Game Chat – Disaster and Devastation

We recently managed to get a game of Eldritch Horror played, throwing in our Christmas gift of two expansions – Cities in Ruin and Signs of Carcosa. It was an interesting and exciting game, and so I thought I’d sit down and chat to you all about it.

They are both small box expansions bring our total to five, one of which, Mountains of Madness, is a large box expansion.

Signs of Carcosa doesn’t anything special to the game, it mostly just adds more of the same – more Investigators, more Ancients, more encounters… you get the idea. It does introduce impairments. These tokens reduce a skill by either 1 or 2, which, as anyone will know who plays the game, can have a massive impact on a character’s use.

Whatever, it’s not these that I want to talk about, it’s what Cities in Ruins adds that we found really interesting and game enhancing.

Disasters and Devastation!

Some effects cause you to draw Disaster cards. These cards aren’t very nice. In fact, they’re downright horrid! They impact the game massively, with the possibility of defeating several investigators at once…

Earthquake Hits San Francisco!

Each investigator on San Francisco or any adjacent space loses 3 Health and 3 Sanity and becomes Delayed.

The above ended our game, as we were gathered around Frisco trying to defeat a big bad in order to win, but more of that later.

Some effects in the expansion, notably Disasters, cause Cities to become Devastated. Once Devastated, the City becomes a ‘dead’ space. You can move through it, and, if you dare, land on it, but it no longer has a space type and clues can no longer be spawned there. If you’re on a Devastated space during the encounter phase, then you draw a Devastation Encounter, just like the Disasters, these are only going to make your life worse!

These are complex Encounters, so you’ll do an initial test and depending on whether you pass or fail, you’ll move on to read the green text or red. Either way, you’ll likely make another skill roll and you’d better hope you pass. A pass in the green box might, just might, see you get a small reward, but usually it’s a case of escaping with your bits and pieces intact. Fail, and you’ll be face the consequences, especially if you’re reading from the Red box.

These both sound pretty dire, things that will just make the game that little bit more difficult and bring misery to the players, so why add them to the game?

Well, we did, and here’s how it went…

Too Much Stuff!

Before we got into the game, we had to set it up, and this is the drag of adding all those expansions.

For starters, I really need to either find a definitive rulebook, or put one together myself.

Which decks do I need? What do these tokens do again? When do I use this board? Prelude cards? Focus?

‘Aargh!’

Set-up was long-winded and a chore, especially because we haven’t played for a while and couldn’t remember which things were introduced in which expansion, all compounded by the fact that somethings are only used if certain other things are in play, such as depicted in the Prelude cards or by the Ancient One you’re going up against.

We eventually got it sorted and familiarised ourselves with the lesser used rules.

We started with a Prelude card, which actually gave us a boon – can’t remember exactly what, so it wasn’t much of one – and then we randomly drew the Ancient one from the two that came in the expansions.

Shudde M’ell – sounds like it should be a swear word, and by the end of the game probably was!

Shudde M’ell came from the Cities in Ruin box. During set-up, Eldritch Tokens were placed on spaces 2,5,8 and 11 of the Doom Track, and when Doom advanced to one of these a Disaster card is resolved. The other thing to note about this Ancient One, is that every time a Reckoning is carried out all investigators lose 2 Health and/or Sanity… Ouch!

For the investigators we decided to use only those from the new expansions, from which we drew randomly. Yasmin drew Roland Banks and Michael McGlen, and I drew Wendy Adams and Bob Jenkins.

We thought these were a pretty good group, with each character having some ability to gain Items, Services, or Trinkets, all of which can boost a characters usefulness.

Horribly Thematic!!

I wish I’d written this immediately after we’d played because old goldfish memory here is struggling to remember exactly how things progressed. So, I’ll stick to the important events, all of which added to our downfall!

Rome quickly became a City of Devastation and we soon found out that landing there wasn’t such a good idea, as we drew a couple of Devastation Encounter cards that we were lucky to get away with only minor consequences. At this point, we thought we’d just avoid Rome… simples!

Our first Mystery to solve was ‘Bringer of Ruin’…

This proved to be an easy one for us and we clocked up the required 4-clues in short order. Meanwhile, our characters were also busy loading up on stuff through the use of our abilities.

The second Mystery wasn’t so straightforward, ‘The Worldrender’…

This spawned the Worldrender Epic Monster, which can only be harmed by Magic and Magical Weapons, as it has Physical resistance. The Mystery card gives you the chance to gain the Vach-Viraj Chant Artifact if at any point you draw an Artifact, so the hunt was on.

Wendy, who could gain a Trinket from the reserve as an Action, grabbed the Puzzle Box and the following round she opened I up to gain an artifact – The Vach-Viraj Chant was ours!

Eldritch Horror
Wendy grabbed the Puzzle Box and opened it to gain the Vach-Viraj

It was therefore decided that Wendy would take on The Worldrender… all by her little ol’ self!

Whilst Wendy was otherwise occupied, the other characters took care of other business, closing gates, quashing rumours, and such like. During this period Doom advanced some, and another City became Devastated, London!

Bob and McGlen in London just before it was Devastated!

Things started to get tricky and the game became very thematic indeed. London was connected next to Rome. Train tickets had been removed from the game due to some disaster or other, and so we were limited on how we could move around the top of the board. Of course, everything was happening up there!

This left us with choices, hard choices. We had a rumour trapped at the top of the board, location 13, which could only be accessed by passing through London. This was duly done and the rumour solved. However, from there McGlen needed to get to Istanbul, why, I can’t quite remember, but I know it needed to be done. He then had travel to London and stop there (he hadn’t a ship ticket to continue on), with little else to do other than focus on a skill. The following turn he had a couple of choices. Move to Rome and spend another night in a Devastated City, suffering the consequences that would bring, or start on the roundabout way avoiding Rome but taking another three to four rounds to get to where he someone was needed.

Putting the team first, McGlen bit his lip and ventured into the hell that was Rome.

Around about this time, Wendy was dealing the finishing blows to the Worldrender. She took some damage, both physically and mentally, but she pulled through it and the team of investigators were onto their final Mystery and, dare I say it, looking good.

Wendy – All tooled up!

I’d spoken too soon!

It was here things started going downhill fast.

For starters, the Mythos cards we were drawing were taking a toll. The majority of them had been Hard cards, and our characters were wearing thin. The new Mystery had spawned two Ancient Cthonians, fortunately not too far from one another, but they came with the Reckoning effect of, well, here it is…

Gates were causing us issue now too, as we’d neglected closing some because it hadn’t been in our interest at the time, but now they kept Monster surging and there was now no way to close them without plowing through a mass of monsters – totally our fault!

McGlen did his best, closing one in Istanbul that had popped up whilst he was there, unfortunately a disaster struck causing him to be struck down both physically and mentally. He was replaced by Rita Young.

McGlen’s sacrifice was in vain!

More hard Mythos cards followed, each causing a Reckoning to occur and each time our characters grew physically and mentally weaker. Bob took out one Cthonian, but couldn’t heal fast enough and was caught in a space adjacent to the other when a Reckoning took place – he was replaced by Ashcan Pete.

The two new characters were struggling to move around the board, what with all the ruined Cities and monster filled gates.

Monsters had to be taken care of to clear a path to the final Cathonian and Wendy and Roland were doing their best. Roland, like Bob before him, got taken down by another Reckoning – he too was adjacent to the Cthonian. Dexter stepped into his shoes.

Meanwhile, Ashcan and Rita had retreated to San Fransisco to recouperate before another attempt on the Epic Monster. Wendy was close by, and as the strongest of the party was trying to heal herself fully before taking the thing down – she never got the chance.

Another Mythos card, another hard one. Doom advanced and a Disaster card was drawn. Imagine, here we were, on the edge of a victory, just one monster to defeat and Wendy knew she could do it. Alas, ‘Earthquake Hits San Fransisco!’ and with it, it consumed Ashcan, Rita, and Wendy.

It had been a valiant attempt but the team knew when they were beaten and we didn’t reach into the box for more investigators. For us, the world had ended, ‘Shudde M’ell!’

An Added Dimension

The Disasters and Devastations, I thought, really added something to the game. Yes, they make it even more difficult, but you know what, I don’t care. The thematic feel they add to the game outweighs the added difficulty – I don’t really care if I win or lose, it’s the enjoyment from playing that counts, which is a good job all things considered.

Playing with these in the game makes it feel intense, like the world is about to end and you really are going up against the mighty powers of evil. Cities are being destroyed around you, causing you have to think carefully about the risk of travelling around them, or through them. You also lose the inherent City abilities that come when you stop on one, such as buying travel tickets, as well as the City encounters, which can grant you boons.

The Disasters are harsh and can easily wipe out a group of investigators, again, you have to think about your positioning and getting together to help each other out can have inverse effects.

Eldritch is a difficult game at the best of times. So, the way I see it, I may as well throw these in all the time because they make that difficulty so thematic and fun, like you really are living through the apocalypse!

In Memory Of…

Wendy Adams – Urchin

Bob Jenkins – Salesman

Michael McGlen – Gangster

Roland Banks – The Fed

Rita Young – Athlete

Drake Dexter – Magician

‘Ashcan’ Pete – Drifter

12 thoughts on “Game Chat – Disaster and Devastation

  1. That was a fun report to read Justin, if your enjoying the game, that’s totally a win in my book, whether you win or lose, so glad you are enjoying the new expansions, even if they make a hard game harder.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Spot on Dave, if you enjoy a game it doesn’t matter if you win or lose.😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like it’s made it that much more challenging! 🙂 Enjoyed reading this, Justin! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, now it’s just insanely difficult!
      Thanks John 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rest in peace, brave investigators! 3 damage and 3 horror in a single card!? I’ve never played this game but I saw the health for the investigators and that is going to do in several investigators in a given game I would think. Its funny how Arkham games have a tough and sometimes unfair difficulty and generally, I just smile and want to shake my fist at the game somewhat lovingly. I guess that’s how you know you’re playing a fun game! 🙂 As John and Dave said, this was a great read!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tough? Oh Yeah, but what I like is that when you lose an investigator another pops up to fill their shoes. A little less experienced, a little less well equipped, but that makes it thematic and, let’s face it, saving the world from some inhumanly powerful Ancient monster was never going to be easy!😉
      And yes, many a fist has been shaken in anger at this game, usually followed by, ‘Shall we play again?’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! I’m glad you like that mechanism of sending in the next wave of investigators. I’m the opposite and I prefer to take the loss and start over (usually with new investigators as well) for some reason. I guess I feel like they’re dead and the “mission” was a failure and continuing on doesn’t feel right. I would guess I’m in the minority on that but I guess who can really say! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m with you on some games, but Eldritch would be nigh on impossible without using extra investigators, it really is part of the game and you have to consider it when working out strategy. Deciding when and who to sacrifice is often the only way to overcome some of the mysteries and Epic monsters, though it can make a game drag on sometimes🧐

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s interesting! I wasn’t sure what the game offered that would stand out from Mansions of Madness, AH 2nd Edition, or AH: The Card Game but it sounds like it really is its own unique game. If I had a bit more free time and storage, I’d pick up the base game and give it a go!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Way different to Mansions and AH the card game, a few similarities to AH the board game. Of course, the Investigators are the same that run through all the Arkham Files games, which I think brings a nice familiarity to things, even if you’ve never played the game before.
        There’s a link in the very first line to my review, you should check it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sounds like I better give it a read… This better not cost me any money, mate 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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