Arkham Horror: The Card Game - The Blob that Ate Everything
Teaching Time: 20 mins
Playing Time: 60-120 mins
Setup Time: 20 mins
Value For Money: Low
Generally, I’m a huge fan of the Arkham Horror stand-alone scenarios, there is one exception, Labyrinths of Lunacy, which is literally broken for solo play and probably only good in a group environment. The Blob that Ate Everything is somewhere between the ones that I love and Labyrinths of Lunacy in that its useable in solo mode at least, but I suspect it only shines in a larger group.
Just as Labyrinths took a more “Saw” like approach to its horror and Forgotten Age more of an adventure end of things, The Blob has a fairly un-Lovecrafty version of the horror genre, aiming much more squarely at 50s and 60s classic monster movies, unsurprisingly, similar to the Steve McQueen film “The Blob”. It still slings in some Lovecraft baddies, but even they don’t act in as Lovecraftian a manner as purists might wish. If you’re willing to forgive it not being right in the middle of the Lovecraft canon though it does its movie genre tropes well and gives a decent sense of atmosphere.
Mechanically it uses interesting location lay-out rules and a unique set of mechanics for fighting the Blob of the title. Essentially much of the scenario is about fighting and investigating to find story items that will pretty much aid you in the sort of fighting that you need to do. Its quite fun and interestingly pitches its difficulty a bit more closely to the suggested levels for solo play, which is to say, Easy mode on solo play is actually easy. This is probably because the scenario seems to scale backwards from many of the other Arkham Horror mechanics.
To explain, generally in Arkham Horror more investigators is a little bit of an advantage. This is basically because the scaling in Arkham doesn’t take into account the necessity of moving between locations for lower investigator counts eating up actions. Its not a huge deal, but it does mean that Easy for three or four players is probably close to Medium for one or two. The Blob that Ate Everything is designed to be played in a big hall at a convention with other people (remember them?), and scales its difficulty based on more than one group playing, it even has rules that can affect the progress of other groups, as with Labyrinths of Lunacy. Unlike Labyrinths those rules don’t occasionally make playing solo impossible, rather this time not having them makes life a bit easier.
Unfortunately, one of those rules is to do with what the Blob that Ate Everything eats. The upshot is that what I imagine is a fairly brilliant affair with four groups of four players comes off a little flat with one group of one, with a Blob that ends up Eating An Entirely Reasonable Level of Things All Considered. Unless you’re very (un)lucky the Blob is unlikely to get enough chances at gobbling things to trigger some of the really cool and weird things that it might eat, so there is a bit of a sense of missed potential for fun.
There’s nothing super wrong with The Blob, if you’re a big fan of 50s horror movies and would love to throw your Arkham investigators into the middle of one it will do a good job of achieving that for you. If you’re planning on an Arkham party of some kind or have a few groups at your local club who all play, it might be a worthwhile investment (although multiple sets will need to be picked up). If you’re a solo or small group player and/or you want your Lovecraft to be proper Lovecraft though it will probably disappoint. At the very least, I’d put it towards the bottom of the list of what to pick up.