Set Size3
Number of unique Cards1
Threat LevelVery Low
# of scenarios6
Appears in: The Gathering, The House Always Wins, Curtain Call, The Secret Name, Thousand Shapes of Horror, The Pit of Despair

What it does: Swarm of Rats are more of a nuisance than an actual enemy. At one fight and health, it will be rare that these take up more than a single action, but the Hunter keyword makes sure that this will have to happen eventually. Their (comparatively) high agility discourages evading them further.

My take: As it’s so often the case in fantasy stories, the journey of our heroes begins with killing rats in their cellar. Part of Arkham’s combat tutorial in The Gathering, they do a well enough job at being combat fodder that introduce the Hunter keyword to players. They fill one of two roles in the other scenarios that include them. The first two, in Dunwich and Carcosa, use Rats as a filler for the encounter deck and more as a flavorful addition than as a threat. The other two, in Circle Undone and Dream-Eaters, have some special rules in place that make the Swarm of Rats more relevant. More on that below, in a seperate block for spoiler avoidance reasons.

Threat level: Very low. It just takes a basic action to smash them.

Dealing with it: Trivial. Pulling Swarm of Rats from the encounter deck during the Mythos phase is worth a sigh of relief.

Rats in The Circle Undone and Dream-Eaters

Circle Undone: During The Secret Name, players encounter exactly three different enemies: The two unique story enemies Nahab and Brown Jenkin. And the Swarm of Rats. This is enabled by the an effect on the agenda which adds +1 to +4 to the health of all of these enemies. Also Brown Jenkin boosts the fight value of each creature by 2. So a fully powered Swarm of Rats has a 3/5/3 statline, which puts it in line with heavy hitters that usually award victory points for defeating them. To make things worse, there are several treacheries and location effects in the scenario that make Rats appear, all of course in addition to fighting Nahab and her familiar. Rats never were scarier than in this scenario. (Threat level: High)

Dream-Eaters: The other scenario that gives some special consideration to the lowly Swarm of Rats is Thousand Shapes of Horrors, a scenario that calls back to The Secret Name in other ways too. As the agenda progresses, Rats first gain Swarming 1, then Swarming 2. While this does give them a little more staying power, it doesn’t make them more threatening in a significant way. For most intents and purposes, the scenario basically turns Swarm of Rats into a copy of Swarm of Spiders from the Spiders encounter set, which is also only a minor enemy. (Threat level: Low)

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