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Subject: Co-Op: Eldritch Horror or Robinson Crusoe or...? rss

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Matthew Peckham
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Help me please, BGG users. I've been to-ing and fro-ing on my next board game purchase for far too long, and I want to make a concrete choice on which Co-Op game to get next: Eldritch Horror or Robinson Crusoe. Here's an overview:

I'm not overly familiar with the Lovecraft mythos, so that's not a selling point for/against my choice. It does look kinda cool though.

The fortnightly gaming group were seriously interested in Eldritch Horror, but this was through little investigation, mainly on a whim after wanting a game of comparable length to Game of Thrones / Spartacus.

I LOVE many chits and cards and in-depth stories and long play times and role-playing games.

My girlfriend, not so much. But will endure them for me. She'd much prefer Robinson Crusoe for theme, but then the complexity will surely put her off.

However that complexity in Robinson Crusoe is what has drawn me to it in the first place, and made it a toss up between that an Eldritch Horror.

So, which should I go for? Or am I missing another game that fits the bill?

Others I briefly considered and my reasons for disregarding them: Arkham Horror (too long/complex), Fortune & Glory (price/availability/theme), Mice & Mystics (simplistic but a definite future purchase).
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Karan R
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+1 for Crusoe over Eldrich
Crusoe is always tense and victory is possible while on the brink of disaster but Eldrich can drag/get frustrating after a while if no rolls are going your way
I recco Arkham over Eldrich for the theme
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Sarah Brennick
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Wow that is a tough decision, as both in my opinion are really great games with very different themes. I find that I play Robinson more often than Eldritch however. I really enjoy how the theme is executed and how your decisions can impact the game. Eldritch handles the theme very well also, but I just feel that Robinson plays better.

And what is strange, even though the rules seem complex, my friends who are new into gaming grasped Robinson's rules more easily than they did with Eldritch.

So I guess if you are only able to purchase one game, I would recommend Robinson for those reasons, and also since both you and your girlfriend are interested in trying it. But if you are able to buy Eldritch as well later on I would recommend doing so. Both games are worthy of being in someone's collection. meeple

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Marc Asselman
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+1 for Robinson Crusoe, but may also want to check out Elder Sign.
 
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Chad Ackerman
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The correct answer here is "I happily own both".
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Christian
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Tough decision...
I love them both. Both are complex thematic games, and hard to win to boot. By complex I mean that there are a lot of intricacies and lots of interesting decisions in both games. And both games tell a great story with great situations every time you play...

Ok. Not really helpful, but be aware that Robinson is not really more complex than Eldritch Horror. Not even more difficult. They feel the same to me. Ok the rulebook is more user friendly in Eldritch Horror.

So I would advice: go for the one that looks the more appealing to you and your wife, in either case you can't go wrong!

Either way, have fun!
 
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Remus Rhymus
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They're both good.

Eldritch Horror's flavor and story comes alive mostly through the art and cards. The flavor text help bring out the theme as well as the various conditions that happen to the characters with different results. The game definitely has a feel of impending doom as you and your teammates race to try and "solve the mysteries" before the ancient one awakens. EH is 100% Amerithrash.

Robinson Crusoe's theme really shines in the mechanics of the game, the decisions you and your team make are crucial to your survival. Long term planning based on upcoming weather and your objective is crucial. There are several different scenarios in one box and they each have a unique feel. There is a high replayability factor within each scenario based on the random cards. This game is more of a Euro co-op with a strong sense of theme in the mechanics. Euro, but not dry at all.

Both are difficult games to beat. EH is great, but can sometimes feel a little long. You can really get hosed in this game with some bad card draws or dice rolls. It's still loads of fun getting your ass kicked by this game. RC has luck elements as well, but you really feel like the decisions are more meaningful in this game as compared to EH. It's quite exhilarating to win RC. It really feels like you accomplished something. When you win EH everyone high fives. When you win RC, everyone jumps and shouts.

Both are great. It really depends on the group. I don't think RC is much more difficult to learn than EH. They're both probably similarly weighted medium-heavy.

Good luck.
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Mel
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I've only played E.H. once and liked it, but I believe R.C. is probably a better first choice. I've played it a few times and really enjoy it. Get E.H. later on.
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Michael F
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I personally enjoy Eldritch Horror more than Robinson Crusoe, but the dice-rolling can sometimes ruin the game because so much hinges on it. RC sounds like it would probably be a better choice for your situation though. It's fairly complex, has a lot of bits and things to keep track of, and is playable in a pretty concise time frame despite the complexity. I think it would be easy to get your wife into it once you know the rules.

As another option, I'd recommend Freedom: The Underground Railroad for a potential third choice. Much less luck, but still retains a lot of the other things you're looking for in a cooperative game. I prefer this one to both RC and EH, though EH and this one give me different feels despite both being co-ops.
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I've played both about half a dozen times each and as much as I love the Cthulhu theme, Robinson Crusoe definitely feels like a deeper, more cooperative experience. There just seems to be so much more table talk and bigger picture strategy discussions that are going to require multiple steps to get to a desired end result. Do we work on building up the camp or scrounge for more food? Should we explore some more or work on crafting something?

With Eldritch Horror the decisions are larger-scale in nature and typically involve travel or combat. It feels more like you're playing out larger chapters of a book instead of the day-to-day existence of surviving on an island.

They're both great games IMHO, but I wouldn't be intimidated by the complexity of Robinson Crusoe. When I first saw the board I was completely overwhelmed but the game flow makes sense.
 
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Wow, a really tough one, as both games are among the few top favourites of mine.

On a fast instinctively decision, I would recommend Eldritch Horror, though. The rules are not as complex, which makes it easier to learn and teach.

You also said that you like roleplaying games and I think Eldritch Horror also delivers here a bit better as each character has his/her own statistics which then directly influence the probability to succeed in an encounter. Robinson Crusoe does a different thing here: you spend motivation tokens on your 4 unique abilities without any dice rolling, which feels more Euro.

Each character in Eldritch Horror also has his/her own equipment and spells, there is no common "item pool" like in Robinson Crusoe (yes, I am aware that some of these items in Robinson Crusoe can only be used by one person at one round, but still, it's not the same feeling).

Conditions (mostly bad) are also more common to characters in Eldritch Horror.

You also said that you like in-depth storytelling, and well, again Eldritch Horror does a better job here, as each Ancient Old One comes with unique decks of cards for mysteries (tasks to win the game), investigation encounters (directly referring to the specific Old One) and special encounter cards (also directly referring to the specific Old One). The only exception here is Azathoth, who has no deck of special encounters.

Each investigator will also have an encounter each round in Eldritch Horror, as is the driving mechanism of this game. In Robinson Crusoe, you normally want to avoid encounters, as they are normally (very, very) bad.

While most of the encounters are still random in Eldritch Horror, you have at least a bit of control on some of them, as certain big cities are more likely to trigger certain events or skill checks - for example, encounters in London are more likely to spawn new clue tokens on the world map, while encounters in Tokyo will more likely help the investigators to fight monsters.

Keep in mind that this may all sound like I would very much prefer Eldritch Horror over Robinson Crusoe, but that's not true, as both games are absolutely brilliant and a solid 10/10 for me. I just tried taking into account what you are looking for in games.

For example, if replay value is very important to you, I would recommend Robinson Crusoe over Eldritch Horror, as it comes with way, way more cards for all types of encounters. I still have not seen all cards of this game as there are just too many, which is one aspect I really love about this game. Robinson Crusoe also features 6 very different scenarios, while Eldritch Horror comes with 4 Ancient Old Ones.
Many other publishers would have cut down this amount of content and separated it over 1-3 expansions, which is pretty much what is also going on with Eldritch Horror at the moment.

Which brings us to another aspect: expansions. One of the first things coming to mind for most players when thinking about Fantasy Flight Games surely is their big focus on releasing many expansions, so there will be a lot more coming for Eldritch Horror (the first big box expansion has recently been announced).

So when talking about just the base games, your love for cards and chits is likely to be more fulfilled with Robinson Crusoe. There may be less stacks, but they are definitely bigger.

You also mentioned your girlfriend, so we may also be talking about 2 player compatbility here, and Robinson Crusoe is easier to play with just 2 characters. When I play Eldritch Horror with my girlfriend in 2 player mode, we like to take control of 2 investigators each, since this is pretty much the game's sweet spot. If controlling more than 1 character is not your (or your girlfriend's) thing, Robinson Crusoe might work better. The game even features optional support characters for 1-2 players (Friday and a dog), but they can also be used with more players to make the game easier.

Eldritch Horror may have the official option to be played with 1-8 players, but I would absolutly advise against this and not go over 4 - which puts it on the exact same player count as Robinson Crusoe (1-4). You can, if absolutely necessary, still add a 5th player to Eldritch Horror, but after that, it's madness, as downtimes and the overall playtime will be too long. In my experience, ~45 minutes per player is a solid playtime calculation for Eldritch Horror (without explaining the rules).

Briefly talking about each game's difficulty: both games are really challenging, but Robinson Crusoe always felt more devastating when bad things happened. One reason for this may be, that generally each event is bad and on top of that, each scenario of Robinson Crusoe has a fixed number of rounds, ticking down very fast, while Eldritch Horror most of the time is "open end", although certain randomly occurring events absolutely are ticking time bombs. Bottom line: while Eldritch Horror is challenging, Robinson Crusoe feels very challenging and tough for said reasons. Of course, that's still my personal opinion.

The rules on Robinson Crusoe are definitely demanding, and as I said many times before here: you really need to do your homework on this game. It's perfectly fine if not all players are 100% familiar with the rules. The actual turns and decisions the players are taking are in fact even pretty simple (although these decisions of course carry much weight) - but it's the sheer amount of details and exceptions which gives this game its weight.


Well, if you managed to read all this, give yourself a pat on the shoulder And hopefully I gave you some insight on both games.

My simple advice here would be: get both !
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Josh Bodah
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Eldritch Horror vs Robinson Crusoe? Man, that's like chocolate vs vanilla. Two excellent games that scratch different itches

Robinson is the more satisfying strategic game, and Eldritch the more satisfying thematic game. Robinson is pretty much a straight euro while Eldritch has more of an adventure/coop feel. RC hits a nice sweet spot in a lot of ways. It's a nice balance of euro and theme, the decisions are meaty, the game flows nicely. Eldritch has the luxury of learning from all of Arkham's missteps and, while mechanically simpler, it still manages to retain a lot of the ridiculous fun Arkham had.

On a whim, I'd probably pull out Eldritch before RC. It's more fun. RC is great, but it can feel like a chore at times and I'm less likely to pull it out. Neither is something I'll pull out often, maybe once every few months.
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Josh
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You are looking for a co-op and don't own Sentinels of the Multiverse?

Buy that. Then if you have any time left over after having way too much for for it to be believed, then look at trying something else.
 
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Peter Kenakin
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I own both but I think they both serve a unique purpose.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is punishingly difficult and you can expect to lose many times before beating a scenario. However the difficulty can serve as a means to motivate you to get better at the game.

Eldritch Horror on the other hand is much simpler of a game and I find that it really shines when you get into the theme and story aspects of the cards. But as other people alluded to if you are concerned with winning or losing the dice rolls can screw you over.

So I play Robinson if I want a good thinky challenge, and I play Eldritch if I feel like getting into the theme and story of the game.
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I own and have played both many times with my wife. Thematically they are both very strong.

Eldritch Horror is wacky but fun crackpot sci-fi. The gem of the game is the character building. Many characters are available as well as obtainable stats, spells, items, allies, and relics. The co-op mechanics are pretty good (Pandemic board management with dice). The weakness of Eldritch IMO is the dice rolling checks (5 or 6 = win, 1-4= lose).

Robinson Crusoe is a great theme of survival along with various scenarios. The gem of the game for me is in camp/tool building and resource management. RC is a push your luck game where more workers (time) spent on a task means less risk but also less time for other actions. RC is a game that at times can be punishing as event cards and weather dice often create havoc. My biggest gripe is that the characters don't feel different enough (unless you spend initiative), this combined with the complete sharing of all resources often leads to the more experienced player making many of the decisions.

Definitely check Rahdo Runs Through videos as well as others (pathfinder, myth..2.0.. hopefully, assault on Doomrock, legends of Andor)

One last important note: While both are good my wife generally prefers ER over RC not because of theme but because of it punishing nature.
 
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Matthew Peckham
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Thank you all for your replies. It does look like I'm going to need to get both, huh? One for the strategy, and one for the story.

My follow up questions are:

Which should I get first? Just the one that appeals to me most? Take a look at my current collection of light-mid weight games and give an opinion.

Also, if I did go for Robinson Crusoe first, and was okay with it's intricacies and complexities, would there even be any point going for Eldritch Horror afterwards, or would I then be better suited to Arkham Horror?
 
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Justin Fuhrmann
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Check out Castaways too. The theme is similar to Robinson Crusoe, but it's not quite as complex. It creates some fun stories, and there are several different story arcs that are randomly selected at the beginning of the game, so it's always different.
 
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I'd definitely go for RC first.

As for arkham horror...dont get me wrong, I like the game, and own many expansions ...but after numerous (50+) plays over the years I find it never hits the table any more ; the reason is that it is (ultimately) rather fiddly for what it attempts to achieve.

 
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velvetvoulge wrote:
Thank you all for your replies. It does look like I'm going to need to get both, huh? One for the strategy, and one for the story.

thumbsup

velvetvoulge wrote:

My follow up questions are:

Which should I get first? Just the one that appeals to me most? Take a look at my current collection of light-mid weight games and give an opinion.

For a more steady increase of weight and punishment for you and your group, I would go with Eldritch Horror first. You know your group best, so aspects like weight or theme could make a huge difference on this decision.

You can't go wrong either way, now that you are aware of the differences and seem to be okay with them.

velvetvoulge wrote:

Also, if I did go for Robinson Crusoe first, and was okay with it's intricacies and complexities, would there even be any point going for Eldritch Horror afterwards, or would I then be better suited to Arkham Horror?

Most of the people here are recommending both games and are having a hard time choosing between one of them, just because both are unique and excellent in their own ways. Like you said yourself, each game excels at a certain aspect. There's no way that one could replace the other.

Final note: you can get a deeper impression by reading the rulebooks, which are available as PDF files.

Oh, and by the way: don't worry if you and your group are not familiar with Lovecraft's literature. Watching one or both of the game's trailers will do just fine giving you and your group a nice overview of game structure and theme:

►Eldritch Horror - Trailer
►Eldritch Horror - Overview


Good luck and have fun !
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Remus Rhymus
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Based on your current collection, I would get Robinson Crusoe first. I wouldn't bother with Arkham Horror. Get Eldritch Horror later.
 
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Michael F
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Go with whatever appeals to you most, yes. I personally got more mileage out of Eldritch than I did RC, but I don't think you can go wrong with either.
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Muhammad Akmal
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Get both games. They are really great co-op games.
If you really have to pick one i suggest EH since its easier to teach and cheaper too!
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Cameron McKenzie
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I think Eldritch Horror is a better fit for your collection.

Robinson Crusoe plays a bit like a worker placement. If you've played Agricola (especially the solo version), that gives you an alright feel for how it works.
 
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Remus Rhymus
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Watch these series of videos and your choice should be clear:

Box of Delights - Robinson Crusoe Solo Playthrough

Rahdo Runs Through Eldritch Horror
 
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Silver Robert
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I'd say Robinson Crusoe is better. It works better with lower player counts (I find EH borderline unplayable with 1-2 players unless everyone controls more than 1 investigator) and it's not that much more complicated than EH to explain. I mean, there are a lot more rules in RC, but plenty of those are situational and might not happen over the course of a single game, and if they do you can explain everything then.
 
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