Review – Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Blob That Ate Everything

Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Blob That Ate Everything scenario pack. Fantasy Flight Games, 2019. Designed by Brad Andres and Matthew Newman.

As you may know, Em and I love Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Honestly, while we haven’t formalized a top-ten favorite games list for Our Meeple Overlords (We’ll probably wait until December for that), I’m willing to bet that it’ll be our number 1 game. We’re those people who own two core sets, all the campaigns so far, extra bonus characters from the novels, third-party upgrade bits, storage-solutions (customized by Em)…That’s who we are. It’s how we do.

So when some of our friends invited us to play an Epic Multi-player game of The Blob That Ate Everything, we knew we had to do it. Epic-multiplayer is the one mode we hadn’t tried in AH, and we hadn’t played The Blob yet.

Before I tell you how it went and what I thought, I have to drop the following warning on you:

THERE WILL BE MINOR SPOILERS. I’m not going to spoil major story elements, but I will coyly discuss themes and mechanisms, and that might lead you to guess at plot points. There will also be pictures, and while Em and I were careful not to include major spoilers in these pics, you might see some text and some illustrations that, if you are an absolute purist when it comes to spoilers, are spoilers. If you don’t want to see these and just want to know if this scenario is any good, scroll to the bottom and read the rating we give it.

Rex says it’s your last chance to jump off the train to Spoilerton. He’s being a little dramatic.

What’s going on?

A meteorite has crashed in a small town in Massachusetts, to the excitement of everyone. Scientists swarmed on the town to investigate this giant space rock, along with some soldiers and a few investigators from the nearby Miskatonic University (Hey, that’s us!). The scientists were in the crater, taking samples when…the meteor hatched. A green ooze (Hey, that’s the Blob!) emerged and…ATE EVERYTHING. Oh, and there may or may not be strange lights in the sky, but that’s mostly unrelated to the blob.

And that’s the prologue.

This is a stand-alone scenario that can be worked into your campaign if you’re so inclined. It also features the aforementioned Epic Multiplayer mode, which allows for as many groups of 1-4 players to play with their own set of The Blob that Ate Everything as you want, and everyone’s game affects everyone else’s (the Blob scales for the total number of players playing, and some of the goals do as well). One group is chosen to keep track of each of the shared resources and the health of the Blob, so no one is too bogged down by the details.

This small town sure is big. And slimy.

What’s so good about it?

This isn’t the first Epic Multiplayer scenario for Arkham Horror; Em and I have Labyrinths of Lunacy, which also has an Epic mode, but that only allows for three groups to plumb the depths of madness together. However, The Blob That Ate Everything is the logical evolution of that model. And even if playing with more than, say, 4 groups would be rather complicated, as long as there is a system of communication, it’s not that much more convoluted. We played with only 3 groups, which meant that every group had to keep track of one element, and even though we had two groups playing in the same room (wearing masks, of course!) and one group telecommuting from a different time zone, we still managed. The design is just as complicated as it needed to be.

Another great thing about the scenario was that if was relentless without being overwhelming. The Blob threw threats at us we felt just unprepared for, but there were also ways to regain health and sanity. There was a point early on when we thought for sure one of us was about to die, but an hour later, that same character was in much better shape, but at a cost (which I won’t spoil here).

While spoilers would…um…spoil the first play of the game, it does have a story randomization element. There are story cards that, part way through the scenario, you are told to draw from, and this adds an additional complication to your adventure. We’ve now played this scenario twice (once as just a two-player), and the mid-game, and the consequences of the mid-game, were vastly different.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this scenario, though, I can’t talk about without spoiling part of the game. SLIGHT SPOILERS HERE. Highlight the following area for that spoiler:

There is a card in the game that tells you to draw some tokens and compare them to a chart in the scenario rule book. Depending on the tokens drawn, one of a surprisingly large random effects happen. Many of these effect the game by causing you to lose resources or discard cards, but some of them affect the players’ reality! For instance, in our 2-player run though, we were instructed to turn off all electric light and play by flashlight. The following pic illustrated that.

Play in the dark for EXTRA SPOOKINESS.

What’s not-so-good?

I do have a few complaints, but they have little to do with the actual gameplay. First of all, there are a few cards and bits of text that, in epic-multi-player, are unclear whether they affect all players or just the players in your group. We had to halt the game a few times to come to a consensus on these things. A non-spoilery example is that when one of the scenario cards is flipped, it says “If this is the first time this act has advanced, read the following:”. But that text is on every group’s card. Do they each read it? We figured it out (they do), but it held up the game a little.

Another niggling issue I have with this scenario is it doesn’t feel “Lovecraftian” to me. I mean, sure, there’s a gigantic, nebulous beast that wants to devour you, and yes, it slams into town Color Out of Space-style, but despite that, it still felt like a physical, tangible threat, rather than a cosmic, existential one. And even when slightly more Lovecraftian elements are introduced, they feel tacked-on. This doesn’t make the game less fun, but I kind of missed the weirdness that other scenarios throw at you.

Honestly, though, I think these might be the only issues I have with it.

What do I think?

Despite not feeling as thematically “Arkham” as other scenarios, The Blob that Ate Everything is a fun, well-balanced adventure that will test your skill and your deck-building abilities. It’s just random enough to be replayable, but is full of surprises for the blind run. And while it’s certainly worthwhile to play with a single group, if you have the opportunity to play Epic Multiplayer, I highly recommend picking this one up.

I’m giving it 8/10 victory points. It’s not as good as, say, The Path to Carcosa, It’s certainly more fun that the campaign in the base game or the Curse of the Rougarou scenario.

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