Sunday, March 2, 2014

Eldritch Horror Boardgame Night

So last night we fired up a game of Eldritch Horror (Fantasy Flight Games) and it was surprisingly fun!  I thought I'd just do a little intro post about the game itself.  This isn't a review, just my rambling about my experience.

To start here is FFGs blurb on the game:

Eldritch Horror

Across the globe, ancient evil is stirring. Now, you and your trusted circle of colleagues must travel around the world, working against all odds to hold back the approaching horror. Foul monsters, brutal encounters, and obscure mysteries will take you to your limit and beyond. All the while, you and your fellow investigators must unravel the otherworldly mysteries scattered around the globe in order to push back the gathering mayhem that threatens to overwhelm humanity. The end draws near! Do you have the courage to prevent global destruction?

Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game of terror and adventure in which one to eight players take the roles of globetrotting investigators working to solve mysteries, gather clues, and protect the world from an Ancient One - an elder being intent on destroying our world. Each Ancient One comes with its own unique decks of Mystery and Research cards, which draw you deeper into the lore surrounding each loathsome creature.

Discover the true name of Azathoth or battle Cthulhu on the high seas. With twelve unique investigators, two hundred-fifty tokens, and over three hundred cards, Eldritch Horror presents an epic, world-spanning adventure with each and every game.


So to preface my post here, I own Arkham Horror, and I really do not know what to say about that game.  For hardcore Lovecraft fans (who don't mind the typical commercialized cartoony/third party/ized offerings) it is something that one should own.  But the game itself is really a tall order to pull off in anything but the most dedicated board game group.  It can take as long as four or five hours (or more with expansions) it is fiddly, it is frustrating and it is at times drawn out.  Don't get me wrong I've had much fun with the game if I'm playing with a group who is really focused on the game and knows what they are doing collectively.  Yet I've had some very bad experiences with the game as well, with groups that weren't really into it and doing too much sideline BSing and not staying focused on the game.

SO ... what does that have to do with Eldritch Horror?

Eldritch Horror seems aimed at dispensing with the really steep setup, mechanics curve that Arkham throws at you.  It is much more like the game Pandemic than it is like Arkham.  That said there are more fiddly bits in Eldritch than in Pandemic.  But overall the game plays and feels like Pandemic.

It was my first play of the game and we managed to finish out in about 3 hours, which sounds bad but we had a player have to leave in the middle of the game, we had the inevitably fumble through moments, etc. and it still played faster than the fastest play-throughs of Arkham I've ever had.   

So here was our messy table after about 2/3s of the game(ish).

Above: this was my character the "reformed" cultist, who proceeded to become an insanely powerful sorcerer who stayed in Arkham the entire game, teleporting other players around, casting protective spells on them and using her dark powers to acquire items for others, etc.  I really enjoyed the character though I doubt that I'll ever get that many spells in a single game again .. lol.

We did win, but just barely.  Again this has a very similar feel at some points to Pandemic and things just start to "pop" in the game and you feel you are about to get overwhelmed.  In our case the tide changed in our favor right at the last turn of the game and we managed to pull out a nail biter of a victory.

The game does seem pretty challenging to beat, in a similar vein to Arkham.  I like that actually but that might not be for all groups, as it might be frustrating if your looking for more laid back and casual play.  Again though the game mechanics are simple, standard FFG style, so its not insanely complex or strategic really.  The party just has to work together and play to their strengths and if they do that, the average group of 12 year old players could easily put together a victory with this.  So it is something you can play with a mixed group of gamers, non-gamers, adults and older kids.  Game play is probably going to average 2.5-3.5 hours for most groups I would guess.  

Anyway it was fun and certainly worth a look if Cthulhu calls to you ...


Morikun said...

Good article and very nice blog ^^

Thank you very much for register on my Blog.

I register on yours and put it on my personnal blogroll.

I hope I see your words very soon ^^


The Lord of Excess said...

Thank you sir!

Will said...

I hope we get a chance to play some at Larrycon! :)