From: Fantasy Flight Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung
Eldritch Horror is a new Board Game from Fantasy Flight Games.
Few games get a reaction like the Arkham Horror game series. The base game is incredible and the expansions do add a lot. I just do not recommend running it with more than one expansion. As time went on, it was harder and harder to pull in players for the game unless you were at a con where people were prepared to play a 4+ hour game.
Then came Eldritch Horror – a new take on a the Arkham Horror concept. The designers took the basic concept of Arkham Horror and globalized it. They had me at global!
From page #2: “Harrigan ran his bandaged hand across the map on the hotel room’s wall. Dozens of documents and scraps of paper from all over the world were pinned to their corresponding locations, interconnected by a complex web of colored string.”
In general, Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game where players trek across the world, investigating and taking on challenges with the overall goal of defeating an Ancient One causing all the trouble. Of course, like Arkham Horror, this game is inspired by the writings of HP Lovecraft. In each game, an Ancient One is chosen and various setup based on that is determined. The players ultimate goal is to banish this Ancient One, but if they fail, it awakens and humanity is doomed.
There are a lot of similarities between Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror. However, obviously because of the global nature of the game, there are some differences. The board is a full map of the earth, divided up into countries and major cities highlighted with large circles with game information in it, much like the locations in Arkham in Arkham Horror. All are connected by travel routes called Paths either by rail, sea or the dotted wilderness trails. You need tickets to travel rail or ship paths and a character is limited to two tickets at any given time during the game. There are also locations marked along the paths with numbers and symbols signifying what kind of location it is (city, sea or wilderness location). These act as other locations used in the game for Clues as well as other things in the cards.
There is something called the Omen Track on the board as well as a Doom track and the Asset reserve area. These have similar parallels to Arkham but because of the more epic nature of Eldritch, they act differently. Assets (which are various pieces of equipments, artifacts and allies) are acquired through skills tests rather than money. There is no real monetary system in this game – only clues and tickets.
Of course, the game is heavily card driven, as one would expect. The turn sequence is simple, it just gets complicated the more cards are drawn and the more challenges one has to face. There are Encounter cards for each region (America, Asia and Europe), as well as General Encounters which are chosen as an option in certain areas and mandatory in others. These act similarly to Arkham Encounter cards and can be somewhat helpful or can be really challenging. Additionally, there are Expedition Cards, which are cards drawn if you land on the current expedition.
From page # 2: “He followed a red string from the transcribed testimony of a lunatic in Arkham to a pencil rubbing of some pictographs he found in the Amazon. From there, he traced a blue thread to a page torn from the journal of that astronomer who was murdered in Sydney. ”
Clues are slightly different from Arkham Horror. They are not just automatically acquired. One has to solve a Research Encounter (another set of cards, keyed towards the specific Ancient One). So they are not as plentiful as they are in Arkham. Like Arkham, they can be used to help in skill checks. They also help in solving Mysteries and Rumors.
There are the dreaded Mythos cards that we all should be familiar with if you played Arkham Horror. There is a specific mechanic on building the Mythos deck, with three different colors marking the progression of difficulty in the game. Make progress early in the game or things are going to get harder.
In the end, your goal is to solve the Mystery cards associated with the Ancient One you chose, all the while trying to keep the number of gates down (opened by Mythos cards) and killing creatures (released by gates). Your progress is hampered by various events like Rumors, which are like short term Mysteries that effect your progress considerably. Rumors and other events come up in the Mythos cards as well. More simplified in the game, as compared to Arkham, are the gates and travelling to other worlds. These are boiled down to their own cards but still have similar impact.
The game comes with four starting Ancient Ones and more come with expansions. There are 43 monsters, 12 characters and 9 possible Gates.
I have played this game multiple times, some at home and some at cons. I have had a lot of fun with it and it continues to challenge us. Much like Arkham Horror, it has a lot of replay-ability and it is like a different game every time you play. I have yet to win the game, however, but that only makes me want to keep trying.
In conclusion, this game is very fun to play but like its predecessor, very involved. It takes a long time to play, even without the expansions. I was a big fan of Arkham Horror but I am even a bigger fan of Eldritch Horror. I think it is a worthy heir to the product line. I highly recommend it if you can handle long games.
For more details on Fantasy Flight Games and their new Board Game “Eldritch Horror” check them out at their website http://www.fantasyflightgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.
Codex Rating: 19
Game Design: Corey Konieczka and Nikki Valens
Additional Content and Design: Tim Uren, Richard Launius
Inspired by the Arkham Horror Design by: Kevin Wilson, Richard Launius
Editing/Proofreading: Brendan Weiskotten
Graphic Design: Michael Silsby with Dallas Melhoff, Chris Beck, Shaun Boyke
Cover Art: Anders Finer
Investigator Art: Magali Villeneuve
Game Board Location Art: Raymong Bonilla, David Griffith, Ed Mattinian, Patrick McEvoy, Emilio Rodriguez, Tim Tsang, Magali Villeneuve, and Drew Whitmore
Additional Interior Art: The artists of Call of Cthulhu LCG and Arkham Horror Files products
Investigator and Location Art Direction: Zoë Robinson
Managing Art Director: Andrew Navaro
Managing Graphic Designer: Brian Schomburg
Production Manager: Eric Knight
Executive Producer: Michael Hurley
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Number of Pages: 16 Page rulebook
Game Components Included: Board, a bunch of cards and a bunch of card board bits. (Typical for FFG)
Retail Price: $59.95 (US)
Number of Players: 1 to 8
Player Ages: 14+
Play Time: 3+ hours
Reviewed by: Ron McClung