Arkham Horror LCG: Top 11 Typical Play Mistakes

In Arkham Horror, Cards by Paul4 Comments

Arkham Horror is the latest LCG from FFG and I’ve been getting some double-handed playtime in with it. Having extensively played a lot of FFG’s other LCGs, I’m pretty comfortable with how these games tick but also trip myself up when the rules differ from other games.

This is a list of my Top 11 play errors I’ve had to train myself out of, puzzle over how they would work, or seen asked on forums quite regularly. If you think I’ve missed anything off, chuck it down in the comments below!

11. The Mulligan Rules are different to every other FFG game.

Yeps, it’s a basic one to get us started, but the number of times I mulligan the whole hand in Arkham Horror is a bit silly. Of course, the actual rule is that you set aside any number of cards and then draw the same number. Note: No where does it say you shuffle and then draw up that number, which is the other error I’ve made around mulligans.

10. When an Agenda advances, all the Doom tokens in the game are removed.

So all that Doom stacked on those pesky enemies is going to go as well, which means that if you know the agenda is going to advance next turn feel free to stack Doom left right and centre. I may have got this wrong in a game and made it my life’s work to go and kill enemies with Doom stacked rather than, you know, trying to win the game!

9. If you’re going to draw, draw as your first action.

This is something that I learned from Netrunner, and it holds true in any game. Drawing cards gives you options and presumably you’re doing it because your current options aren’t great… So best to take the action at the start of your turn so that you have the option of using whatever you’ve drawn. Who knows, maybe that Emergency Cache will give you the resources you need to play Leo?

EDIT: Following feedback from fellow players, I should point out that this advice needs to be taken a bit more cautiously. For instance, it will depend upon what Madness cards you might have, how far down your deck you are and what actions you plan to take that might require resources or cards (for instance).

8. You don’t need to be engaged with an enemy to fight them.

Just being at the same location is sufficient. This was definitely a hangover from Lord of the Rings for me, and took a bit of getting used to. I’d burn an action to engage an enemy and then the action to fight them… Ouch! Don’t be like me, just shoot, hack or bash without attracting their attention first!

EDIT: Again, incorporating some feedback here. If you don’t defeat the enemy then it means the investigator they ARE engaged with is going to take the damage they mete out. Bear that in mind before you decide to shoot rather than engage.

7. Equal is successful for skill checks.

I find myself checking this out pretty much every game… Hopefully after writing it down in this article I’ll be able to remember it now. And it makes a real difference.

6. The Investigator doing a skill check can commit as many cards for skill icons as they’re able

They can be helped by an investigator at the same location, who can commit one card to the skill check. This is one of the advantages to going as a group to locations, though the flip-side is that you’ll tend not to explore as much and that might be important to solve some particular investigations.

5. You should pull tokens from the Chaos Bag even if you know you’ve failed the test

It’s quite easy to do the maths, realise that there’s no chance you can win and forget / forgo pulling a token out of the chaos bag. In the first scenario this doesn’t matter too much, but in other scenarios pulling particular tokens out will have other effects (for instance, dealing a horror to an investigator). Getting into the good habit of always pulling a token will make it easier when your playing scenarios where it does matter.

4. If there are no clues at a location, then you can’t discover them

For instance, if Roland defeats an enemy at a location with no clues then he can’t claim a clue from his ability. This is true for any card ability that lets you discover clues “…in your location,” or “…at your location.” Currently there aren’t any cards that let you generate clues that aren’t at specific locations, so if you’re creating a clue out of thin air, you’re probably not following the rules…

3. However, if the location can’t be investigated, you can still ‘discover’ clues.

A number of cards from the encounter deck prohibit investigating the location until a specific activity has happened (usually a test and then discarding the encounter card). However, this doesn’t stop investigators from triggering abilities that allow you to ‘discover clues at your location’ as discovering is not investigating.

2. Don’t move to an undiscovered location as your last action.

Because it’s highly likely that something’s gonna happen that you then can’t react to! For instance, if moving to the location spawns an enemy, there’s a turn of them swinging at you before you have any opportunity to respond back.

1. Players choose the order in which investigators act.

Whilst each investigator takes their three actions consecutively, the concept of maintaining a strict player order (such as in Lord of the Rings) isn’t present in Arkham Horror and investigators get ‘activated’ in any order that they want. This can be very useful and forms a key part of successful strategy, particularly to avoid Attacks of Opportunity. For example, if Wendy’s got an Acolyte on her back, Roland can swing by and gun it down before Wendy investigates the scene. In fact, this might mean that Roland finds out something significant himself that could help Wendy advance the Act quicker than otherwise.

Some of these are play tips, some of these are rules explanations. Please share your own experiences in the comments below!


  1. 8: Keep in mind that if an enemy is engaged with another investigator and you fail the combat check, then that investigator takes the damage instead of the monster.

    4: There is one card that allows you to take clues “out of thin air”. However, it’s a scenario card, so I won’t spoil its location… 🙂

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