2017 – Year of the Horror Game? Part 1

Recently, Checkpoint published a great article declaring 2017 to be the ‘Year of the Horror Game’. They were talking about computer games, citing some exciting names like Resident Evil 7, Get Even, Agony, Outlast 2, and – one I’m particularly excited about – Call of Cthulhu! We can’t fault their reasoning as far as video games go, but will it be the Year of the Horror Game for the tabletop as well?

Well, you know me and my love of horror; I don’t need much of an excuse to start fangirling about the darker side of gaming, so I had a look at what we’re due to have released this year:

Arkham Horror Files

If 2017 is to be the Year of the Horror Game, then Fantasy Flight Games have gotten a head start, having already released a big lump of stuff for their Arkham Horror Files line of games, and it’s still January! Based on the work of H P Lovecraft, these games are loosely interlinked and provide, from varying approaches points of view, a look at a singular universe where Elder Gods dabble in the affairs of mortals and there are some very nasty things lurking in the dark places of the world. The Arkham Horror Files games are so distinctive that they deserve their own section, completely separate from the rest of the Cthulhu-themed games! These games aren’t new to 2017, but their ongoing expansions and support make them important runners for the year. So let’s have a look:

Arkham Horror LCGahc01_card_roland-banks

The freshest and most exciting of the AHF games right now, the Arkham Horror Card Game kicked off only a few months ago, and if FFG’s other LCGs are anything to go by, it’s going to be followed up with loads of expansions, optional extra card sets, and organised play events! So far it’s already following the pattern with a major expansion, The Dunwich Legacy, and a standalone scenario pack, Curse of the Rougarou, released this month. We also know that the Dunwich Legacy campaign is due to include several more smaller expansions as part of an ongoing storyline. The game’s unique – for LCGs – co-operative mode of play and very story-driven play means it blurs the line between LCG and RPG – and makes it a very immersive, tense and absorbing game indeed! And given how far we know FFG’s LCGs can run, the chance to get into this one from day one has had a lot of people taking the plunge and fully committing to collecting it.

Mansions of Madness

The second edition of Mansions of Madness hasn’t been out all that much longer than the Arkham Horror LCG, but it released to a huge fanfare due to its use of a mandatory app that runs the scenarios for you in place of a Keeper. I’ve already gone on about how the app works in other articles (link), so I won’t repeat that here. But this month the first 100% new expansion was released for it – Beyond the Threshold – as well as a new DLC scenario for use with any combination of core and expansion characters. The app provides limitless possibilities for keeping this game alive, with new scenarios that don’t require a big expansion sellout, constant tweaking of the rules and mechanics without needing to reissue the game itself – hell, they could even start allowing fan-made scenarios and puzzles! And I know I’ve mentioned before just how atmospheric the app is, with its music and narration and sound effects, but … damn, it is so atmospheric! This one’s got legs, people!CC2016MoMFIapp2

Eldritch Horror

The older but still hugely popular Eldritch Horror overtook its predecessor, Arkham Horror (that’s the old board game, not the new LCG – stay with me) with it’s more streamlined rules system and a map and plot covering the whole globe instead of just the town of Arkham. Arkham Horror (the board game) seems to have been allowed to quietly retire, but Eldritch Horror just got its latest in a long line of expansions, The Dreamlands. Its wider scope has given it expansions set in the Antarctic, Egypt, and elsewhere around the globe, and now we’re getting ones that let you slip into other worlds and realms of existence, so it looks like Eldritch Horror still has some tricks left up its sleeve! Where will the next expansion take us? The cities of the Great Race of Yith? R’lyeh itself?elder_sign_3_

Elder Sign

Elder Sign’s been around for ages as well, but that isn’t stopping it releasing another expansion this year either! Omens of the Deep deals with R’lyeh, and possibly Cthulhu himself! Elder Sign is currently riding on the success of its sister games and still going strong into 2017 – who knows where it will take us in the future?

Lovecraft Titles in General

FFG don’t have the monopoly on Lovecraft’s intellectual property by any means – that stuff is in the public domain, so it’s open season to all! You can find stories printed in full online in several places, completely free to read (and you absolutely should; apart from the odd bit of anachronistic racism, they’re great!) There are loads of games out there that call upon the Mythos, both overtly and just as inspiration, and there are more to come:deep-madness-2

Deep Madness

Billed as a blend of Lovecraft and Alien, Deep Madness is set in a deep sea mining colony in the future, where the mining team accidentally unearth something weird, and subsequently go mad and kill each other. You play the team sent down to investigate. Claustrophobic halls and corridors, miles under the crushing pressure of the ocean, with no daylight, an unknown, horrifying enemy, and the threat of flooding and drowning if things go badly wrong … Represented with gorgeous miniatures and brilliantly illustrated map tiles, this one sounds like a nightmare come true!

Mountains of Madness

There is next to no information on this, but it’s being designed by Rob Daviau of Seafall and Pandemic Legacy fame, it’s based directly on the novel by H P Lovecraft, and the snippet of info we do have says it’s a co-operative problem-solving game with ‘a pinch of real time gameplay’. And insanity. And possibly penguins. I cannot wait to hear more on this one!

Lovecraft Letter

You know a theme is popular when it gets a Love Letter reskin! It’s been a long time coming – honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long – but yes, Lovecraft Letter is coming this year! It uses all of the standard Love Letter mechanics, but with added mechanics for insanity, and for releasing Great Cthulhu! I’m intrigued – the Love Letter mechanics lend themselves to some amazing themed games and I’m looking forward to seeing how this one works – and if it retains the light-hearted feel of the other reskins, or makes it something deeper and darker …

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Join us next week when we’ll move on from Lovecraftian horror games and look at even more horror games due to be released, including Kingdom Death: Monster, Ultimate Werewolf: Legacy and Dark Souls!

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Posted in Board Games, Coming Soon, Miniature Games
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