One Year On – Eldritch Horror

Eldritch Horror has remained a firm favourite and sees regular visits to the table. We still haven’t mastered the game, far from it, probably winning one in every four or five games, but it’s the fact they all feel as though we should have won, if only… You know how it is!

It’s that type of game where you make all these plans at the start, spending an hour pondering over your choice of characters, working out strategy and priorities, but then, within moments of the game starting, it all goes drastically wrong, and I love it!

For instance, we might decide to take Charlie Kane who, when he Acquires Assets, can allow another investigator to gain any cards he buys and, with his high Influence, is very good at sitting in Tokyo and persuading them to take out monsters around the globe. But just as he gets there from his starting position in San Francisco, a gate opens smack bang in the middle of Tokyo and spawns some not too nice monsters. Now Charlie stinks when it comes to combat, so he needs help, or you have to change your plans.

Eldritch Horror
Charlie’s in his element sitting in Tokyo!

For another example, we might decide to take two brawlers, characters good at combat, but rather than letting them kick butt, they’re needed to solve a rumour as nobody else has a good Observation, and all of a sudden you become overwhelmed by monsters.

It’s the best thing about the game, the unpredictability of what you’re going to face, even if you go against the same Ancient One time after time; every game is different. You have to constantly reprioritise, but usually end up firefighting, shoving whoever is closest into the fray, whether their equipped to deal with it or not, especially as the game moves on and you can see the end peering over the horizon.

Yes, it’s difficult, and it’s the randomness that makes it so, but it doesn’t feel, how do I put this, that random. That sounds daft, but it makes you feel like you’re in a living, evolving world. Rumours crop up and make you groan, gates can appear left right and centre and start spewing out more monsters than you can shake a stick at, and it’s all there to misguide you, to take your eye of what is really the goal, and that’s completing the Mysteries.

Still, sometimes it isn’t as simple as concentrating solely on those mysteries, if only it were, but somethings will need to be taken care of because they can be game ending, and here you have to make decisions, lovely, juicy, decisions. Do you split your efforts, some characters pursuing the main goal whilst others try to remove the more pressing, immediate threats, such as a rumour that could end the game in just a few more turns, or do you all dive in and put maximum effort into just one thing? Needless to say, whatever you choose things will be tight. You never seem to have just the right characters to do the job, so what do you do… time for Operation Prawn Sacrifice!

Yes, don’t become too attached to that character of yours because one of the best ways of winning at this game is to throw them under the bus. Our last game saw us go through 8+ characters (a 2-player game with 2-characters each) and we still lost, but only just. It might sound a bit ruthless but sending a character in to do as much damage as possible to an Epic monster can be two-fold. One, you might get lucky and actually defeat the thing. Two, using a character that has become worthless to your quest, say they’re holding on to their sanity by well chewed toothpick, well with their defeat you get to pick another, more useful to the now character.

I could harp on about this game for hours, singing its praises, discussing tactics, reliving many great, stand up and roll, situations, but it isn’t all plain sailing – Let’s talk expansions…

I have three of the eight available for the game, and they really do add more, and I mean that literally, more equipment, more spells, more Ancient Ones, more, well, everything really, and that, on the whole, makes Eldritch Horror even better, but… and to me, it’s a sticky point kind of but, setting the damn thing up has become a chore. It isn’t the amount of stuff that’s the problem, it’s the new rules and the introduction of specific cards that are only required if you’re playing with X, Y, or Z.

Eldritch Horror - Mountains of Madness
Mountains of Madness introduces the Antarctica side board.

My problem with the new rules is simple. Every time we come to play, I have to trawl through the three extra rule sheets/books to recall all the new additions. Of course, you can pick and choose which rules you want to play with, and it would be easiest to play the original, but some rules do make the game better, such as the action to Focus. This is easy to fix, either make up a cheat sheet or look for one on BGG, and to be honest, I really should have done it by now.

The same goes for Adventure cards. I always pull them out of the box and think, what am I supposed to do with these again? Well, it all depends on what Prelude card you draw at the start of setup. Some adventures are only played when certain cards are drawn, further to this, some are only used when going against certain Ancient Ones. And then there’s the Antarctic side board, which is only used if Rise of the Elder Things is the Ancient One or the Doomsayer from Antarctica Prelude card is draw. Trying to figure all this out when you haven’t played for a while is time consuming.

These are the adventure cards for Antarctica.

It’s the only downside of the game as far as I’m concerned and I’m more than happy to put up with it for the return of a good couple of hours of entertainment that Eldritch Horror provides – I really should get a cheat sheet!

Knowing what I know now, would I still have bought it? Yes, I love this game.

Will it still remain in my collection? Definitely a keeper. It’s different enough to keep me interested and I much prefer it to Arkham Horror: The board game 3rd Edition, in fact I go as far as to say it’s my favourite Arkham Files game.

One Year On – Eldritch Horror continues to entertain. It has a way of thwarting you at every turn, but leaves enough hope dangling for you to grab and become invested in. Every game should be a win, but time and time again it beats you down and makes you question your decisions… should I have gone after that rumour instead of pursuing the main quest? What a different game it would have been if only I’d picked Lily instead of Charlie? And there’s always the ‘Damn, if only I hadn’t lost that dynamite, I could have taken out that group of monsters and we’d have won!’

Read my review HERE

19 thoughts on “One Year On – Eldritch Horror

  1. Good to see you’re still enjoying it Justin, even if the updates have you scratching your head from time to time, just remember the cheat sheets before the next time you play ! LOL

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, a cheat sheet is the way forward, but me being me, I’ll probably never get around to it😖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover art on the rulebook is just awesome: being pulled out of a plane over the Antarctic by an Elder Thing while your female companion blows the eye off one of the eldritch horrors! Sign me up!

    Great write-up, Justin, the game looks a ton of fun and glad you still like it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Matt and yes the artwork is superbly thematic😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I must admit, I liked the artwork! 🙂 Glad you’re still enjoying it so much!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the Arkham Files games feature some of my favourite artwork… favourite artwork, favourite games!😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eldritch Horror is a game I’d probably enjoy but never gotten around to it. It doesn’t help that FFG makes so many Arkham themed games! I could relate to what you’re saying about the setup time and rules. I really enjoyed Arkham Horror: Second Edition initially which was my first solo board game many years ago but I found the setup and how much there was to remember when playing daunting with a mini-expansion. I stopped playing after that. Fortunately, Mansions of Madness (even though I no longer own it) and Arkham Horror Card Game fixed these issues for me.

    I feel the same way about Arkham Horror: Card Game and the way luck turns against you. It is slightly less random but the game will still screw you over in Lovecraftian ways when you’re least prepared for it! Do you think you’ll get some more of the Eldritch expansions or no? I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t but at the same time, I find the lure of more expansions pretty hard to resist! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Arkham Horror: 3rd Edition is my least favourite, whilst the other three that I have are all favourites – Mansions. LGC, Eldritch – and all quite different to one another.

      Yeah, it’s Lovecraft, you shouldn’t expect it to be easy!

      I’d get more expansions; I just need to be more organised when I do!🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t played Third Edition. I would consider giving it a go but the LCG is so much fun, I’d rather just play more of it, I think than take a chance on a new game! Organization is a big part of the hobby. You can’t play games like Shadows of Brimstone effectively without plenty of organization!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really need to get the expansions for 3rdE, there aren’t enough scenarios in the core and, of course, they’re difficult, which hasn’t instilled a want to keep playing them. Unlike Eldritch, these aren’t so random and so you know what’s coming and it can be infuriating knowing in advance that you haven’t done enough to win.
        I’m pretty good at organising a game ready to play, and when I’m playing everything usually goes okay. It’s just the setup of certain games; I know I should be prepared with a cheat sheet, but once the game’s over I always think, yeah, I can remember that now, I’ll be okay next time… and then next time comes about 6-months down the road and my fish-brain can’t remember a damn thing!🙄
        Still haven’t got SoB to the table, though I have high hopes for this weekend😁

        Like

      3. I wonder what they’ll do for Arkham Horror: 4th Edition. I don’t think Third Edition was anywhere close to the hit that 2nd was…

        I do like a good cheat sheet for more complicated games. Wargames and board games that make them for you are always appreciated. I will make my own if I have to as well but that isn’t often thankfully!

        I hope SoB is enjoyable for you. Its a real hobby and space commitment so it has to prove that its worthy or that’s what I would think anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I doubt there will ever be a 4th Edition, as 3rd hasn’t had such a following as the previous installments. Maybe if they hit it hard with expansions, but they took too long between release and the first one in my mind, and a lot of people lost interest.

        Never managed to play SoB over the weekend, played Destinies instead 😞 Maybe next weekend🙄

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The expansions really keep interest up in a game so that seems wise to me too. My condolences on your lack of SoB! I hope you’re able to play soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Fingers crossed, but Yasmin’s been a bit reluctant to play, as she always is if the intention is to learn the game together. She much prefers me to have played through and got to know the game before she throws her hat in the ring!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I guess you could play it solo initially as I know there are playthroughs of people doing that on Youtube. That might help you work out the rules a bit for the “real thing” 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I would normally learn any game by playing on my own first, but whenever I have the time Yasmin’s usually free too so wants to join in, unfortunately she always wants to play something else!😖

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Haha, its not the worst problem to have though! At least you have a willing opponent 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Eldritch Horror is one of my favourite games, but like you, with the expansions added (I managed to get them all) the content and rules take a bit of sorting and setup. I tend to set the game up and leave it out for a couple of weeks and play a few games of it over that time. I still haven’t managed to get through all the expansions, particularly the ones with side boards, but am enjoying steadily working my way through it. If you haven’t seen them I would recommend CatWeazles Eldritch play throughs on YouTube – if I can’t get it to the table watching these help scratch the Eldritch itch!

    I’ve also got Arkham Horror 3rd Edition and whilst I enjoy playing it and the narrative it creates, there is something about it that makes it less satisfying than Eldritch. I think it may be the turn sequence – I find I spend less time in the investigator phase than in any other phase. I’m going to try some of the online recommendations around a three-action investigator turn rather than two to see if that helps the feel of the game without unbalancing it. The components and art are fantastic and I’d like to get it to the table more frequently than I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on 3rd Edition, It really isn’t as satisfying as Eldritch. I think that after you’ve played all the scenarios it loses its fun, especially as a couple of them get really difficult towards the end and you ten to know by the halfway point if you have any chance of beating it or not. This spoils it for me and I find myself just going through the motions at the end rather than enjoying it.
      It does have a lot of potential, though, and I really should try the expansions, it might make me see it in a new light!

      Like

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