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Subject: Patrick Reviews Eldritch Horror rss

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Patrick Dettmar
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Eldritch Horror
1-8 players
3 hours
light
adventure/dice rolling/cooperative

I usually don't do this, but I'm gonna give you my opinion before the review. I hate this game. I don't intend to offend anyone by this review, and I don't want to start arguments, so if this is your favorite game, please know that this will be a negative review, and my opinion should not dampen your enjoyment of it. It is a game review, please do not take it personally.

Theme and Mechanics

The theme is that there is some big evil Cthulhu type monster getting ready to awaken and destory the earth in some manner. Players are cooperatively trying to investigate the mysterious happenings around the world, gather equipment and prepare themselves to stop the world from ending by fighting off monsters and getting to the bottom of things before the Cthulhu is released.

The mechanics sort of reinforce the theme, but not especially well. Players will start off by choosing their big boss, as well as their character. Characters all have special abilities, sanity stats, health stats, and a number of equipment cards of different types. On a turn, a player will perform an action such as move to an adjacent space (or more with tickets), recover some health and sanity, trade cards with other players, obtain ship or train tickets, gain new cards, or do some special ability or equipment actions.

After their action, they must fight monsters in their space or draw an encounter from the continent they are on, or both if all monsters are successfully killed. There are also different types of encounter cards that can be drawn at portal, or spending clues, rumor tokens, or even death.

After that, they draw a bad stuff card, and bad stuff happens, such as spawning monsters, gates, advancing the doom token.

players win if they compelte the goal on the chosen cthulhu card. Players loose of they all die, the doom track reaches the end, they run out of bad stuff cards, or a certain card effect tells players they lose


Art and Components

The art is OK for me, but I'm sure it's great for cthulhu fans. It is on par with (and almost identical to) the cthulhu art style from all the other cthulhu fantasy flight games. The components are mostly good quality cardboard bits, the characters are cardboard standees. The dice I played with were really cool cthulhu themed stylistic dice, but I'm not sure if those are what come with the game, because they were not depicted in the rulebook (in the rulebook, they are basic black D6s, and I don't own the game). There are lots of separate decks of cards for each different type of encounter and each different type of equipment.


Replability and Expansions

The replayability mostly comes from Choosing a different big boss, or different characters. There are several of each to chose from, providing a different goal to win and different abilities to play with. There are several expansions, but I have no experience with any of them, but here they are.

Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness
Eldritch Horror: Forsaken Lore
Eldritch Horror: Strange Remnants
Eldritch Horror: Under the Pyramids
Eldritch Horror: Signs of Carcosa
Eldritch Horror: The Dreamlands
Eldritch Horror: Masks of Nyarlathotep
Eldritch Horror: Cities in Ruin

A cursory glance at the descriptions seems like these mostly add sets of encounters that are thematically cohesive to try to create a narrative, and more equipment, characters, and a whole egypt sideboard thing.


The Up Side

There's cthulhu, if you like cthulhu. That's just about the only positive thing I have to say.


The Down Side

Set up is a pain, mostly because there are separate decks of cards for everything and it takes up a lot of space and seems completely unnecessary. The game tries to hard to force a story on you, and what I mean by that is that you have to read all the flavor and story text on a card to get any sort of story out of this game. By comparison, I prefer a game where the story comes out of the mechanics and actions the players take rather than from fluff text. For example, Village can have a story emerge from the actions a player takes with absolutely no cards or text to read; like, grandpa grew up on a farm and had a son, but he wanted to see the world, so he went out traveling and never returned, but he became famous for exploring far away lands and writing stories about them when he died on his adventures and he went down in the history books of our village, and his son decided to follow in his footsteps.

The game play of the game is by far the biggest negative. Yes, there are abilities and equipment that let you mitigate the randomness, but the whole game is a random crap shoot with no interesting decision, very little to no strategy, and very repetitive actions. It boiled down to "go here, draw a card, roll a die, see what random crap happens" and repeat for 3 or 4 hours. It felt like the game was playing you rather than you playing the game.


Final Thoughts

This is the worst gaming experience I've ever had in my life. It was extremely boring, extremely long, and extremely tedious. I have to give it some points for being a decently produced game, and certainly it has popularity, but even at my extremely low rating, I feel I've rated it too highly.

3 out of 10

discussion is welcome, insults and argument are not. I've tried to be objective, and again, please don't let my opinion bring you down if this is your favorite game. I say it's the worst game ever, you say it's the best, but lets realize that neither one of us is wrong, because these are just opinions.

https://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/193061

Currently out of stock, but most of the expansions are available.
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Jack Francisco
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Not all games are for all people. Sorry you didn't like it as it can be a really fun experience.
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Bj Price
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I'm going to be that guy. It's spelled Cthulhu, not Cthulu.
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Patrick Dettmar
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EHngel wrote:
I'm going to be that guy. It's spelled Cthulhu, not Cthulu.


Copy, but I'm not going to go back and edit all of them.
 
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Patrick Dettmar
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senorcoo wrote:
Not all games are for all people. Sorry you didn't like it as it can be a really fun experience.


That's very true. It certainly is popular, so people have found enjoyment in it somehow
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Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with EH.

I'm curious as to how much of it comes down to your preferred style of game, and how much was due to the circumstances of your first game.

Were you playing with other players? How many?

Did they read out the cards to each other (instead of reading their own cards)? Ham it up? Wait until you rolled before telling you what happened if you passed or failed?

(In a BGG thread a few years back, someone told a story of playing EH with a person who read everyone's encounter cards himself--but he didn't read out the flavour text. He just said stuff like 'hmm, okay, you need to take a Will test' and 'okay, you passed, you get an item'. If there was a prize for 'best way to ruin a first game of EH', that would win gold.)

dettmarp wrote:


Set up is a pain, mostly because there are separate decks of cards for everything and it takes up a lot of space and seems completely unnecessary.


This is a fair criticism. EH does take a while to set up and pack away. It's possible to prepare beforehand, though, and use things like business card holders for the cards so they take up less room.

dettmarp wrote:


The game tries to hard to force a story on you, and what I mean by that is that you have to read all the flavor and story text on a card to get any sort of story out of this game. By comparison, I prefer a game where the story comes out of the mechanics and actions the players take rather than from fluff text. For example, Village can have a story emerge from the actions a player takes with absolutely no cards or text to read; like, grandpa grew up on a farm and had a son, but he wanted to see the world, so he went out traveling and never returned, but he became famous for exploring far away lands and writing stories about them when he died on his adventures and he went down in the history books of our village, and his son decided to follow in his footsteps.


Fair enough. If you don't like EH's style of storytelling (flavour text all over the place), you won't like EH much, full stop.

On the other hand, after a while you discover that it's not the individual encounters that tell the story, but the sequence of encounters. Maybe I fight a Mi-Go monster (from the planet Yuggoth) and then in the next turn I go through a gate to... random draw... Yuggoth! And there I have an encounter in which I gain... random draw... a brain in a jar, the Mi-Go's trademark gadget! Whoa! What are the chances? (Yes, this has happened to me in the game.)

The fun of the story is figuring out how to 'join the dots' between the weird sequence of events. Oh, my ally betrayed me? No wonder he kept failing his re-rolls earlier!

Of course, if you don't know much about the Cthulhu Mythos, the theme can be less evocative. Kinda like playing a Star Wars game without knowing anything about Star Wars. Some references and weird names will mean nothing.

The quality of the writing can be mediocre at times... but that just makes it funnier to read out.

dettmarp wrote:

The game play of the game is by far the biggest negative. Yes, there are abilities and equipment that let you mitigate the randomness, but the whole game is a random crap shoot with no interesting decision, very little to no strategy, and very repetitive actions. It boiled down to "go here, draw a card, roll a die, see what random crap happens" and repeat for 3 or 4 hours. It felt like the game was playing you rather than you playing the game.


Yes, your first game of Eldritch Horror often feels like this. Everything just seems random. If you can't get into the story and just enjoy the rollercoaster ride, it can feel pointless.

However, after a couple of tries, you learn that there's actually quite a bit of strategy involved--not at the dice-rolling level, but the big picture of working out which urgent task to focus on and how to manage your luck.

Some of this is hidden away in the rulebooks, though. Certain types of encounter usually involve particular skills. For instance, encountering clue tokens usually involves the Observation skill. Once you know this, it becomes much easier to strategise.

It can take a few plays to figure out what tends to work and what doesn't. The first time I played (solo, to test out the rules), I just ran around failing horribly at everything with no idea what I was doing. The first monster I ever fought was a Star Spawn, one of the toughest creatures in the game--but I didn't know that, and had zero clue that my plan to take it on with nothing but a Wither spell was hopeless.

But if you hated your first go, I can understand why you wouldn't feel like giving it another try.

Oh, and the game does come with horrible el cheapo black dice. Not nearly enough of them, either. Pretty sure it's a cost-cutting measure to keep the base game's price down.
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zenshrugs wrote:
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with EH.

I'm curious as to how much of it comes down to your preferred style of game, and how much was due to the circumstances of your first game.

Were you playing with other players? How many?

Did they read out the cards to each other (instead of reading their own cards)? Ham it up? Wait until you rolled before telling you what happened if you passed or failed?

(In a BGG thread a few years back, someone told a story of playing EH with a person who read everyone's encounter cards himself--but he didn't read out the flavour text. He just said stuff like 'hmm, okay, you need to take a Will test' and 'okay, you passed, you get an item'. If there was a prize for 'best way to ruin a first game of EH', that would win gold.)

dettmarp wrote:


Set up is a pain, mostly because there are separate decks of cards for everything and it takes up a lot of space and seems completely unnecessary.


This is a fair criticism. EH does take a while to set up and pack away. It's possible to prepare beforehand, though, and use things like business card holders for the cards so they take up less room.

dettmarp wrote:


The game tries to hard to force a story on you, and what I mean by that is that you have to read all the flavor and story text on a card to get any sort of story out of this game. By comparison, I prefer a game where the story comes out of the mechanics and actions the players take rather than from fluff text. For example, Village can have a story emerge from the actions a player takes with absolutely no cards or text to read; like, grandpa grew up on a farm and had a son, but he wanted to see the world, so he went out traveling and never returned, but he became famous for exploring far away lands and writing stories about them when he died on his adventures and he went down in the history books of our village, and his son decided to follow in his footsteps.


Fair enough. If you don't like EH's style of storytelling (flavour text all over the place), you won't like EH much, full stop.

On the other hand, after a while you discover that it's not the individual encounters that tell the story, but the sequence of encounters. Maybe I fight a Mi-Go monster (from the planet Yuggoth) and then in the next turn I go through a gate to... random draw... Yuggoth! And there I have an encounter in which I gain... random draw... a brain in a jar, the Mi-Go's trademark gadget! Whoa! What are the chances? (Yes, this has happened to me in the game.)

The fun of the story is figuring out how to 'join the dots' between the weird sequence of events. Oh, my ally betrayed me? No wonder he kept failing his re-rolls earlier!

Of course, if you don't know much about the Cthulhu Mythos, the theme can be less evocative. Kinda like playing a Star Wars game without knowing anything about Star Wars. Some references and weird names will mean nothing.

The quality of the writing can be mediocre at times... but that just makes it funnier to read out.

dettmarp wrote:

The game play of the game is by far the biggest negative. Yes, there are abilities and equipment that let you mitigate the randomness, but the whole game is a random crap shoot with no interesting decision, very little to no strategy, and very repetitive actions. It boiled down to "go here, draw a card, roll a die, see what random crap happens" and repeat for 3 or 4 hours. It felt like the game was playing you rather than you playing the game.


Yes, your first game of Eldritch Horror often feels like this. Everything just seems random. If you can't get into the story and just enjoy the rollercoaster ride, it can feel pointless.

However, after a couple of tries, you learn that there's actually quite a bit of strategy involved--not at the dice-rolling level, but the big picture of working out which urgent task to focus on and how to manage your luck.

Some of this is hidden away in the rulebooks, though. Certain types of encounter usually involve particular skills. For instance, encountering clue tokens usually involves the Observation skill. Once you know this, it becomes much easier to strategise.

It can take a few plays to figure out what tends to work and what doesn't. The first time I played (solo, to test out the rules), I just ran around failing horribly at everything with no idea what I was doing. The first monster I ever fought was a Star Spawn, one of the toughest creatures in the game--but I didn't know that, and had zero clue that my plan to take it on with nothing but a Wither spell was hopeless.

But if you hated your first go, I can understand why you wouldn't feel like giving it another try.

Oh, and the game does come with horrible el cheapo black dice. Not nearly enough of them, either. Pretty sure it's a cost-cutting measure to keep the base game's price down.


We played with 8, which may have been a huge factor in my enjoyment of it. We did do exactly as you described; reading cards out loud, haming it up, reading results after the roll. It was fun at first, but after a while, it was frustrating because it got annoying and really drew the game out. The theme holds no particular meaning to me, so it didn't really draw me in.

I knew right away that this wasn't my type of game, but I enjoy a wide variety of games, and can usually get some enjoyment out of a game, even if it's not not style. I don't mind randomsin most cases, but in this case it seemed like the entire game was won or lost on luck, and the amount of luck involved rendered any decisions meaningless.

My stance on story telling in games usually doesn't get a lot of agreement, but I feel much more involved if the story evolves out of what I'm actually doing mechanically, rather than being told to me. I'm not a big fan of the shirt of story telling mechanisms in games such as Stuffed Fables, Near and Far, Above and Below, or Mice and Mystics. Not that these aren't great games, but the story telling mechanisms always felt like "gold on, stop all the fun game playing while I read some cheap". It always felt like more of an interruption than a fluid game mechanic
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Tom Eklund
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dettmarp wrote:

We played with 8, which may have been a huge factor in my enjoyment of it.


Absolutely. I love this game but I can't imagine playing it with 8 people/investigators. We play 2 players 2-handed, I think 4 investigators is the ideal number.
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Azikin wrote:
dettmarp wrote:

We played with 8, which may have been a huge factor in my enjoyment of it.


Absolutely. I love this game but I can't imagine playing it with 8 people/investigators. We play 2 players 2-handed, I think 4 investigators is the ideal number.

Yeah. This is definitely not a good game for 8 players. I would say give it one more shot, with 4 players, and see if it's any different. We found that there are plenty of important decisions to make, since there are only so many turns before the AO wakes up...

-shnar
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dettmarp wrote:
I knew right away that this wasn't my type of game, but I enjoy a wide variety of games, and can usually get some enjoyment out of a game, even if it's not not style. I don't mind randomsin most cases, but in this case it seemed like the entire game was won or lost on luck, and the amount of luck involved rendered any decisions meaningless.


After 60-80 games (sorry I lost count) and 50-70 wins (I remember the losses as they were few and far between) I can definitely tell you that there is no way the game can be won or lost on luck alone.

If you make all the right decisions, you need ridiculously bad luck to lose the game. If you make all the wrong decisions, good luck isn't going to save you.

I don't mean to be offensive, but I have been reading these forums since 2013 and I am fed up of people who played this game once, didn't have a clue of how to play properly, lost (naturally!) and then blame it on luck.

But I totally agree with you, 8 player games are long/drawn out, and it is very hard to coordinate properly so you will almost always make suboptimal plays and end up losing. I memorably lost one of my two 8 player games because the players on one side of the table didn't have a clue about what the players on the other side of the table are doing.

I am not going to go into detail (read the Strategy forum) but at the start of each turn, stop and ask the table:
- What are we doing this turn?
- What are the priorities? Clues? Gates? A rumor?
- Who is better suited (in terms of stats/gear/location) to deal with the priorities?
- If you aren't the person best suited to deal with an immediate priority, do something your character is good at (high observation characters go grab a clue, high lore/will characters go close a gate even if its not a priority gate, high influence characters buy stuff for other people.

So I would strongly suggest giving this game another chance, but play a 4 investigator game, with people who have played this game before (so you can see how the game flows differently when players set up a strategy and execute it properly).
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zenshrugs wrote:

It can take a few plays to figure out what tends to work and what doesn't. The first time I played (solo, to test out the rules), I just ran around failing horribly at everything with no idea what I was doing. The first monster I ever fought was a Star Spawn, one of the toughest creatures in the game--but I didn't know that, and had zero clue that my plan to take it on with nothing but a Wither spell was hopeless.




"Die, Star Spawn!"

[realises that he would need to get 5 successes on 2 dice!]

"Oh, F***!"
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nobody82b wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
I knew right away that this wasn't my type of game, but I enjoy a wide variety of games, and can usually get some enjoyment out of a game, even if it's not not style. I don't mind randomsin most cases, but in this case it seemed like the entire game was won or lost on luck, and the amount of luck involved rendered any decisions meaningless.


After 60-80 games (sorry I lost count) and 50-70 wins (I remember the losses as they were few and far between) I can definitely tell you that there is no way the game can be won or lost on luck alone.

If you make all the right decisions, you need ridiculously bad luck to lose the game. If you make all the wrong decisions, good luck isn't going to save you.

I don't mean to be offensive, but I have been reading these forums since 2013 and I am fed up of people who played this game once, didn't have a clue of how to play properly, lost (naturally!) and then blame it on luck.

But I totally agree with you, 8 player games are long/drawn out, and it is very hard to coordinate properly so you will almost always make suboptimal plays and end up losing. I memorably lost one of my two 8 player games because the players on one side of the table didn't have a clue about what the players on the other side of the table are doing.

I am not going to go into detail (read the Strategy forum) but at the start of each turn, stop and ask the table:
- What are we doing this turn?
- What are the priorities? Clues? Gates? A rumor?
- Who is better suited (in terms of stats/gear/location) to deal with the priorities?
- If you aren't the person best suited to deal with an immediate priority, do something your character is good at (high observation characters go grab a clue, high lore/will characters go close a gate even if its not a priority gate, high influence characters buy stuff for other people.

So I would strongly suggest giving this game another chance, but play a 4 investigator game, with people who have played this game before (so you can see how the game flows differently when players set up a strategy and execute it properly).


I'm a seasoned board gamer, and so your advice seems a little condescending, seeing as it is basic strategic thinking. Of course we're didn't run around doing random stuff like chickens with our heads cut off. As a matter of fact, we won. This game is by no means a deep strategy game that takes several plays to wrap your head around.

That doesn't change the fact that nearly every success or failure depends on a die roll, and so luck has a huge effect on this game; much more than it should. Make all the right decisionsand roll poorly at the wrong time and you'll lose.

As for trying it again, there's zero chance of that. There's too many other good games to play.

Edit: I suppose you're right about not being able to luck into a win, because you do have to go to the right places, kill the right monsters and so forth, but these are tough strategic decisions to make; they're fairly obvious
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George Aristides
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dettmarp wrote:

I'm a seasoned board gamer, and so your advice seems a little condescending, seeing as it is basic strategic thinking. Of course we're didn't run around doing random stuff like chickens with our heads cut off. As a matter of fact, we won. This game is by no means a deep strategy game that takes several plays to wrap your head around.

That doesn't change the fact that nearly every success or failure depends on a die roll, and so luck has a huge effect on this game; much more than it should. Make all the right decisionsand roll poorly at the wrong time and you'll lose.


"roll poorly at the wrong time"
If you are doing the type of roll that will make or break the game (these are very rare, but do occur), you should typically have at least 5 dice on your disposal, with at least 2 rerolls from focus/clues.

That gives you a 94% chance to succeed. Once in 20 games, you will fail such a roll. About half of these games, an experience player can find a way to win regardless.

Recently we had a game when a player failed to solve a rumour twice in a row, rolling 5 dice each time, which made Doom advance by 6. This made for a very climactic game, where we would have won at the third mystery at 1 Doom, but my character died during the Mythos phase waking up the Ancient One.
We managed to win this game at the very last turn, but only because we squeezed every last bit of stochastic optimisation out of the decision space.

In fact, if you had played the game more times, you would have realised that the randomness that will make you lose games is actually to do with the Mythos cards you draw (rather than the rolls, which you can have a lot of control of).
If you have a streak of hard Mythos cards in the early game, this can cut your chances significantly, and a streak of easy Mythos cards will make the game into a cakewalk.
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George Aristides
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dettmarp wrote:

I'm a seasoned board gamer, and so your advice seems a little condescending, seeing as it is basic strategic thinking. Of course we're didn't run around doing random stuff like chickens with our heads cut off. As a matter of fact, we won. This game is by no means a deep strategy game that takes several plays to wrap your head around.


Hey, I am just relating from personal experience. You can't imagine what kind of headless-chicken newbie mistakes I witnessed in this game.

I have devoted hundreds of hours of my last 5 years in this game. My strategic understanding of this game was different at 10 plays, different at 20 plays, and is different now at 50+ plays. You played this game 1 time. I find it condescending for you to claim that it is a random luckfest. It's like playing chess once and going to a forum of chess masters saying that chess is a simple game where you move the horsie two spaces forward and one to the side.

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With just the base game and 8 players I would assume you cycled through the decks pretty quickly making the game less interesting. Did you use the focus mechanism which also helps with mitigation? There is a lot of random stuff in this game but for me that is part of its appeal , you do your best to prepare for anything but there are no guarantees. If you do decide to try again , which seems unlikely, I would suggest a quick solo game with 2 investigators. I feel you may be missing out but to be honest even though I love this game I would never play it with 8 players. If you have other games you want to play go for those its your leisure time so make sure you enjoy it.
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nobody82b wrote:
dettmarp wrote:

I'm a seasoned board gamer, and so your advice seems a little condescending, seeing as it is basic strategic thinking. Of course we're didn't run around doing random stuff like chickens with our heads cut off. As a matter of fact, we won. This game is by no means a deep strategy game that takes several plays to wrap your head around.


Hey, I am just relating from personal experience. You can't imagine what kind of headless-chicken newbie mistakes I witnessed in this game.

I have devoted hundreds of hours of my last 5 years in this game. My strategic understanding of this game was different at 10 plays, different at 20 plays, and is different now at 50+ plays.


I don't doubt that at all, but having explained with games in general gives you a leg up when learning new games. Most concepts are not new, and after one game, it is not hard to get a good grasp on a game and whatit has to over. The more explosive you have withany game will lead you to a different understanding of a game, regardless of weight. As the previous comment mentioned, luck withthe doom cards and dice rolls can significantly effect the difficulty you'll have. If it wasn't a luck fest, the wouldbe so much output randomness, nor would the be such a need to try mitigate the randomness through re-rolls and such.

Weather you like the randomness or dislike it is a matter of opinion, but you cannot argue that there is not a significant amount of randomness in this game.
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dettmarp wrote:
If it wasn't a luck fest, the wouldbe so much output randomness, nor would the be such a need to try mitigate the randomness through re-rolls and such.

Weather you like the randomness or dislike it is a matter of opinion, but you cannot argue that there is not a significant amount of randomness in this game.


Randomness is not the same as luck.

A strategic game which revolves around randomness requires you to keep thinking about the odds of different outcomes, weighing risk vs return and taking the option that gives the optimal return after allowing for the risk of failure. It also needs setting up contingency plans in case the optimal plan does fail (i.e. if you *really* need to close that gate, consider a second investigator just in case the first one fails).

A luckfest game would have uncertaintly around the odds, and player decisions can do little to mitigate it. You would have the same odds of winning or losing whether or not you do the right decisions, and more experience with the game wouldn't significantly improve your outcomes. Talisman is such a game (even though I enjoy it, it is a game that a first time player can win through drawing the right cards and rolling high).

Without a stochastic aspect, a co-op/solo game would need to be very complicated to avoid it being simply "solved" through finding the optimal strategy after a few plays and then always (ab)using it.

A very extreme/simplistic case would be tic-tac-toe: you put an x in the middle, and the opponent has to put an o in the corner to draw, otherwise you win; there is no chance of you losing.

I don't mind you saying that you don't like games with output randomness or where strategy revolves around risk mitigation and risk/return optimisation. but don't make it seem this is like a stupid, shallow game for casual gamers, because it is anything but.
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Jack Francisco
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I cannot imagine playing this game with 8p. Sounds like a setup for a bad time. I remember a group of friends playing Arkham Horror with 6p at an all-day game day one time. I think they might still be playing.
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Patrick Dettmar
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nobody82b wrote:
dettmarp wrote:
If it wasn't a luck fest, the wouldbe so much output randomness, nor would the be such a need to try mitigate the randomness through re-rolls and such.

Weather you like the randomness or dislike it is a matter of opinion, but you cannot argue that there is not a significant amount of randomness in this game.


Randomness is not the same as luck.

A strategic game which revolves around randomness requires you to keep thinking about the odds of different outcomes, weighing risk vs return and taking the option that gives the optimal return after allowing for the risk of failure. It also needs setting up contingency plans in case the optimal plan does fail (i.e. if you *really* need to close that gate, consider a second investigator just in case the first one fails).

A luckfest game would have uncertaintly around the odds, and player decisions can do little to mitigate it. You would have the same odds of winning or losing whether or not you do the right decisions, and more experience with the game wouldn't significantly improve your outcomes. Talisman is such a game (even though I enjoy it, it is a game that a first time player can win through drawing the right cards and rolling high).

Without a stochastic aspect, a co-op/solo game would need to be very complicated to avoid it being simply "solved" through finding the optimal strategy after a few plays and then always (ab)using it.

A very extreme/simplistic case would be tic-tac-toe: you put an x in the middle, and the opponent has to put an o in the corner to draw, otherwise you win; there is no chance of you losing.

I don't mind you saying that you don't like games with output randomness or where strategy revolves around risk mitigation and risk/return optimisation. but don't make it seem this is like a stupid, shallow game for casual gamers, because it is anything but.


Eh... I'm gonna have to disagree with that. Randomness and luck are the same thing. No matter how much you mitigate and optimize, it's still luck. Odds being in your favor are still odds, and it's luck that's determining the outcome.

The are players that get deep into strategies and odds in casino games like craps or black jack, and even do it professionally, but that doesn't change the fact that these games are still luck based.

I also have to say that getting re- rolls and more dice isn't really mitigating the randomness, it's simply giving you more attempts at overcoming the randomness.

To mitigate the randomness, you'd have to have a mechanic that would let you augment results after the roll. Like, say I roll a 3, I could spend some resources to add to that result.

I've tried to be objective, and this bears being again: this is my opinion, and as such, should not be taken personally. I apologize if I implied the game was stupid. I do feel that it on the more casual side of the gaming spectrum, but again, if this is your favorite game I'm not trying to bring you down in any way.

Side note, I am enjoying the discussion
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George Aristides
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dettmarp wrote:

I also have to say that getting re- rolls and more dice isn't really mitigating the randomness, it's simply giving you more attempts at overcoming the randomness.


I never think of "I need to get a 5 or 6, and I have 3 attempts to do it".

I think in terms of "3 dice means a 70% chance of passing the test. Grabbing a focus will raise that to 80%, which means my chance of failing is reduced by a third. Or I can rest instead, which means I am less likely to die from a bad mythos draw. Do I really need to close this gate? If I die, would it derail the game for someone to come over and spend a turn grabbing my stuff?"
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George Aristides
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dettmarp wrote:
To mitigate the randomness, you'd have to have a mechanic that would let you augment results after the roll. Like, say I roll a 3, I could spend some resources to add to that result.


Statistically, the ability to add 1 to a die is roughly equivalent to having two more dice/rerolls (it gets better the more dice you have in your pool, but I am assuming 3 dice as this is where investigators usually start on their good attributes). You still have a binomial distribution, where you have a p probability of success and n trials.

It may feel different, but it's not.
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Andreas B├╝hler
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WEll, there's your problem. I played the game with 8 exactly once, and then vowed to never play with more than four ever again.
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Richard Mitchell
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Thats quite a detailed and thoughtful review for 1 play-through. I do enjoy the game, for thematics, teamwork and its lightness of play. I will agree that the strategic decisions are fairly obvious ( kill monster X, close gate Y, etc) however the sequences of actions and inter-player coordination to achieve these goals can be very strategic. So many games we have won or lost on a "last turn".

Thats said, IMO its a better game with expansions. Also I'd never attempt to play this with 8 people. Sounds like you had a terrible experience, and I'm not shocked, staring at the 7 others taking their turns, even with cocktails flowing would make me instantly fail a WILL test and lose ALL my sanity.

There are 4 of us who typically play this, or 2 controlling 2 characters, or solo 2 or 4 characters. Your review as I said is very thoughtful, but reflects the conditions you played it in ... I'm sure I would've boxed this game if I played with 8 people. My $.02. Rest up, and discard the madness condition plaguing you!
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Brian Phelps
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nobody82b wrote:




I am not going to go into detail (read the Strategy forum) but at the start of each turn, stop and ask the table:
- What are we doing this turn?
- What are the priorities? Clues? Gates? A rumor?
- Who is better suited (in terms of stats/gear/location) to deal with the priorities?



This is great advice! I love Eldritch horror and my biggest problem is that I do find myself quarterbacking it a lot. I think by asking these questions I'll be able to involve the entire table more and increase our enjoyment even further!

I also concur with the general advice that base Eldritch Horror does not shine at 8 players especially for a first time playing.
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Jack Francisco
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My EH games don't often come down to a last turn or a close loss as much as they do in Mansions of Madness 2e.
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