Currently there are 7 different expansions for Arkham Horror, and I'm need some advice as which to buy.

  • How does each expansion change the game?
  • What new components does it offer?
  • In what order and in what circumstances would you recommend buying it?

Feel free to list whatever information you can on the expansions you have, as I realize that very few people will have 7. :D

4 Answers 4


I'll list the expansions in the order they were released, and give you some basic information and my experiences with them.

  • Curse of the Dark Pharaoh - The first expansion, a "small box" expansion that just adds new cards. Out of all of the expansions, this one (currently) adds the smallest amount to the game. It adds a few new mechanics in the Exhibit Items (which are a different class of Unique Items), being able to be locked out of a neighbourhood, and the benefits and detriments. There's a revised version coming out during the summer of 2011, so if you were planning on getting it, you may want to consider waiting until then, as it will completely replace the old version.
  • Dunwich Horror - This was the first "big box" expansion that adds to the board. It also adds 8 new investigators, 4 new Ancient Ones, and some new mechanics (Injuries and Madnesses, conditions, Vortex Spaces, Stalkers) and monsters and whatnot. It's a pretty fun expansion, in my opinion. The Dunwich Horror itself is a fun encounter, and the new location fits in well and adds to the board well.
  • The King in Yellow - Another "small box." It adds Heralds (which are kind of like mini-Ancient Ones that add debuffs or other challenges to the game, you know, if things are going to easy for you) and persistent Magical Effects. It also adds Blights, and has a cool Acts and Yellow Sign mechanics, which can really amp up the intensity of the game.
  • Kingsport Horror - A "big box" that adds to the game board again, and also comes with new investigators and Ancient Ones. It also includes some new mechanics, like Rift gates (movable Gates), Epic Battles (which are cards that add a little more structure and excitement to battles with the Ancient Ones), and Guardians (the opposite of Heralds, these provide mechanics and buffs to help the investigators). While I like the Guardians and the Epic Battles, Kingsport itself is incredibly annoying. You pretty much have to have at least one investigator up there, running around doing the equivalent of busywork to keep Rifts from popping up keeping it under control.
  • The Black Goat of the Woods - A "small box" expansion that introduces Difficulty cards (things too easy last time? Play at a harder difficulty as described by these cards), Corruption (effects triggered by other effects in the game, like monster movement), and Cult encounters. You can even join the cult. I wasn't a big fan of this box, but I know a lot of other players love it. I just didn't find it really added anything to the game.
  • Innsmouth Horror - This is my favourite expansion. It's a "big box" that adds to the board, as well as adding new investigators, a whole whack of Ancient Ones (8), two more Heralds, the aquatic movement mechanic, and Personal Stories, which are a lot of fun. They're kind of meta-game missions for each character that can add some cool mechanics or enhance a character if successfully completed... or really hinder a character if failed. They can detract from the main goal of the game, however, so you have to be careful. Innsmouth is an interesting place with its own mechanics that don't feel like busywork like Kingsport. The Ancient Old ones here are also quite interesting, with their own mechanics and challenges.
  • The Lurker at the Threshold - The latest "small box" expansion, this adds Gate tokens with new mechanics that replace the existing Gates in the game, Relationship cards which can change how your investigator relates to the other investigators in the game (in both positive and negative ways), and the Lurker at the Threshold herald, who can be a help or a hinderance. He likes to help you succeed at casting spells... but there may be a price to pay. If you don't tend to play spell casters, it's also completely ignorable.

Spring 2011 will see the release of the Miskatonic Horror expansion, which is a big box expansion that adds to all of the other expansions.

As for which to get, if you can only get a few, I'd recommend Innsmouth Horror, the King in Yellow, and Kingsport Horror, if only for the Epic Battles.

I have all of the expansions to date, and have played them all pretty extensively (except for the Black Goat of the Woods), and they all have their pros and cons. I would starts with those three, however. You can play with all of the expansions at once, but be prepared that you will have a lot of things to keep track of. Not to mention that you'd need a very large table and that the balance would require a large number of investigators.

  • Did you test Miskatonic Horror?
    – Zhen
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 9:45
  • +1 for Innsmouth! Those personal stories really add to the game, creating some conflicting priorities and a lot of roleplaying oportunities for people who play this board game without min-maxing Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 13:26

It's worth adding that there are two versions of Curse of the Dark Pharaoh. The original release was an excellent addition, as it added the highly thematic exhibit card class. However it suffers from dilution in an all-in game, as the chances to draw encounter which refer to the Exhibit items severely diminish.

The revised version of Curse of the Dark Pharaoh adds a special encounter to the streets and will not suffer from dilution. It's an excellent purchase.

More significantly, though, you should not overlook the possibility of using fan created content in your Arkham Horror game. Whilst there are plenty of articles of questionable quality, there are also a good number of custom expansions which add a great deal to the game and are of quality at least equal to anything that FFG has produced. This link contains links to the best of them, but for my money you should try The Door To Saturn, Lovecraft Country Horror or the Arkham Nightmare as your first experience of fan created content.

  • Hello Jacob, welcome to the site.
    – Tynam
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 9:52

I would recommend getting Dunwich Horror first because of it's Injury and Madnesses cards. The add much to the variety of the game.

Second I would probably get Kingsport since the Epic battle cards give much needed variety. The first time we played it we managed to beat the GOO and the last possible moment. This is the only time I have every experienced a gaming table to spontaneous start applauding :)


Just my own Experience.

I bought Innsmouth Horror first because I want a large expansion and more investigators, personal stories also make base game's investigators more complex. I bought Dunwich Horror and Curse of the Dark Pharaoh Revised Edition later, they all added to the game early. My next target is Miskatonic Horror and The Lurker at the Threshold. Too may boards will make game more complex and last longer, but the expansions' expansion and new gates will make old rules more fun. My final target is get them all, but I'm not at a hurry.

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