Unboxing Arkham Horror Under Dark Waves Expansion Pack & Review

 

OVERVIEW & BACKGROUND:

Before we begin with the review here is our back story and our Arkham Horror Journey.

Back in December 2019 we took Arkham Horror 3rd Edition out of the box with not a clue what we were about to embark on, we set it up and then just looked at it in front of us, after 10 minutes we packed it all away and it did not come out again until January 2020.  The whole team tackled the first game of Arkham and of course failed terribly.  It’s been our challenge over the last 10  months to never let it defeat us.

When you have spent months, or even years, defending the streets of Arkham in the 3rd Edition of Arkham Horror RPG.  You might think it’s time for an expansion, and you would be right.  We bought our first expansion pack six months into playing the game, this was a small expansion pack ‘Dead of Night’.

We got to the point where we just couldn’t beat ‘Approach of Azathoth”, which is the recommended first scenario in the main Arkham Horror 3rd Edition, but we did manage to defeat “Echoes from the Deep” finally! (although it took us 10 months trying to finally get somewhere other an being devoured!). “Veil of Twilight” was another scenario and the first one that we actually managed to survive, and I say survive as I couldn’t really justify using the word win, we did not win, we only just made it through the gore and madness in time.

Defeating anything on your first attempt in this RPG is nigh on impossible and would be a foolish endeavor by any naïve first timer to this world and indeed to the experience of RPGs (Role Play Games btw). The final scenario of the main game ‘Feast for Unhordnoth’ was also a case of survival for our first few attempts, but we have to say we managed to actually win this hands down and totally in control (do you believe me?).

Heading back to ‘Dead of Night’ expansion, we found this came with 2 new scenarios, these gave us a better chance of experiencing the game, exploring the decks and again getting the right combination of Investigators to actually progress.  We found this expansion was a little easier and we learned how to build our strategy on the back of this. Not that we want to say that we completed these scenarios easily, no way. What I mean is by the seat of our pants with big arse monsters on our heels! However, we did work out how to flip the ‘good’ (if that word can be used in this game) sides of the codex cards, and taste that sweetness of success.

 

Under Dark Waves:

So we find ourselves wanting more, hungry for that opportunity, albeit extremely thin, to try our ‘luck’ with a few more death eating neighbourhood devouring Ancient Ones. Hence bringing this new expansion pack to the table.  ‘Under Dark Waves’, as featured in the video, introduces a whole plethora of new components, additional Neighbourhoods, extra cards for a range of decks and introduces new Fear tokens and a new Terror deck to the encounters, the travel routes are new and give the game a new dimension in play, and of course a good range of new Investigators to choose from including introducing an open transgender character, which we think is absolutely fantastic to see in a game like this.

So of course, we did what we had to, and gave it a go. We decided to try what looked like an easier scenario ‘The Pale Lantern’ oh dear! how wrong we were.  We failed, very badly after 3 and a half hours on the table, but we are not defeatists, no no! We tried another scenario ‘Dreams of R’lyeh’ (good luck saying that if you haven’t watched a specific video on how to). Oh goodness me, that did not go down well at all, this one took us across 2 days play, to be inundated with doom and monsters galore and of course Investigators lose the game… I have never seen so much doom used, we nearly ran out of tokens, and monsters.

So that is our experience so far, and we haven’t even tried the other scenarios which utilize the Fear tokens and the Terror deck, we dare not, we are not ready for that plunge into darkness and failure just yet, we need time to recover from our last two encounters!

Retro Reviewer Criteria:

  1. OVERALL STRATEGYDifficult, downhearted, defeated, but you get there in the end, perseverance, choosing the right combination of Investigators and the game is yours, eventually.
  2. ORIGINALITY AND INTEGRATION OF THE THEMEThe theme is epic, we love the Horror that is Arkham, we can say no more.
  3. DEPTH OF SKILL NEEDED – Hours, days, weeks, even years are needed to build the skills you need, just when you think you’ve got it, buy an expansion pack and find yourself back on day one! This is NOT a game for casual gamers by any mean feat.
  4. ORIGINALITY IN GAME MECHANICSWe find this game is unique from other table top games but we cannot comment on its comparison with RPG’s as this is our first series of RPG games played.
  5. INTERACTION OF PLAYERSThis is a cooperative game, if you don’t cooperate you all die a horrible death! players must interact and plan ahead constantly.
  6. LUCK FACTORIt’s based on the luck of the dice rolls, these are what get you where you want to be, the luck of the throw also plunges you into places you would rather not even dream of.  It is a game of luck and chance, from the dice rolls, to picking up cards from the Encounter decks to putting your hand in that horrendous Mythos cup, it is all about the luck, cooperation and strategy building.
  7. RULE BOOK – EASY TO FOLLOWIt’s extensive, I wouldn’t call it easy, you may need to watch a few videos and read a few blogs to get your head around everything, we are still finding new rules now 12 months later.
  8. FUN FACTOR – FOCUSING ON HOW MUCH FUN WE HADWe do have fun, even if our faces don’t show it, we wouldn’t keep coming back if we didn’t. It’s the fun of the challenge and we are all in it together.
  9. EMOTIONS OF PLAYERS DURING AND AFTERWARDSOne word – Rollercoaster… But extremely excitable, and every emotion you can think of in-between depending on how your scenario is panning out.
  10. REPLAYABILITYDefinitely for many years to come, No play is the same twice, it can never be, there are way too many combinations of everything.

Overall comments:

There is one negative we would want to mention at this stage from the new expansion pack ‘Under Dark Waves’ and that is the new Tainted Condition.  We feel these are given out just a little too often, they become too familiar too quickly, appearing even more often than Cursed/Blessed, Dark Pacts and Wanted(s). However, we will go on and on and on and on and we challenge you to do the same.

Ancient Ones such as Cthuluh, Azathoth, Tsathoggua, Yog-sothoth and Nyarlathotep (there are more) will try to devour you, to encapsulate you and your neighbourhoods and plunge you into darkness with nothing left to show your existence, but they will not WIN…. We will overcome………Lets go …………………. Again!

If this is the game for you and you’re intrigued by our review and want to purchase this game, support a small business and click here for the Amazon link:

Disclaimer: as part of the Amazon Affiliates Programme, we will receive a small percentage of your purchase of this game, this does not affect the price you pay, but we want to thank you for supporting us through this programme.

Links to other Arkham Horror boxes mentioned above:

Dead of Night expansion is currently unavailable on Amazon.

Leave a Comment