The Cards

To start things off, I’m going to be giving a run down on the cards used in the game and doing some card anatomy. For now, I’ll just be focusing on the types of cards you’ll find in the core set, but I’ll do more posts later as new types of cards get added to the game (and their already are some from the Dunwich Legacy cycle).


Let’s start at the top and check out some investigator cards:

 

Investigator Cards

Investigators are the player characters in Arkham Horror: The Card Game and who you choose to play as will affect how you build your deck, what role you’ll play in a team, and how you interact with the game. Here’s the information you’ll find on the front of each Investigator Card:

  • Class Symbol – In the top left corner you’ll find an investigator’s class symbol. This symbol represents which of the five character belongs to: Guardian, Mystic, Rogue, Seeker, or Survivor.
  • Name – In the bar of text located to the immediate right of the class symbol, you’ll find the name of the investigator. Below their name is also a little title that let’s you know a bit more about the investigator. Usually it will be their occupation. (This has no bearing on how the game is actually played, but serves to enhance the roleplay aspect of the game).
  • Skills – To the right of an investigator’s name you’ll find their skill set. Each investigator has four skills listed on their card (these skills are the same for every investigator) and, naturally, they all have different values from one another that reflect the investigator’s capabilities as an individual. The skills as shown on the card, in order from left to right, are: Willpower, Intellect, Combat, and Agility.
  • Traits – Located just beneath the skills on an investigator card, you will find that investigator’s traits. Traits are flavor text that tell you a little more about the investigator, but they may also be referenced on other cards in the game and cause them to have an effect on that investigator or other cards that may have the same trait(s).
  • Ability – Directly below an investigator’s trait(s), you’ll find their ability. Each investigator has a different ability and they all do something unique. Sometimes these abilities are passive and take effect when the requirements for it have been met, but other abilities can be used as an action during an investigator’s turn in the game.
  • Elder Sign Ability – Beneath an investigator’s ability is their Elder Sign Ability. Whenever an invesitgator draws the Elder Sign Token from the Chaos Bag, this ability has the potential to take effect.
  • Health and Sanity – The small heart and brain icons on the bottom of an investigator’s card denote the level of their health and sanity, respectively. Losing all of one or the other during a scenario may not always kill you, but it is definitely always a bad thing.

And here is the information that you’ll find on the back of the investigator cards:

  • Class Symbol and Name Again, at the top of the card, you’ll be able to see the investigator’s name and their class symbol.
  • Deck Size – This tells you how many cards an investigator can legally have in their deck. Occasionally, you’ll receive cards that do not count towards your deck size.
  • Deckbuilding Options – This tells you what cards can be in your investigator’s deck. Typically, your investigator will be able to have any cards that fall under their class as well as any neutral cards, but they can also have cards in their deck that come from other classes.
  • Deckbuilding Requirements – This tells you what cards are required to be in the investigator’s deck. This will include a character specific asset card, a character specific weakness, and a basic weakness. Cards listed in this section do not count towards a character’s deck size.

Now, we’ll take a look at asset cards:

Asset Cards

Asset cards are player cards and are one of the three main types of cards that make up the bulk of an investigator’s deck. In the core set, you’ll find three varieties of asset cards. Item cards can be equipped by an investigator and can be used until they’re uses run out or, potentially, indefinitely. Spells are similar to items in that respect, but are only used by the Mystic class. Talents are permanently in play once the investigator puts them into play and can be used to buffer an investigator’s skills during the game. Here is a list of information that asset cards can have:

  • Cost – In the top left corner of every asset card, you’ll find its resource cost. This let’s you know how many resources are required to be spent in order to put that card into play from your hand.
  • Level – Right below the cost, you’ll find a card’s level. The higher the level of a card, the greater the effect(s) of the card. A card’s level is denoted by how many white pips are filled in under the cost. If no pips are filled in, that card is considered to be level 0.
  • Name – To the right of the cost, you’ll find the name of the card.
  • Class Symbol – In the top left corner of you’ll find the card’s class symbol. This let’s you know which class this card belongs to. If there is no symbol, that card is a neutral card and can be used by any investigator.
  • Skill Test Icons – When committed to a skill test, the icons located on the left side of the card tell you what skill this card can enhance. If the card has a “?” icon, this means it can be committed to a skill test to buffer any skill.
  • Traits – Below the picture on card, you can see each traits listed as you would see them on an investigator card.
  • Ability – Located beneath the traits you’ll find the card’s ability. Each card allows you to do different actions and this is especially varied between the different types of player cards.
  • Health and Sanity – Some assets (like allies or armor items) will have values listed at the bottom of the card for their health and sanity values. Like an investigator, if an asset runs out of health or sanity, they’re done.
  • Slot – In the bottom right corner of an asset card, you’ll see a slot icon. This tells you which slot in your investigator’s inventory is filled by this card should you equip it. Not all asset cards have a slot icon as not all asset cards take up a slot in an investigator’s inventory.

Now we’ll take a look at event cards:

Event Cards

Event cards are another type of player card that you’ll use to build your investigator’s deck. Unlike asset cards, event cards are typically used once and then discarded. Their effects can be offensive, defensive, or anywhere in between. As with asset cards, there are different kinds of event cards, though their usage isn’t as varied as asset cards. The core set even had an investigator specific weakness card that is an event card. Here is the information that you can find on event cards:

  • Cost – In the top left corner of every event card, you’ll find its resource cost. This let’s you know how many resources are required to be spent in order to put that card into play from your hand.
  • Level – Right below the cost, you’ll find a card’s level. The higher the level of a card, the greater the effect(s) of the card. A card’s level is denoted by how many white pips are filled in under the cost. If no pips are filled in, that card is considered to be level 0.
  • Name – To the right of the cost, you’ll find the name of the card.
  • Skill Test Icons – When committed to a skill test, the icons located on the left side of the card tell you what skill this card can enhance. If the card has a “?” icon, this means it can be committed to a skill test to buffer any skill.
  • Class Symbol – In the bottom center of the card’s picture,  you’ll find its class symbol. This let’s you know which class this card belongs to. If there is no symbol, that card is a neutral card and can be used by any investigator.
  • Traits – Below the picture on card, you can see each traits listed as you would see them on an investigator card.
  • Ability – Located beneath the traits you’ll find the card’s ability. Each card allows you to do different actions and this is especially varied between the different types of player cards.

And now for the last kind of player card, skill cards:

Skill Cards

Skill cards are another type of player card that you’ll be adding into your investigator’s deck. Like asset cards, skill cards can be used indefinitely until discarded or committed to a skill test. Unlike asset or event cards, skill cards do not have a resource cost and are instead free to play should you chose to play them. There are two main kinds of skill cards, practiced and innate, though this doesn’t have much bearing on gameplay apart from these being traits listed on the cards. Here is the information that you can find on skill cards:

  • Class Symbol – In the top left corner of the card,  you’ll find its class symbol. This let’s you know which class this card belongs to. If there is no symbol, that card is a neutral card and can be used by any investigator.
  • Level – Right below the class symbol, you’ll find a card’s level. The higher the level of a card, the greater the effect(s) of the card. A card’s level is denoted by how many white pips are filled in under the cost. If no pips are filled in, that card is considered to be level 0.
  • Name – To the right of the class symbol, you’ll find the name of the card.
  • Skill Test Icons – When committed to a skill test, the icons located on the left side of the card tell you what skill this card can enhance. If the card has a “?” icon, this means it can be committed to a skill test to buffer any skill.
  • Traits – Below the picture on card, you can see each traits listed as you would see them on an investigator card.
  • Ability – Located beneath the traits you’ll find the card’s ability. Each card allows you to do different actions and this is especially varied between the different types of player cards.

With player cards out of the way, we’ll now move into scenario cards. And first up, we have act cards:

Act Cards

Act cards tell you about what your investigator is supposed to be working towards and what is going on in the story in the scenario that you are playing through. Each scenario has one or more act cards in it and completing them all allows your investigator(s) to finish the scenario in a more positive light. Here is the information that you’ll find on the front side of act cards:

  • Act Sequence – At the very top of card, in small print,  you’ll find it’s act sequence. This lets you know where this act comes chronologically in regards to the scenario that you are playing. Acts will always start on “1a” and move forward from there, assuming the investigator(s) can get the act to advance.
  • Encounter Set Icon – Below the act sequence, you’ll see the act’s encounter set icon. Act cards themselves are not included in the encounter deck, but their may be cards that share the same encounter set icon that will be going into the encounter deck for that scenario.
  • Title – Below the encounter set icon, you can find the act’s title. As you can see in the card above, the act title is “The Barrier”.
  • Story Text – Under the title you can see the story text on the card. This helps to set the scene for what your investigators are trying to do, where they are, and/or what they’re about to be up against. Story text has no bearing on game mechanics, but serves to enhance the roleplay aspect and theme of the game.
  • Objective – Beneath the story text, you can find the objective. This is what the investigator(s) need to do in order to make the act advance.
  • Clue Threshold – In the bottom center of the act card, you’ll see the clue threshold. In addition to completing the objective listed on the act card, your investigator(s) may also be required to place a number of clues equal to the amount listed on the clue threshold of the act card in order to make the act advance.

And now for the information that you’ll find on the back side if act cards:

  • Act Sequence – In the top left corner of card,  you’ll find it’s act sequence. This lets you know where this act comes chronologically in regards to the scenario that you are playing. The backside of an act card is always a “b” in the act sequence. So, if the front side of the card had the act sequence of “1a”, the back side will have “1b”.
  • Encounter Set Icon – Below the act sequence, you’ll again see the act’s encounter set icon.
  • Title – Below the encounter set icon, written down the left side of the card, you can find the act’s title. As you can see in the card above, the act title is “Breaking the Barrier”.
  • Story Text – At the top of the card, you can see the story text. This helps to set the scene for what your investigators are trying to do, where they are, and/or what they’re about to be up against. Story text has no bearing on game mechanics, but serves to enhance the roleplay aspect and theme of the game.
  • Instructions – Beneath the story text, you’ll find instructions for things that you’ll need to do or take note of before moving into the next act.

With act cards taken care of, we’ll take a look at agenda cards:

Agenda Cards

Agenda cards are very similar to act cards. Both cards are capable of advancing the scenario and adding depth to the story. However, unlike act cards, it’s bad news for the investigator(s) if the agenda advances. Agenda cards represent things happening with the forces of evil within the story and, if an agenda is allowed to advance all the way to the end, things get exceptionally bad. Here is the information that you can find on the front side of agenda cards:

  • Agenda Sequence – At the very top of card, in small print,  you’ll find it’s agenda sequence. This lets you know where this act comes chronologically in regards to the scenario that you are playing. Agendas will always start on “1a” and move forward from there.
  • Encounter Set Icon – Below the agenda sequence, you’ll see the agenda’s encounter set icon. Agenda cards themselves are not included in the encounter deck, but their may be cards that share the same encounter set icon that will be going into the encounter deck for that scenario.
  • Title – Below the encounter set icon, you can find the agenda’s title. As you can see in the card above, the agenda title is “What’s Going On?!”.
  • Story Text – Under the title you can see the story text on the card. This helps to set the scene for what your investigators are trying to do, where they are, and/or what they’re about to be up against. Story text has no bearing on game mechanics, but serves to enhance the roleplay aspect and theme of the game.
  • Doom Threshold – If the investigator(s) are taken too long to accomplish their objectives, doom will start adding up on the agenda card and, eventually, advance the agenda. This leads to nothing, but negative consequences for the investigator(s).

And now for the information you can find on the back side of agenda cards:

  • Agenda Sequence – In the top left corner of card,  you’ll find it’s agenda sequence. This lets you know where this act comes chronologically in regards to the scenario that you are playing. The backside of an agenda card is always a “b” in the agenda sequence. So, if the front side of the card had the agenda sequence of “1a”, the back side will have “1b”.
  • Encounter Set Icon – Below the agenda sequence, you’ll again see the agenda’s encounter set icon.
  • Title – Below the encounter set icon, written down the left side of the card, you can find the agenda’s title. As you can see in the card above, the agenda title is “A Lapse in Time”.
  • Story Text – At the top of the card, you can see the story text. This helps to set the scene for what your investigators are trying to do, where they are, and/or what they’re about to be up against. Story text has no bearing on game mechanics, but serves to enhance the roleplay aspect and theme of the game.
  • Instructions – Beneath the story text, you’ll find instructions for things that you’ll need to do or take note of before moving into the next agenda.

Now we can move on to location cards:

Location Cards

Location cards are used to build out the game map for a scenario and each card is a place that your investigator(s) can physically inhabit during the game. Each location card starts on the so that its back side is facing up. The back side of a location card (as you can see above on the right) features a small lock icon at the very top. When an investigator moves onto a location, it is flipped over and its details are revealed. Here is the information that you can find on the front side of location cards:

  • Connection Symbol – In the top left corner of the card, you’ll see it’s connection symbol. This represents what other locations can directly access this location. At the bottom the card, you’ll again see one or more connection symbols. Location cards bearing the symbols at the bottom of a location card can be directly travelled to when an investigator is on that location card.
  • Name – To the right of the top connection symbol, you’ll find the name of the location symbol. Often times, a location will share a name with another location. These can be differentiated by the secondary name that is located below the name in these cases. (The above card does not feature this).
  • Shroud – On the left side of the card in the middle, you’ll see its shroud value. This is how hard it is for an investigator to investigate at the loaction and successfully discover clues.
  • Encounter Set Icon – In the center of the card, see the agenda’s encounter set icon. Location cards also do not get shuffled into the encounter deck for scenarios, they are set up before the scenario is played.
  • Clue Value – On the right side of the card in the middle, you’ll see its clue value. When an investigator first moves onto a location, clues are spawned on that location equal to the amount shown on that location’s clue value.
  • Ability – In the main body of a location card, you may or may not find an ability listed there. Abilities on location cards can be good or bad for investigators. On the card above, the listed ability negatively affects investigators who enter it.
  • Victory Points – In the bottom left corner of a location card, you may see the word “Victory” accompanied by a number. Often, that number will be a one. This means that, once all clues have been discovered on that location and the scenario ends you can add it to your victory display and earn experience with which to better your investigator’s deck.

Now we’ll look at the first of the two types of encounter cards; enemy cards:

Cultist

Enemy Cards

Enemy cards are one of the two types of encounter cards that your investigator(s) will be dealing with over the course of each scenario. Here is the information that you can find on enemy cards:

  • Name – At the top of the card, you’ll find the name of the enemy.
  • Fight Value – In the red triangle beneath the name, is the enemy’s fight value. This is the threshold that needs to be beaten in order to do damage to the enemy when in combat.
  • Health Value – In the black triangle beneath the name, is the enemy’s health value. This is how much damage an enemy can sustain before it is defeated.
  • Evade Value – In the green triangle beneath the name, is the enemy’s evade value. This is the threshold that needs to be beaten in order to escape away from an enemy once engaged with them.
  • Traits – Below the triangles, you’ll find the enemy card’s traits. These function for enemy cards just as they do for investigator and player cards.
  • Abilities – Below the traits you’ll find that enemy’s abilities. Some, though not all, enemies have more than one ability listed.
  • Victory Points – Directly above the encounter set icon, an enemy card may have victory points listed. If so, once that enemy is defeated it can be added to the victory display. (This is not featured on the card above).
  • Encounter Set Icon – In the center of the card, you’ll find it’s encounter set icon. This let’s you know which encounter set the card belongs to when you are building the encounter deck for a scenario.
  • Damage – To the left of the encounter set icon, you’ll see one or more hearts. This represents how much damage is dealt to health values when this enemy card makes an attack.
  • Horror – To the right of the encounter set icon, you’ll see one or more brains. This represents how much damage is dealt to sanity values when this enemy card makes an attack.

And, finally, let’s have a look at treachery cards:

Treachery Cards

Treachery cards make up the bulk of practically every encounter deck you’ll be playing against and they come in a lot of flavors. Whatever their nature, they always pose the threat of potential harm to your investigator(s).

Some treacheries are called “Weaknesses” and, instead of being shuffled into the encounter deck, are shuffled into your investigator deck. (Each investigator will always have two or more weaknesses in their deck. It’s not exactly fair, but that’s the theme of the game).

Here is the information that you can find on treachery cards:

  • Encounter Set Icon – In the center of the card, you’ll find its encounter set icon. This let’s you know which encounter set the card belongs to when you are building the encounter deck for a scenario.
  • Name – Below the encounter set icon, you’ll find the name of the treachery card.
  • Traits – Below the name of the treachery card, you’ll find its trait(s). These function as they would on any other card on which traits appear.
  • Ability – This lets you know what could potentially happen to your investigator(S0 and how you can avoid it (if you can avoid it).

And those are all the kinds of cards that come into play during a game of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. With this post all wrapped up, be on the look out for the first post in a series of rules explanation and analysis posts.

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