Guest article written by Chris Heinrich
I am in the midst of two solo Dunwich campaigns at the moment, but that does not mean it is my preferred way to play. Though it can be played alone, Arkham Horror is at its best shared with friends. The stories are better, “Ashcan” breaking into the engine car giving hope to the rest who fell behind until theirs was the next car due, Rex throwing a Deduction to Zoey so that she might have a last chance to escape the place beyond time and space, and they are remembered together, not just told to someone.
To that end, I recently organized an afternoon of Arkham Horror. Twenty-eight people, playing games across nine tables, came out. Some were beginning campaigns. Some were coming to the end of Dunwich. Some were learning and playing the game for the first time. I modestly call it a success. If you would like to try the same, I will share what I did to make it was it was.
First things first; an evening of Arkham needs a space and needs a time. A game shop is a natural place to hold your event. If they have the space, bars, cafes and libraries can also be good locations and could attract the interest of people who might not be otherwise interested in card games. Reach out to the owner or manager and explain how much space you would expect to need and how long you would like to use it. Most places will be happy to freely offer the space to new customers, especially if you plan the event during off hours. If you are looking to host your event at a game store, be conscious of other tournaments and events that might be going on like Magic pre-release weekends.
Then you need to let people know that there actually is an event. Creating a Facebook event is a good start and lets you easily get in touch with the people who plan on attending, but it is not enough on its own. You need to let people know it exists. Post to the main and local Arkham Horror Facebook groups. If your city has board game Meetups, send out messages through them. Create and send out two posters to local board game stores; a larger one that can be pinned to a public corkboard and a smaller one that can be taped to the shelf where the Arkham Horror boxes sit. Advertising directly to people considering getting into the game gives them an immediate community that can help them learn the rules and build decks.
Once people start responding to the event, post to it regularly and keep it active. Use it as a space for people to request teachers or look for others interested in a pure Survivor campaign.
Give people a reason to attend. People can play Arkham at home with their friends. They do not have to drive fifteen minutes to play a game. What is going to be special about your event? Offer them something new by printing off custom scenarios from ArkhamCentral. Have drawings for custom tokens made by Team Covenant or Etsy shops. Our drawings were for deck boxes and playmats from Fantasy Flight’s Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. Unopened game night kits can be found reasonably cheap on eBay. If you are lucky, your hosting game shop may even have some in back.
If you are willing to put in the work, you can design and print alt art cards. While that can be an article in itself, suffice to say that it is easier than it might first appear. If you do not have Adobe Photoshop, GIMP is a solid, and free, alternative. Vardaen has already done the hardest work in creating excellent templates at The Shadow Archive. Look for art at DeviantArt and ArtStation and be polite and clear about its use when asking for the artist’s permission. Credit the artist on the card. Print them professionally through a company like PrinterStudio. I suggest their 63 mm by 88 mm game card option. You can find more advice on the entire process of creating alt arts in this interview series I did on A Game of Thrones: The Card Game: Second Edition. Spoil your work on Facebook as the event draws closer.
Finally it is the day, but the work is not yet done. Sleeve The Gathering and The Midnight Masks and multiple decks suitable for new players who have not yet bought their own boxes. Bring the rules. Get to your site early to make sure the table space is claimed and ready. Make it clear who you are and what you are there for by propping up the core box in an obvious space, so people know where to go. Be cheerful in greeting people and learning what they are looking for, whether it be someone to teach the rules or partners to start a four-player campaign. Be open and available to everyone and avoid sticking only with the people you already know. Thank everyone for coming.
Clean up when everything is done and begin planning the next meetup.