Arkham Horror 3rd Edition – Dead of Night Expansion Review

by Mr Saint

The Dead of Night expansion is a small box expansion that does not fundamentally change the rules of the base game of Arkham Horror 3rd Edition (AH3E for short).  As such, I won’t be following my normal format in this post, but you can read our review of the base game here if you want to know how AH3E plays in a more general sense.

For such a small box, Dead of Night adds a significant amount of content to the base game.  Contained within, you’ll find four new investigators, two new scenarios (and all the Event and Archive cards associated with them), a handful of new assets, allies, conditions and spells, and some new monsters.  There’s also a monster deck holder, similar to the event deck holder that is included with the base game.  This is a nice quality of life improvement that makes drawing enemies from the bottom of the monster deck a little easier.

Additionally, Dead of Night comes with seventy two new Encounter cards.  As it says on the back of the expansion box, this literally doubles the amount found in the base game.  These new Encounter cards are sorely needed.  We didn’t cover it in our review of the base game, as that review was already trending towards too long, but at only eight Encounter cards per a neighborhood, the amount of Encounter cards that come with base AH3E are barely sufficient.  

This is partially due to the Pandemic-like way in which gate bursts recycle the event discard pile.  Any time a Gate Burst mythos token is drawn from the cup, the event discard is shuffled and then put back on the bottom of the event deck.  Whenever a Spread Doom token is drawn from the cup, players must draw from the bottom of the event deck.  This is the game’s way of concentrating doom in specific areas, but it has the unfortunate side effect of incentivizing some investigators (namely Mystics, the most likely to be warding against the spread of doom) to stay in specific locations for extended periods of time. 

With only eight Encounter cards per a neighborhood in the base game, we had a couple of repeat encounters during games where our investigators had to sit on specific locations for several turns. This can really ruin a player’s immersion.  The first time you find an ancient profane mosaic in the Black Cave is exciting!  The second time you examine that same mosaic, it’s a bit dull.  Going from eight Encounter cards for each neighborhood to sixteen all but ensures that repeat encounters in a single game will almost never happen.

The four investigators Dead of Night adds to AH3E’s roster fit in well with the established cast.  Several of them are previously unseen primary/secondary role combinations as well, expanding on the variety the base game provided.  Such as Roland Banks, AH3E’s first Guardian/Seeker, whose ability makes it easier for him to fight monsters in neighborhoods which have clues.  I’m a fan of Roland from his appearances in the Arkham Horror Living Card Game and Eldritch Horror, so it’s great to see him back in action for this newer entry to the Arkham Horror Files.

The two included scenarios feel like a step up in design from those included in the base game.  The Silence of Tsathoggua stays closer to its Lovecraftian roots.  In it, players will have to investigate the strange torpor that has taken hold in Arkham, as well as the appearance of the alien Mi-Go and what that might imply.  Shots in the Dark sees the investigators attempting to navigate their way through the all too human problem of a city-wide gang war.  

No spoilers, but there are a couple instances where the scenarios in Dead of Night push AH3E’s design in exciting ways.  These occurrences don’t address my criticism of the mythos cup mechanic entirely, namely its predictability.  But it does give me hope that the soon to be released Under Dark Waves large box expansion might do something truly novel with the mythos cup and the modular map system.

Overall, I’m glad we added Dead of Night to our collection.  It has significantly extended AH3E’s shelf life.  The included Encounter cards are the highlight for me, serving to flesh out the locations with new and exciting happenings, and removing the possibility of repeat encounters within a single game.  If you weren’t sold on the base game, I don’t think there is anything on offer here to change your mind.  If you’ve already been enjoying everything that Arkham Horror 3rd Edition has to offer, the Dead of Night expansion is an easy recommendation.

Check out more Dead of Night reviews and information at the below links:

Board Game Atlas – see what everyone is saying and get the latest price information.

(Far)kham Con 2020– an online convention for Arkham enthusiasts.

Fantasy Flight Games – if you are interested in Dead of Night, check out the publisher’s website to see what other great games they’ve made.

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