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Subject: My Review of Elder Sign rss

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Ed Kabara
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Elder Sign by Fantasy Flight Games

Originally Posted on www.throatpunchgames.com



Basics: This is a simpler version of Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight games. Each Player takes the roll of an investigator trying to stop an elder thing enter this world.



Mechanics: Players select a location in the museum and roll dice to get combinations listed on the card. The mechanics are similar to Yahtzee while you look for combination in dice. Each card lists what occurs when you succeed or fail. The mechanics are simple yet fun. Also, the game is cooperative, simple, and goes up to eight players. All this combines to make a really great time! 5/5



Theme: Here is where the game really suffers. When you play Arkham Horror, the theme really shines through, but in this game unless you make a serious effort, the theme of the Cthulhu mythos can get lost. It’s fun, but don’t expect edge of your seat terror like you can get in Arkham Horror. Also, since the events and rooms of the game are random and you use the full deck of each for each elder thing, there is no real difference in game play for each boss monster. While each elder thing does have a small game effect, it’s not enough. I have the same complaint for Arkham Horror. 2/5



Components: Fantasy Flight games LOVES to make all kinds of components, and this game does not disappoint in that department. And, like any other Fantasy Flight game, these components do not disappoint. Great quality stuff game parts. Great art. Slightly smaller than I would like, but the game is in a small box so I understand why they are the size they are. 4.5/5



Highs: Playing a fun game with friends that can fit almost any amount of friends. Make no mistake, despite my complaints, this game is quick setup, easy to teach, and seats one to eight players.



Lows and suggestions: No real Cthulhu feel with a kind of flat delivery. The game plays quick, but it gives up story to make the speed faster. The mobile app version of Elder Sign has a more set feel with only selected places/events and a more involved narrative. In Mansions of Madness, the game is much more restricted as only some sets of cards are used for each story. A similar implementation would have really helped with this game. Now, I play this at least once every three weeks, but I would love to be more involved in a story.

Final Thoughts: It’s a great game, fun, but a slightly flawed execution. Great game, pick it up and play with your friends. Quick and fun, but don’t expect to be completely swept away by the story. 11.5/15
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Alex F
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I agree that the theme doesn't really shine through, but we love to read the Adventure cards we attempt in dramatic, theatrical voices, so that helps a bit.
Plus, we've upped the difficulty with a few houserules(like add an obligatory extra doom token every Midnight after 1st turn).
This makes the game tenser and makes the impending doom feeling more prominent.

It's a casual version of Arkham Horror, and is lightning fast in comparison, so I think the story was stripped down on purpose to keep down the amount of written text.
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Matt Jolly
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Ed,

Thank you for your review of one of my favourite games to play solo. Always good to welcome a new fan!

What you say regarding theme is interesting because I have found that the game has as much theme as AH, that is to say, it is easy to simply follow the wash-rinse-repeat rules and lose the theme entirely.

On the other hand, as Alex has said, actually reading the flavour text aloud helps, as does trying to understand character special abilities in thematic terms.

As I have said elsewhere, I use a suggestion I picked up here on the geek to slightly enhance theme; play the adventure cards face down and only turn them over when you go there and explore. It makes for some real feel of the unknown, although makes the game a bit more challenging.

I also like the idea of designing "decks" of monsters and mythos, item and adventure cards to reflect specific "scenarios". Haven't tried it yet myself, but it's on my list of things to do...

Cheers,

Matt

Edit: 1 for gratitude!
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Eric Matthews
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It def plays best solo and I hate to say it, better on the iPad/ mobile devices.

One of the best boardgames to come out on mobile devices, esp for solo play. It just works well and the added music and limited animation just works to add to the theme, while the automation removes pretty much all the fiddliness.

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Jon Ben
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matt.jolly wrote:
As I have said elsewhere, I use a suggestion I picked up here on the geek to slightly enhance theme; play the adventure cards face down and only turn them over when you go there and explore. It makes for some real feel of the unknown, although makes the game a bit more challenging.


I like this idea. I've been advancing the clock 4 or 5 hours a turn instead of 3. I've also read some threads about pre-constructed mythos decks to select the harder cards. The idea you outline is nice in that it makes the game harder and advances the theme. Do you modify anything else to make the game harder? Would you say this dramatically changes the win-loss rate?
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Alex F
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I've proposed a facedown variant here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/998783/exploring-the-museumf...
 
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Matt Jolly
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JonBen wrote:


I like this idea. I've been advancing the clock 4 or 5 hours a turn instead of 3. I've also read some threads about pre-constructed mythos decks to select the harder cards. The idea you outline is nice in that it makes the game harder and advances the theme. Do you modify anything else to make the game harder? Would you say this dramatically changes the win-loss rate?


Jon,

frankly I have never had to fight too hard to be beaten by this game!blush

I generally play solo with 3 adventurers and find this about as much trouble as I can handle, the hidden adventures just make it very hard for me!

I generally set the clock so that every character (not player) gets to act between midnights - it's not a question of easy/hard but more of clutching at sanity and theme!

As far as the win / loss rate goes, I like to think I'll win less than half the time (that is thematic too) but that I could win.

My sweet spot is where I think; if only I had done that, I could have won, and ES is good at creating that feeling!

But remember, compared with others on BGG I am woefully poor at this game!

Oh, and by the way, I used to use the character stand-ups from Arkham Horror as they were more striking on the playing surface, but more recently I have splashed out on the painted minis, using the box stickers as labels, and my do they look fine!

Cheers,

Matt
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Jonan Jello
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♫ As the masters rot on walls ♫ And the angels eat their grapes ♫ I watched Picasso Visit The Planet Of The Apes ♫
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Nice review, Ed.
I love this game a lot and the expansion has made it this year's favorite summer solitaire experience.

I agree that it helps to read the flavor text to better set the mood with this frequent dice roller.
As well, it can be quite fun for me to take a moment and simply notice what the character is charging into a room wielding.

My one gripe is that Elder Sign seems too easy, but I hope to make adjustments with suggestions from the fans here at BGG.
 
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Matt Jolly
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magmaxtic wrote:


Alex,

that may indeed be where I came across the idea! Very many thanks for it. Have some GG!!

I have added some comments and ideas to your variants thread.

Cheers,

Matt
 
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Joey Konyha
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Biotech66 wrote:
Elder Sign by Fantasy Flight Games
...
Theme: Here is where the game really suffers. When you play Arkham Horror, the theme really shines through, but in this game unless you make a serious effort, the theme of the Cthulhu mythos can get lost. It’s fun, but don’t expect edge of your seat terror like you can get in Arkham Horror. Also, since the events and rooms of the game are random and you use the full deck of each for each elder thing, there is no real difference in game play for each boss monster. While each elder thing does have a small game effect, it’s not enough. I have the same complaint for Arkham Horror. 2/5
...


It is a dice game/Yahtzee variant. How much can the theme possibly break through the mechanics? It is a great game, though.
 
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John Bartula
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Well, I plan to play the game with my kids. Fortunately, they are able to play with an excitement level that would not normally be experienced with other adults. I'm going to get a repeat loop MP3 of a storm with lighting and wind to play in the background while we explore the museum. I understand the game is simple dice-rolling, but that's fine for me since it's easy enough for my kids to understand and we can enjoy it together.
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