Toy Corner

Arkham Horror: The Path To Carcosa Review

by Joseph Gough on Mar 29, 2024

Arkham Horror: The Path To Carcosa Review

A gem that's worth sharing - The Path to Carcosa. I had my doubts at first, but this second campaign cycle has continued to surprise and impress me. The game's mechanisms beautifully complement the unfolding story, making it the best campaign yet.

The King in Yellow, a play with a dark secret, lies at the heart of this campaign. It's got an eerie history that's as intriguing as it is unsettling. So, prepare yourself for a roller coaster ride as you navigate the horrifying truths hidden in The Path to Carcosa.

Overview of Arkham Horror: The Path to Carcosa

At the heart of The Path to Carcosa is the terrifying and enigmatic play called The King in Yellow. It is a disturbing piece with an unsettling history, packed to the brim with dark secrets. There's no denying, something is awry, but the horrifying truth might be more distressing than what you initially suspect.

The lure of The Path to Carcosa mainly stems from the fictional works of renowned author, Robert W Chambers. His tale about The King in Yellow serves as the pivotal narrative for this campaign, promising to lead players on an unnerving journey filled with, may I dare say, horrifying truths.

If you are interested in exploring more – without any spoilers, of course – I'll share an in-depth discussion about the new investigators and player cards next. Let there be no mystery here; The Path to Carcosa deserves your attention. So brace yourself, pull up a chair, and get ready to embark on a thrilling March to madness and beyond - shall we shine a light on these new features together?

New Investigators

As we continue to delve deeper, let's take a moment to understand some key gameplay features on offer in The Path to Carcosa. This further exploration of the investigators will enhance our appreciation of this wonderfully complex Arkham Horror expansion.

There is a new cast for you to be introduced to, each with their own set of specific skills and abilities. I found that in this game specifically, the designers have emphasized for the investigators to be able to play with the mechanics of this game. So here I will introduce you to the new group.

Mark Harrigan is the first character that I will introduce to you, a former soldier, he is known for being tough. He gets better after taking a beating, where he can take extra cards each time after getting attacked and has other abilities such as being able to move one damage from himself onto an enemy. Be careful though, as he can remember his haunted memories if he is being attacked too much. 

Sefina Rousseau is a painter, choosing this character will give you a large set of starting cards and she also can copy any event card, allowing you to play it again. Then there is William Yorick, a grave digger who has witnessed many atrocities, such as monsters eating people. He is incredibly strong and can bring back cards from the discard pile to be used again. 

Minh Thi Phan is a secretary who had worked for Mr. Thomas and is an excellent support character as any investigator that is in her location can do a skill test. Akachi is a shaman that can help supercharge other characters' asset cards. Finally and my favourite, we have Lola, an actress and the first-ever neutral card. Before starting the game whoever chooses this character must decide on what role she will play in the game, but do not worry as she can switch rolls in between the game and be able to use different cards.

Scenarios and Campaign

Continuing with our exploration of The Path to Carcosa, I'll now delve into two key scenarios from this thrilling expansion: Curtain Call and the Last King. These exciting chapters unravel the progressively horrifying storyline, testing your strategies, decision-making skills, and ultimately your sanity!

The story begins with you as one of the characters of the game being at the theatre, during which you have fallen asleep during the King of Yellow’s interval when you suddenly wake up and find that the theatre has been destroyed and abandoned. What horrible incident has occurred? That is what you are trying to find out while wandering around the theatre when you discover the monster. Similar to all other Arkham horror games, winning or losing this scenario does not stop you from going on to the next chapter. 

After a disturbing visit to the theatre during the Curtain Call scenario, where things take an unexpectedly grim turn, The Last King, the next part in the series, leads you to an after-party in search of answers. This scenario introduces you to the cast and crew of The King in Yellow, a play central to our narrative.

Expect interactions that seem straight out of a nightmare, each one capable of having long-term consequences on the overall campaign. The introduction of the unique Doubt/Conviction mechanic in Path to Carcosa adds another layer of intrigue. This feature has a profound influence on the game, affecting how much you believe in the unfolding events—raising questions about your sanity. Trust me, once you reach the Interlude following The Last King scenario, you'll face a choice that truly makes you doubt your own decisions.

And so, as we move ahead in our journey through the gloomy streets of Arkham and its eerie asylums, filled with spectral apparitions and dreadful adversaries, let's prepare to face the lurking Lovecraftian horrors hidden deep within The Path to Carcosa. Get ready for a testing blend of strategy and adaptability as each choice you make echoes in the chambers of doubt and conviction, adding to an atmosphere already brimming with terror and suspense.

There's more to the campaign that awaits, and remember, maintaining your sanity amidst the rising tide of horror is key to surviving The Path to Carcosa. Hang tight, as I continue unravelling the mysteries laid down by this incredible campaign in the coming sections.

Player Experience

Before reading this I must warn you that there are spoilers in this section! My journey through Arkham Horror: The Path To Carcosa was no walk in the park, it was a horror-filled adventure that kept me on edge. In the world of Arkham, anything can happen and you're constantly tested to adapt accordingly.

Going in solo makes it all the more challenging. You're thrown into this eerie environment, to outsmart and fight off the Ancient One known as Hastur, The King in Yellow. This character, shrouded by multiple aliases like the Repairer of Reputations and Lord of Carcosa, evolves into a formidable foe, threatening my survival at every move.

Drawing inspiration from the works of Robert W Chambers and H.P. Lovecraft, The Path to Carcosa pays tribute to their dark literature. Specifically, Chambers' late 1800s collection of short stories, The King in Yellow, which centred around the 'Ancient One', Hastur. Notably, Lovecraft expanded on this with his mention of Hastur and Lake Hali in his literary works, inseparably tying Hastur to the now-infamous Cthulhu Mythos.

Throughout the game, I realised that every round was an experience in itself and keeping my sanity against this escalating horror was key. Threading the fine line between Doubt and Conviction was a challenge. The intensity escalated with every passing scenario, especially the final battle.

Facing Hastur at the end was nerve-wracking. In my true solo run, I only managed to deal a single point of damage to him before biting the dust. A reality check reminded me of just how unforgiving the scenario was. However, it didn't stop me. Till today, winning that round remains elusive yet enticing. I'm up for the challenge. That's just one aspect of the immersive and intricate world of Arkham Horror: The Path To Carcosa that makes it extraordinarily engaging.

The lore, the characters, the uncertainty, and the immersive narrative style - all add to the uniquely thrilling player experience. An experience that, despite being overwhelming at times, keeps pulling you back into the chilling depths of Carcosa. There's always a new horror to face, a new mystery to uncover, testing your adaptability and resilience in this Lovecraftian nightmare.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the journey offered by Arkham Horror: The Path To Carcosa provides a fusion of feelings, perfectly balancing thrill and apprehension. This immersive game brought to you by Fantasy Flights Games dives deeply into its dark roots, placing players in a world filled with mysterious horrors, requiring them to protect their mental stability. The final showdown with Hastur showcases the relentless challenges of the game. However, it's this very intensity that captivates players, continuously drawing them in. Therefore, for those seeking an adventure that will test their resilience and constantly keep them on edge, Arkham Horror: The Path To Carcosa is an outstanding choice. It offers a chilling journey into the depths of Carcosa, an experience guaranteed to leave a lasting impression in your memory.