game. After some searching around on the web I found a really good system for making your own investigators, a system I have used to make over a dozen new playable characters. Playing yourself in a game like this is fun, playing yourself trying to save your own home town is even better.

I have looked around on the Fantasy Flight Games forum for custom creations for Arkham Horror. There are tons of new investigators and ancient ones there, but custom boards are quite a rare thing. I can see why, they are a ton of work to do. I’m planning on making a post similar to this on the fan creations forum in the hopes that it might encourage people to take the leap and and create something as elaborate as a custom board.

If you want to know more about Jönköping Horror then go ahead and take a look at the wiki I have been using while developing it. It might not match up 100% with the finished product and it’s rather ugly, but it has all the information you’d want.


Horror at Home

I have finally managed to create a layout sketch for the new Arkham Horror board that I’m satisfied with. There is still a lot of work left on the locations and the investigators, but I’m making progress.

All Aboard For Customville

The most ambitious project I’m currently working on is making a new board for Arkham Horror. The original board works very well, but the gaming club thought it could be fun to make our own board based on our home town.

Making a new board for a board game can be a lot of work, especially if you are changing or adding rules to it. I have no idea when we will have a prototype done, the process of collaboration can make things take a lot longer to finish.

Today I got to play yet another session of the wonderful adventure board game Arkham Horror.

The players take on the role of investigators in H. P. Lovecraft‘s Massachusetts town of Arkham. Gates to other planes open throughout the town and through them alien creatures appear. The investigators must avoid or fight these monsters, enter the gates themselves, explore the alien places beyond and return to Arkham to close the gates. If too many gates are open at once, a powerful alien being will enter, likely destroying the town and possibly threatening the world.

Arkham Horror has a reputation for being a hard game. That is a good thing for a cooperative game, and it leaves players with enough choices so that when they win, they can congratulate themselves on a game well-played, and not feel as if they’ve “solved” the game. For those not content with the base game there are 7 expansions, all adding new items, monsters and mechanics that change the balance of the game.

The game we had today was a bit of a disappointment, it felt way too easy this time. We played with the Dunwich Horror expansion, which adds a small extra board, but nothing much happened at all there. Arkham Horror is a game of risks and rewards, and sometimes the dice favours the bold. Maybe next time it will feel like a proper challenge.