What in blue blazes is this Arkham Horror thing? You’ve heard about it on the barnraiser’s calendar, or seen it around and it evokes images of Batman and Prostitution. Understandable, though off base. Well, truth be told, it’s a slightly addicting board game with a lot of little pieces. Everybody wins or loses together and dice is involved. Reading all of the instructions involved counts as a solid check mark for your Summer Reading List, and understanding the mythos behind the game could either freak you out or qualify you for a really fab conversation with your pastor next Sunday regarding the struggle of good vs. evil in the hearts and minds of all humanity.
So, the game is based on a book and a heap of short stories that aren’t a series but certainly are all written in the same Universe/Mythos by the same author, who is H.P. Lovecraft. (Heard of him? Not heard of him but vaguely reminded of tentacle monsters, somehow? Fantastic, you’re on the right track.) Lovecraft wrote earlier in the last century all along a theme, or a basic assumption, and that assumption is this: what if when poets and authors and musicians and actors and lovers got in touch with their inspiration, what they were actually touching on the other side of the veil produced… madness? What if when mystics and spiritualists were able to look directly beyond the veil what they saw drove them mad?
Lovecraft, a rather depressed man (among other things), wrote as a response to what he understood to be baseless Christian Humanism, and this is possibly one of the reasons I love reading his work. I like to get the full picture, so to speak, and my religious nay-sayers have got nothing on tentacle monsters from beyond the veil who if I’m lucky, will devour me last. (The tentacle monsters, not the religious nay-sayers. Just to be clear.)
And so I have fun rolling dice and killing monsters while lulling the unkillable Big Bad back to sleep, even while I think about what evil really means in the world, what grace means, what it does to a life to concentrate on peace, love, and joy rather than suffering, unhappiness, and the distance from others caused by resentment, anger and hatred. And if you like, you can join me. We play at 8pm on the third Wednesday of the month at Ol’ Wondermoth, 208 North St, 14201. Beginners are welcome. :)