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Subject: Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep - Death in the Depths rss

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Tiago Perretto
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"I won't not go back to sleep, so I will write something about what I saw, because when the day comes, I hope the pictures are gone, as when the mists of dreams vanish. But I need to remember, but only on paper. Well, it started with me, walking along a beach, but it was in the dead of night and I couldn't see the sea - there was only a darkness on both sides; on the left, there was silence, on the right, the huge sound of the waves, and in the middle an extensive, infinite strip of sand. I didn't looked back, perhaps knowing that there was nothing there - no way to turn back.
The sand trail went straight and I followed it, until it leaned towards the sea. The sand became wet and sticky, but there was nowhere else to go. The tide must have retreated, so I went ahead, but began to sink into the sand, first no further than the ankles, then struggled to keep going, being covered to the waist. I had to go on and then I saw some kind of reef or island; from there came the rhythmic sound of voices. They sang something, calling someone. I was close, but sunk even more into the wet sand, way up to the neck. Finally I heard a name repeated often; the voices clamored for Dagon, Dagon, Dagon.
Then the tide came back and I panicked, afraid to move foward and trying unsuccessfully to return. Salt water came quickly and covered my mouth, nose and face. I tried to keep my breath, then in the black tar sea I saw a fish creature of humanoid forms. It came towards me and I lost control and yelled, swallowing water, salt and seaweed.
I woke up frightened, dripping sweat and suffocated. I coughed, gasping desperately for air. I fell out of bed and crawled across the floor, still coughing and not breathing. Until something came out of my throat. It was a little shell, mixed with dark sandy silt. God, what is happening here? Where have I been?"


Extract from the diary of Roland Banks.




Since, by now, many will already be used to the Gates of Arkham and the Alaskan Expedition modes, I won't be focusing in rules, but in overall feel of the Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep.

Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep comes with all the expected content: new itens, spells, allies, several new skills and investigators, all that can be used with the base game or with any of the other expansions. Also, you get new adventures, Mythos, markers and GOOs that only truly work inside the R'lyeh Rising mode.

Overall, the R'lyeh mode seemed tougher than its predecessor, Elder Sign: Omens of Ice, for several reasons, but, for me, the main one is the first phase.

The first phase, in Ice, is relatively quiet: a good time to accumulate itens and resources - it is truly preparing for a demanding expedition later on. The effects of the phase cards bother, but are manageable. The timming to move forward to the second phase is more complex than that in Deep, mostly due to the Storm crescendo. Yet, right from the start, Deep gives players a slap in the face: the Deep One Legions are a plague to battle and get rid of, otherwise they just go to another adventure.

And talk about the scare of going to an adventure with a green symbol and be hit with an entry effect of advancing the Doom! And this while the sailing should be smooth - but there is little of this here: the sea is a fickle lady and gives no truce.

Sure, you don't have to deal with the bothersome Storm markers, still, usually I was able to deal with them, freeing the places of interest while keeping the others in an acceptable level. It isn't a guaranteed thing, and sometimes it could get out of hand, however, the Storms were mostly manageable. The same could be said for the Legions, but the threat and effect of them are felt quicker.

The Mythos, in R'lyeh mode, are also divided in two phases. And the ones in the first hit really hard. They are part of the pressure that relentless pushes you forward, even broken and unprepared, towards the dreaded island and its depths. It was almost a relief to pass to the next stage (basically half of my defeats happened in the first part), even more if the Ultima Thule, the ships, gets there in one piece.

Then, when reaching R'lyeh shores, you lose dice. In the first stage, you can normally get one or two parts of the amulet that will give some protection to the investigators. For each piece lacking, you will have to lock (randomly) a green, a red or a yellow die. There are adventures in the second phase that let you spend trophies in order to gain pieces of the amulet, but there is no way to know when - or even if - they will show up, and there is no other way to release them (like resolving an adventure or killing a monster) - you just must accept to proceed with the means you have, as, like in Ice, it is in the second stage (with tougher missions) that most of the elder signs and ways to open Other Worlds are - you need to advance in order to prevent the Ancient Ones from awakening.

There is little truce anywhere, with constant loss of stamina, sanity and resources, while the Legions and the Doom advance inclemently.

After my first play, and a humiliating defeat, I had that moment of disbelief, looking at the table and thinking to myself: "Is this even possible to be beaten?" Yes, it is. But will be rare, and the losses, plentiful and, often, devastating - I already had the "glory" of losing without a single elder sign obtained.

Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep follows the same style of play introduced in Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham and continued in Elder Sign: Omens of Ice, but it ups the tension, the danger and the difficulty; while keeping the new mechanism less fiddly than those in Ice. For those who don't deal well with the devious ways of luck, defeats and/or didn't enjoy Elder Sign, it is best to avoid the Deep. To the others, I give the same advice, but I believe that the calling of adventure and to do that what is right and proper will be stronger than my council for safety. To these I say: to the sea, my friends, to the sea!

Regards,


Image credits (in order)
W Eric Martin
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Randall Monk
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So--did you like it? Worth buying?
 
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Tiago Perretto
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Monkatron wrote:
So--did you like it? Worth buying?


Yes, I did. More than Ice. I still prefer Gates, though.
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Graham Webster
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Thank you for your review. I find Omens of Ice too difficult and frankly frustrating, so I don't play it. If Deep is just as hard, if not harder, then I can safely avoid buying it.

Gates is the pinnacle of Elder Sign for me.
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Eric Oaks
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Gray81 wrote:
Thank you for your review. I find Omens of Ice too difficult and frankly frustrating, so I don't play it. If Deep is just as hard, if not harder, then I can safely avoid buying it.

Gates is the pinnacle of Elder Sign for me.


Deep is actually the easiest expansion by far, once you figure out the strategy to beat it. There are several posts by Julia/Scarlet Witch on these forums giving strategy tips. She mentions Deep is the only expansion she has a 100% win rate on.

Deep is ABSOLUTELY not harder than Ice by any stretch!
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