Eldritch Horror is a board game from Fantasy Flight games: 1 to 8 players, age 14 plus. The official page is here.
We played a 4 player game today. This was a new game to our group and a new game full stop, so there was a lot of card shuffling, pressing out of cardboard tokens and rules reading. Our intrepid explorers faced off against Azathoth, in order to save the world from unpleasant gribblies and general descent into madness.
In the terms of time the first setup (and coffee drinking) took about 45 minutes for one person to get everything laid out, sorted and ready; while the rest of swotted up on the rules and scoured through the character cards.
We then played through to victory! This took us in the region of four hours.
My thoughts worth mentioning:
- This has a very similar feel to Arkham Horror, a previous game by Fantasy Flight. We really enjoyed Arkham Horror but hardly ever play it as the game duration is just too long, particularly if we use the expansion sets as well. I felt that pulling back from the minutiae in terms of the setting saved a lot of hassle. There were a lot less monsters on the board, for a start.
- The physical game components are very high quality. All the card stock is lovely to handle and shuffle. The small cards for items, etc., have decent sized font and are easy to read and clear of description.
- This is definitely a cooperative game and the more the players communicated as a team the better we did. At the beginning we kind of approached the solving of mysteries communally but as things started hotting up we got a lot more strategic. This game benefits from the same kind of careful teamwork that Shadows over Camelot and Fury of Dracula does.
- The only thing that was tiresome was the interpretation of symbols on the Mythos cards against the lists in the rule book.
- If you are a soul easily prone to boredom the slight drift of time between rounds might be a slight challenge, particularly if players who have characters physically close on the game board are planning something complex in America between them, while you are for example gallivanting about closing gates in Europe.
- Expect to face some harsh in-game effects. We were stabbed up by ally cards for a large proportion of health, repeatedly failed to close gates due to bad dice outcomes, and received curse cards.
- Get rid of debt cards as soon as you can. They seem harmless but on a reckoning many transpire to have been pacts for your character’s soul.
- Lastly, be clear on how the doom track fills up. It seems like a small part of the game but at the end we only won convincingly because we had second-guessed our interpretation and given ourselves too much doom. We ret-conned this. Otherwise we would have lost by a single segment.
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