Eldritch Horror: First look at the game

EldritchHorror-Cover-aEldritch Horror,
is a spin off board game from the makers of Arkham Horror.  It has many features you expect out of a Fantasy Flight Games with “horror” in its title; numerous cards, convoluted rules, merciless roles of dice, and a creative theme that reads like a novel.  Read more to see if this is a game experience for you.

Who is the game geared towards?
The first and foremost demographic are lovers of thematic games who can’t get enough of Arkham Horror.  They would buy the expansions sight-unseen and most likely will have a protective sleeve with each card.  To them Arkham Horror is not only a good game but a great one!

Who’s next on the list?
Fans of Arkham Horror who love the theme but wish it would let up a little with the rules.   The game has most of the original’s mechanics with a global overview rather a city.  Many describe as Arkham Horror done right.

How would you describe the game who never heard of H. P. Lovecraft?
Traveling the Earth, visiting cities, outposts, and oceans; you gather clues, solve mysteries, and experience a living novel.   You have personality traits, items, spells, and a back story as you try to win the game before its too late.

Is this Arkham-lite or Arkham rebooted?
While I expected “lite”, the complexity of the rules, high quality of stock, the overall design mirroring Arkham, this is a full fledged Arkham game.  There are tweaks to combat, merciful recovery of health and sanity.  Naturally, it comes with expansion sets.

Describe the game mechanics and rules.
“Investigators” have three phases; actions, encounters, and mythos.   Much simpler than Arkham Horror.  However, there are no fewer nuances.   The rulebook comes with a reference guide and both need to be read carefully.

Actions comes with many choices how to start a phase.  You may move, prepare to move, rest, trade, or conduct special actions unique to your character.  Encounters for earthly and Other Worlds are combined and may differ depending on where you are at the moment.  Mythos return, but the deck is specially crafted with color-coded difficulty.   Every end-of-turn is different.  Some are benign while others are devastating.

While gates, portals to the Other World, are part of the game, the goal is solving mysteries.   There are special mystery cards, tailored to your chosen Ancient One, that makes replay value very high.

Enough!  Is the game fun?
If you’re patient, Eldritch Horror has the epic novel feel but only if you master the rules first.  Exploring new cities, gathering clues, and fending off weird and terrifying monsters is what draws fans to “Horror” games.  Be warned, there are modifiers, rules that must be executed in specific order.   Not only there are many cards, but many different cards that have unique rules.  Complex events cards and cards you flip at specific circumstances and follow rules on its other side.  It’s easy to overlook a rule here and there.  Too easy.  Whether that spoils your spirit in the game is something you’ll have to exorcize.


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