Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace

Currently playing Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace on the Switch.

Hmm.

Arkham Horror is a very popular board game based on the Cthulhu Mythos material created by H P Lovecraft and so very many others in his wake. The original game debuted back in the eighties. It was pretty simplistic compared with the current generation of games, but it included game mechanics for “investigators” (players) losing sanity over the course of the game… which made for a really fucking brilliant drinking-game version. Many’s the time the universe has been destroyed purely because all of us investigators wound up having to drink too much goddam goon, and simply couldn’t complete the game.

Anyway. The modern version of the board game appears to be very popular. There’s a raft of expansions and supplements, and you can still drink when you lose sanity points, so that’s okay. But the simple lunacy of the original has given way to a grotesquely complex pile of cards, markers, tokens, etc. You wanna play Arkham Horror now, you don’t just grab a couple half-drunk buddies and expect to lose an hour or two. Oh no. Modern Arkham Horror takes at least half an hour just to set it up. If you’re planning a full play-through, you better lay in supplies for at least half a day.

Which brings me to the Switch game. I thought: “Yeah, cool. A Switch adaptation of Arkham Horror? Could be okay!”

But the great thing about a board game is the buddies you play with, right? And there’s no multiplayer version for the Switch. You just plod around the screen, grimly interacting with clue-points or butchering cultists. Meanwhile, your sanity flies out the window every time you so much as smell a corpse….

I’ll finish the game, sure. But it’s not what I was hoping for. It’s slow moving, slow-paced, with turn-based combat mechanics. And it very much lacks the ludicrous sense of humour we brought to it back in a certain mould-ridden flat in Highgate Hill about thirty years ago now. Unless you’re a seriously hardcore Lovecraft fan, I wouldn’t really recommend it.

One comment

  1. Andrew Reilly · · Reply

    I always doubted that we were giving the Lovecraftian material the gravitas it thought that it deserved. The ludicrous interpretation was heaps of fun though. Thanks for this post!

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