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The struggle against the Ancient Ones spreads out of the museum and into the haunted city of Arkham in Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham. Adventures take place in over twenty locations including Velma’s Diner and the Curiositie Shoppe, Arkham Asylum, and the Uninvited Isle. Meanwhile, gates to Other Worlds open throughout Arkham, destabilizing time and space.
In this expansion for Elder Sign, four new Ancient Ones threaten humanity and eight new investigators join the quest for elder signs. Investigators can also now acquire skills that give them lasting advantages. Memberships in either the brutal Sheldon Gang or the mysterious Silver Twilight Lodge help investigators complete tasks and grant them added rewards.
It will take all the skills, resources, strength, and sanity you can muster to prevent the Ancient Ones from awakening – and to stay alive in the rough streets of Arkham.
The Streets of Arkham
The Streets of Arkham game mode leaves the museum and takes the action to twenty-five locations throughout Arkham, such as Independence Square, the River Docks, and Ma’s Boarding House. In this mode, a complete deck of Arkham Adventure cards replaces the core set Adventure deck. Arkham Adventures are played facedown, so you enter a location without knowing what lies ahead.
You may, for example, choose to visit the Curiositie Shoppe in order to gain a unique item. But when you reach it, you find that the door has been smashed open and a thin trail of blood leads across the threshold, as if the victim of some violent event inside the Shoppe has recently fled. Merely entering the Shoppe mysteriously drains your stamina. And before you can begin to piece together what has happened, an unexpected Event occurs.
Some Arkham Adventures are marked with a red moon icon that signals you to draw an Event card at the start of your Resolution phase. Events may be good or bad. For example, at the beginning of your adventure in the Curiositie Shoppe, the Hungry Creatures Event may cause a ravenous monster to appear. Or you may have a sudden epiphany and gain some Rare Knowledge, which gives you a clue or a spell to help you complete the tasks ahead. With random Events able to put victory within your reach, or bring the Ancient One closer to awakening, every moment, every move you make in Arkham is critical, unpredictable, and potentially game-changing.
Gates to Other Worlds
Not even physical space is stable in Arkham. A gate can open at any location, say, the Police Station, transforming it into the portal to an uncanny and fearsome Other World – perhaps the monster-infested City of Gugs. In order to seal the gate and return the Police Station to some semblance of normality, you’ll have to undertake an Adventure in that Other World. Until you succeed at the appointed tasks in the City of Gugs, the Police Station is wholly unvisitable, no longer a place of order and justice, but the home of a disastrous rip in the material of the cosmos.
Some Events and midnight effects create gates, but it is the stirring of the Ancient Ones that truly lies behind these universal disturbances, since it is outside of the gates that they patiently wait and through the gates that they will come. All four Ancient Ones of Gates of Arkham have spaces on their doom tracks that cause gates to open. All four are pulled closer to awakening as gates tear Arkham apart.
Unlikely Heroes with Underground Ties
In your fight against these Ancient Ones you’ll need investigators capable of surviving in the Other Worlds and on Arkham’s streets, tough and shrewd people who may come from nefarious backgrounds or from the heights of society. One such individual is Finn Edwards, a successful bootlegger on the East Coast. His illegal trade grants him a few privileges, including the ability to easily acquire common items for anyone he chooses, such as one of the four investigators featured in our third preview.
Surviving in Arkham can be as much a matter of who you know as what you know, so Gates of Arkham offers investigators the chance to gain a membership in one of the city’s most powerful organizations. Memberships allow investigators to skip certain tasks and offer additional rewards for success, enabling you to navigate Arkham more easily and have more tools in your battle against the Ancient One.
Finn Edwards is a natural fit for the Sheldon Gang– an infamous and well-armed nationwide bootlegging network. In Arkham, they have as much power as the police, if not more, since several police officers are on the Sheldon Gang payroll. If you prefer dark rituals and arcane tomes to gunfights and smuggling, you might seek membership in the Order of the Silver Twilight, an ancient and secretive organization of unknown origin that somehow possesses a wealth of knowledge about the Ancient Ones. The Order of the Silver Twilight may not control the streets, but it can include you in its powerful occult rites and perhaps even lead you to a priceless Elder Sign.
Horrors Around Every Corner
No place in Arkham is completely safe, not St. Mary’s Hospital or the South Church, not Velma’s Diner or Hibb’s Roadhouse. Thankfully, Gates of Arkham also lets investigators acquire Skills that can help you conquer the city’s terrors and chaos. Some Wanderlust, for example, enables you to open up the locked doors of Arkham’s locations and peer inside before entering.
Many components of the expansion, such as the new investigators, Ancient Ones, spells, and items can be used outside of the Streets of Arkham game mode to bring fresh terrors to your experience inside the Arkham museum. Nevertheless, the heart of Gates of Arkham lies in the city’s streets and tangled woods, in its thick fogs and dark old secrets. And unless you and your fellow investigators can seal the gates ripping the city apart, kill the monsters threatening its inhabitants, and prevent the Ancient Ones from awakening, Arkham will be lost.
If you’re brave enough to fight the horrors of this haunted New England town, pick up your copy of Gates of Arkham today!