Arkham Horror: Final Hour Game Overview

Arkham Horror: Final Hour Game Overview

Arkham Horror: Final Hour Game Overview

Welcome to our Game Overview for Fantasy Flight Games Arkham Horror: Final Hour.

In our overview, you will find a spoiler-free description of the game, along with details of the components and gameplay. Our Game Overviews strive to be informative and impartial.

If you want to find out HOW to play this game, read on. If you are interested to know what we think, check out our Arkham Horror: Final Hour Review.

The Game – Arkham Horror: Final Hour

In the game Arkham Horror: Final Hour, you play an investigator trying to stop a ritual that the cultists have started to bring an Ancient One into this world. This game is unique in the Arkham Horror series in that it only takes an hour.

Although it’s cooperative, players can not share information freely amongst each other at all times. This game is for 1-4 players and is appropriate for ages 14 & up! If you love the fast-paced end to the other Arkham games, this is the game for you without all the lead-up!

Game Components

  • 1 Game Board
  • 3 Ancient One Sheets
  • 60 Action cards (10 per investigator)
  • 30 Priority cards
  • 9 item cards
  • 13 clue tokens
  • 6 investigators tokens
  • 40 standard Monster Tokens
  • 15 Special monster tokens
  • 12 Gate tokens
  • 18 Damage tokens
  • 1 ritual Location token
  • 12 Health Tokens
  • 8 Seal Tokens
  • 1 Lead Investigator Token
  • 4 Reference cards

Game Setup

Arkham Horror: Final Hour setup is not overly complicated, but it does take a few steps to get going. To start, each player chooses an investigator to play. They take the corresponding token and the deck of 10 action cards. These are specific to each investigator. Next, place all standard monster tokens in a cup or bag. This cup is called the Monster cup. Then choose an ancient one to go battle. There are three Ancient Ones to choose from and each has different effects on the game. Read the setup instructions and collect the special monster tokens for the story.

The Ancient One sheet will tell you how to set up the gates and ritual location on the board. The gates are where monsters spawn during the game. The ritual location is where they are trying to get to at the end of the game. Then place all investigators on the ritual location site. After that, shuffle the remaining gate tokens, remove one, put it back in the box without revealing it, and put the rest in a facedown pile on the board. 

Now it’s time to shuffle the clue tokens facedown, choose two of them, and place them at the bottom of the board in the two blank spaces. Do not use the key clue tokens when doing this. Then add in those three clue tokens with the key on them. These are items you can collect. Place one clue token at each of the 15 locations on the board.

Shuffle the priority cards and deal out four to each player. These are important to the game, and each player should not tell other players what priority cards they are holding.

Hand out the heart tokens. For a four-player game, everyone gets 3. For a three-player game, everyone gets 4, and for a two-player game, everyone gets 5. These represent the investigator’s health.

Finally, shuffle the item cards and create two piles for the seals and the damage tokens.

Game Play

As we said at the top of the article, this isn’t your typical Arkham game. In this game, the goal is to first figure out the two hidden symbols under the clue tokens at the bottom of the board through a process of elimination. Then to stop the ritual the players need to have enough priority cards to reverse the ritual.

Unlike other Arkham games, there are also only certain times when you can discuss strategy with your fellow players. In other Arkham Games, you can freely discuss who is going to do what and when throughout the game. The difference in this game is that when you are choosing your actions during a round, you can not discuss what you are about to do. The other huge difference is that you can’t choose to do any action at any time. The investigators have a deck of 10 action cards and you take the top card and try and do one of the two actions. We’ll explain how in the next section, but this is definitely a new way of thinking in an Arkham Game. That all said, these restrictions make for a fascinating game! Let’s get into how you play!

As with all Arkham games, this game happens in rounds. Each round splits into two phases, the Action Phase and the Ancient One Phase.

Action Phase

In the action phase of Arkham Horror: Final Hour, the goal is to complete an action from the top card in your investigator’s deck. Each card has two separate actions on it, a top and a bottom action. You can not discuss with the other players what action you want to do. Starting with the lead investigator, each player must draw an action card. Then the investigators read both actions, decide which they would like to do, and place the card facedown in front of them. Finally, that investigator chooses a priority card from their hand and puts its face up onto the action card. Then the next investigator does the same. If there are four investigators, each player draws one action card and then selects their priority card. With three investigators, play continues with the lead investigator repeating the process. With two investigators, both investigators repeat the process.

The key is that there should be four total action cards facedown at the end of this stage with four total priority cards faceup. 

Jenny Barnes action cards

Priority cards

These cards have a few different things to them and are used in three ways during the game. In the action phase, the number on the card represents the order in which each investigator completes their action after all investigators have placed their action and priority card down.

The lowest two priority card numbers will do the TOP action of their action card. The highest two numbers will do the BOTTOM action of their card. Since you can not discuss which action you want to do, you have to look at what the other players have used for their priority cards to determine which priority card you will play. If you’re going to do the top action, you need to be in the lowest two priority cards. The actions on the top often allow you to move and attack or seal. In contrast, the bottom action will allow you to collect a clue and activate monsters. Collecting clues are the most important action in the game, but they are often paired with activating monsters which can lead to losing the game

Action Cards

The action cards have a variety of effects that are specific to each investigator. Still, overall they fall into seven different effects, which we’ll discuss here:

  • Move an Investigator: This allows a player to move an investigator to an adjacent location. Locations are only adjacent if there is a walkway between the two locations. If a location has an arrow to another location, but there is no walkway, you can not move to that location. As a note: arrows are for the monster movement: which we’ll discuss in a moment.
  • Attack or Destroy a Monster: This allows an investigator to deal the number of hits on the action card. If the number of hits dealt to a single monster is equals to or more than the number on their tile, they become destroyed.
    • When a standard monster becomes destroyed, place it next to the monster cup.
    • When a special monster becomes destroyed, place it next to the ancient one sheet.
  • Investigate: This allows the investigator to pick up the clue token in their location. If the clue has a symbol on its reverse side, place that at the bottom of the game board onto that symbol’s space. Placing tokens at the bottom helps with the process of elimination. If the clue token has a key, the investigator has gained an item and lay that clue token aside. They chose the top item card from the item deck, and they can keep that card for future use. It is often helpful in a time of need. 
  • Seal: If the action says to seal a walkway. An investigator takes a seal token and places it on the walkway with the gold side up. Seals destroy monsters when they pass through that walkway. The first time a monster walks through a seal, a player flips the seal to the gray side. The second time, they remove the seal from the game.
  • Recover and Lose health: An action will not make an investigator lose health. However, it can help them recover health. If an action allows an investigator to regain health, they can flip one of their gray hearts back to the red side. Other game effects will make investigators lose health, which we’ll get to in a bit
  • Damage and repair location: Again, actions don’t damage locations. However, an action will allow an investigator to repair a location. Damaged locations occur either when a monster damages it, or an ancient one effect occurs. These block spaces at a location, so you end up with fewer places to put monsters. That’s important because fewer spaces make monsters move closer to the ritual site. Repairing as an action allows you to regain one damaged space.
  • Activate monsters in a region: The game board has four color-coded sections. Suppose an action tells you to activate monsters in a section as a group. In that case, the investigators activate monsters starting with the lowest-numbered location in the region. Monsters have three possible icons on their tile.
    • If there is a head icon, one investigator at their location loses one health.
    • If there is an arrow icon, the monster moves along the arrow color, matching their tile (red or blue) to the following location. Suppose that location is already filled with monsters or is entirely damaged, or some mixture. As there is no space for the incoming monster, that monster continues moving to the next location until it finds a space.
    • Finally, if the monster has a building icon, it destroys one space in the current location. If it destroys all spaces, it then moves to the next location along its colored path.
  • If the ritual site is full of monsters or fully damaged at any point, the investigators lose the game!

Ancient One Phase

A few things happen during this phase of the game, unusually not good things for the investigators. There are three steps to this phase, The Reckoning, Gate, and Lead Investigator token.


In the Reckoning step, we have the second use of the priority cards. Each card played during the action phase can have one or two ‘eye’ icons on the card. The lead investigator adds up the number of eyes played during the round. They then look at the ancient one sheet and resolve the event associated with that number. The outcome can be anything from no event to spawning a special monster onto the board or worse.

Spawning Monsters

Spawning means to place the monster on the board at the location specified. If that location is full, move the monster along its color (red or blue) arrow path open to get to the next open location. If there are no monsters left in the monster cup, take all standard monsters next to the monster cup and place them back into the cup.


Select a gate from the top of the gate pile and place it onto the same symboled gate on the board. Then spawn the same number of monsters as gate tokens to that location, following the above movement rules if the gate location is full.

Lead investigator token

Finally, pass the lead investigator token to the investigator to their left and begin the next round of play.

Winning and Losing the game

The game ends in a loss in one of two ways. If the ritual location has no additional spaces for monsters, the investigators lose the game. The other way to fail is if any investigator runs out of health due to being attacked by monsters. If this happens to any investigator, all investigators lose the game.

To win the game, as a group, the investigators need to deduce what symbols are hidden under the two clue tokens they placed during setup AND commit priority cards (for their third purpose) to close the ritual.

The priority cards have a third symbol on them which is also the symbol under the clue tokens. (In the picture above, the priority card in that picture, has a star on it. This matches the star symbol at the bottom of the game board.)

Once the group has figured out what icons are hidden under the clue tokens, they may commit priority cards from their hands equal to double the number of investigators. In a two-investigator game, they need to commit four priority cards that match the symbols they think they are under the clue tokens to reverse the ritual.

Investigators can not discuss what symbols they have on their cards. They can only say they believe they are ready to reverse the ritual. Suppose all investigators agree to reverse the ritual. In that case, each investigator chooses three priority cards and places them facedown in front of them. Then each investigator flips their priority cards simultaneously.

Then the lead investigator flips the two clue tokens to their symbol side revealing the hidden symbols.

Finally, the group compares the symbols on the tokens with those on the cards. If there are enough matches to equal double the number of investigators, the investigators win!! However, if there are not enough symbols to match double the investigators, unfortunately, all lose the game!

We hope you have enjoyed our overview of Arkham Horror: Final Hour. This game is very unique in the World of Arkham Horror. If you are interested in playing this game, we do have it available in our store. Fantasy Flight Games is actually not planning on republishing this game as of this writing. They are making way for Unfathomable to join the Arkham Horror Files.