(This list will contain more spoilers than usual. It is heavily based on the story and lore of specific scenarios and cycles. Consider this your warning!)
Every now and then I like to shake things up. Normal, predictable lists that anybody can think of are all fair game: Top 10 Weapons, Enemies and even Allies. But, as we will see with today’s list, I also like to explore the more obscure or strange aspects of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. My last (Top 10 Best Elder Signs) list was one that was on my “to-do-list” for a long time. Honestly, I need to admit that I forgot to include Diana Stanley to that list. Her elder sign is insane. Maybe I need to make a Top 10 where I list all my earlier mistakes and correct some lists. Maybe.
So, now that list is over with, I finally have time to do one of my weirder lists again. Today’s list is arguably even weirder than my last weird list: Top 10 Subtitles That Pique My Curiosity. Because, dear reader, today we will be taking a look at locations with a printed shroud of 2! Again, yes, you read that right. (Special thanks to wern212 for suggesting this wonderful and great list!)
Now you might be asking: But how are you going to order all these locations? What is the criteria required to end up on this list? Well, it’s a bit of everything combined. For a Location to be on this list it, of course, has to have a printed shroud value of 2. But after that, it is all open for debate. But most, if not all, of the Locations on this list have an effect that makes them feel unique. Other Locations on this list are memorable for what they mean, either of the story they provide or the general feel they give. After doing a quick search on arkhamdb.com, I ended up with a total of 189 different Locations with a printed value of 2 shroud. Per usual, I removed all the Locations that don’t do a lot, besides just being there and giving you clues. Some Locations were hard cuts, though. Which brings me to our honorable mentions, something that I started last week and that I will be continuing with every week. By now I hope you’re pretty curious, so let’s start with today’s list of: Top 10 Locations With 2 Shroud. Yup. You Read That Right.
Honorable Mention 1: Your House
Your House is a pretty unique location. It provides the player with their first actual choice in the game: will you let Lita Chantler burn it down? I don’t think there is anybody out there who played through the Core Box without taking a moment to think about this when they first encountered it. The first scenario, The Gathering, was pretty straight forward. Get some clues, get an ally, kill some ghouls. Then, all of a sudden, you get the choice to burn Your House down. Excuse me? What? Is this what the game is!? This moment is so monumental to this game: it made the game sell itself for being unique and it made it stand out more. Giving you hard choices when you were relaxed. That is what makes me love Arkham Horror: The Card Game and I’m pretty sure you love it too for what Your House made you think about.
Honorable Mention 2: Dunwich Village
From a very serious entry, we now go to an entry that I personally adore. The Dunwich Village is a card that has 2 versions. One has a printed shroud value of 3, the other has a value of 2. For purposes of this list, we will focus on the Dunwich Village with a printed shroud value of 2. So, why is it on this list? Well, the Dunwich Village is that starting location of Undimensioned and Unseen, one of the most brutal scenarios in the Dunwich Legacy. It tasks you to kill off as many Broods as you can, which is a pretty hard task seeing that you can’t kill them in normal ways. The only impact this scenario has on the story is how many doom the next scenario begins with. With Undimensioned and Unseen having almost no impact on the story and being a very hard and tedious scenario, the inclusion of Dunwich Village as an Honorable Mention is kind of self-explanatory: It has a resign option. You should use it. Right away. Dunwich Village allows you to skip over one of the most tedious and stale scenarios in the game. Which makes it a great Location!
Number 10: Ilek-Vad
Let’s start off with a hot take: My personal favorite campaign is The Dream-Eaters. A lot of people prefer The Path to Carcosa over any campaign, but for me, the Dream-Eaters hits all the right spots. The Search For Kadath is also one of my favorite scenarios. Exploring the vast Dreamlands is a joy to me. Granted, I would’ve liked a full cycle where we only explore the Dreamlands. Each scenario could have represented a different part of that world. But, alas, we ended up with an amazing cycle anyway. So, why is Ilek-Vad here? First of all, it’s in an amazing scenario. One where you need to rush to get the optimal result. An adrenaline-filled journey. Everything else is great about Ilek-Vad as well. It gives a victory point, which we all love. It gives you a discount on Spells, Rituals and Relics. All of these are pretty common traits on assets by now. Not only that, but it only holds 4 clues, which means that Ilek-Vad can be cleared rather fast. Unveiling this location lets each investigator at Ilek-Vad heal 2 horror and draw 2 cards. Amazing!
Number 9: Abbey Tower / Chapel of St. Aubert (Forbidden variants)
Both the Abbey Tower (Spires Forbidden) and the Chapel of St. Aubert (Waters Forbidden) are quite similar. They can’t be in play at the same time. Not only that, but one of them will always be in play. Black Stars Rise is a very cool scenario. The main goal here is to open the actual path to Carcosa, either from above or from below. The problem is, you don’t know which of the two is correct. The act deck is replaced by a second agenda, forcing you to either rush one agenda and hope for the best or take it slow and steady. So why is this Location here? Well, again, it appears in a great scenario. But the best part is, obviously, the Victory 2 clause. Besides The Dream-Eaters, other campaigns rarely feature Victory 2 locations. Black Stars Rise throws that idea out of the window. Allowing you to gain a nice boost of 2 Victory Points right before the penultimate scenario. Honestly, these locations are here not only for the Victory 2 on them, but also as general praise towards Black Stars Rise.
Number 8: Abandoned Chapel
Before we dive in, you might be wondering if I mean the normal version of Abandoned Chapel or the Spectral version, to which I see: Yes. It is here for a couple of reasons. The first one being that Abandoned Chapel is one of the rare locations that alters the mythos phase. The Abandoned Chapel makes all investigators have a hard time in the mythos phase. Lowering all your skills is pretty harsh. Sure, mystics could deal with it, but rogues will not dare touch this location. Usually low shroud locations that offer Victory Points, such as the Abandoned Chapel, make it harder to actually investigate said location. But Abandoned Chapel kind of just taunts you. Mocking you. Reason number two why Abandoned Chapel is on this list is simply because of the art differences between the two. The normal version looks serene and tranquil, while the Spectral version confronts you with an undead priest holding a clergy for his fellow undead companions. Very spooky and thematic. Very cool differences!
Number 7: Montmartre
Montmartre is one of those locations which has 2 versions, but for obvious reasons we will be focusing on the version that has a printed shroud value of 2. There isn’t much to say about this location, though. Montmartre’s printed action triggered ability is just nice. Thematically, I see Montmartre a shop. Spending resources to regain ammo or supplies. Sure, it has a limit of one per round, but guardians (or other combat-focused investigators) might want to stay here just for the effect. When there are no enemies in the game, staying here and gaining an ammo per round is pretty great. Imagine having a Flamethrower out early on and spending 2 or even 3 actions here. Enemies don’t stand a chance against you! I’ve been gushing about ammo for a bit now, but supplies are nothing to scoff at either of course! Montmartre offers a very versatile action that almost all non-mystics can use.
Number 6: Southside: Ma’s Boarding House
Another location that has great action triggered ability. Southside: Ma’s Boarding House allows you to look through your deck for a specific Ally. That is amazing! It’s not rare for decks to rely on a specific Ally being out in play and Ma’s Boarding House let’s you tutor it. Obviously, it can only be triggered once per game per investigator. Wait. It doesn’t even have a group limit? Southside: Ma’s Boarding House just got even better. Not only you, but all your comrades can tutor for their Ally! Seekers can fish out their Dr. Milan Christopher, Mystics can find their early David Renfield. Honestly, I just love this action triggered ability. There isn’t much here to add. It’s even a core card, so it might show up in future cycles!
Number 5: Pnakotus
I was going to add Valusia here as well, but right before I finished writing this list I found out that Valusia has a printed shroud of 4. I thought they might’ve been equivalent in all aspects, but alas. But we are here to talk about Pnakotus. The story in The Forgotten Age is quite unique. It makes you choose between siding with Ichtaca and her Eztli warriors or with Alejandro and his research team. Both are being controlled by forces and aim to control the Relic of Ages, both unknown to you. In the penultimate scenario of The Forgotten Age you need to seal specific locations into the Relic to maintain the timeline. You could just clear Pnakotus of all its clues, but if you have been siding with Alejandro from that start something wonderful happens here. Siding with Alejandro continuously can result in 3 tablet tokens being added to the chaos bag, which now rewards you! For an action you can grab all clues for free on Pnakotus and even draw 3 cards! Drawing 3 cards as an action is always great, but the implicated story and lore here is a great touch. Just be wary of who you side with in the end.
Number 4: Balcony (The Path to Carcosa)
Low shroud with a Victory Point that doesn’t infer with your investigating abilities? Cool. Actually, this location doesn’t do anything to harm you (unwillingly that is). What the Balcony does do is offer a very thematic and (let’s be real) hilarious action triggered ability. Other locations might offer something similar, but they don’t have a printed shroud value of 3. Honestly, this location is just here because I find it very humorous! You can choose to jump down and save 1 action, but you do take 2 damage. Saving the 1 action is quite nice. But it’s mostly hilarious to me that you can choose to just “jump down” a balcony and take some damage caused by the fall. Priceless.
Number 3: Operating Room
This is the most hilarious location (well,atleast with a printed shroud value of 2) in the game. One could actually try performing surgery on a fellow investigator. Passing a test of 4 Intellect seems like an easy accomplishable feat, it might even be worth trying for healing 3 damage. But the funny part is in failing. Perform surgery bad enough and you actually wound an investigator. Can you imagine performing surgery to only accidentally kill someone off? What’s even better is that you could perform surgery on yourself, or even on someone unwillingly! Priceless!
Number 2: Labyrinthine Halls: Corpse-filled Path / Overgrown Path / Foul-smelling Path
These three Labyrinthe Halls are so unique compared to most Locations. These Locations appear in the Labyrinths of Lunacy. A scenario that is played out over different groups, all simultaneously. That alone is a pretty unique setting. What makes these locations so well-crafted is the ability to directly communicate with other groups that are currently playing. If your playing group is currently ahead, these locations give you the ability to give other groups resources, card draw or even actions. If that doesn’t warrant a spot on this list, then I don’t know what does.
Number 1: Study
Ah, the Study. The Location where this long, strange trip began for us! We have gone full circle. I don’t want to get sentimental here, but the Study symbolizes Arkham Horror: The Card Game to me. It makes me feel nostalgic. It makes me want to forget everything I know about this wonderful game and re-experience everything! The Study is, of course, the first Location you encounter in the Core game. It doesn’t offer anything weird. It draws you into this amazing gaming experience that we all know and love. It is simply here for its simplicity and for everything that it represents! I truly hope this game will continue to grow and that we all keep a special place in our hearts for the Study!
Did you not like the position of the Operation Room? Are you sad that I didn’t include other specific Locations? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which inclusion I missed and why? Which Location with a printed shroud value of 2 is your personal favorite? Which Location are here that shouldn’t be here?
Hopefully we will all be back for next week’s list!
PS: This list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future Locations. The most recent releases are “A Light In The Fog” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.