Arkham Horror is a board game designed by Richard Launius, most recently published in 2005 by Fantasy Flight Games. A previous, different, edition was published in 1987 by Chaosium. Players take on the role of investigators in H. P. Lovecraft's Massachusetts town of Arkham. They must work together to hold back the horrors of the Great Old Ones, lest these outside forces destroy the world.
Arkham Horror was originally submitted to Chaosium Inc. as Call of Cthulhu: The Board Game, a new strategic game based on The Call of Cthulhu RPG. It was edited in house by Chaosium, who added such features as the Doom Track, a method to track progress toward the total failure of the players, and was published in 1987 as Arkham Horror.
Arkham Horror was one of several Lovecraft-based board games submitted by Richard Launius, with other designs from the same period including 'The Trail of the Brotherhood', 'DreamQuests', and 'Imprisoned with the Pharaohs'. Arkham Horror was the only of these games to see professional publication.
At the time Arkham Horror was one of the first 'cooperative board games' - a game in which the players were working together to defeat the system. It was also a rare board game which did a good job of adapting roleplaying gameplay. As a result of these two elements, it quickly became a cult classic.
The original printing of Arkham Horror soon sold out, and throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s it was one of the most-wanted out-of-print American board games. Chaosium announced reprints several times, but they never occurred.
In 2004 online game company Skotos acquired the rights to Arkham Horror from Richard Launius, and later arranged publication with Fantasy Flight Games. The game underwent several revisions in this process. Skotos reorganized many of the elements in the game for improved cohesion and arranged for it to more carefully follow the maps of Arkham created by Chaosium and used in their own Lovecraft Country: Arkham by Night online game. Richard added several new elements, including clue tokens and some rearrangements to the decks of cards. Finally, Kevin Wilson at Fantasy Flight massively revamped the game, throwing out a roll-and-move system as well as a few other outdated ideas and also expanding a lot of the gameplay.
The new edition was released in July, 2005 and sold out with a second reprinting also being released in 2005.
An expansion entitled Curse of the Dark Pharaoh was released in June, 2006. A second expansion entitled Dunwich Horror Expansion was released during Gen Con 2006, featuring the realm of [Lost Carcosa].
A third expansion, The King In Yellow is planned for a February 2007 release.
- Fantasy Flight's Arkham Horror webpage