Trying Out: Eldritch Horror

Last Solstice I had the uttermost pleasure to finally have a group of friends with me to play some games influenced by the Mythos.

Since I hadn’t had the chance to try out Eldritch Horror before this I convinced the group to play that particular game. And it was as good as I had expected.

The differences and similarities with Arkham Horror were quite clear. Having played AH for countless times I was able to immediately grasp the basics of EH. You have a character with stats you roll when needed and your goal is to gather tools to counter the raise of a Great Old One.

My character started in the middle of Russian wilderness. I never got to leave it for civilization as there was always something going on there.

In AH the games tended to last for hours upon hours and when they finally ended it was always a bit anti-climatic. But EH’s quest make sure that fighting the chaos seems more narrative and interesting. We chose the one and only to play the game and had the player sitting left to the current player to read the cards aloud. This way the player who was taking actions had to make their decisions without knowing what their outcome would be.

One thing that was quite confusing at first (and after a few beers) was the movement between locations. Buying a ticket for quicker travel is good for the story. But in my opinion it doesn’t warrant the complexity of movement phase. It is a minor detail and one that I think could go away with more experience in playing the game though.

Reading the cards aloud to player who encountered them made a big difference.

With Fantasy Flight Games’ games my main concern usually is the amount of FAQ and Errata that has to be read before playing. This time rules-checking didn’t come up that much as owner of the game had played it a number of times. At first I was a bit disappointed that the game didn’t include a cheat sheet with most fundamental rules. Luckily I easily found one from the internet.

Our game lasted about five hours, breaks included. We had eight players and we managed to actually finish the game. We did choose the last mystery though but we did it only to get one we could actually solve within our time limit. Most of us were experienced boardgamers but the sheer number of players made me at least hesitant about the flow of the game. The turn structure and the number of possible options however proved that playing with such a big group did not slow the game noticeably.

“Fight the Great Old Ones!” they said. “See the world!” they said.

From all FFG’s Cthulhu games I would easily pick this one as my favorite. I still very much like Elder Sign and haven’t played Mansion of Madness, but Eldritch Horror had such a good grasp of flavor and gaming mechanics I think it will be hard to top.

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