Arkham Horror 2nd Edition: Player Aids

Arkham Horror 2nd Edition typical Investigator layout

Arkham Horror is a lot more complex that the average board game, and it has a number of situational rules that are easy to forget: rules that don’t come up all the time, but that can have a big impact on how the game plays out if you consistently forget them (or misremember them). The rulebook is well-designed, well-written, and does a good job of teaching the game, but these situational rules are scattered throughout it, and the rulebook is thus not the best possible in-game playthrough guide.

Stylized picture of index from the rulebook
Many situational rules are scattered throughout the rulebook

In order to provide a smoother play experience, with less time spent hunting up rules, what is required is a sequence of play document, with all of the rules (and rule references) built into it where they come into play during the turn sequence. The initial game setup process also benefits from a more structured treatment, as does the combat sequence.

The Author has developed these resources for his own personal use in running Arkham Horror game sessions, and makes them available here to anyone who would like to use them:

  • Setup
    Covers the game setup process, including special cases and determination of all in-game limits/triggers.
  • Order of Play
    Detailed order of play document that covers all five phases of the game turn, including all situational rules, special cases and checks for limits/triggers.
  • Combat
    Covers the combat process, including all situational rules, special cases and Monster Abilities, as well as resulting Unconsciousness and Insanity.
  • DM Notes
    More detailed handling of monster spawns, gate spawns, the Terror Track and character Devourment.
  • Limits
    Presents all of the various in-game limits in one place, in table format; includes critical detail on how each limit triggers related game events (for some it is when the limit is met, for others it is when the limit is exceeded).
  • Session Reference Sheet
    A convenient form for documenting session-specific information for quick reference during play.

Getting to know the town of Arkham— which resources are available where, which Locations are most likely to spawn Clues or Gates, which skills are most often needed for encounters at which Locations— is critical for success, and prospective Investigators are urged to do their homework before challenging the horrors lurking in Arkham.

Arkham Horror 2nd Edition New Player Introduction
Sealed Gate at Black Cave
Sealing an open Gate at Black Cave should be a priority, for several reasons…

Based on actual analysis of game components, the Author has compiled several sets of useful information that can be used to better focus where and how Investigators expend their precious time and resources, improving the chances of eventual success through increased efficiency and more effective tactical decisionmaking.

  • Location Encounters
    This is a summary of the Location Encounter cards, listed by Location. It includes the ratio of “good” cards to “bad” cards (a measure of how risky the Location is), which skill checks might be required (and how likely each is), and a list of the best (for “good” cards) or worst (for “bad” cards) possible results. This last is particularly useful as it indicates which results are likely to occur at a given location; for example: the most effective place to grind Items is at the Train Station.
    arkham_horror_2nd_ed_loc_ enc.pdf
  • Location Special Encounters
    This is a list of the various Special Encounters on the game board. Special Encounters allow guaranteed resource conversion (for example, trading Money for Sanity at the Arkham Asylum) and are thus often of tactical and strategic interest.
  • Mythos Cards
    This is a statistical summary of the 67 Mythos cards, with the data presented by Location. For each, it lists the chance of a Gate opening each time a Mythos card is drawn, the chance of a Clue spawning each time a Mythos card is drawn, and the ratio of the two, which indicates the safest, most productive Locations as regards Mythos cards (Gates and Clues can spawn for reasons other than Mythos cards).

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