$30.00
Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham» Forums » General

Subject: Wow - that was hard! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Andy Kent
United Kingdom
Cambridge
flag msg tools
mbmb
Hi

OK, let me clarify. That wasn't hard to win - it was hard to play...

Let me state up front this isn't a review. I'm not remotely qualified. It's just my opinion after a few games.

I love Elder Sign, even though I've only had it a few weeks I've played it over 20 times. Like most other people, I started to find it a little easy, with a 75%+ win rate always by finding (or buying) Elder Signs - sometimes just in the nick of time, admittedly.

So I looked for expansions to make it more challenging - I bought Unseen Forces online and while waiting for it to arrive I got impatient and went to my FLGS and bought Gates of Arkham.

I played it once and got destroyed. Then I played it again and got destroyed. So I came here and read some posts and discussions about strategy and realised I was playing it too much like the base game.

I needed to manipulate the six adventures, turning them over, discarding the hard ones, tooling up. I should forget about getting the Elder Signs and wait patiently for the Ancient One to get out of bed, and plan how to beat him. So I did. And he did. And I fought him. And I beat him. Hooray!

But here's the thing. It was one of the dullest games of anything I've ever played. I was facing Nyarlathotep - a straight race for 11 doom tokens vs Elder Signs. When he got to 7 and I was on 1 I gave up on collecting them and simply went for the easy adventures that gave me clues (you need them to survive when he attacks), waiting for him to awaken, which wouldn't take long due to the new Mythos cards machine-gunning doom tokens around.

When he did wake up I had 3 characters with 6, 5 and 1 clue token each. So off we went, rolling the green dice to try to get two Terrors. I added a few red dice on occasion using items to try for a wildcard, and each time midnight struck we all discarded a clue. And then I rolled again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again... you get my drift.

Eventually two characters were left standing, one had 1 clue and the other had 3, Nyarlathotep was down to one doom and then blam! Goodnight Vienna. They walked off hand in hand as the sun came up, the music swelled and the credits rolled.

But boy was it dull. And, as I said, hard to play. By that I mean that the new rules and mechanics in Gates of Arkham just seemed so complicated I jumped straight out of the creepy, chilling, horrific theme, into a world of game play. I was controlling three characters, so not only did I have to remember their abilities, but what cards they could play on other people's turns, what their numerous allies could do, when they needed to move the clock, or could they ignore the clock, or did it need to go round 3 times, what the lingering effect was this day, what event was in effect for this round, could I go to that Other World, what midnight effects do I need to avoid, should I spend some trophies to turn that card, hang on, there's a new gate opening, oh but wait, I'm in that gang... and now my head hurts. It just seemed to be so thick with new mechanics and rules, that the theme disappeared. Not only that, but it took 2 hours.

Creeping about in an old museum at night is scary, and simple. The base mechanics are spot on. Running about in a whole town, being thrown through gates seems less so. More action adventure than horror. I want to desperately scramble to seal them behind the portals, rather than tool up and fight them toe to toe. The game is called "Elder Sign" after all, not "Five Rounds with Cthulhu".

I guess in my mind the base game is The Mummy with Boris Karloff - slow, creeping dread, and the Gates turns it into The Mummy with Brendan Fraser - a breathless runaround.

So I have to say that Gates of Arkham was a big disappointment for me. I know lots of people love it and will never go back, and more power to you, but the experience for me started as "way too hard to win with too much to think about" then became "winnable but with too much to think about", and a huge drop in atmosphere. Only a few plays, I know, but it isn't enticing me back.

Here's hoping I enjoy Unseen Forces more!

TDM

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julia
msg tools
We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
badge
Amor, sola lex
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry for the diappointing initial experiences with Gates. Indeed, you're right when you say you need to manipulate the board in order to win.

UF won't change the difficulty of the core set, tho.

Possibly you could consider mixing Gates with base, so that you play with 3 museum cards (always faceup) and 3 Arkham cards (faceup during setup, then facedown). In this way you could mix the two experiences a bit and find a proper level of challenge
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Soto
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Scarlet Witch wrote:
Sorry for the diappointing initial experiences with Gates. Indeed, you're right when you say you need to manipulate the board in order to win.

UF won't change the difficulty of the core set, tho.

Possibly you could consider mixing Gates with base, so that you play with 3 museum cards (always faceup) and 3 Arkham cards (faceup during setup, then facedown). In this way you could mix the two experiences a bit and find a proper level of challenge


I do remember that the Souvenir Shop in UF does take away spending 10 trophies for an Elder Sign, so it makes it harder in that regard.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julia
msg tools
We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
badge
Amor, sola lex
mbmbmbmbmb
lomdr wrote:
I do remember that the Souvenir Shop in UF does take away spending 10 trophies for an Elder Sign, so it makes it harder in that regard.


Yeah, but Blessings make the game a lot easier... honestly, I never bought ES at the shop in the core set, and I still won something like 95% of the games played
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Soto
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Scarlet Witch wrote:
lomdr wrote:
I do remember that the Souvenir Shop in UF does take away spending 10 trophies for an Elder Sign, so it makes it harder in that regard.


Yeah, but Blessings make the game a lot easier... honestly, I never bought ES at the shop in the core set, and I still won something like 95% of the games played


Fair enough, just thought to bring that up since the OP did say that he cheeses the elder sign purchase system in the base game (with no offense intended towards him). Since I go for ease of set up and such, my museum is forever tainted with UF as well as the GOA (and future expansions) cards that make sense to have mix into the base game, as well as liking the 4 entrance module from UF enough to replace the original entrance with the UF ones. Which means that Blessing and Curses are permanently enabled in my game as well (it helps that they're pretty easy to teach as well)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.