Arkham Horror - Game Guide - Chapter 5: Expansions

Arkham Horror: The Card Game has had numerous expansions released since its first inception. However, certain products have sort-of become obsolete, and – in my opinion – should be avoided (more on this in chapter 6). What follows is a description of all relevant expansion products at the time of writing this.


Type of Products

There are five types of expansions for Arkham Horror: The Card Game.

  • Campaign Expansions. A Campaign Expansion gives you everything you need to play through an entirely new campaign. It contains all the scenarios, the necessary act and agenda cards, as well as all the new enemies you might encounter during the campaign. Note that you absolutely still need the core set to play a new campaign, as some encounter cards from the core box may be needed in other campaigns.
  • Investigator Expansions. Shortly put, the Investigator Expansions provides players with new investigators to play as along with a vast influx of player cards. That’s it. There are no new campaign material in these expansions, but each Investigator Expansion will greatly increase the cards available to you when deckbuilding. These expansions are coupled with the Campaign Expansions by name, providing players with relevant player cards to beat that specific campaign. Note however, that you don’t need a given Investigator Expansion to play the Campaign of the same name. As an example, you can absolutely buy and play “the Dunwich Legacy Campaign Expansion” without purchasing “the Dunwich Legacy Investigator Expansion”.
  • Investigator Starter Decks. Perhaps you’re interested in playing a campaign you already own, but are looking to play as new investigator, without having to shell out the cash for an entire Investigator Expansion. Well, that’s where the Investigator Starter Decks come in. Each pack provides players with a single new investigator and their deck, along with new upgraded cards. At the time of writing this guide, five different investigators have been released in this way; one for each class. Additionally, these decks are a great entry point for new players as well, as they – unlike other investigators found in the core box and Investigator Expansions – only use cards from a single character class. Although it limits the card pool available to each of the five investigators, don’t let that deter you. They’re great fun to play and can certainly packs a punch right out of the pack.
  • Standalone Scenarios. If you’re interested in playing this brilliant game, but don’t have the time to sit down and play through an entire campaign (life does get in the way sometimes. Believe me, I know), that’s where the Standalone Scenarious come in. These are essentially one-offs; you sit down and play a single scenario, and you’re done. Additionally, as these scenarios aren’t written to fit into an overarching story, they tend to be different each time you play, i.e. the layout of locations may change from the first time you played them to the next. Lastly, although the word “standalone” is the name, these scenarios can actually be inserted into a campaign you already own. Perhaps you feel a bit behind on experience points during your normal campaign, and want a way to acquire some extra experience points to acquire that one card you’ve been eyeing before the final showdown of the campaign. In that case, take a quick detour and play a standalone scenario using the same character and that might just do the trick. But beware, the standalone scenarios have a reputation of being harder to beat than normal scenarios; it’s the whole risk/reward thing.
  • Return To… boxes. Right, the final product in the Arkham Horror: The Card Game lineup: the Return To… boxes. As you’ll see in the next chapter, these are mainly for either veteran players of the game or completionists.

 Right, story time… Imagine a player who has played, say, the core box campaign several times. Perhaps they’ve played through it using all the investigators found in the core box and an Investigator Expansion. As you can imagine, at some point this campaign might start to feel a bit repetitive; the locations remain the same, the player has mastered how to beat every single enemy, and they have now discovered how to score the maximum amount of experience points throughout the campaign. At that point, the campaign is not really much of a challenge anymore… but – gosh – they do love that initial campaign… if only it was more challenging, then they’d definitely be playing the heck out of it again.

Well, that’s exactly what the Return To… boxes do. A couple of things to know:

  • Each box is named after a campaign, so for the core box campaign, the tied box would be named “Return to The Night of the Zealot”. You still need the original campaign though. These boxes updatea campaign you already own – it doesn’t replace it
  • The exact contents are different from box to box, so don’t expect each campaign to be updated in the same way. However, an example of how a campaign can be increased in difficulty is by changing the scenario cards, i.e. by changing the amount of clues needed to advance, changing the shroud value on locations, or by introducing players to tougher enemies
  • In addition to updating the campaign, each box also comes with a few (and I really mean just a few) player cards not found in any other box. Are these so fantastically great that you absolutely need them in your card pool? I personally don’t think so, but some are definitely cool.
  • The box also severs as a storage solution for the named campaign, so you can store all the campaign cards in one neat location. To help players organise the cards, each box also comes with dividers, so you can always find exactly the cards you need.

Phew, that’s all of the product types done.

Let’s move on to the next chapter, but please note that this is a slight detour from what we’ve been doing so far. The chapter begins with explaining how Arkham Horror: The Card Game is different from other card games on the market. Also… remember I mentioned in the introduction to this chapter that certain products have become obsolete for this game? I’ll explain exactly what I mean in “Chapter 6: The Game Format”.
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