I went to bed late – later than I should have. My wife was acting a little strange, and was still up when I came to bed late…a rarity. We talked for awhile, and her mood seemed to..shift somehow.
Finally I crashed, knowing I would have to be up in four hours. Two hours in I awoke to a bloodcurdling scream. And then a second. My son and my infant daughter. I rushed down the hall. My son claimed he had heard a loud noise that had woken him up and scared him. I told him there was no noise and to go back to sleep. My daughter took a little longer to calm down than that, but eventually, I was able to fall back asleep.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I too had heard a noise. And my last hour of sleep was lost to continual nightmares that lurked just beyond my ability to see them, even in that fuzzy vision we all have in the midst of our dreams.
I woke, got my daughter ready for school, walked her to the bus stop. On the way back, a construction worker waved at me, with an overly large smile and wide eyes. Inside, I fell back on to the couch. The rest of the morning is a fevered blur. I was asleep, awake, fixing breakfast, holding my infant daughter, I heard laughing, I heard computer sounds. There was a strange buzzing outside my window. My alarm went off and I went to wake my wife, but she was already awake. Seeing me, she gently guided me back into bed. Twenty minutes later, a different alarm woke me. Feeling groggy yet, I got ready for work.
Finally, I came down the stairs, more awake than before, and I saw it. The reason I had had this beastly night and illusory morning. The source of my unseen fears and frets.
Yes, I had spent the evening playing Arkham Horror, which my brother got for his birthday, with him, my dad, and my mom. It was oh so close. We were one doom counter from Awakening Yig. And one failed monster fight from allowing the Terrible Experiments of Mikatonic U. to spill onto the streets of Arkham.
The game is exceptionally well done, keeping the tension and atmosphere of the Lovecraftian Mythos without being entirely impossible or bogging the game down. I will not be choosing the Researcher as my character anymore though. Her rerolls were helpful to others, but I got tossed into the Sanitarium and Hospital way too many times, and we didn’t have a solid beat down character like the Gangster present. We think next time we’ll run the Professor, the Gangster, the Private Eye, and the Drifter. Seems like a good combo to handle whatever gets thrown at us.
If you get a chance, check the game out. And if hopeless battles against the Elder Ones aren’t your bag, let me highly recommend you check out the rest of Fantasy Flight Games catalogue. They are a top notch company. I know some people have been disappointed with their handling of the Warhammer licences, but I think few can complain about the quality of the products they put out, or the genius of their designers. Tonight we are trying our first game of Twilight Imperium and I’m very excited about it.
Our local gaming store has weathered this economy well mostly because, the owner tells me, people are rediscovering the value of board games for their family. It costs the same to buy a game like Arkham Horror that it does to take a family out for movies and popcorn/drinks on a Friday night, but the difference is you can play the game again with no further investment. If you are looking for a family game night and need something that defies the usual boredom of Monopoly, Scrabble, or Sorry, maybe its time to upgrade your game.
Then again, given the night and morning I’ve had…maybe you’re not ready yet.