Fast Track to Nowhere

Preview The Essex County Express for Arkham Horror: The Card Game


…You look out the window behind you and see an immense tear in the sky, like a rip in a piece of cloth. Several of the rearmost train cars are pulled backwards, and there is a dreadful metallic crunch as they are detached. The train cars topple upwards and into the rift in the sky…
     –The Essex County Express

This is not your average, everyday train ride.

The truth is that few things in Arkham Horror: The Card Game qualify as "ordinary," but even by the standards to which you've recently become more accustomed, your journey aboard The Essex County Express is bound to prove a desperate and harrowing, life-or-death experience.

It's not every day that the sky rips open and the back of your train is sucked into it—train cars ripped free and pulled upward off the track as though they were leaves in a gale.

By now, you may have already come face-to-face with monsters that you are fairly certain weren't from this world. But fighting the spawn of other worlds is something completely different from making sure you aren't sucked into one. And when you don't have any better idea, it's probably best to get away from the strange hole in the sky…

Madness All Around You

The scene in The Essex County Express is one of utter chaos—utter madness. As half the train is wrenched loose and sucked up into the sky and then to… wherever it goes… the passengers all around you are shrieking, panicking, fainting, and falling into utter disarray.

This may be somewhat expected, but it's not at all helpful as Claws of Steam (The Essex County Express, 180) suddenly rip through the side of your train car.

Throughout your adventure, these other passengers are bound to cause you consternation. After only a moment's pause, you realize you need to dash to the Engine Car to start the train moving. Perched atop a bridge high over the Miskatonic River, you know a leap into the waters below would spell certain death. There's no guarantee you'll survive your trip to the Engine Car either, but at least there's hope… But what will you do about the Helpless Passengers (The Essex County Express, 179) you find recoiling in terror along the way? Will you leave them to die? Can you spare the time to lead them through the train?

Often in the Arkham LCG®, you have nothing other than your conscience to guide you. Doing what seems like the right thing might throw you into terrible jeopardy. Slowing your race to the Engine Car for even an instant may spell doom for everyone. But if you leave the other passengers to their fates, will you be able to live with yourself? They're people, too. Could any of them have proven helpful later in your investigations? There's never an easy answer.

Always Be Prepared

Of course, if you survive your journey on The Essex County Express, you'll almost certainly learn something from it that you can apply toward future adventures. That means gaining experience, and that experience can be spent to change up your deck.

One of the first things you might do is equip yourself with a Bandolier (The Essex County Express, 147). This handy asset takes up your body slot, but has a point of health and gives you an extra hand slot that you can use to equip a weapon. In other words, if you're the kind of investigator—like Roland Banks (Core Set, 1)—who always has a hard time choosing between your Machete (Core Set, 20), your .38 Special (Core Set, 6), and your Flashlight (Core Set, 87), you no longer have to choose. You can equip all three!

It also means you have a place to store your Flashlight whenever it's time to whip out the Shotgun (Core Set, 29).

By allowing you to equip a weapon, and still hang on to the rest of your hand slot items, the Bandolier is an excellent purchase for any investigator looking to explore new opportunities for combat—as well as for branching beyond combat. It's also just one part of the Mythos Pack's focus on extra slots. The other cards that play to the theme are Charisma (The Essex County Express, 158), which we saw in the pack's announcement, and Relic Hunter (The Essex County Express, 157), another permanent Talent that may change the way you spend your experience throughout the course of your campaign.

What would you do with Relic Hunter?

  • If you wanted to use your accessory slot to ward yourself from harm with a Disc of Itzamna (Core Set, 41), you could do that and still buy the protection an Elder Sign Amulet (Core Set, 95) would grant you. Especially if you were inclined to delve into tomes of Forbidden Knowledge (Core Set, 58) for clues about the mysteries pervading your life.
  • Or if you're more inclined to confront your challenges head-on, you might simply double down on the actions you can gain by tossing two Police Badges (Core Set, 27) at the same time and then use those actions to hack apart some terrible monstrosity with your Machete.

No matter how you use the new extra-slot cards from The Essex County Express, they're bound to lead you down a new path.

Get Your Engine Running

Who knows how or why the hole in the sky appeared? Does it matter?

All you can really be sure of—as more and more train cars are ripped off the tracks and sucked into the rift—is that you need to get moving… now! Don't let yourself fall prey to the panic spreading through your fellow passengers. You need to race to the Engine Car as fast as possible. And you need to get that engine running!

The Essex County Express is almost set to leave the station. Your journey begins next Thursday.

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