Some readers of Cthulhu Reborn may know Hal Eccles’ (aka AirborneXO on YSDC) for his excellent video production work and his fan-produced add-on to Arkham Horror. What you may not know is that Hal has recently self-published Arkham Investigator, a mystery-investigation boardgame in the style of Sleuth Publications’ “Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective” game from the 1980s.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Sherlock Holmes game … the essence of the gameplay involves a group of players trying to solve a mystery by taking turns visiting one of hundreds of possible locations on a large city map. The game can be played either co-operatively (which is how I always played it) or competitively. Players are guided in their choices by a starting description of the mystery they must solve (which contains names and places worthy of investigation), a collection of “standard go-to resources” they can always ask for help, and a city directory which gives location addresses for a huge variety of people and companies. The players also have access to a newspaper for the day of the case, which usually contains one or more clues embedded somewhere in amongst all the day-to-day news and advertisements. When players visit a location they get to open up the “case book” for that particular mystery to the designated entry — a bit like flipping through a choose-your-own-adventure book — and read out the encounter that proceeds when the investigator calls upon the witness or suspect. This description usually opens up more possible locations / people to investigate. And so on, and so on until the players think they have solved the mystery.
Hal’s re-imagining of this gameplay seems pretty true to the original, but transplants it from Gaslight London to 1920s Arkham. He has put together a beautiful colour map of Arkham and some nicely designed booklets for the rules, directory and first case book. The case also includes a large two-page issue of the Arkham Advertiser which also looks very attractive.
But the BEST thing about Hal’s game … is that he is releasing the core rules and first case ENTIRELY free. Because we here at Cthulhu Reborn like freebies we asked Hal if we could re-host his nifty game. So here are some links to the version hosted here. The Core Rules for the game (Rulebook, Large Map of Arkham, Arkham Directory) plus the first Case, A Grain of Evil, are available in two versions, each catering to a different paper size:
- The Core Rules (v2.1) + Case 1: A Grain of Evil; formatted for A4 Paper (ZIP file, 70MB) — downloadble from this Google Drive page
- The Core Rules (v2.1) + Case 1: A Grain of Evil; formatted for US Letter Paper (ZIP file, 70MB) — downloadble from this Google Drive page
If you do decide to play this game … and you definitely SHOULD … can I urge you to jump across to its entry on boardgame geek and consider rating it or reviewing it. Independently produced games like rely on your word of mouth to flourish … and this one deserves to 🙂