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Subject: The variants I use for Elder Sign rss

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Michael Nerman
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Hey folks,

I've been playing a lot of solitaire Elder Sign lately, and I've come up with a number of house rules and variants. Many of these are to make the game more difficult:

Ancient One cards:
I love this one. I made my own deck of cards that get flipped each midnight after the Ancient One has awakened. Often, the AO's normal attack occurs, but also something else: sanity or stamina damage, doom counter added, or an Elder Sign gets removed. If the ES's run out, you lose. Also, monsters can appear that must be dealt with before hitting the AO, and there's a card that if it gets drawn, the AO automatically just devours someone. There's one where the AO does its regular attack twice, and another where it gibbers to itself and doesn't attack that turn. This deck of cards means you can't just build up trophies or clue tokens and figure you'll beat the AO once it awakens. It becomes less of a math exercise. (It will take me about three days to beat the AO, so I need at least 3 clue tokens.) I have yet to defeat the AO after it has awoken since making this deck, so it might need tweaking, but it seems like I've just had a string of bad luck.

Mythos deck:
I made my own deck of Mythos cards with no "nothing happens" or the immediate effect, "add a doom token unless[...]". I tried to even out the power level of the cards, so a beneficial lingering effect (ignore arrows on adventures) would be accompanied by a nasty immediate effect (add 2 doom tokens). Some of the lingering effects set up little mini-quests, like "Next midnight, add a doom token if there are any monsters in play" or "Next midnight, add a doom token unless the investigators have 3 common items collectively." As I've tweaked the difficulty, I've made some luck mitigating ones, like "add a doom token. If this doesn't make a monster appear, one appears anyway!"

Lost and Found:
I recommend using the Lost and Found from Unseen Forces. The difference is you can roll up to 3 dice, so it doesn't take you multiple turns to get items.

Monster scoring tweaked: I don't know why the Byakhee is worth two points while the Elder Thing is only worth one. I modified a handful of the monsters so their values are more in line with how "expensive" they are to beat. I kept the same ratio of 1's, 2's and a single 3.

Ancient Ones:
Ithaqua: There are certain investigators that are brutal against Ithaqua (low stamina and begins with spell and rare items, ie. Harvey Walters). When playing solitaire, I normally pick random investigators, but reserve the right to veto ones that Ithaqua brutalizes.

Shub-Niggurath: When the adventure cards are first put out, you can "mulligan", discarding them and putting out six new ones. This is to make it less inevitable that monsters overrun everything, which they usually do anyway. Also, when playing solitaire, S-N's awakened attack is to make you lose 2 trophies instead of one. Edit: I do the same with Abhoth from Unseen Forces, who's probably the most difficult AO I have.

Yog-Sothoth: I'm still working on this one. My current rule is that if you fail at a non-Other World adventure, you remove the top card of the Other World deck from the game. Note that I have the Unseen Forces expansion, which comes with a few OW cards.

Misc:
I don't put monsters back in the "cup". This brings more variety into the game. You won't see the same monster again and again, particularly if you're like me and use cultist trophies to buy items.

Amanda Sharpe can only complete two tasks on any one roll of the dice. This I'm not completely decided on. It just seems like her power is too good.

If anyone wants to know more about any of these variants, let me know.
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Michael Nerman
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Note that my Mythos deck makes the game quite a bit harder, which is why I added some things, like "mulliganing" the adventures vs. Shub-Niggurath.
 
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Marc Hubbard
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These seem like pretty cool changes! I shall give them a go in the next few sessions. Thanks!
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Michael Nerman
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BlueSmush wrote:
These seem like pretty cool changes! I shall give them a go in the next few sessions. Thanks!

If you're not going to make your own deck of Mythos cards, I'd suggest one of the variants mentioned in the forums for taking out weaker Mythos cards.

I'm also considering adding a doom counter every midnight, but that would require changing up some of the cards from my Mythos deck.
 
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Michael Nerman
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I updated this post with the changes I've made recently, the main one being the way the Lost and Found is handled.
 
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Roman Helms

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Sounds neat - especially the Ancient Ones Cards. I agree, it seems my friends just tend to focus on being ready for him if he awakens. can you post pics or upload a file - love to see 'em.
 
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Michael Nerman
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RomFish wrote:
Sounds neat - especially the Ancient Ones Cards. I agree, it seems my friends just tend to focus on being ready for him if he awakens. can you post pics or upload a file - love to see 'em.

They're not much to look at, handwritten on the backs of business cards. Currently, the deck is this:

- Either discard an ally or an investigator is devoured
- Normal attack twice!
- (2 cards) Normal attack and advance the clock
- Normal attack and the Ancient One has an additional (1 Investigation) added to its task for the rest of the game.
- An investigator is devoured
- (2 cards) Normal attack & a monster appears! Put it on the Ancient One card. It must be defeated before any doom tokens can be removed.
- A green die is locked. Next midnight, it is released and the Ancient One attacks normally in addition to the effects of the next card.
- The Ancient One gibbers to itself. No effect.
- Discard an elder sign. If there are none left, the investigators lose, & today there is an extra task consisting of (Peril). If an investigator doesn't complete this task on their turn, they are devoured.
- Normal attack & each investigator loses 1 stamina, Shuffle this Card Back Into the Deck
- Normal attack & discard an Elder Sign, Shuffle this Card Back Into the Deck
- Normal attack & add 1 doom token to the doom track. Shuffle this Card Back Into the Deck
- Normal attack & each investigator loses 1 sanity, Shuffle this Card Back Into the Deck
- Discard 2 Elder Signs. If there are none left, the investigators lose, and Shuffle this Card Back Into the Deck
- Normal Attack, Shuffle this Card Back Into the Deck

You have to shuffle the deck quite often during the course of the fight, but I wanted to make it possible that you could be hit for stamina, sanity or elder signs repeatedly, to add more uncertainty. You could probably make a table to roll on instead of using cards, but there are some you wouldn't want to get more than once a game, particularly the one that permanently adds to the Ancient One's task.
 
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