Arkham Horror: Final Hour
The Thing cannot be described—there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order. A mountain walked or stumbled.
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
You arrived too late to stop the loathsome rite, and a monstrous, transdimensional Ancient One tears through reality. An iridescent rift slashes across the darkened skies, heralding the nightmarish creatures that pour into the hallowed buildings of Miskatonic University. As howls and screams cut through the night, there is only one path left for your fearless investigators—hold back the horde long enough to somehow reverse the summoning.
Arkham Horror: Final Hour is a fully cooperative, fast-paced board game for one to four players. An endless tide of monsters sweeps across the Miskatonic University campus, and you must hold them back, all while searching desperately for the ritual components you need to put an end to the insanity. Playable in under 60 minutes, your fate depends on the cooperation between you and your fellow investigators. The odds against you are astronomical, but if you don’t succeed, this will indeed be the final hour for Arkham… and the world.
Humanity’s Last Defense
The sinister cult behind the Ancient One’s summoning may have escaped your grasp, but along with their gates to other planes, they left behind many clues. If you can find and piece together these clues in time, you'll discover how to reverse the summoning ritual and cast the monsters back into their alien domains! You have eight rounds to uncover these clues and undo the eldritch rite. If you succeed, you banish the Ancient One back to its own loathsome dimension, but if you fail, the fate of the entire world is forfeit.
In Arkham Horror: Final Hour, you and your friends become the fearless investigators of Arkham, each determined to protect the Earth from the maddening horrors of the Mythos. Each of these unique characters have their own set of skills gained from years of experience and previous encounters with the darkness that lurks just beyond the façade of normalcy that the city tries to maintain.
You may choose to take on the identity of iconic characters like rookie cop Tommy Muldoon or dilettante Jenny Barnes, or any of the four additional investigators included in Final Hour. No matter which investigator you choose, however, you'll have a unique deck of action cards which you must prioritize and balance with the cards of your other team members, working together to defeat monsters and find the key components needed to reverse the ritual. But even as you use your individual skills to fight and investigate, scattering across the Miskatonic University campus, you must take care to watch out for one another. Arkham Horror: Final Hour is fully cooperative—you win or lose as a team, and if a single investigator perishes, all shall be lost!
United Against the Darkness
Each round of Arkham Horror: Final Hour is divided into two parts. First, during the Action Phase, your investigators move around the board, attack monsters, place seals, and search for clues, while monsters also attempt to return the blows and strengthen their grasp on Arkham. Your team must work together, but communication with your fellow investigators may not be as easy as you first imagine.
Each action card is divided into two parts—a top effect that produces only positive effects, such as allowing you to fight monsters or protect locations, and a bottom effect that may allow you to act, but leaves the monsters free to wreak havoc. Your team must resolve the top effect of two action cards and the bottom effect of the other two.
Unfortunately, with monsters overwhelming Miskatonic University and every investigator racing to stop the madness, you don't have time to stop and consult regarding which top effects and which bottom effects to resolve. Your only method of communicating the importance of your card to your fellow players is with the priority card that you choose, playing it with your facedown action card on your turn. The lower the number on your priority card, the more likely that the top effect of your card will be resolved.
Beginning with the lead investigator, each investigator will play one of the four priority cards in their hand. With each new priority card that's revealed, you'll gain more information about the importance of each player's card, but will it be enough? And if you attempt to ensure the desired outcome with a particularly high or low priority, you run the risk of increasing the power of the Ancient One. In the above example, the investigators would have strengthened the Ancient One by five, as indicated by the eye-shaped omen icons on the priority cards. Balance and communication are key. Will you trust the judgment of your teammates, or rely on your own instincts—and if you should go against your allies, will you lose their trust for good? With the end of the world before you, you must stand together if you hope to survive.
The Wrath of Gods
Once the mortals and lesser monsters have had their chance to act, the great summoned being continues to unfold their dark designs during the Ancient One Phase. During this phase, the summoned Ancient One produces horrible effects and spawns more monsters through the gates scattered across the Miskatonic University campus.
First, if the investigators have strengthened the Ancient One with omen icons on their priority cards, the maddening monster will resolve any corresponding effects detailed on its Ancient One sheet. Then, as its hold on this world grows stronger, the gates that act as portals to the places beyond our reality will spill more and more monsters into our world. As these monsters spawn in the various buildings, they may overrun a location and spill out across the campus. With each new creature to fight, your mission becomes more difficult. If you wish to undo the cult’s ritual, you must hurry!
End the Madness
If you wish to put an end to the madness, you'll need to use the knowledge you've gained from investigating. At the beginning of the game, two ritual icons are set aside as the key to the dark cult's summoning ritual. The rest of the icons—unused in the ritual—are scatted across the map as clue tokens.
When you investigate, you'll flip the clue token in your location faceup, either discovering a powerful item or a clue to the ritual which will prepare you for reversing the rite at the end of the game. The key to reversing the ritual is the same priority cards that you use every round! Every priority card features one of five possible ritual icons. Your team’s goal is to gather priority cards that match the cult's chosen ritual icons—but which icons are the right ones?
To deduce which icon you need during your game, you must investigate clue tokens around campus to eliminate possibilities. When the first copy of an icon is revealed, that icon’s chance of being needed for the ritual is reduced; if the other clue token showing that icon is revealed, it is eliminated as a possibility. As you gain more knowledge, you'll begin to sort your hand of priority cards, dumping cards with symbols you won't need to reverse the ritual—but that can lead to its own problems, as you play suboptimal priority cards simply to rid them from your hand!
Your team may attempt to reverse the ritual at the end of any round, provided you all agree. However, you cannot share information about your priority cards—you can only say whether you are ready to reverse the ritual or not. To begin the reversal, each investigator commits three priority cards from their hands and the two icons used in the cult's summoning ritual are revealed! If the number of cards with a matching icon is at least twice the number of investigators, your investigators reverse the ritual and win the game! But if you fail to reverse the summoning, lose if an investigator, or the ritual location is overrun with monsters, you lose the game and Arkham falls into madness and chaos. The fate of the world is in your hands—are you ready for the challenge?
Time is Running Out
If you take on this mission, there is no guarantee that you will make it out alive, or that the world will ever know what you have done, but with the end of time before you, you have no choice but to act. Join your allies, reverse the summoning before the final strokes of midnight, and save Arkham from its final hour!
Watch this space for support items for Arkham Horror: Final Hour, including the rules!