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Subject: Compared with: Arkham Horror rss

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Kirk Bauer
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I had a chance to play this game last night and wanted to share the ways that Eldritch Horror (EH) is both similar and different than Arkham Horror (AH).

Executive summary: this is the same type of game as AH but also different. If you hate games where there is a lot of luck (dice) and random events then you probably dislike AH and you'll probably dislike this game too. But if you like AH then you'll probably like this game as well. Which game is better is hard to say: it will probably be a matter of personal preference. Personally, I will be buying this and keeping my copy of AH and plan to play both of them.

As much as possible I'll be comparing only the base games against each other. Note that I only had one play so it is possible I have a few things wrong.

Where AH and EH are similar

Both have a Cthulhu theme
Both have the same investigators and monsters
Both have boards where you travel around and have encounters
Both use the same skill check mechanism
Both use the same combat mechanism (horror check followed by combat check)

Where AH and EH differ
I think the look/art/graphic design is improved (or perhaps just newer/different)
In AH you typically don't get to have an encounter in the streets, where in EH you typically have an encounter everywhere.
Character traits are fixed (no worries about bumping those rings any more)
In AH the goal is to close gates, in EH you *can* close gates but the goal is to satisfy the clue cards.
In EH you can buy new items in any city space, but instead of using money you use an Influence skill check, so depending on your skills that may be easier or harder than using money (you can also take a loan to help the purchase, but you'll have a price to pay later, and you won't know what that price is right away)
In EH you can permanently upgrade your character's skills.
You can "rest" as an action to recover health and sanity (unless a monster is present)
The clue (goal) cards and the "Mythos" deck are tied to the Great Old One (GOO) in some fashion (not sure of the details, nor what the decks are officially called)
There is the possibility of various GOOs coming alive on the map
The monsters don't typically move, they typically remain with the gate they came out of, but you have to kill them to seal the gate.
On your turn you get to take two actions and, later, engage monsters (if any) and then have an encounter. The two actions must be different and can be one of (with some restrictions): move, shop, buy a ticket, and rest.
Tickets allow you to move more than once on your turn.
I really like the conditions: for example, I chose to take a Blood Pact, and later I ended up with a Leg Injury. When a "Mythos" card triggers "Reckoning" effects, you have to resolve these conditions. You may roll a dice, or you may just flip it. When you flip it then more things happen, but you don't know what that will be until you see it.
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Makis
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So having played both which do you prefer? From the read it seems like you're leaning toward EH.
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Kelly N.
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I may have missed it, but how do play times compare?

Thanks.
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kirkbauer wrote:
I had a chance to play this game last night and wanted to share the ways that Eldritch Horror (EH) is both similar and different than Arkham Horror (AH).

Executive summary: this is the same type of game as AH but also different. If you hate games where there is a lot of luck (dice) and random events then you probably dislike AH and you'll probably dislike this game too. But if you like AH then you'll probably like this game as well. Which game is better is hard to say: it will probably be a matter of personal preference. Personally, I will be buying this and keeping my copy of AH and plan to play both of them.
My expectation also.

Quote:
As much as possible I'll be comparing only the base games against each other. Note that I only had one play so it is possible I have a few things wrong.

Where AH and EH are similar

Both have a Cthulhu theme
Both have the same investigators and monsters
all the Investigators in EH appear in AH or its expansions. Not all the AH base game Investigators appear in EH and not all the EH Investigators are AH base game.

Quote:
Both have boards where you travel around and have encounters
Both use the same skill check mechanism
Both use the same combat mechanism (horror check followed by combat check)
Only true at the most superficial level, i.e. horror followed by combat. For each type of Monster there's a threshold number of successes for each check that must be made to avoid Sanity or Stamina loss - even though you may in some cases still defeat the Monster. Combat is not continued until one party is victorious: it lasts one "attack" only and Monsters do not hinder movement. I find this is a fundamental change in the combat system.

Quote:
Where AH and EH differ
I think the look/art/graphic design is improved (or perhaps just newer/different)
In AH you typically don't get to have an encounter in the streets, where in EH you typically have an encounter everywhere.
Character traits are fixed (no worries about bumping those rings any more)
From round to round, but you still have "improvement tokens" - see your comment below

Quote:
In AH the goal is to close gates, in EH you *can* close gates but the goal is to satisfy the clue cards.
In EH you can buy new items in any city space, but instead of using money you use an Influence skill check, so depending on your skills that may be easier or harder than using money (you can also take a loan to help the purchase, but you'll have a price to pay later, and you won't know what that price is right away)
In EH you can permanently upgrade your character's skills.
You can "rest" as an action to recover health and sanity (unless a monster is present)
The clue (goal) cards and the "Mythos" deck are tied to the Great Old One (GOO) in some fashion (not sure of the details, nor what the decks are officially called)
The Research, Mystery and Special Encounter cards are specific to the AO. The Mythos deck has a build from a common pool of Mythos cards, but that build is influenced by the AO in a manner that affects the distribution of the types of Mythos card in the deck.

Quote:
There is the possibility of various GOOs coming alive on the map
The monsters don't typically move, they typically remain with the gate they came out of, but you have to kill them to seal the gate.
You have to defeat all Monsters in a Location before you can have any other type of Encounter in that Location (not just Closing the Gate - there is no equivalent to Sealing)

Quote:
On your turn you get to take two actions and, later, engage monsters (if any) and then have an encounter. The two actions must be different and can be one of (with some restrictions): move, shop, buy a ticket, and rest.
Not quite it. You always have an Encounter, but if there's a Monster present you must "choose" to have a Monster Encounter. You only get one Encounter a Turn... unless your first Encounter is a Monster Encounter in which you defeat the Monster, then you may have one additional Encounter (which must also be a Monster Encounter if there is one available). In this way you must fight (and defeat) all Monsters in your Location before you can have any other type of Encounter that turn.

Quote:
Tickets allow you to move more than once on your turn.
No they don't, they allow you to extend your Movement. It's a subtle, but important difference. Each ticket (max 2) spent allows an additional "space" after your Movement Action. I think that people will see that careful use of Tickets is an important tactical choice.

Quote:
I really like the conditions: for example, I chose to take a Blood Pact, and later I ended up with a Leg Injury. When a "Mythos" card triggers "Reckoning" effects, you have to resolve these conditions. You may roll a dice, or you may just flip it. When you flip it then more things happen, but you don't know what that will be until you see it.
Yes, Conditions are awesome! No, they are AWESOME.
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sabbat00 wrote:
I may have missed it, but how do play times compare?

Thanks.
EH is slightly shorter but YMMV. For instance, I take about 3 hours with 4-player AH with an expansion board, I take around 2.5 hours for EH. Other folks find AH runs a lot longer than do I. However, EH will definitely stop at some point around the timing I give as there are some hard stop timers in the game (unlike AH where the main timer is very "plastic")
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Yuriy Matuhno
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mccrispy wrote:
Not all the AH base game Investigators appear in EH and not all the EH Investigators are AH base game.
To be more precise, no base AH investiagots appear in EH. All EH investigators are from the expansions.
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mccrispy wrote:
there are some hard stop timers in the game (unlike AH where the main timer is very "plastic")

Could you (or anybody else) explain this a bit more? I've wanted to buy AH since it came out but haven't (yet) because I know it would never get played due to the time committment (see microbadges). The supposed shorter play time of EH appeared to take away that problem so I'm curious how it keeps play short when so much of the play sounds similar to that of AH.
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jBullfrog wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
there are some hard stop timers in the game (unlike AH where the main timer is very "plastic")

Could you (or anybody else) explain this a bit more? I've wanted to buy AH since it came out but haven't (yet) because I know it would never get played due to the time committment (see microbadges). The supposed shorter play time of EH appeared to take away that problem so I'm curious how it keeps play short when so much of the play sounds similar to that of AH.
Without giving away more than I'm allowed to, let me say this:

AH: Game ends when (1) too many Gates are open, (2) the Doom Track is full, (3) you can't place a Gate marker, (4) the monster cup is empty or (5) Terror Level = 10 and you have twice Monster limit Monsters on the board. All of these are variable and are influenced by in-game circumstances. There's a particular situation that can arise where you are waiting for a Gate to open so you can Seal the sixth Gate, but the Gate doesn't open because the nature of Gate distribution via the Mythos deck is skewed toward 4 particular Gates - once these are sealed they cannot open in these locations, so the Game stagnates and drags out. Generally, this does not happen when you play with Expansions.

EH: There are two timers in the Game. One is variable and can be influenced by the players, but it does not have a negative feedback loop like in AH Gate closing. The second is effectively a round counter, when it counts down to zero you hit endgame. This is what I refer to as a hard stop.
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Yuriy Matuhno
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A lot of components taken away and/or raplaced with a more liquid and less time consuimg/mircro-management requiring solution. Do the math.
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TrueLolzor wrote:
A lot of components taken away and/or raplaced with a more liquid and less time consuimg/mircro-management requiring solution. Do the math.
Not sure I agree with you. You have to compare EH against base AH for a start and I don't recognise the "a lot of components taken away" aspect of the change, nor do I understand "more liquid" or "time-consuming/micro-management". If you're saying there's no Skill Slider adjustment in EH then you are right, but that's not a huge thing in AH for me. What other things have gone then that I didn't spot in the dozen or so games that I've played?
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Sliders, money, upkeep phase, clue token overdose, monsters overwhelming the board, sky, outskirts, terror, shuffling tons of decks with tons of cards, etc.
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TrueLolzor wrote:
Sliders, money, upkeep phase, clue token overdose, monsters overwhelming the board, sky, outskirts, terror, shuffling tons of decks with tons of cards, etc.
Ah, so not components, but mechanics that go away. Right. No idea what you're on about with regard to Clues - it's pretty much the same in EH as AH. Tons of decks of cards? Pretty much the same in EH as AH. Decks with tons of cards? Agreed the Mythos deck is more controlled in EH - other decks are about the same as in base AH and you should hear the whining that has already started about how small all those other card decks are - there are definitely some replayability issues around that.
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markaaronmassey wrote:
So having played both which do you prefer? From the read it seems like you're leaning toward EH.


I have played AH enough that I would need to play EH quite a few times to really tell. It definitely isn't clearly better, just different. In other words, I might think, "hmm, should I play AH, or perhaps AH+Dunwich, or perhaps EH"... really each is similar but different.
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sabbat00 wrote:
I may have missed it, but how do play times compare?


Good question: I think our 6-player game took 2.5-3 hours with all new players which is probably a bit shorter than a 6-player AH game, however that can vary with players, scenarios, etc. Most of my AH games take around 3-4 hours I'd say.
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mccrispy wrote:
all the Investigators in EH appear in AH or its expansions. Not all the AH base game Investigators appear in EH and not all the EH Investigators are AH base game.


Yes, that's correct.

mccrispy wrote:
kirkbauer wrote:
Both use the same combat mechanism (horror check followed by combat check)
Only true at the most superficial level, i.e. horror followed by combat. For each type of Monster there's a threshold number of successes for each check that must be made to avoid Sanity or Stamina loss - even though you may in some cases still defeat the Monster. Combat is not continued until one party is victorious: it lasts one "attack" only and Monsters do not hinder movement. I find this is a fundamental change in the combat system.


Oops, you are correct, I didn't remember the details exactly. You are right in that you can leave a space with a monster (they only have an effect during the encounter phase) and if you don't kill them then they keep the damage dealt so far and remain there. The monsters I fought were pretty much "sanity then strength" but I think you are right that there are other varieties.

mccrispy wrote:
You have to defeat all Monsters in a Location before you can have any other type of Encounter in that Location (not just Closing the Gate - there is no equivalent to Sealing)


Yup, also correct, if you want to pick up a clue token or close a gate you have to defeat the monsters first.

mccrispy wrote:
Not quite it. You always have an Encounter, but if there's a Monster present you must "choose" to have a Monster Encounter. You only get one Encounter a Turn... unless your first Encounter is a Monster Encounter in which you defeat the Monster, then you may have one additional Encounter (which must also be a Monster Encounter if there is one available). In this way you must fight (and defeat) all Monsters in your Location before you can have any other type of Encounter that turn.


I think I never had more than 2 monsters to fight: so you are saying if you had 3 monsters and a gate, if you destroyed two of them, then you'd have to wait until the encounter phase the next turn (if you chose to stay) to fight the other monster and then close the gate?

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kirkbauer wrote:
sabbat00 wrote:
I may have missed it, but how do play times compare?


Good question: I think our 6-player game took 2.5-3 hours with all new players which is probably a bit shorter than a 6-player AH game, however that can vary with players, scenarios, etc. Most of my AH games take around 3-4 hours I'd say.
Just like some games of AH can run a little long, so can games of EH. I'm not going to spoiler things, but there are some Mysteries for some AOs that when they come up at the wrong time in the game you'll all groan 'cos you know that you're gonna be slowed right down. But overall, I'd say EH is a little faster than AH and I don't vehemently disagree with your numbers.
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kirkbauer wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
kirkbauer wrote:
Both use the same combat mechanism (horror check followed by combat check)
Only true at the most superficial level, i.e. horror followed by combat. For each type of Monster there's a threshold number of successes for each check that must be made to avoid Sanity or Stamina loss - even though you may in some cases still defeat the Monster. Combat is not continued until one party is victorious: it lasts one "attack" only and Monsters do not hinder movement. I find this is a fundamental change in the combat system.


Oops, you are correct, I didn't remember the details exactly. You are right in that you can leave a space with a monster (they only have an effect during the encounter phase) and if you don't kill them then they keep the damage dealt so far and remain there. The monsters I fought were pretty much "sanity then strength" but I think you are right that there are other varieties.
It's all San/Stam, but like in AH there is some "finessing" of whether you do both or whether one has a different effect.

Quote:
mccrispy wrote:
You have to defeat all Monsters in a Location before you can have any other type of Encounter in that Location (not just Closing the Gate - there is no equivalent to Sealing)


Yup, also correct, if you want to pick up a clue token or close a gate you have to defeat the monsters first.
You don't get to "pick up a clue token" or "close a gate". You have a Research Encounter to see whether you can earn a Clue and you have a Other World Encounter to see whether you find a way to close a Gate. Very different to AH

Quote:
mccrispy wrote:
Not quite it. You always have an Encounter, but if there's a Monster present you must "choose" to have a Monster Encounter. You only get one Encounter a Turn... unless your first Encounter is a Monster Encounter in which you defeat the Monster, then you may have one additional Encounter (which must also be a Monster Encounter if there is one available). In this way you must fight (and defeat) all Monsters in your Location before you can have any other type of Encounter that turn.


I think I never had more than 2 monsters to fight: so you are saying if you had 3 monsters and a gate, if you destroyed two of them, then you'd have to wait until the encounter phase the next turn (if you chose to stay) to fight the other monster and then close the gate?

Encounters are simple. You do Monster Encounters before you have any other Encounter. You Encounter all the Monsters in your location and if none are left after you have done so you can have a non-Monster Encounter.
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mccrispy wrote:
You don't get to "pick up a clue token" or "close a gate". You have a Research Encounter to see whether you can earn a Clue and you have a Other World Encounter to see whether you find a way to close a Gate. Very different to AH


Yes, you are being more accurate (clearly you have read the rules and/or have played more times than one!). In my mind I'm still "picking up a clue token" although you do indeed have to have a Research Encounter which will generally (always?) allow you to pick up the clue token on success. Same with closing a gate, the end result is a closed gate, but only if you draw and successfully resolve an Other World Encounter.

mccrispy wrote:
Encounters are simple. You do Monster Encounters before you have any other Encounter. You Encounter all the Monsters in your location and if none are left after you have done so you can have a non-Monster Encounter.


And, so I'm clear, you said that normally you can only have 1 encounter per turn, but you can have 2 if the first was a monster, so if you have 3+ monsters in a space there is no (standard) way to kill them all in the same turn, correct?
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kirkbauer wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
You don't get to "pick up a clue token" or "close a gate". You have a Research Encounter to see whether you can earn a Clue and you have a Other World Encounter to see whether you find a way to close a Gate. Very different to AH


Yes, you are being more accurate (clearly you have read the rules and/or have played more times than one!).
More than a dozen games so far.

Quote:
mccrispy wrote:
Encounters are simple. You do Monster Encounters before you have any other Encounter. You Encounter all the Monsters in your location and if none are left after you have done so you can have a non-Monster Encounter.


And, so I'm clear, you said that normally you can only have 1 encounter per turn, but you can have 2 if the first was a monster, so if you have 3+ monsters in a space there is no (standard) way to kill them all in the same turn, correct?
You must Encounter every Monster in your Location. After that, if there are no Monsters left and you are not Defeated, you can have one "normal" Encounter.
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Question on the components. Are the gates and clue tokens the same size as the gates / clues in Arkham?
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Jacob Busby wrote:
Question on the components. Are the gates and clue tokens the same size as the gates / clues in Arkham?
Without physically checking my copies of the two, I think the answer is "yes". They will be standard FFG tokens, just printed up with different artwork. I don't remember thinking "hmmmm... these are bigger/smaller than in Arkham".
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mccrispy wrote:
Jacob Busby wrote:
Question on the components. Are the gates and clue tokens the same size as the gates / clues in Arkham?
Without physically checking my copies of the two, I think the answer is "yes". They will be standard FFG tokens, just printed up with different artwork. I don't remember thinking "hmmmm... these are bigger/smaller than in Arkham".


Agreed. I didn't stack them on top of each other, but they seem to be the same size. I remember thinking that the monster tokens can likely fit into the monster minis like the AH and MoM ones do, however I can't confirm whether or not you can see everything you need to see when in the base, but I suspect so.

(although even more so than AH I think the board might be a bit too constrained for the monster minis, especially the large-based ones).
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kirkbauer wrote:
(although even more so than AH I think the board might be a bit too constrained for the monster minis, especially the large-based ones).
That's a good point. There are, IIRC, 36 locations on a board the same size as the AH board. What with Monsters, Eldritch Tokens, Defeated Investigators, Clues, Investigators, Expedition Marker, Rumour Tokens and Special Encounter tokens there can be a heck of a lot of stuff on the board. This is particularly true in some of the "generic" (unnamed) locations - where some of the Mythos/Mysteries tend to cause tokens to build up
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Do locations in EH still have unique abilities, besides those confirmed from encounters draws? Those special features really added something nice to Arkham.
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Anarchosyn wrote:
Do locations in EH still have unique abilities, besides those confirmed from encounters draws? Those special features really added something nice to Arkham.
They do not. The only things that characterise the named city locations are the increased chance of the specific indicated benefit and the nature of the Encounters (same as in AH).
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