Arkham Town Site’s Design
The Arkham town site lets you give up a precious Elder Sign in exchange for 3 treasure, 2 blood, and 1 magic. It also releases a cultist from the Asylum (to your escape, as per usual). Conceptually, the idea here is that the folk of Arkham are exceedingly interested in getting their hands on Elder Signs – they’ve had lots of experience with eldritch threats!
A fan asks, “What is the viability of Arkham? Seems a poor trade unless you are literally bankrupt.”
Well, I’ll tell you. Arkham is REALLY good in the early game. You get an elder sign, then trade it in for a useful bump. If you watch the Black Goat playthrough, you can see me using it without hesitation after I take my first Elder Sign. I went on to jumpstart my way to a position of dominance which I really never lost. I will say it is not as useful in a 3 player game; it is less valuable in mid-game, and it is almost never good in the late game. Rarely in a late game you can use it to qualify for an elder sign you could not have achieved otherwise. Remember that when you take an elder sign, even if you trade 1 to get 1, you are denying your enemies a chance at that sign, so it’s still worth it.
Seriously though I try to use Arkham every time I play, though usually only once (sometimes twice, never three times).
Picture two different games:
First Game – I focus on getting what I need for an early Elder Sign and seize it. Now I have to hoard my Sign, trying to keep it safe for the rest of the game. Meanwhile I try to bootstrap my infrastructure (which is sickly because I blew my early play getting the early Elder Sign). Meanwhile my enemies might surge ahead.
Second Game – I start out exactly the same. But when I get the Elder Sign, I immediately cash it in for 6 useful resources PLUS a cultist. Bam! I now have an excellent pile of goods plus that cultist. With my new loot, I can easily buy a spellbook AND pay for a ritual. With the spellbook I could get a monster and a chamber to defend the rest of my stuff. Or maybe another Elder Sign. I am far stronger now. Sure, I’m out an Elder Sign, but what I’ve gotten will net me more on the long haul. It’s an investment.
Now you know!