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Eldritch Horror Board Game… Do you believe in the Old Ones?

For those of you who think I’m talking about grandparents, go back to your warm bed and sleep sweetly. I’m sure you’ll be safe and sound.

For the rest of us who know what horrors are out there struggling to reclaimed this world read on.

Latest Arkham Fight is Across the World!

Eldritch Horror is the latest game in the Arkham Files collection by Fantasy Flight Games and this time the fight is not restricted to one building or one place even, no this time you must race around the whole world to stop the Old Ones.

I Could Hear the Call…The Craving for More!

I have always loved the mythos created by the work of H.P. Lovecraft and I have always wanted to try Arkham Horror, but the sheer size of the game. The setup and tear down time and the complexity always made me put it off for another time. When Elder Sign came out and it allowed for 1 to 8 players, with a much simpler format I jumped for it. The look and feel of it was great, but it was a little too easy a game and it wasn’t that deep. The latest expansion for the game has been great and put fresh life into it but I still craved more. This is when I heard about Eldritch Horror and the comments about it being a more streamlined, smoother game to play than Arkham Horror, but still with a greater depth of game.

Eldritch Horror Board Game - GamesQuest

Eldritch Horror Board Game

The Rulebook Makes Playing the Game….So Much Easier!

So I picked up a copy on my home from work and took it straight down to my club that night still sealed up. I was meant to play X-Wing, but the other member I was playing was more than happy to try a new game. So we unwrapped the game and jumped right into punching out all the tokens and as you would expect from a Fantasy Flight Game, they are fantastic in both quality and artwork. Next we separated all the cards into piles based on their backs. They too are high quality cards and continue the stunning art work. For those familiar with the other games in the range you will notice that these follow the same theme, making this game feel part of the larger Arkham Files family. Now I had watched the 2 videos on Fantasy Flight’s website for the game earlier in the day, with that and a quick flick through the base rule book we were quickly set up and ready to play. They really have thought about the Rulebook here, the basic rules are set out and are easy to read (even for someone dyslexic like myself). It guides you through the setup, basic game play and winning conditions. All those extra clarifications that can make a normal rule book feel bloated, have been removed into a separate guide which has an index for quick reference. I wish more games came in this format.

A Two Player Game is Tough!

So we dived right into the game and within a few turns, we fully understood what we were doing. I would say we knew what we were doing, but it’s going to be one of those games that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. Throughout the night other club member wandered over to take a look at what was going on and pop back again later to see how we were progressing. Unfortunately for us our game was going from bad to worse, but at the same time we were having a great game. It really felt like we were facing the awakening of a great evil as gates opened and monsters came fourth, new urgent tasks to save the world ramped up the difficulty rapidly. We did manage to complete 2 of the 3 missions needed to win the game but the doom track wound down far too quick for us to complete the last mission and the Old One awoke. When an Old One awakens you flip over the card and the investigators get one last chance to defeat them. However we were facing Azathoth who when awakens makes you just lose the game. So as we sat having a post game chat and not a bad word could we find to say about the game and our positivity for the game was infectious, so much so, that we our next game organised with 3 more players.

Eldritch Horror Board Game Cards - GamesQuest

Eldritch Horror Board Game Cards

 

With More Players….It is Even Tougher!

If the game was hard with two players then surely adding three more will just make this game easier I hear you cry. Sure we will have more reach around the world, but these sneaky game makers have thought of this too. The number of gates, monsters and clues that are spawned are determined by the number of players. The number of players also affects mythos events and rumours making them harder, not to mention the missions required to defeat the old one.

Though in saying this I must admit that trying to play this game solo with a single investigator I feel would be more difficult, yet there is nothing stopping you using multiple investigators as long as you counted the number of players equals to the number of investigators you are using.

Replay-Ability…..There is More Than Enough Before the Expansion!

Ok so it can cope with increasing the number of players but what about replay-ability, I hear you mutter. Well again they have thought about this too. Well first off the game comes with four Old Ones to battle and I can see this increasing with expansions. In the base box they have worked hard to make the game as replay-able as they can, without making decks of events with hundreds of cards. As you play the game your investigator will gain conditions, they may be debts, injuries, a madness or even a dark pact. Each of the conditions have several cards, all which have the same front, but all have different effects when flipped. So it will take you a good few games until you have seen all of the conditions and even then when you gain a condition you won’t know what the effect will be until it flips.

Another nice touch is the encounter cards, once you have taken your actions, you get to have an encounter at your location. If there are no monsters or any other counter, then you get to draw an encounter card and each card has 3 different encounters based on whether you are located in a city, the wilderness or at sea. So even if you get through your deck you are unlikely to draw the same card for the same location type. Also there are special location encounters for the three major cities in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Then there is the large number of monsters to randomly draw from and the random placing of gates and clues will help keep repeat play feeling different each time.

 

Eldritch Horror Board Game Cards - GamesQuest

Eldritch Horror Board Game Cards

So if you are wanting to get a Lovecraft based horror game which is easy to get in to, but without the commitment required for Arkham Horror then this is for you. It is also a great next step if you have ever played Elder Sign and you want something more but with the option of solo play again this is for you.

A Final Note of Warning!

But let me finish with a warning! As with many of the characters in Lovecraft’s stories who suffer dreams filled with the old ones I too had a night of sleep filled with thoughts of this game and as I sit hear now writing this I feel the call of the Eldritch box sat next to me.

Eldritch Horror Board Games Cover - GamesQuest

Eldritch Horror Board Games Cover

by Paul Gothard 09/12/2013

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By Day - Director of online Games and Toy Store Gamesquest. By Night - Father to two girls and husband to one wife! Board Gamer, Blogger and general dogsbody!

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