21 September 2018 | Arkham Horror Third Edition

Nightmares Made Flesh

Preview Monsters and Combat in Arkham Horror Third Edition


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While the streets of Arkham exude a sense of isolation, it would be a mistake to think you’re alone. During the course of your investigation into the bizarre occurrences in our fair city, you’ll come across deranged cultists dedicated to merging our reality with an Ancient One, horrific creatures from nightmares beyond your imagination, and more. These enemies will do everything in their power to bring doom to Arkham, and it’s up to you to stop them.

Join us today as we preview monster encounters in Arkham Horror Third Edition, the newest version of the classic board game of cooperation and cosmic horror!

Last week, we examined the action phase and how players can unravel the mysteries of the city. During the course of your investigation, monsters will attempt to harm your investigators both physically and mentally, as well as carrying out the schemes of the Ancient Ones that threaten to tear our reality apart. Dealing with these enemies is essential if you hope to succeed with your sanity intact.

Lurking in the Dark

There's a wealth of monsters to be found in Arkham Horror Third Edition, and your scenarios will feature very different threats—each of the four scenarios included in the game features a unique monster deck, the resting place of the creatures that will haunt you during your investigation.

Some of these creatures will be pulled from the deck during setup, starting the game on the board as directed by the scenario sheet. The rest will wait for their time to strike, being pulled from the deck and placed on the board by new codex cards and tokens from the mythos cup revealed during your investigation.  

While investigators make their movements during the action phase, the maligned forces of the mythos lurk in every corner of Arkham, threatening the investigators and furthering their own ends. During the monster phase, which takes place after the action phase, these monsters will move, attack, and advance their own twisted agendas.

Every monster card is double-sided, with ready and exhausted sides. Monsters that are ready are actively seeking out investigators and are prepared to move or attack, while exhausted monsters are distracted, often after being evaded by an investigator. If a ready monster is in the same space as an investigator, that monster immediately engages the investigator!

While some monsters are stationary, guarding a certain area, certain special abilities allow some monsters to move and search for investigators. The monster phase begins with these monsters “activating” and moving around the board. Each of these monsters has a speed, which determines how far they can move. Beyond that, each monster can have a different destination in mind. Some monsters will hunt the investigator with the most clues, others will search for those with low skills, while still others will patrol the board, moving toward a specific location. You will have to be constantly vigilant and slip past their searching eyes if you have any hope of avoiding or defeating these nightmares.

The ready side of a monster tells you where the monster spawns, what it moves toward, and how quickly it moves to that location.

After enemies move, any engaged monsters will attack, dealing damage and horror equal to the amount shown at the bottom of their cards. If the damage or horror that you take causes you to exceed your investigator’s health or sanity, your investigator is defeated, succumbing to wounds or madness! The good news is that you can immediately return to the game as a different investigator—the bad news is the city of Arkham suffers, and doom is placed on the scenario sheet.

As the final part of the monster phase, all exhausted monsters flip to their ready side, preparing to act during the next monster phase.

Fighting Back

While this is a terrifying proposition, investigators always have a way to fight back. During the action phase, you can choose to attack by engaging an enemy in your space and resolving a strength test against it. Every monster will modify this test, potentially lowering your strength and making it difficult to succeed. However, if you manage to succeed, you place damage on the monster equal to the number of successes you rolled. If the damage on a monster exceeds its health, it’s defeated and returns to the monster deck… for now.

To defeat a monster, you must deal damage equal to or greater than its health. Strength tests to attack the monster are affected by the attack modifier, while evasion attempts are subject to the evade modifier. Finally, defeating a monster with the remnant symbol will net you one remnant token, which can be used to enhance your spells!

Not every investigator is suited for combat, of course. Others are more adept at sneaking around and evading monsters. You can attempt to evade a monster engaged with you by performing an evade action and making an observation test. For each success you roll, you can exhaust one monster in your space! If you roll enough successes to evade all of the monsters you were engaged with, you can perform an additional action, potentially letting you slip away from a nasty situation.

If you're unlucky enough to be cornered by monsters, you'll certainly have to deal with them in one way or another. While you're engaged with a monster, you can only perform focus, attack, or evade actions. While defeating monsters may not lead directly to victory, it does certainly makes investigating easier.

You may notice there is no phase in which new enemies will spawn—instead that will happen organically throughout the game. As more codex cards are added and the narrative advances, powerful new enemies may appear in the cursed city of Arkham, ready to tear your investigators apart. Mitigating these potential threats will be essential if you have any hope of survival.

The Light of Morning

The streets of Arkham are far from empty, and terrifying monsters hunt you during the night, impeding your investigation. You have to find a way to save the world, but will you even survive long enough to see morning?

Fight the horrors that lurk in the night with Arkham Horror Third Edition (AHB01), available now for pre-order from your local retailer or our websiteAs of 12 p.m. CST on 10/23, the Arkham Horror Third Edition Deluxe Rulebook is officially sold out!

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