Rise of the Ancient Ones
Previewing the Ancient One Phase in Arkham Horror: Final Hour
“They worshipped, so they said, the Great Old Ones who lived ages before there were any men, and who came to the young world out of the sky. Those Old Ones were gone now, inside the earth and under the sea; but their dead bodies had told their secrets in dreams to the first men, who formed a cult which had never died.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
Your adventures in the Arkham Horror Files universe have pitted you against countless challenges, facing evil cults and eldritch monstrosities, and you have always done everything in your power to stop them. But in Arkham Horror: Final Hour, you arrived too late. The rite has been completed, and now an Ancient One tears through reality, spilling hordes of monsters onto the campus of Miskatonic University. Now all that is left for you to do is hold back the masses and try to find some way to reverse what has been done.
And time is running out.
Last week, we showed you how to fight against the horde and discover the ritual components you need during the Action Phase. But with every step you take; you will find the forces of evil pushing back against you. You must be ready to face the unthinkable trials ahead. Today, we offer you a glimpse into the horror of the Ancient One Phase in Arkham Horror: Final Hour—now available for pre-order at your local retailer or online through our website with free shipping within the continental United States!
The Day of Reckoning
In our last preview, which you can check out here, we examined the possibilities that you and your fellow investigators have during the Action Phase, fighting monsters, looking for clues, and building wards to protect Miskatonic University. Regardless of the number of investigators in your team, you can only perform four actions and you need to make them count, as once the Action Phase ends, the Ancient One steps forth to wreak havoc as they break through the veil that divides our world from their own.
During the Ancient One Phase, the Ancient One’s malign influence strikes the campus, and the eldritch monstrosity comes closer to walking the world. Your investigators resolve this phase in three steps: Reckoning, Gates, and passing the Lead Investigator. The lead investigator makes all decisions during this phase.
First, during the Reckoning step, your team discards the priority cards you played during the Action Phase and count the number of omen icons on those cards. This will determine how the Ancient One will act, as detailed on their Ancient One Sheet. The more omen icons present, the worse the effect will be. For example, if the Sleeper in R’Lyeh, Cthulhu, only finds one or two omen icons, he will order the activation of all his minions currently on the board, then spawn two Deep Ones. But if he finds seven or more, he will automatically force each investigator to lose two health.
If by some miracle the total number of omen icons is zero, the Ancient One is powerless and you do not resolve any effect, but you may find that the risk of invoking the Ancient One’s wrath will be worth it to ensure that you can perform the action you wish. If you wish to survive long enough to undo the rite, balance will be key.
The second step of the Ancient One Phase is activating Gates. Gate tokens represent portals to unnatural and alien otherworlds that are home to all manner of dangerous beings and the horrors you discover in each will depend on which Ancient One you battle in any given game. Over the course of the game’s eight rounds, the gates grow larger, releasing more monsters onto the campus and becoming ever more difficult to manage. You must work quickly! During this step, the lead investigator reveals the top gate token on the gate stack and places it on top of the matching gate token on the board. Then, the lead investigator spawns a number of monsters at that location equal to the number of gate tokens there.
Monsters spawn one at a time and any decisions for where they are placed or where they will move if a location is already full are made by the lead investigator. When a monster spawns at a location, the lead investigator takes one random monster token and places it in an empty space in that location. If there are no empty spaces for the creature to spawn into, it moves following the arrows along the campus paths that correspond to the monster’s token color. Blue monsters follow the blue arrows and stay along the walkways, while red monsters follow the red arrows, which may sometimes make a path between locations that are not adjacent. If there are still no empty spaces in the monster’s new location, the monster moves again and again until it reaches a location that has an empty space, even this means looping around the entire campus back to its original spot.
However, a monster’s ultimate goal is to reach the ritual location where the rite was first conducted to allow their glorious master to pass into our world. And if a monster cannot reach an empty monster space on the campus, it moves directly to the ritual location instead. Monsters do not move out of the ritual location unless forced to move by an item card or the top effect of an action card. If the monster moves into the ritual location and cannot be placed there because all of the spaces are full, the location is overrun, and your investigators lose the game along with all hope of saving humanity!
The final step of the Ancient One Phase is to pass along the lead investigator token, guaranteeing that no matter how many investigators you have, everyone will have a chance to lead and be forced to make these difficult decisions at least twice. Just as every person is unique, so to may be their leadership style. You must trust and rely on one another if you are to have any hope of overcoming these horrors. With the fate of the world at stake, you must remain united. Only together can you undo the rite!
Stop the Clock
The Ancient Ones have awoken from their slumber and now, with the help of unhallowed rites, they have arisen to claim the world as theirs once more. Humanity teeters on the edge of extinction and only you can stop them now. Gather your team, face the maddening Ancient Ones, and undo the ritual before time runs out!
Pre-order your copy of Arkham Horror: Final Hour (AFH01) at your local retailer today or online through our website, with free shipping within the continental United States here!