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Subject: Let's elect the "official house rules" for Elder Sign! rss

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It seems that most people find ES too easy.snore

I tend to agree, although I have not played enough yet to pass judgement. Anyways, I have won 2/3 of my games (playing solo ninja) and IMO a cooperative game in the horror zombie genre should be nearly impossible to win.

So! There are many variants published here in BGG to make ES more difficult: faster clock, museum movement, no buying of signs, etc. Can you tell me in a few words as possible which one do you currently use (if you do)? No need to defend your variant.

I would like to elect the Official Elder Sign Hard Level Rules!sauron

(Something, frankly, that FFG should have included in the rule book...)

Thank you for voting! meeple
 
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Tamas Csepregi
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20 games so far, 19 wins, 1 loss.
House rules introduced after 7-8 games:
- each die set aside after a failed roll for a task adds 1 extra hour to the clock
- random monster placing on adventure cards (while keeping number of monsters on cards even)
- Ancient One awakens even when we got the all the elder signs, with current doom track as life points

 
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Chris Lawson
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I always use the Great Old Ones Herald.
This means you have to defeat the Ancient One after collecting the required number of Elder Signs. I would recommend this as the first step for anyone who wants to make the game more interesting (and difficult).

I also add an Abomination or additional Herald as well. This adds more pressure on the players and I find them more interesting than (for example) just advancing the clock 4 hours instead of 3.
Elder Sign: Abominations - Fan made expansion project

Edit: Typo, "Ones" only has a single "s"
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Mark L
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I prefer to keep house rules simple.

I adjust the rate of clock advance to create a "difficulty setting". 3 hours for easy, 4 hours for medium, 5 hours for hard, 6 hours for impossible!
goo

Since the game seems easier with fewer investigators, I usually use one of the more difficult settings if there's only one or two.

I also disallow the purchase of the final Elder Sign to win the game, and sometimes disallow the purchase of Elder Signs altogether. I haven't yet decided which of these options is better.
 
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Orlando Neto
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I like these rules:

Great Old Oness Herald. you have to fight the old one. The more time passes by, more powerfull it will get.

When you complete an adventure that has the portal, you get sucked by the portal at same turn. You can't leave the otherworld without winning the adventure.

You have to select BEFORE roll the dice the task you wanna complete.

When solo, you can play with one more investigator. Death is permanent and you can't select another investigator to go with you.

You can't buy signs from store.

When you fail to defeat an adventure with a cultist. Add one extra doom token to the track.

When assisting, you can share itens with the investigator you are helping.

You die, it's over.

devilAncient ones attacks every two turns, not only at midnight

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Thanks for the feedback, guys!

Right now, my house rules are only this:
- Perma-death (no investigator replacement).
- Elder signs cannot be bought.

I am beginning to experiment with a faster clock (4 hours advance for 4 investigators) and I like it. devil

The variant Orlando mentions where the investigator is trapped in the other dimensions sounds very thematic, I will try it!

(As a side note, today another tweak occurred to me: in the entrance, you can buy as many clue tokens as you can/wish on a single turn; other items, you still can only buy one. ON THE OTHER HAND, you must spend ONE CLUE TOKEN FOR EACH DICE you want to re-roll, and you can spend as many as you like on a roll. I have not tried this yet and I don't know whether the game would become more difficult or easier. If the game becomes easier, scrap it!)
 
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xris wrote:
I always use the Great Old Ones Herald.
This means you have to defeat the Ancient One after collecting the required number of Elder Signs. I would recommend this as the first step for anyone who wants to make the game more interesting (and difficult).

Chris, I just looked at your mod "Great Old Ones Herald" and it is very nice, good job! Thank you for posting it.
 
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Mark L
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Actually, thinking about the options for buying Elder Signs, I've thought of a possible new house rule: each investigator can only buy one Elder Sign per game (but the final one still cannot be bought).

I haven't tried this yet, because I just thought of it! But I think it should work pretty well. I'd prefer severely limiting purchases to banning them outright.
 
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xipuloxx wrote:
Actually, thinking about the options for buying Elder Signs, I've thought of a possible new house rule: each investigator can only buy one Elder Sign per game (but the final one still cannot be bought).

Mark, I was thinking about the same thing. You give a nice alternative to banning purchasing signs. I have thought another one, but I will post it in another thread, not to veer off topic.

Who knows, maybe we can someday come up with a standard of "hard level" rules for ES! arrrh
 
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Orlando Neto
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fameros wrote:
(As a side note, today another tweak occurred to me: in the entrance, you can buy as many clue tokens as you can/wish on a single turn; other items, you still can only buy one. ON THE OTHER HAND, you must spend ONE CLUE TOKEN FOR EACH DICE you want to re-roll, and you can spend as many as you like on a roll. I have not tried this yet and I don't know whether the game would become more difficult or easier. If the game becomes easier, scrap it!)


The clue tokens makes you reroll all dice. If you make the variant for each clue only reroll one die it will make the game much more hard!
 
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Mark L
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Have to agree with Orlando; I think it would actually make it too hard.
 
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You guys may be right. How about 1 clue = 2 dice re-rolls then?

I will try this variation in the next few days and let you know.

Anyone else out there care to tell us which variation are you using to make ES harder?? goo
 
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Damon Asher
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These rules make it just right for me. They are mostly a mashup of other people's ideas. I've added my own rules for Other World that I like because they make approaching a room with a gate a Big Deal.

The entrance tile is placed in the middle. The 6 locations are placed adjacent, 2 on top, 2 on bottom, 1 left, 1 right. On your turn, before you solve a location or use the entrance, you can move one space. This is either to an adjacent location (next one clockwise or counterclockwise) or to the entrance tile. After that you have to use the action corresponding to your tile. After resolving card, your investigator stays at that spot – the new card goes under him/her. Next turn you may either move one space or stay there.

When a gate to Other World opens, place the card outside the circle, adjacent to the card that caused the Gate to open. Investigator must go to Other World card next turn. Upon resolving Other World card, investigator returns to the Adventure card in the adjacent spot next turn (you can’t go to another Other World card). If Other World card is failed, investigator can either return to adjacent Adventure card or remain in Other World. Investigator can later return to the Other World card only from the card in the adjacent space (although you don't automatically get sucked in at that point).

Ancient One must be fought to win after collecting sufficient Elder Signs (instant win vs. Azaroth, fair’s fair). However, the Doom track does not fill before combat begins, and each successfully filled task in combat removes TWO Doom Tokens (this only applies when all needed Elder Signs are found).

Taking Elder Sign Rewards is optional.

Add two Doom tokens when an investigator is devoured.

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This is a small sample, but so far the most popular hard variant seems to be the obligatory final battle with the GOO.

Can you people tell me +/- your winning rate under the rule that the GOO always awakens? If it is more than 1 in 3, it is still too easy...

BTW: I just had an idea for a sub-variant under this rule. If the GOO always awakens, WHAT IF the GOO is randomly selected at the beginning of the game AND ITS IDENTITY IS KEPT SECRET (card face down) until, say, 4 or 5 doom tokens are placed on top of its card? Of course, all GOO-effects would only activate when the GOO is revealed, but this would add a layer of mystery to the game, don't you think? And risk too: if Cthulhu is the GOO, all investigators with 1 sanity or stamina at the time of revelation instantly die! devil
 
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Mark L
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fameros wrote:
BTW: I just had an idea for a sub-variant under this rule. If the GOO always awakens, WHAT IF the GOO is randomly selected at the beginning of the game AND ITS IDENTITY IS KEPT SECRET (card face down) until, say, 4 or 5 doom tokens are placed on top of its card? Of course, all GOO-effects would only activate when the GOO is revealed, but this would add a layer of mystery to the game, don't you think? And risk too: if Cthulhu is the GOO, all investigators with 1 sanity or stamina at the time of revelation instantly die! devil

Sorry, no, that won't work. Firstly, Cthulhu reduces maximum sanity and stamina, not current sanity and stamina. So it wouldn't have the effect you state.

Secondly, at least some of the GOOs are designed for their power to work throughout the game; having them activate later would weaken them. Cthulhu reducing your maximum stamina and sanity by 1 from the start of the game means that you'll lose a point off both of those right away that you can't get back (because, of course, they're both at maximum initially). If that happens later, Cthulhu is less powerful. And what about Nyarlathotep? He's much weaker if you're only adding the Mask monsters to the cup partway through the game.

The obligatory final battle is an interesting idea. I haven't tried it, but I think I will at some point.
 
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Mark, thanks for the feedback.

You are right concerning a Cthulhu delayed effect, my mistake. thumbsup Investigators having full sanity/stamina should lose 1 when/if Cthulhu is revealed as the GOO, that's what I should have said.

You are also right in pointing out that GOO effects coming into play later makes the game easier. However, I was suggesting this as a sub-variant of the "obligatory final fight" variant. Here is my thought: if players know from the beginning which GOO they are fighting, this is valuable information because they are able to prepare for the final fight accordingly (think Yig, for example). If the final boss is only revealed midway through the game, players will have less time to tool up and this *could* (I have not tried it) balance the lesser difficulty due to delayed GOO effects. At the same time, I believe an unidentified GOO would add a lot of mystery and suspense to the game. ninja
 
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Perry Fergin
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I play with the Always Battle GOO and Investigators Stay Dead variants, but I also play with my own variant: the Red and Yellow dice replace green ones; they aren't in addition. This makes challenges much tougher, and you may even need to take a challenge knowing you can't win just to remove some monsters.

(For the Always Battle GOO variant: regarding Azathoth, what if you drew a monster for each Doom token he has? You could battle them in any order you want, but need to defeat them all to kill him.)
 
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Perry, just to clarify: your "replacement rule" means that, whenever a card allows a player to use a yellow or red die, this die replaces a green one instead of being added to the pool of dice in play. Did I get it right?

Your Azatoth variant sounds evil, I like it! devil
 
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Chris Lawson
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drasher25 wrote:
The entrance tile is placed in the middle. The 6 locations are placed adjacent, 2 on top, 2 on bottom, 1 left, 1 right. On your turn, before you solve a location or use the entrance, you can move one space. This is either to an adjacent location (next one clockwise or counterclockwise) or to the entrance tile. After that you have to use the action corresponding to your tile. After resolving card, your investigator stays at that spot - the new card goes under him/her. Next turn you may either move one space or stay there.

When a gate to Other World opens, place the card outside the circle, adjacent to the card that caused the Gate to open. Investigator must go to Other World card next turn. Upon resolving Other World card, investigator returns to the Adventure card in the adjacent spot next turn (you can’t go to another Other World card). If Other World card is failed, investigator can either return to adjacent Adventure card or remain in Other World. Investigator can return to the Other World card only from the card in the adjacent space.

I quite like this. Once I've released the Ancient Ones variants I may make a Herald/Guardian based on your idea (as I did with Hypnos which was based directly on Lipa LeChuck's (LipaB) variant idea). If I do and if you wish I could create the artwork and add it to my Elder Sign: Abominations - Game Expansion.
drasher25 wrote:
Ancient One must be fought to win after collecting sufficient Elder Signs (instant win vs. Azaroth, fair’s fair). However, the Doom track does not fill before combat begins [snip].

Taking Elder Sign Rewards is optional.

This appears to be exactly the same as the Great Old Ones Herald I've created.
drasher25 wrote:
However, the Doom track does not fill before combat begins, and each successfully filled task in comabt removes TWO Elder Signs (this only applies when all needed Elder Signs are found).

But I wasn't sure what you mean by this? Why are you removing Elder Signs during the Final Battle? Do you mean Doom tokens.
 
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Chris Lawson
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xipuloxx wrote:
Actually, thinking about the options for buying Elder Signs, I've thought of a possible new house rule: each investigator can only buy one Elder Sign per game (but the final one still cannot be bought).

I haven't tried this yet, because I just thought of it! But I think it should work pretty well. I'd prefer severely limiting purchases to banning them outright.

Most of my games have been three or four player. In practice I find that an Investigator only has time to purchases one Elder Sign each game anyway so limiting the purchase of Elder Signs to one per investigator per game isn't going to change anything really.

All it does is make the 1 player (with 1 investigator) and 2 player (with 1 investigator each) games a bit more difficult. It really makes very little difference to 5+ players because in those games it's difficult enough for one player to be able to obtain 10 trophies (unless it's a long game).

If you are going make a change then I would suggest that you either
(i) ban purchase of Elder Signs altogether or
(ii) ban purchase of the final required Elder Sign.

I still prefer that such a rule isn't in every game, I don't mind it being an Ancient One ability (such as my version of Tsathoggua) or the Final Battle requiring Trophies such that it is impractical to spend them (such as my version of Abtoth). This I think adds more variety to play,

In fact this idea of adding variety to play by the use of "house rules" is another project I have on the back burner for me
 
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Chris Lawson
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perrygf wrote:
(For the Always Battle GOO variant: regarding Azathoth, what if you drew a monster for each Doom token he has? You could battle them in any order you want, but need to defeat them all to kill him.)

I've been working on a similar idea for an Ancient Ones Final Battle Task but in my case I was going to select 6 of 12 very difficult tasks (9Inv,Lore - Lore,Lore,Lore - 7Inv,Lore,Peril - 6Inv,Lore,Lore - 10Inv - Lore,Lore,Peril).

I just tried your idea of drawing monsters for each Doom token.While it has the advantage of requiring no new components, it is far too easy.

I drew 12 monsters and was able to defeat them all in four turns. I know it is just one example but in general, it's going to be a cake walk.

Here's my results (starting with 6 green die as the Red and Yellow were locked, yellow was locked twice)

Turn 1
Defeated a Ghost (2 dice, lost 1 Sanity, yellow still locked)
Defeated a Warlock (2 dice, freeing the red die)
Defeated a Flying Polyp (1 die, lost 1 San and 1 Stam)
Defeated a Maniac (1 die)

Turn 2
Failed! (Rolled all Investigations so had to discard a green die. I could have completed the Chthonian but that would have devoured the current Investigator so didn't do it)
Defeated a Dark Young (2 dice, lost 1 Sanity)
Defeated a Hound of Tindalos (1 die, freed the Yellow die, Advance the Clock)
Defeated a Cultist (1 die)
Defeated a Zombie (1 die)

Turn 3
Since the Hound of Tindalos Advanced the Clock there wasn't a turn 3 as such.

Turn 4 (Played Items to add the Yellow and Red die)
Defeated an Elder Thing (4 dice, Advance the Clock)
Defeated a Chthonian (2 dice (Red Joker so 4 Inv), Advance the Clock, lost 1 Stamina)
Failed! (Rolled Investigations on the two dice so had to discard a green die)
Failed! (Rolled Investigations again on last die)

Azathoth Attack
You don't actually specify what the attack is But let's assume I don't get all devoured.

Turn 5 and Turn 6
got sucked up by the two Advance the Clocks that occurred during turn 4.

Turn 7 (didn't even bother with the Red or Yellow, just rolled 6 green dice)
Defeated a Mi-go (2 die)
Defeated a Cultist (1 die)

So easy peasy lemon squezy. Just had to withstand one attack by the Ancient One and did it all in just four turns really. I think I had a fair sample of the Monsters. Red and Yellow dice locked at the start. Two "big" monsters. No sign of being really lucky with the dice rolls.

BTW, what was your idea for Azathoth's Attack?

Perhaps a mix of Mask Monsters and a selected combination of monsters would make if more challenging. I shall have to look into this for one of my new Ancient One variants as I like the idea of using existing components.
 
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Mark L
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xris wrote:
xipuloxx wrote:
Actually, thinking about the options for buying Elder Signs, I've thought of a possible new house rule: each investigator can only buy one Elder Sign per game (but the final one still cannot be bought).

I haven't tried this yet, because I just thought of it! But I think it should work pretty well. I'd prefer severely limiting purchases to banning them outright.

Most of my games have been three or four player. In practice I find that an Investigator only has time to purchases one Elder Sign each game anyway so limiting the purchase of Elder Signs to one per investigator per game isn't going to change anything really.

All it does is make the 1 player (with 1 investigator) and 2 player (with 1 investigator each) games a bit more difficult. It really makes very little difference to 5+ players because in those games it's difficult enough for one player to be able to obtain 10 trophies (unless it's a long game).

If you are going make a change then I would suggest that you either
(i) ban purchase of Elder Signs altogether or
(ii) ban purchase of the final required Elder Sign.


As I mentioned in my first post in this thread, I already ban purchase of the final Elder Sign, and sometimes all Elder Signs. That's why, in my suggested rule which you quoted, I said "the final one still cannot be bought".

I agree it will only make much difference in games with 1 or 2 investigators, but those are exactly the games where the rules are most badly in need of "toughening up", IMO.

I tried implementing it in my last solo game, with 2 investigators. But as it turned out I only ever wanted to buy one Elder Sign the whole game anyway! But I have seen games where the investigators could have bought 2 or 3 each, which makes things too easy IMO.

Quote:
I still prefer that such a rule isn't in every game, I don't mind it being an Ancient One ability (such as my version of Tsathoggua) or the Final Battle requiring Trophies such that it is impractical to spend them (such as my version of Abtoth). This I think adds more variety to play,

In fact this idea of adding variety to play by the use of "house rules" is another project I have on the back burner for me


I certainly have no problem with games having optional rules to allow gaming groups to adjust the game to their preferences. Some people seem to dislike this, feeling they should pick a set of rules and stick to them. But I like having options. I'm not sure I would tie such an option to a specific Ancient One, though; it might be nice to keep it as a possible "difficulty adjuster".

Your projects are always interesting and inventive, so I'll look forward to hearing more about this!
 
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Damon Asher
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xris wrote:

drasher25 wrote:
However, the Doom track does not fill before combat begins, and each successfully filled task in comabt removes TWO Elder Signs (this only applies when all needed Elder Signs are found).

But I wasn't sure what you mean by this? Why are you removing Elder Signs during the Final Battle? Do you mean Doom tokens.


You are right! I mean Doom tokens. The reason for this (remove 2 for each success) is so that it's still greatly beneficial to get all needed Elder Signs even when the Doom track is about to fill. I like having to have a final battle, but I didn't want to decrease the motivation for getting all the Elder Signs before the AO awakens. The sooner you finish, the weaker the AO will be.

And most of those rules are only tweaked by me, not originated by me!
 
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Has anyone tried removing some of the "easy" adventure cards from their deck to increase difficulty?

There are a bunch of easier cards that let you rack up clue tokens before taking on the more difficult cards. After several play-throughs you should be able to identify your go-to cards for easy wins.

I'm only afraid that this might stall the game entirely since no one will be able to get those initial clues and items.

This game seriously needs an official expansion.
 
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aaron johnson
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I tried a similar setup to the idea of adding a mission for applying elder signs.

I ran with a bid mechanic where you have to take your turn to go to the elder god to apply the elder signs.

You then have to decide how many elder signs you want to attempt and roll dice.

For each tentacle you roll you may set one elder sign on the god if you fail the task then for each elder sign that didn't get applied you suffer one stamina and one sanity.

It added a little more fun without going for the required end battle.
 
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