Arkham's Last Defense
Preview the Action Phase of Arkham Horror: Final Hour
“Nothin’ solid abaout it—all like jelly, an’ made o’ sep’rit wrigglin’ ropes pushed clost together . . . great bulgin’ eyes all over it . . . ten or twenty maouths or trunks a-stickin’ aout all along the sides, big as stovepipes, an’ all a-tossin’ an’ openin’ an’ shuttin’ . . . all grey, with kinder blue or purple rings . . . an’ Gawd in heaven—that haff face on top!”
–Report of Curtis Whateley, The Dunwich Horror
You were too late to stop the ritual, but you're not too late to save the world.
Arkham Horror: Final Hour presents you with a challenge unlike anything you’ve ever seen in the Arkham Horror Files universe. The time for investigations has ended as an Ancient One has already broken through to our world, monsters are closing in on all sides, and you are left with nothing but your will to fight and powers of deduction to save you!
Your team of brave investigators have eight rounds to reverse the summoning ritual of an eldritch cult and save Miskatonic University from the Ancient One while shielding the rest of the world from horrible truths it is not yet ready to face. If you fail to reverse the ritual, lose the campus to monsters, or sacrifice one of your own, the world is lost. You will need to do everything in your power to prepare your team and ensure that this does not happen!
Today, we are pleased to offer you a closer look at the Action Phase of 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 Art of Cooperation
Entering the Arkham Horror Files canon as a breakneck cooperative game that is playable in under sixty minutes, Arkham Horror: Final Hour is played over a series of eight rounds. The first half of each round is the Action Phase, during which your investigators run across Miskatonic University, fight monsters, and investigate clues while enemies attempt to attack and overrun the campus.
Your investigators will only have the chance to play and resolve four action cards each round, regardless of the number of players you have. These cards determine what both you and the monsters do for the round. Each action card is divided into two parts: the top effect which always produces positive effects, perhaps allowing you to fight monsters or protect a campus location by sealing a walkway leading to it, and the bottom effect which usually allows you to investigate and discover helpful items and information that will help you win the game later, but also leaves the monsters free to roam about the campus and attack your allies.
Of the four action cards your team plays each round, you resolve the top effect of two cards and the bottom effect of the other two cards. You have no say over which action card you draw, all you can do is balance the risk and rewards of its two possibilities and weigh how much you need your preferred action to be performed. During your turn, you draw the top card of your action deck, secretly read it, and place it facedown, and your fellow investigators do the same. Then, you each play one priority card from your hand, placing it faceup on your action card. This is the only way that you can communicate the importance of performing a specific action with your team.
Priority cards are numbered 1 to 30 and they determine whether an investigator resolves the top or bottom effect of their action card—the lower the number, the more likely the top effect will be resolved. During this step, you cannot discuss strategy or share information—the faceup priority cards are your only means of communication. This means that if you are the investigator who takes the fourth turn, you will have the most information when choosing your priority card, but do you trust your teammates to make the right choice when they cannot have known what abilities you have at your disposal?
Priority cards can also have omen icons—ever watchful eyes that observe the actions of the investigators and pass that knowledge to the eldritch monstrosity that has entered Arkham. These often appear on particularly high or low numbered priority cards and they punish your investigators during the upcoming Ancient One Phase, strengthening your adversary for the privilege of certainty. You must decide how much risk you are willing to take on when facing the wrath of the Ancient One in order to ensure that the action you want to perform is executed.
Once you have all placed your priority cards, you take turns revealing and resolving your action cards, beginning with the action bearing the lowest-numbered priority card. For the first two action cards resolved, the investigator who revealed the card resolves the top effect of that card. For the last two action cards resolved, the investigator who revealed the card resolves the bottom effect.
A United Defense
Now that you know how to work together with your teammates, let’s look at what kinds of actions you will be balancing alongside your allies. The main actions you will be executing are fighting and investigating. Both of these are vital pieces of strategy—if you do not control the number of monsters on the board, the campus may be overrun, or an ally may be killed. But if you do not find any clues, you will only have a loose guess at how to reverse the ritual and your chances of successfully undoing the rite decrease drastically.
To fight a monster, you distribute the number of hits indicated on your action card among the monsters in the specified location. If a monster is assigned hits equal to or exceeding the health indicated on its token, it is destroyed. And if you're very lucky, you may find an action card with an effect that instructs you to destroy a monster outright. When this happens, the monster is destroyed regardless of its health. But be sure that when you wish to take on one or more of these malicious enemies that you can stand up to and defeat them within a single encounter, for if a monster is not assigned enough hits to be destroyed, it retains its full health and you are still left in its warpath.
With this action card, Michael McGlen may either destroy the two weaker monsters at his location, or the strongest one.
As you run through the monster-ridden university, you may wish to protect locations from roaming enemies by placing seals along their paths. When you seal a walkway, you place a seal token with the gold side faceup on that walkway. While a walkway cannot have more than one seal token, it prevents the location from being infested by destroying any monster that runs into it. Once this happens, the seal token is weakened and flipped to its gray side. If its gray side is already faceup when a monster makes impact, it is destroyed along with the monster.
To investigate a location, if there is a clue token in the location, you simply flip the token faceup and resolve its effect. If the clue turns out to be an item, you discard the token and draw the top card of the item deck, placing it faceup next to your action deck. Items provide powerful abilities to that can aid you in your race against time. For example, you may find a Gate Box to move yourself and an ally to any location you wish or a Ruby of R'lyeh to grant you insight into the abilities of your fellow investigators.
Other than useful items, a clue token may reveal a key ritual icon. When one of these are revealed, you place the clue token at the bottom of the board in an empty circle that has a matching icon. This helps you prepare for reversing the ritual at the end of the game, eliminating possibilities and helping investigators decide which priority cards to hold onto until the end of the game. The more priority cards you have that have the ritual symbol matching the one you need, the better prepared you will be to reverse the rite and end the madness!
Once your investigators have resolved their actions, they discard their action cards, but not the priority cards. These must be collected and evaluated during the next phase, as the investigators end their turn and the Ancient One steps forth. Then all you can hope is that you have done enough to survive their assault and buy yourself just a little more time. Keep an eye on our website as we take a look at the unthinkable horrors you will be facing in a future preview!
The Final Stroke of Midnight
In the city’s darkest hour, Arkham has turned to you as its one last hope. You cannot fail now. Stand tall, stay united, and face the horror of the Ancient Ones together!
Pre-order your copy of Arkham Horror: Final Hour (AFH01) at your local retailer today or online through our website with free shipping in the continental United States here!