Arkham Horror: Final Hour Game Review

Arkham Horror: Final Hour Game Review

Arkham Horror: Final Hour Game Review

Welcome to our Game Review of Fantasy Flight GamesArkham Horror Final Hour. We will be discussing what makes the board game so much fun. Final Hour is one of 6 games in the Arkham Horror Files series. If you want to know more about the entire series, check out our World of Arkham Horror page. 

Game Overview

Arkham Horror: Final Hour is a unique game within the Arkham Horror Files in that it takes (as the name suggests) only 45 minutes to an hour to play. Each game lasts only eight rounds at most. It is still dripping in theme, and we like it. Unfortunately, it does appear that Fantasy Flight Games is not publishing this game in the future. This review is going to be a bit odd because of that. That all said, let’s discuss it, and hopefully, they’ll decide to republish it in the future.

In Arkham Horror: Final Hour, you play as a team of investigators trying to reverse a ritual set to bring about the Ancient One. The main goal of the game is to collect clues. These clues contain symbols, and they allow you to narrow down the remaining symbols until you know what the final two are. Once the investigators know the last two, they can try to reverse the ritual.

What makes this game unique is that although it is cooperative, you can not discuss everything at all times. These rules make working with each other more challenging but more rewarding when you get it right. This game is geared to ages 14 & Up and is for 1-4 players. 

Game Components

In Arkham Horror: Final Hour, you get a highly illustrated board of the Miskatonic University Campus in Arkham. The design is entertaining, with each space on the board being a campus building. The game comes with a deck of 10 cards for each investigator. These cards are a great size and easy to hold in your hand. As for the content, we do wish there was more variety in the actions you can take. There are a lot of repeat cards. The priority cards are a bit smaller but no less attractive. They may be small, but they are the key to your success or failure in the game.

The tokens are all pretty cool. We particularly like the design of the player hearts in this game. Also, the design of the monster tiles is fun and keeping with the overall Arkham Horror Files art style. They make excellent use of the Arkham Monster graphics on a small tile. We wish these would be a bit bigger, but then the board size would need to increase. One tile we hoped would be a bit better was the “destroyed” location tile. It’s simply an X on a tile. The destroyed location seems a bit of a missed opportunity. This tile would be a place to add a bit more theme to show the destruction of the location. Overall, the designs of the tokens and cards are keeping in the Arkham Horror Files theme.

Game Setup

The setup of this game is pretty fast. The steps are to select an ancient one sheet, place the ritual site token, layout the gates, and start monsters. Then each player chooses an investigator to play and takes the deck of investigator cards. Finally, shuffle the clue tokens facedown and chose two, and place them at the bottom of the board face down. You mix in the three item clue tokens with the rest and then place one at each location on the board. That’s it. The setup is relatively smooth and a refreshing change from the setup length in other Arkham Horror Files games.

Game Play

If you are familiar with other Arkham Horror Files games, you’ll know you get several actions you can take on your turn. That’s one of the most significant differences here. 

In Arkham Horror: Final Hour, each investigator gets an action deck. Each card in the deck has a top action and a bottom action. On the player’s turn, they draw one card from their deck and don’t discuss which action they want to do with their fellow players. They decide which action they’d “like” to take and place the card facedown in front of them. Not talking about your action is an exciting concept and something different from other Arkham Games. 

Choose a Priority Card

Next, each player chooses a priority card. Priority cards have numbers and symbols on them. At this stage, only the number is essential. That number is between 1-30 from a shared priority deck. Each player does get four of these cards at a time so they can make a decision. The cards do serve two other purposes, which we’ll explain in a minute. 

The number an investigator chooses is the order in which the investigators complete the actions. Every round has the team completing four actions total. If you have less than four players, the lead investigator and subsequent investigators draw additional action cards. One each, until there are four cards with priority cards. The lead investigator role does rotate each round, so if you are playing a three-player game, the lead investigator always draws one extra action card in a given round. 

That said, there is a catch to this.

While you choose priority cards in order starting with the lead investigator, the lowest two cards in point value will complete the top action, while the bottom two will complete the bottom action. So even if you put down a low priority card, there is always the possibility that it might not be low enough. Another investigator can play an even lower priority card. While you can’t discuss strategy while placing priority cards, you can discuss future strategy at other game stages. Discussing strategy can help guide both you and your fellow investigators to making the right decisions in placing down priority cards.

Reckoning Phase

When placing priority cards, you can’t discuss a specific strategy, so it is tricky to figure out who should do what in a given round. The other thing is the priority cards don’t just determine the order. They also determine what happens after the action phase. In the second phase, the lead investigator gathers all priority cards played and looks at the top side of each card. Some of these cards have either one or two eyes.

The lead investigator counts up the eyes on the cards played in the round. Then, referring to the Ancient One sheet, the lead investigator tells the players how bad the reckoning will be this round. Sometimes there is no effect, but other times the ancient one will spawn monsters. This reckoning can also destroy locations. So a key strategy when deciding on your priority card is to keep the number of eyes low. The lower the number of eyes, the less damage is done during the reckoning phase.

Reverse the Ritual

To complicate your strategy further is trying to reverse the ritual. You can technically reverse the ritual at any point in the game, but to do that, you must first deduce what two hidden symbols are under the clue tokens on the board. You do this by collecting the other clue tokens on the board through investigation actions. By process of elimination, figure out what’s left. Once you have a good idea of what’s left, the priory cards are essential for the third time.

priority card also has the same symbols that appear under the clue tokens. Combined, all investigators need to have enough symbols to match the hidden clue tokens to double the number of investigators. So in a two-player game, you must have four symbols; in a four-person game, eight symbols on your priority cards in hand. The one caveat to this is you can’t discuss what precisely you have with other players. All you can say is that you think you’re ready to reverse the ritual. Not discussing makes it challenging because you have to gauge if you feel prepared to reverse the ritual because if you are wrong, the game ends, and you lose. That said, if you are right and you have enough cards, congratulations, you have won!

Overall Impressions

We really enjoy the simplicity of this game. It takes the activities you do in other Arkham games and boils them down to their essence. While you don’t get to choose which action you take on the turn, you do get a choice. The strategy is how you work with other people. If one of your fellow players is a strong fighter, you might want to back off and do the bottom task, which almost always involves getting a clue. The key to the game is understanding how to work with others without getting much information. 

Arkham Horror: Final Horror does an excellent job of keeping things moving and keeping everyone engaged. We would say to make it better would be to have the ritual reversal feel a bit more involved. Essentially, you have to keep cards in your hand to have enough of the correct symbols. It would have been nice if there was some other way to achieve it. Other games in this series build on the suspense until you get to the final battle. That, unfortunately, by the nature of the game, is lost.

We would recommend this game to anyone interested in Arkham Horror but not wanting the time commitment.

Unfortunately, at this article, we are out of stock. We don’t anticipate getting more in as Fantasy Flight Games is no longer publishing it. That said we do have a few copies available in our store.

Don’t forget for the entire month of October. We are running our Halloween Special on all Arkham Horror Products. Spend $50 on Arkham Horror Products and get a 5% cart discount and a free copy of The Investigators of Arkham Horror (a $40 value). Use code INVESTIGATORS at checkout!