Home Game Reviews Arkham Horror LCG: Fortune and Folly Expansion Review

Arkham Horror LCG: Fortune and Folly Expansion Review

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Arkharm Horror Fortune and Folly ReviewWith all the content that’s been released for the Arkham Horror LCG series, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek to release a standalone scenario that’s all about trying your luck in a brand-new Monte Carlo casino that happens to show up from out of nowhere. Fantasy Flight, are you asking us to take a chance on your new product? To hit on sixteen, to add another coin to the machine, to bet the numbers and go all-in?

Well, I’m not a gambler. But in the interest of full disclosure, I’m very much invested in this LCG and always find exciting new narrative adventures to explore. The recent Scarlet Keys campaign, for example, continues to be a rewarding endeavor. Fortune and Folly is directly connected to this newest campaign and provides its own rewards if you include it as a part of the story. Have designers Ian Martin and MJ Newman created a mandatory addition to the mythos? Let’s head to the stakeout and survey the scene.

The Stakeout:

You may or may not be familiar with how Arkham Horror LCG plays, but we’re here to dig specifically into the additions that Fortune and Folly brings to the table. As a standalone, you’ll find everything you need to begin play, save for the base game, which is required. This expansion can be visited while playing the Scarlet Keys campaign (sold separately) or can be a one-off daytrip to the casino. Your choice.

Arkharm Horror Fortune and Folly Cards
So many ways to lose both your resources and your body asset right off your back.

The story setup features an Ocean’s Eleven-style introduction to the scenario. This includes items of interest to seek during the part one stakeout, as well as roles such as The Muscle, The Thief, or The Grifter. With such roles in place, each player begins with a unique ability that adds flavor to the event. The Face, for instance, can parley with enemies to reduce their alarm level.

Certain rules make a return from previous releases, including the aforementioned alarm level. During play, investigators need to manage their alarm level to ensure that chaos tokens do not get too powerful and that enemies do not suspect you. Another returning rule is patrol. Many enemies patrol the casino floor as investigators seek clues. These enemies remain aloof but may provide additional issues as they march from location to location. And as alarm levels rise, so do the chances of guards knowing exactly what you’re up to.

Arkharm Horror Fortune and Folly Case
There’s a lot to discover as you survey the grounds for the upcoming heist. There’s also not a lot of time.

In part one, investigators must seek to complete as many tasks as possible before time runs out. These include items such as obtaining an employee uniform and finding a vent. In part two, the heist is underway, and another set of tasks is presented to the players. The goal is a key called The Wellspring of Fortune which is powering strange events around the casino. It’s located in the casino vault which is protected by a powerful ward.

As if there’s not enough to focus on, this scenario also adds gambling. That’s right. Players can play the slots, roulette, poker, etc… to increase their affinity to the key and earn some much-needed resources in the process. This mechanism is highlighted by encounter cards that feature playing card icons in their upper left corner. During poker, for instance, players can spend resources to discard the top five cards of the encounter deck. These cards represent your hand and you’re able to perform one mulligan (on certain games) before locking in results.

Arkharm Horror Fortune and Folly Casino
It’s a little loose-fitting, but here’s hoping it provides value later.

The Heist:

Now that we know what we’re up against, let’s dive right into the plan. Fortune and Folly takes rules from older scenarios and combines them with new elements to make an engaging and thematic experience. The narrative pays homage to its heist inspiration and slowly builds upon the Arkham mythos as the secrets of the casino begin to unfold. It works well as a standalone separate from the Scarlet Keys campaign, but it’s even better when combined with this set.

Arkharm Horror Fortune and Folly norman
The look on Norman’s face when the alarm level raised to two. Even he didn’t see that coming.

The reason behind this is the rewards that you receive upon completion, if indeed you can make it to the end. I won’t spoil anything here but can only impress upon players to add this to their campaigns so they can utilize these during the Scarlet Keys (or any other campaign for that matter). A two-part scenario should bring some decent benefits, and this does not disappoint.

I’m a big fan of the two-part structure here. The Stakeout does a great job of setting the scene and not overstaying its welcome. It has a very limited doom threshold and can be quite challenging. It also has unique inclusions that provide an interesting decision space for the upcoming heist. The Heist is a lengthy scenario and can be played alone by skipping part-one on later playthroughs. It features additional locations and potentially brutal constrictions.

I enjoyed the heist roles, which players can mix and match to their investigator’s strengths and/or weaknesses. In one of my playthroughs, The Muscle was continuing to reduce the alarm level by engaging with enemies. They were at the high roller’s table, stacking up a body count, with a backpack full of weapons, and no one was even paying attention to them. Wonderful narrative flourishes here.

Arkharm Horror Fortune and Folly Card
Yes, there is a vault. And yes, it takes a lot of work to gain access. If you even make it that far.

I would’ve liked to see more bystander activity in the casino. We’ve seen cards that represent innocent civilians in the past and I do wish there was a little more of that. The enemy guard presence can get overbearing at times, so that may be a reason this wasn’t considered or left on the cutting room floor but having that added presence would’ve been nice. The encounter cards themselves lack variety until much later into the heist too, which civilian cards may have broken up a bit.

And while I enjoy the playing card mechanic on the encounter cards, I have run into situations where luck was just not on our side and we were banging our heads against the gaming tables. This can be frustrating when a task is directly associated with the gambling element, and it doesn’t come to fruition due to unlucky draws. Can’t say it isn’t thematic though.

Comparing Fortune and Folly to other standalones, I think this will remain one that I return to. One of the more lauded standalones is Murder at the Excelsior Hotel, which provides many different unique endings. This scenario doesn’t provide as much variability, but it does provide enough challenge within the framework of its agenda cards to make the journey exciting. Without a doubt, this heist is memorable and a worthy addition to this amazing ongoing series.

The Score:

Fortune and Folly is an excellent addition to both the Arkham LCG collection as well as a thematic scenario to include in your Scarlet Keys campaigns. It’s challenging, provides a nice escape from the world map, and even features two parts—the stakeout and the heist. The breadth of this standalone makes up for the lack of variety along the way. It also provides unique challenges for those who decide to try something new each time, though it may be easy to optimize this one over time. Fortune and Folly’s thematic casino flair also grounds the actions as players find themselves trying to win big while avoiding guards and stealing keys.

Expansion BuyHits:
• Two-part structure
• Rewards for Scarlet Keys
• Heist roles
• Mesmerizing the guards

Misses:
• Scenario variability
• Relying on luck
• Encounter deck options

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