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Game Review – Eldritch Horror

Game Review – Eldritch Horror

I’ve had a few people tell me about the Arkham and Eldritch Horror games. The general consensus seems to be that the games are both good, but complicated and challenging, and they’re not wrong.

If you think Zombicide has a substantial rule book, then wait until you see the one for Eldritch Horror. While the rule book itself might seem more comprehensive than most, but still manageable, it’s when you come across the Reference Guide, which seems double the size of the rule book, where heads start to explode.

My biggest issue with games like this is the sheer amount of time needed to prepare for your first run through. If you’re not a dedicated gamer to start out with, then this is definitely not a game you should be starting out with. Instead, we would recommend starting with something like Pandemic, and then Zombicide, in order to work your way up.

Eldritch Horror is a complicated cooperative strategy game, with game play randomly determined to ensure that no two games are the same. Each game can be very different, due to the number of changing or random elements.

  • Investigators – The game comes with 12 investigators to choose from when deciding who you want to play as. Each investigator has their own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities.
  • Ancient Ones – There are four Ancient Ones to choose from. The Ancient One is your opponent, and each one differs in difficulty and how in game events are handled.
  • Mythos Cards – The mythos deck is built up from different cards each game
  • Mystery Cards – The missions you need to complete to win vary from game to game, both by Ancient One, and by luck of the draw

Eldritch-Horror-BoxAt the start of the game players decide which Ancient One to play against. There are four to choose from, and we began with the recommended starter Azathoth. The Ancient One chosen brings with it differences in the way each game is played, and also changes the difficulty level. Players also chose an investigator to control, who also come with their own special abilities. The players work together to defeat the Ancient One by solving three mysteries. If they don’t manage to do this in a certain number of rounds, then they may have to face a final battle with the Ancient One to try and survive.

Eldritch Horror – Game 1

Our first game took a long time just to get set-up. If you’ve just purchased the game, don’t plan on getting it right out of the box and having a quick go. You’ll need an hour or so to pop out all the game pieces and read through the rules. Then set-up for your first game in advance, so when you’re finally ready, you can get straight into it.

Game one of Eldritch Horror were horrendous;

  • Our first mythos card involved a rumour that removed all assets from the game in four rounds
  • Our first mystery required clues to solve, we spawned very little clues, and those we did, were removed by a monster on the board before we could get to them
  • Both our initially chosen investigators were defeated by severely harsh penalties when failing tasks, or unlucky conditions with reckoning effects
  • Our dice rolls were rubbish

The game didn’t last very long, Azathoth awoke before we had a managed to solve event one mystery. We needed clues but none were available, so we aimlessly wandered the board failing to defeat the monsters or close gates very successfully. We failed in every aspect of the game, and it was soul destroying.

Eldritch Horror – Game 2

Plucking up the courage to try again, our second game was better than the first, but it still always felt like we were fighting a losing battle. Quite early on we drew the same mythos card that removed most assets from the game, but we did manage to solve two out of three mysteries, so we felt at least some sense of accomplishment, whereas the first time round we just failed miserably. Our problem seemed to be that we couldn’t keep the monsters and gates under control while also hunting clues and solving mysteries. The doom track creeped up on us and once again Azathoth awoke and we failed in our mission. However, we had a plan for a successful game….

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