The Rules – Gameplay

Just a disclaimer going in to the second post about the rules here: most (if not all) of this information is pulled directly from the Learn to Play and Rules Reference books that come with the core game or are available for free from here or from FFG.

Round Sequence

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is played over a series of rounds. During a round, the investigators encounter the terrifying forces of the Mythos, move through and explore mysterious locations, fend off dangerous enemies, and finally, collect their bearings in anticipation of the next round. Each round is divided into the following four phases:

  1. Mythos Phase (This phase is skipped during the first round of play)
  2. Investigation Phase
  3. Enemy Phase
  4. Upkeep Phase

Once all four phases are complete, the round is over, and play proceeds to the next round. Eaxch phase is described in detail below.

The Investigation Phase

During this phase, each investigator takes a separate turn. The investigators, as a group, choose which investigator takes the first turn. When an investigator’s turn ends, choose another investigator to take their turn, and so on, until each investigator has taken their turn.

Each investigator has three actions during their turn that may be used to perform a variety of tasks. An investigator may perform any of the following, as many times as they would like, and in any order, providing the investigator has an action available to pay for that task. On their turn, an investigator may use an action to:

  • Draw 1 card
  • Gain 1 Resource
  • Activate an action ability (action trigger) ability
  • Engage an enemy at their current location
  • Investigate at their current location
  • Move to a connecting location
  • Play an asset or event card from their hand
  • Attempt to Evade an enemy that is engaged with them
  • Fight an enemy at their current location

If an investigator is engaged with one or more ready enemies, performing any action other than to Evade, to Fight, or to Activate an ability with either a Parley or Resign designator in its text causes each of those enemies to attack the investigator. This type of attack is called an attack of opportunity.

An investigator may end their turn early if there are no other actions that they wish to perform. To indicate that an investigator’s turn is over, flip their mini-card facedown to its black and white side. Unused actions are lost and cannot be saved for future turns. After each investigator has completed their turn, play proceeds to the Enemy Phase.

Below you will find each action described in detail:


The investigator using this action draws one card from the top of their deck.

Rules Reference on Drawing Cards

When a player draws two or more cards as the result of a single ability or game step, those cards are drawn simultaneously. If a deck empties mid-draw, reset the deck and complete the draw.

There is no limit to the number of cards a player may draw each round.

If an investigator with an empty investigator deck needs to draw a card, that investigator shuffles their discard pile back into their deck, then draws the card, and upon completion of the entire draw, they take one horror.


The investigator using this action gains one resource from the token pool.


The investigator using this action resolve an action ability (action trigger) ability on a card under their control, on an encounter card, at their current location, or on the current act or agenda card.


The investigator using this action engages one enemy that is at their current location. To engage the enemy, the investigator places that enemy in their threat area.

This action may be used to engage either an enemy that is not currently engaged or an enemy that is currently engaged with another investigator who is at the same location.


The investigator using this action investigates their current location in an attempt to find clues. That investigator makes an intellect test against the shroud value of that location.

If the skill test is successful, the investigatior has succeeded and discovers one clue from the location. When an investigator discovers a clue from a location, that player takes one clue that was on the location and places it on their investigator card.

If the test failed, no clues are discovered.


The investigator using this action attempts to evade one enemy they are engaged with. That investigator makes an agility test against that enemy’s evade value.

If the skill test was successful, the investigator successfully evades the enemy. The enemy is exhausted and the engagement is broken. Move the enemy from the investigator’s threat area to the investigator’s current location to mark that it is no longer engaged with that investigator.

If the agility test fails, the enemy is not evaded and remains engaged with the investigator.


The investigator using this action moves to a connecting location. Move that investigator’s mini-card to any other location that is marked as a connection on the investigator’s current location. A location’s connections are indicated by the icons at the bottom of the location card, which each match an identical icon in the title area of each connecting location.

If the connecting location is unrevealed, the location is turned to its revealed side when an investigator moves to it. Remember to place the indicated number of clues on the location when this occurs.


When an investigator uses this action, that investigator selects an asset or event card in their hand, pays its resource cost, and plays it. A card’s resource cost and card type are found in its upper left corner.

To pay a resource cost, the investigator playing the card must move a number of resources equal to the cost from their pool to the general token pool.

The rules for playing each card type are as follows:

  • If the card being played is an event card, its effects are resolved and it is then placed in its owner’s discard pile.
  • If the card being played is an asset card, it is placed in the play area of the investigator playing the card and remains in play until an ability or game effect causes it to leave play.
  • Skill cards are not played. For their abilities and icons to be used, these cards must be committed to a skill test from a player’s hand.

Cards with the fast keyword do not cost an action to play.


Slots restrict the number of cards of a specific category an investigator can have in play at one time. If an asset has one or more slot symbols, it may only enter play if its controller has those slots available.

The slots available to an investigator are: 1 ally slot, 1 body slot, 1 accessory slot, 2 hand slots, and 2 arcane slots.

The icons below indicate that an asset counts against an investigator’s capacity for the indicated slot(s). If an asset has no symbols on it, it does not take up any slots.


If an investigator wishes to play or gain control of an asset that requires a slot already held by a different asset, the investigator must choose and discard an asset or assets under their control to make room for the newly acquired asset.


The investigator using this action attacks one enemy that is at his or her location. The investigator makes a combat test against the enemy’s fight value.

If the combat test is successful, the attack succeeds and the investigator deals 1 damage to the attacked enemy. Some weapons, spells, or other special attacks may modify the amount of damage dealt. Place a number of damage tokens equal to the amount of damage dealt on the enemy. If an enemy has as much (or more) damage on it as it has health, the enemy is defeated and placed in the encounter discard pile. If the bottom of the enemy’s text box indicates that it provides victory points, place the card in a shared victory pile instead of discarding it.

If the combat test fails, no damage is dealt to the attacked enemy. However, if an investigator fails a combat test against an enemy engaged with another investigator, the damage value of the failed attack is instead dealt to the investigator engaged with that enemy.

The Enemy Phase

Resolve the following steps, in order. If there are no enemies in play, proceed to the Upkeep Phase.

1 – Hunter Enemies Move

Some enemies have the hunter keyword. Each such enemy moves once, to a connecting location, in the direction of the nearest investigator. Exhausted hunter enemies and hunter enemies at a location with one or more investigators do not move.

If a hunter enemy moves to a location with one or more investigators, that enemy immediately engages one of those investigators.

Enemy Engagement

While an enemy card is in play, either it is engaged with an investigator (and placed in that player’s threat area) or it is at a location (and placed at that location). Each enemy in an investigator’s threat area is considered to be at the same location as that investigator. Should the investigator move, the enemy remains engaged with the investigator and also moves to the new location.

Any time a ready, non-engaged enemy is at the same location as an investigator, it engages the investigator and is placed in that investigator’s threat area. If multiple investigators are at the same location as a ready enemy, the lead investigator chooses which of those investigators the enemy engages. Some enemies also has a “Prey” instruction, which dictates whom it engages if there is a conflict.

An enemy will immediately engage if:

It spawns (in a ready state) at the same location as an investigator.

It moves (in a ready state) to the same location as an investigator.

An investigator moves to the same location as a ready enemy.

An exhausted enemy is readied at the same location as an investigator.

2 – Enemy Attacks

Each ready, engaged enemy makes an attack against the investigator with which it is engaged. The investigators resolve enemy attacks in player order.

When an enemy attacks, deal both its damage and its horror, simultaneously, to the engaged investigator. The amount of damage and horror dealt by an enemy’s attack can be found at the bottom of the enemy’s text box.

After an enemy attacks during the Enemy Phase, exhaust it to indicate that it has attacked. (During attacks of opportunity, enemies do not exhaust.)

Damage and Horror

An investigator may be dealt damage and/or horror during a scenario. Damage depletes an investigator’s health and horror depletes an investigator’s sanity.

When an investigator is dealt damage, place damage on the investigator card and/or on any of that investigator’s asset cards that have health, up to the amount of damage each card can hold. A card that has no health value cannot be dealt damage.

When an investigator is dealt horror, place horror on the investigator card and/or on any of that investigator’s asset cards that have sanity, up to the amount of horror each card can hold. A card that has no sanity value cannot be dealt horror.

If a card has an amount of damage that equals or exceeds its health or an amount of horror that equals or exceeds its sanity, the card is defeated. A defeated asset card is discarded. A defeated investigator is eliminated.

The Upkeep Phase

Resolve each of the following steps, in order:

  • Each investigator turns their mini-card face up.
  • Ready all exhausted cards. Each unengaged enemy that readies at the same location as an investigator engages at this time.
  • Each investigator draws 1 card and gains 1 resource.
  • Each investigator with more than 8 cards in their hand chooses and discards cards from their hand until only 8 cards remain.

After the above steps are complete, the game round is over. Proceed to the Mythos Phase of the next game round.

The Mythos Phase

The Mytho Phase comprises three steps, described below:

  • Place one doom token on the current agenda.
  • Compare the total number of doom tokens in play (on the current agenda and on other cards in play) to the doom threshold of the current agenda. If the number of doom tokens in play is equal to or greater than the doom threshold of the current agenda, advance the agenda deck. This is done by discarding all doom tokens from play, turning the current agenda card over, following the instructions on its reverse side, and removing that agenda from play. After following those instructions, the front side of the next card in the agenda deck becomes the active agenda card. (Unless a card specifies that it can advance the agenda, this is the only time the agenda can advance.)
  • In player order, each investigator draws the top card of encounter deck.

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