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Subject: Eldritch Horror Proper Big Review rss

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J Walker
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OK guys time for the serious review for the serious fans.

First I'll tell you that I have every Arkham Horror expansion, fan material, promo and doodah imaginable and have played it well over 100 times. I also have Mansions of Madness, but all I will say about that is that it lent all of its best ideas to Eldritch Horror such as the double faced cards, "Action" terminology, and quality of cards. Apart from that it's a different game and won't be mentioned here again.

BETTER THAN ARKHAM?
I always thought "why is arkham not more like talisman? why do I not have more time to wander about making my character stronger?" Then when the gates popped and the doom dropped, all I could think about was the crazy rush to survive. If you ever looked at the fan material, you'll see a common theme was giving the players a break for two seconds just to go to Harney Jones's shack and actually see what happens there. Well Eldritch has incorporated all of these ideas. In fact it has incorporated all of the best ideas and offered them all in one neat package.

The best bits are
Much less to remember. It's still fiddly but once you get it down it requires the same vigilant upkep but all you really need to keep an eye on are Reckonings which pretty much drive the whole game.
More freedom of the board.You can just walk past and away from monsters. This seems crazy at first but it opens up a huge area of strategy that Arkham took away from you if you got pinned in a location by something you couldn't defeat.
The victory condition is not always the same.The biggest one without doubt for me. The one thing I absolutely never understood about Arkham is why they couldn't change the goal of the game. You always felt like Richard Launius had so much power to do so much more but he was just blowing raspberries in your face. Even after Miskatonic Horror, which in my opinion was amazing but just could have been more, I felt like he had missed a massive opportunity. I would say the best thing about Eldritch Horror by miles is that the gates are still there, and very important, they are now not the be all and end all of the game.
I think basically as a GAME it is better than Arkham, but it is not completely the same, either, like choosing to play one version of King of Fighters over the other.

I have encountered one thing I don't like. I don't like the way you can't stack the bonuses. Iam not saying this is not good design. In fact it is. It's genius as it means you need to organise your weapons properly with the rest of the team. Even if say, you can't use a Hired Muscle ally because you have a gun that is better and that doesn't reeeally make thematic sense, the Ally does have a passive ability you can use to make mechanical sense and give you SOME upside for not being able to add the bonuses. It also builds off minor combos in Arkham like using the Whip or Cross while not actually holding them (which didn't make sense). I don't like it only because I am a power gamer and I want to add those numbers. Mechanically, it is a fantastic system.

GAMEPLAY
At the beginning you feel like you have nothing to do and you don't know what you're doing so you wander about having some nice flavourful encounters. (Just like Talisman!)
After the first mystery things suddenly start getting bad and there are gates all over the place. (Just like Arkham!)
Now the flavour is less importnat and the struggle to survive begins. And then just when you thought the flavour was finished the final mystery will occur and you'll be all like "noooo!"
Except it is way less annoying because the mysteries being different adds a breath of freshness where arkham would get stale around the 2nd hour/4th-5th gate when the town was clogged with bollocks.
The Eldritch board still gets clogged up but now there is more to do than just close gates so it doesn't get half as annoying or fiddly.
Remember by this point you certainly would have forgotten about some obscure rule or component and got annoyed you had messed around for two hours only to forget that a flying monster should have moved after a gate burst. It made you feel bad. In this game, you really feel like the Ancient One has told you to just bring it.
The encounters are as great as always. They seem balanced, and are usually just testing skills (no "two monsters jump out, then you make a test, then one of them goes away, and if you discard this gain that after that", these are simple and clean.) Plenty of surprises too and I like the way they actually tapped into a lot of the Lovecraft material they didn't use last time as well as brilliant non-Lovecraft ideas like the horde of zombies.
In short the mechanics are genius and it provides the same experience in a much fresher way.

ADDRESSING EARLY CRITICISMS
I've noticed most of the criticisms arise from people who have played the game once or twice, or at a demo, etc. Please do not post any opinions on internets if you are these people. I have played Eldritch horror 3 times solo, 5 times with 2 players (2 investigators each) and 2 times with 4 players (1 investigator each).

Ok so the criticisms and the myth busting.

You don't know where to go, the test might be one you can't do, the encounters are random.

Rubbish. It is no different from Arkham Horror. In fact it is much more likely to get the thing the location tells you than in Arkham. Now this is the point people are getting wrong because the point of both games was discovery. Only after many sessions are you supposed to learn here you might need to go at any one given time. In Arkham, I know the police station might well give me a clue and I know I might need Fight or Will or Luck to get one. Hoever IO also kno it might steal all of my weapons if I fail a Fight test and so will not go there without a decent Fight. Many people probably wouldn't know that either, and neither did I until I played the game 100 times. Eldritch Horror has done this for you and made it much more simple so you can get the feeling of satisfaction when you make a good decision that you are supposed to get, for instance, hen you beat a boss in a video game by using an optimal method.

You don't know where to go - for goodness sake learn 2 play.

I am not connected to my characters.
Oh come on. You mean, I have no imagination and I need the game to provide that for me. Don't worry, they have lots of games with little wooden cubes for you. The thing that I as the most excited about when I read the prerelease material was that the characters in the game are the obscure ones from Arkham, but the great ones. No Arkham starter characters, all the cool ones like Silas Marsh, Trish Scarborough and Norman. Yes Norman, he was our favourite from Arkham without doubt but he didn't actually have any decent abilities, we just loved him for being a doddering old beardie. Now Norman's back and this time he's buffing your skills and being an all around badman. You don't need a Personal Story to tell you that. His new art, amazing flavour on the crippled/insane text and the fact that THE CHARACTER'S ABILITIES DEFINE THEM are all you need. The personal stories were not actually stories, they were a diversion from the monotous task of continually closing gates. If Personal Stories do get released I imagine they will be like the redundant Missions from Arkham and add even greater dimensions to the game. Because the story comes from the game. and your brain.
To me the Arkham characters are just as well defined as any game characters. I grew to love them, and for me seeing them redone and refined is excitement enough. Everything else is just gravy. Finally let me point out that your character gets a lot stronger quicker than Arkham so it feels more like levelling up than just getting random stuff.

Fans will love - Mark Harrigan retains his old abilities, but now has a decent will and can actually fight (Somebody published changed versions of the investigators to make them like their originals. I feel a bit sorry for that man, he clearly doesn't really understand what is happening here. You don't wish GTA 5 was like GTA 3, do you?)
Jaqueline is now like a balanced Patrice
No Mandy
No boring starter characters ("when you get so so and so, draw another so and so")

There are not enough cards.
It does seem like that at first. Let me assure you it's fine. But that is because you haven't actually played the game. Arkham only had 9 cards per location when it first came out - remember that the Arkham you know is glutted with 4 big box and 4 small expansions, more than most games! After my 10 games I have yet to repeat an encounter. I am sure we will be getting more soon, but as this is just a stand alone product you can't really say anything. I would ask you to defeat all 4 ancient ones on the hardest setting before you come crying about lack of content. By the time you have done that (I have not come close yet. Cthulhu seems like he needs 5+ players to take him down)the expansion, or at least some fan material will be available. You just can't expect any more content than this, it's fair enough in a sub £45 game.

I wrote this review because I am sick of people that want to talk smack instead of playing games. I am a big fan of Magic and every time a new set comes out the supernerds whine about every possible aspect of it without considering the truly wonderful design that goes into each of those sets. They have the impossible task of being their own product as well as fitting into a huge established game.
I feel very similarly about Eldritch Horror.
The Lone Ranger was not actually a terrible movie (it wasn't a very good movie either) but critics and nerds ripped it so hard before it came out it was a bomb before the box office. I am getting sick of this sort of thing and don't want it ti happen to this amazing game that I hope to see an ongoing franchise evolve from.
Arkham is a legend but it has had its day. Bring Eldritch Horror on, it is what it is, it does what it does, and game nerds needs to not rag on every little thing they don't understand. Because that makes you a bad person. Each game has its target audience. Mine is not farming with wooden cunes for 7 hours plus, it is short sharp monster busting clue grabbing character evolving immersiveness.
And that is Eldritch Horror.
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Michael Ramirez

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Great review! You review is exactly how I feel about EH. I only wish I could play it more!
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Chick Lewis
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Amen, Brother !!

5 GG is a small reward for such a spot-on review !
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Rob Wrigley
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Quote:

...I've noticed most of the criticisms arise from people who have played the game once or twice, or at a demo, etc...

... I am a big fan of Magic and every time a new set comes out the supernerds whine about every possible aspect of it without considering the truly wonderful design that goes into each of those sets....

...The Lone Ranger was not actually a terrible movie (it wasn't a very good movie either) but critics and nerds ripped it so hard before it came out it was a bomb before the box office.


Well jeeez, that's how the Interwebz works. Without a constant flow of baseless criticism, it would collapse into a formless pile of porn and cute animal pics.
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Andrea Bellettini
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Great review sir! Your thoughts about this awesome game match evenly mine's.

Please accept a delayed Xmas present in GeekGold!

Bye!
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Mike A
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Great review! I totally agree.

Quote:
... arkham would get stale around the 2nd hour/4th-5th gate when the town was clogged with bollocks.


Hmmm. I think I must have missed that particular monster.
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Dave Kudzma
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This doesn't seem to be a review of the game but more of a rebuttle to multple criticisms of the game.

Quote:
I always thought "why is arkham not more like talisman? why do I not have more time to wander about making my character stronger?"


This is where you lost me. I do not enjoy Talisman. Perhaps it wasn't your intent to draw as strong a parallel between the two as you have, however now I cannot perceive EH as anything else, and sadly that's just about the last nail in its coffin for me.

Quote:
I've noticed most of the criticisms arise from people who have played the game once or twice, or at a demo, etc. Please do not post any opinions on internets if you are these people


Just for the record: People can play a game once an pass judgement. I have played plenty of games and knew after a single play it wasn't for me.

I appreciate what you've tried to do here, I just wish it didn't feel so defensive.

One thing your review did do: A friend of mine just bought it, and your review has certainly made me want to play it at least once; and I mean that sincerely. I think if you look at my ratings of all things Lovcraftian I own, you'll find I'm a big fan, so here's hoping I'm completely wrong and end up loving the game.
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aurelian
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Very good review, agree with all your comments. Especially those about feedback posted after only one or two games, and you're right there really are enough cards to support many replays.

EH is a brilliant game design but I think its one area of weakness could be the scaling of investigators. The 4-player game does seem to be a much richer experience and more finely balanced than with other numbers. I even play solo with 4 investigators now, after getting my butt kicked too many times with 3. Two players is probably the next best after 4 (though I haven't tried it) but with less investigators and interactions between their abilities I suspect luck would then become an even bigger factor. With 4 (or more) players the game design seems to reach a critical mass where the options and combos between different investigators help to reduce the cumulative luck factor of skill tests and the mythos deck.
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Antonio Capo
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lordocean wrote:
I have encountered one thing I don't like. I don't like the way you can't stack the bonuses. Iam not saying this is not good design. In fact it is. It's genius as it means you need to organise your weapons properly with the rest of the team. Even if say, you can't use a Hired Muscle ally because you have a gun that is better and that doesn't reeeally make thematic sense, the Ally does have a passive ability you can use to make mechanical sense and give you SOME upside for not being able to add the bonuses. It also builds off minor combos in Arkham like using the Whip or Cross while not actually holding them (which didn't make sense). I don't like it only because I am a power gamer and I want to add those numbers. Mechanically, it is a fantastic system.



This statement makes me so sad as i now realize i was stacking the ally bonuses in addittion to items and weapons. Somehow as i read the rules my mind went into common sense mode, and i read the more thematically correct: the allies fight with their own weapons and fists and thus they can add their modifier too.

You know what? The game is already hard enough when playing with only one or two investigators, that im going to house rule it that allies also add their bonuses. There is not enough investigators (when using 1 or 2) to spread the items around to compensate for the "mechanically fantastic system" theme crushing rule.

I enjoy pumping up my characters for the first few turns so much that the correct rule will seriously damper my game enjoyment. But of course thats because im a power gamer too. I would have been in heaven if the character sheets had like 10 slots to put the items: hat of will +3; glasses of observation +2; etc ....

Of course if i start winning consistently then i revert back to the correct boring rule. Which has yet to happen even with my "cheating".
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Joshua Gardner
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locusshifter wrote:
Quote:
I've noticed most of the criticisms arise from people who have played the game once or twice, or at a demo, etc. Please do not post any opinions on internets if you are these people


Just for the record: People can play a game once an pass judgement. I have played plenty of games and knew after a single play it wasn't for me.


I agree. Take books for example. I have the uncanny ability to take a look at the cover of a book and determine if it's for me. You could say I've learned how to judge a book by it's cover.
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David
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Thanks for the review. It sure is a great game. I had to laugh at some of your comments though

lordocean wrote:
First I'll tell you that I have every Arkham Horror expansion, fan material, promo and doodah imaginable and have played it well over 100 times...

and game nerds needs to not rag on..

I am a big fan of Magic and every time a new set comes out the supernerds whine...

..for goodness sake learn 2 play..

I wrote this review because I am sick of people that want to talk smack instead of playing games...

..Please do not post any opinions on internets if you are these people...

The Lone Ranger was not actually a terrible movie (it wasn't a very good movie either) but critics and nerds ripped it so hard before it came out it was a bomb before the box office. I am getting sick of this sort of thing








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Mikael Svensson
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Tell it like it is!

This review is spot on. After a single play I knew this was the replacement for the old AH. Goodbye to all that fiddling, all the small rules only applying to a very few instances that invariably got forgotten, no more times being cut off from the game due to being unable to move around, no more forced combat until only one side stands, no sneaking around... Oh so many improvements and yet keeping true to the theme.

Yes, for a starter box, it actually might feel a bit light in some departments, especially in the encounter decks and investigations deck, while there being more than enough in the expeditions and gate decks to last many games without ever be repeated. I am sure this will be remedied over time if/when expansions come (let them come fast and often - and without mercy - O Great One!).

It can be a very difficult game, but with the possibility to adjust difficulty to ones level, this will not really be an issue, and with more plays under the belt, not even Cthulhu himself will prove to be unbeatable. I just completed a soloplay with 4 chars in normal difficulty and beat him at Doomtrack on 8 and on the last Mythos card so I know what I talk about. It was a nerve wrecking game, this I can tell you.

Also, this is a game that makes you want to haveanother go at it immediately after it is over, no matter if you win or lose - and THAT is the markings of a great game!

I will now go and put the still unbeaten Shub-Niggurath in it's place!
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Dave Kudzma
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bullseyetm wrote:
locusshifter wrote:
Quote:
I've noticed most of the criticisms arise from people who have played the game once or twice, or at a demo, etc. Please do not post any opinions on internets if you are these people


Just for the record: People can play a game once an pass judgement. I have played plenty of games and knew after a single play it wasn't for me.


I agree. Take books for example. I have the uncanny ability to take a look at the cover of a book and determine if it's for me. You could say I've learned how to judge a book by it's cover.




"Yes, you're very smart."
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Thanasis Patsios
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lordocean wrote:
There are not enough cards.
It does seem like that at first. Let me assure you it's fine.


Although I do agree with most of your points, I have to say I've started having repeated encounters after 3 plays.
 
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Jonathan Pickles
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What I took from this was:-

If you find the game to random you are a rubbish player

If you find the theme lacking you have no imagination

If you hate it after one play you are not entitled to an opinion

While I love the game & think it is a far better design than AH & agree with the facts of the review I still found it offensive.
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Major Havok
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In a vacuum I can see why some might take offense, but considering all of the noise on BGG lately I love the review.
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J Walker
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EDIT: OK saying that you won't replay the encounters is a massive lie. What I meant was I still see new encounters after 10 games. I think you will be repeating the City encounters about the middle of your third game. So let's say this is not perfect but you don't have to read the flavour text the second time, just paraphrase it, which actually speeds the game up. (Of course, I would never skip fresh flavour text)
 
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Michael Carter
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I always find it amusing that negative reviews of this depth are lambasted while this is praised because it is a positive review. It wasn't so much a review than a rebuttal for some common criticisms.
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Pauli Vinni
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My 5 sent...
I won the very first game I played with two investigators. But I have to say that I was somewhat lucky and allso that I picked very good two player Investigators. It is much harder with other options.
I supose that the basic set is just fine for 1-4 players, but 5-8 player games can be somewhat different at this moment. Those definitely need some expansion and more cards.
I allso liked many things that was mentioned in the review. The best part in anyway is that you don't have to remember so many little things in this game as in AH. I like AH, but it really needs some serious "training" before real game or you forget some things along the game. Easily remedied with a lot of playing, but not so gret for casual gaming.
Those 2 sided cards are very neat and clue token based encounters are really nice addition!
I have a great expectations about this game in the longer run.
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Henrik Schmidt
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Lone ranger is an awfull film, so I have to skip this 'review'.
 
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Luke Hector
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You love this game so much, I'm curious as to what you've done with Arkham Horror in your collection now. Did you keep it or did you sell it on?
 
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Great review. I often check out what people have to say about the game after I've played it myself, and I agree with everything you've written laugh
 
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Re: Eldritch Horror Proper Big Reviewt
I would never sell Arkham. I think it's important to add that the games are still different creatures. Today for instance we're going to play both of them back to back. Eldritch may be smoother, but it still doesn't have the sheer amount of surprise and content that Arkham does. Besides, even if it seems like a clunky old dinosaur, it still has dinosaur legs due to the sheer amount of combinations you can make with all the bits.
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chris ward
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I cannot imagine ever thinking I wish any game was more like talisman. But Ido enjoy both arkham and Aldrich horrors.
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Mike Taylor
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Playing with 8 players there were a lot of repeated encounters. Not enough to interfere with enjoyment of the game, but it was very noticeable.
 
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