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Subject: Eldritch Horror - AH:LCG meets Pandemic meets underwater Whack-a-Mole rss

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Branko K.
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So... after all these years I finally got a chance to try Eldritch Horror.

The bit you can freely skip

A little history about me, the Arkham Files series, FFG and everything in general. I've been aware of the Arkham Horror (the boardgame) for the longest time, probably about twelve years or so. I read through the rules, read and watched reviews of it, and while I always found it interesting I never really had a chance to play it nor really wished I had a chance to play it. It just looked bloated, fiddly and, well, not really much of a game as much as something which gives you the feeling of playing a game while actually playing itself. Sorta like those old roll and move games where good or bad things simply happen at the whim of a die, there's no real agency, or if there is , it's just an illusion of one since the dice will ultimately choose your faith. Again - never actually played the game, so all this was basically second hand opinions or educated guesses. Still, no Arkham Horror the boardgame for me.

Year pass, and I somehow end up with Elder Sign. Initially I enjoy it very much, the flavor, the art, handling big cards, rolling those custom dice... but after a while the theme wears thin, the game becomes overly mechanical and I realize I'm simply playing a Cthulhu-themed Yahtzee. I buy expansions but they just reinforce this opinion. Up on sale this goes.

I then borrow LOTR:LCG from a friend who got a bit tired of it but hated seeing his collection collect dust. I don't get the game at first, it seems convoluted and confusing, and unlike Elder Sign I cannot find anyone to play it with (friend who borrowed it doesn't live in the same city). But I perserviere and boy do I get addicted to this thing. I never played solo games before but this draws me in big time, I just can't get enough of deckbuilding and then hitting my head against the wall while trying a scenario again and again until I win. And then... one day while I was re-building my tri-sphere dwarf deck for the 10th time I realize I just don't enjoy it anymore. It's fun, but it's also mathy, abstract and feels like a chore. I return the collection.

But LOTR:LCG makes me investigate what other coop LCGs exist out there and I discover AH:LCG. I dismissed it initially since I remember not really being interested in regular Arkham Horror, but a video from SU;SD convinces me otherwise. I buy the core game and the first expansion and... let's just say that one core and two expansion cycles later I'm still loving this game to death. It scares me how much money went into it, but then again it's possibly the best board.. ahem, CARDgame I ever played, and I enjoy the 50th play session as much as I enjoyed the first, possibly even more. This is something I literally cannot say for any other game I own(ed).

And then... I finally got a chance to try out Eldritch Horror.

The Eldritch what?

This game somehow flew under my radar completely. After I heard my friend owns it and wanted to have it played on a game night, I researched it and the jist was that it seemed to be "streamlined Arkham Horror". As in it's basically the same game, with the fat severely trimmed off, with more humane playing time, and with better, more interesting options for players. It also seemed to borrow heavily from AH:LCG mechanics and art (ok, technically, it's the other way around), which instantly drew me to it - it felt like unexpectedly meeting an old friend in a weird place, but you still get to hang out and have fun.

So I went there and we played two games, a 4-player and a 2-player one. I then asked a friend if I could borrow the game for a week or two, because I wanted to try it out solo (in the exchange I gave him AH:LCG, 2 cores and Dunwich Legacy... I hope I get it back ).

I then played a few more games solo, one with a single investigator and the rest with two.

And THEN I started writing this.

So now that you've caught up

TEH REVIEW

Eldritch Horror is a game where you and your fellow investigators try to stop the coming of an Ancient One, in a Lovecraft setting which is pretty much completely unlike anything Lovecraft wrote unless I somehow missed all those books where the investigators shot Zombies with shotguns and Ancient creatures like Cthulhu were approximately as dangerous as slightly enranged elephants so with a little skill and weaponry you could get rid off them single-handedly. While AH:LCG has approximately the same problem, at least in that game the investigators seem much more vulnerable, or at least cannot simply lie down on the floor and miraculously heal all the otherwordly trauma they suffered. And yes, I will be comparing this game with AH:LCG a lot. Deal with it.

Or maybe I will not, since if I must compare Eldritch Horror with another similar game I heavily played, then it would definitely be, surprisingly enough.... Pandemic. I can't believe I don't see this comparison more often. You have your players on a world map denoted by a bunch of connecting locations, you have a long-term goal which you need to work on but which is difficult since your attention is constantly being drawn away with short-term dangers that keep randomly popping all over the place and which will end the game if you leave them alone for too long. Again, I haven't played Arkham Horror so I cannot really tell that EH was influenced by Pandemic or the similarities are purely coincidental, but throughout all of my EH games I felt as if someone took Pandemic and then layered a Lovecraft theme on it (and yes, I am aware that Cthulhu Pandemic actually exists now).

But.. I love Pandemic. So if this game is a bastard child of Pandemic and AH:LCG, shouldn't it be the best game ever?

Well... read on.

What I liked

I liked the presentation. This game begs you to play it. The map, the little cards, the tokens, the art... it's all so enticing. OK, maybe someone who isn't into boardgames would freak out at the sight of it and leave a human-shaped hole in the nearest wall, but for someone who's into this hobby this looks like pure, unadultared fun from the get-go.

I liked the investigators. Again, it was like meeting old friends from AH:LCG. Sure, there stats were different, there special abilities were different, but still, it was nice to have some instant familiarity.

I also liked the constant surprises. Each turn there's a mini-story happening, there is an event with a certain good or bad outcome, and I think 80% of the joy in this game is in these little encounters. You never know what's around the corner. And even when it's not your turn, it's fun to listen what happens to other players. If you are in a "thematic" mood, this can keep the enjoyment levels up throughout the entire game.

The "reckoning" mechanic and flipping cards is awesome. You never know what hides on the other side of that tiny card, and that horrifying moment of turning it over and reading your cruel destiny.. loving it.

No quarterbecking. While in other coop games bossy players can tend to take over and tell other people what to do, EH often plays so random that any quarterbacking feels pointless. You can tell someone "you should probably go there or do that", but most of the game will still be in those little encounters and random stuff, so it's not overwhelmingly game-affecting as in Pandemic where one alpha-player can practically leave other players completely without anything to do.

Finally, the game seems to be easy to teach and play, so there should be no huge trouble with getting this on the table. The players who do not grasp everything instantly will do so throughout the course of the game. This is definitely not a heavy Euro game where you spend 60% of your first game time totally confused and other 40% in despair since you finally did figure out what is going on but realized your stupid random choices at the beginning hindered you completely. This game IS stupid random choices from the get-go.. and it works.

Well... except when it doesn't (

(I think I'm channeling Quinns from SU;SD now... I definitely watched those guys a bit too much lately)

What I disliked

I must come back to Pandemic now. Pandemicky games are basically Whack-a-Mole games on steroids. A mole rises, you want to hit it with a hammer. The game boils down to efficient mole-hitting while deciding when to take a rest and do some unrelated stuff which can actually win you the game.

Now imagine you play Whack-a-Mole... underwater. What is the biggest problem? You just can't move your hammer too fast. Mole pops up, and you want to hit it, but your hand sloooooooowly moves towards the position, and then sloooowly tries to whack it. In the mean time, five more moles popped up elsewhere. This is how EH feels to me in a nutshell. In Pandemic, your pawns are much more maneuverable. If you want, you can move 4 times, and you even have various options to zoom around the map. In EH, you get to move ONCE, and then maybe spend a turn to buy a "travel ticket", which is basically the game forcing you to spend an action now so you can move later. I'm sure there is a design/strategy reason for this, but to me it just felt like the game tying my legs just for the sake of delaying me. That is, when the game wasn't EXPLICITLY delaying me, which is to say that from time to time this game would simply tell me that this turnI cannot do anything. Want to whack that mole? Sorry, I'm taking your hammer now. You'll get it back next turn. More fun that way.

This is the exact reason why this game sorta works with 4 players, but doesn't really with 2 (again, take this with a grain of salt since I played only one 4-player game). In a 4 player people tend to "divide the map" and everyone tries to keep his/her "corner" in control. Maneuverability is then not really an issue since you can relatively easily reach places you want. Me, I see this is bad design. My choices should be dictated by my strategy or my current options - if I have a strong fighty investigator I should be the one actively getting rid off monsters so the weaker investigators can then come in and to the stuff THEY are great in (yes, I am channelling AH:LCG again, kill me). But here it doesn't matter what your investigator is good it, you just keep in your place because you can hardly go and reach far away places anyway.

Other thing that bothere me was... I didn't feel there was actually much to do on my turn. Action phase felt like a tiny fiddly step so you can reach the fun Encounter phase.

Action phase most commonly looked like this: I get 2 actions, and in 2 player games most of the time I seem to burn those actions on travelling, or buying tickets so I can travel later. If I'm not buying tickets, I'm hard pressed what to do on my 2nd action. I guess the usual default choice would be resting or shopping - but I never cared much for shopping because, unlike in AH:LCG where my tableau is something I carefully cultivated and micromanaged, in EH it's a randomble jumble of bonuses and hindrances which I have to carefully peruse to see which options are available to me. I realized that after having 5 tiny cards beside my investigator I didn't really want to have more tiny cards beside my investigator, which to me is a problem. Getting gear and improving should be fun, but while I enjoyed improving my skills, the various tiny card bonuses quickly lost their appeal.

What else. While I enjoyed all those little encounters, in EH I never really feel this is a part of a huge narrative. For majority of the playing time EH feels like "random Arkham events: the game". It's like an insane soap opera where the character cannot make two steps without being carried away by a typhoon, attacked by a zombie, getting robbed in a sleazy bar or meeting a mysterious monk who teaches him the secrets of time and space. Unlike AH:LCG (yes, I'm boring myself at this point), I don't feel I'm playing a character who has some actual agency and does some investigating, I feel like I'm playing a character who is stuck in a narrative written by a completely insane person with severe ADHD and a short-term memory impairment. Stuff just happens, and then some more stuff happens, and then some more stuff happens, and then you win or you die.

Oh yes, the winning part. Maybe this is the final nail in the coffin of why this game, for all its inherent awesomeness, leaves me with a "meh" feeling. The ending is horribly anticlimactic. I must (again) come back to Pandemic. In Pandemic you win by finding four cures. It's often a bit anticlimactic. The world may be on a brim of total annihilation, diseases rampage everywhere, but you just found that fourth cure and everything's suddenly ok. EH has this same problem, but an order of magnitude higher. You win by solving three mysteries, which do not feel connected at all to some coming of an Ancient One you are allegedly trying to stop. They might be "kill this monster there" or "collect some clues and bring them there". The game can literally boil down to "come here, throw a die, get 6 and you win". At which point I truly must go back to my opening paragraph and draw a parallel with those old roll-and-move games.... is this really what modern games should be about? Waiting your turn so you can throw a die and if you get 6 you win? After playing a (possibly) multihour boardgame?

Conclusion

Do I like this game? I don't know. Even with all the crap I threw at it in the last few paragraphs, I think the game is fine for what it is. Yes, it doesn't seem to be a much of a "game", although I do accept that once you play it enough and learn about its encounters you can actually emply some risk mitigation strategies and try to follow the best way to win.

I would argue though that I would fail the see the point of that. This game seems to work EXACTLY because it's not much of a "game". Stumbling around having random encounters, suffering the blows, never knowing whether you will win or (more likely) lose... this is where the fun is. If I know what the encounters do, if I am intimately aware which bonuses to pick, which locations to go, which cards I should be trying my best never to flip etc. I am playing the wrong game.

So I would suggest this game for a nice, relaxing, light gaming experience with people who just want to have brainless fun. If you enjoy silly narratives, if you love seeing various random good or bad stuff happen to you and your fellow players, if you like the sense of camaraderie of trying to stop some horrible evil, battling monsters, closing gates... then go for it. You'll love this.

But for something more tight, more crunchy, more game-y, more narratively coherent, more... "there", I would definitely suggest AH:LCG over this. Especially in a 2-player setting. EH is burger and fries, AH:LCG is a gourmet meal. And if you enjoy Whack-a-Mole games and haven't tried Pandemic for some reason.. just do. It's much less colourful then EH, no Lovecraft theme (unless you get Cthulhu Pandemic, but don't get Cthulhu Pandemic because it's really time to stop putting Cthulhu on everything) but the underlying mechanisms work the same, the game flow feels the same, yet the game is much shorter and the choices are more meaningful.

Ultimately, just ask yourself would you enjoy "random Arkham events: the game". If yes, then it's a no brainer. Literally.

Just my $0.02, anyways.


--googoo --
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Frank Franco
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baba44713 wrote:
I researched it and the jist was that it seemed to be "streamlined Arkham Horror". As in it's basically the same game, with the fat severely trimmed off, with more humane playing time, and with better, more interesting options for players.


LOL, your research is flawed.

Anyway interesting thoughts. If you haven't given up on the game yet I'd recommend soloing it with 4 investigators. It's far less swingy than with 2.
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
baba44713 wrote:
I researched it and the jist was that it seemed to be "streamlined Arkham Horror". As in it's basically the same game, with the fat severely trimmed off, with more humane playing time, and with better, more interesting options for players.


LOL, your research is flawed.

Anyway interesting thoughts. If you haven't given up on the game yet I'd recommend soloing it with 4 investigators. It's far less swingy than with 2.


Even better, solo it with 3. It's not as overwhelming as 4 and it's naturally more difficult, making it seem more strategic to me.
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Mark Bauer
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I can't say much against your criticism, because it is overall probably justified. Just let me get some points across that came to my mind:

- The BGG community is quite harsh with bad game design and what a "modern game should be about". And EH is ranked in the top 50 of all games here. I know, I know, ratings and all^^ But there must be something to the game that you don't see from a few solo games or in case of AH with "educated guesses" or "second hand opinion". (I for myself played AH twice and it was baaaaad )

- As far as I can judge the majority opinion of EH: The game does not really work with 1 or 2 investigators - basically not at all. Some like to play that way because it is challenging, but I'd argue the average gamer will face the same issues you did: not enough board coverage which leads to bad action optimization.
With my EH-only group (3 people), we always throw in another 4th character, if there is not someone else showing up for the night. It's more fun for us that way. Eldritch Horror sort of forces you to find your preferred playstyle and adjust the player count in that regards. This is, and I agree with you, bad game design!

- I read somewhere a nice sum-up of the Arkham Files games, saying something in the lines of: AH is about the lovecraft world, MoM is about the investigation, AH:LCG is about the investigators, EH is about the Ancient Ones, and ES... well... it's Yahtzee
The gist is: All Arkham games focus on something different and EH focuses on the world crossing doom by the Ancient Ones. That's why every AO has their own effects and different decks of cards. A game of EH can feel completely different just because you play against a different bad guy (something that was not happening in AH).

- The anti-climatic ending is an issue and it was talked about in the beginning in the fora. But actually, I thought it would be bigger issue than it is. I have played enough other games to see that most of games just ... end... One player got to 50 points. Someone found the last piece of the puzzle. A team connected 3 words in a row and won. It happens.
But there are just as many epic endings, when after 3 hours of gaming, the last mystery asks you to kill an epic monster and the last straw is your one old professor, equipped with some dynamite, ready to look the creature deep in the eye and sacrifice himself for the greater good. You roll, you hit, you cheer...
Can the game be decided by someone in the end rolling 6 on a die? Possibly, but only because you fought hard to get him into this position.
You like your AH:LCG analogies: Can a scenario be decided by drawing a specific token out of a bag? yes it can. Even the surest of all plans - you got this! - you pull out the tentacle token and the game crumbles in front of you. Did this sour you during your 50 plays of the game? Probably not, right

Sorry, this was a bit longer than intended ^_^

Mr Skeletor wrote:
LOL, your research is flawed.

Anyway interesting thoughts. If you haven't given up on the game yet I'd recommend soloing it with 4 investigators. It's far less swingy than with 2.

And I'd say his research is spot on
Better not get into this (it has been debated far too often) but I do believe that EH is a streamlined AH in all senses of the word.
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Branko K.
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Anduin wrote:

You like your AH:LCG analogies: Can a scenario be decided by drawing a specific token out of a bag? yes it can. Even the surest of all plans - you got this! - you pull out the tentacle token and the game crumbles in front of you. Did this sour you during your 50 plays of the game? Probably not, right


The biggest difference (at least in my eyes) is that in AH:LCG I was pulling out that token to resolve a test which is directly tied to the narrative. I am shooting at this huge monstrosity, I press the trigger and - CLICK - a misfire. I die. It's tense, climactic and exciting.

In EH the Mystery I am solving seems completely removed from the danger of the Ancient One I am trying to stop. It does not feel like an end of a long narrative, it feels like a grocery list which, once completed, lets you cook yourself a nice lunch, oh, and stop the second coming of an Insane Ancient God as a bonus.

But it may also have to do with how much time passes between testing that "final throw". In AH:LCG, more often than not if you are still alive you get to retry a test right away, or relatively quickly, or you get to do some other actions which may compensate for your failure. In my last EH game it all boiled down to Zoey throwing a 5 or 6 on one die. She fails. Then a whole another round needs to happen with Rex going on a cruise on another side of the world, a new Mythos card popping up which spawns some unrelated Epic Monster on an unrelated location, oh and there's a Reckoning so let's resolve all that, nice, ok now let's go back to our main event, "Zoey Throws a D6"! Oh no, she failed again, tough luck, but don't worry, she'll get to try again in 10 minutes MEANWHILE Rex is still on a cruise doing some occult fishing, will he catch that fish or go crazy trying? Oh, and a new Mythos phase comes up oh look a MYSTERY! Some cultists in Australia are sacrificing a goat, but let's leave that now because Zoey is ready to throw D6 again! Etc. etc.

TL;DR it's not really the same thing IMO.
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Lars Rasmussen
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I for one often use the Pandemic comparison.

And another way to view it is, that Pandemic is really an optimization challenge. Only thing you cannot control is the order of cards, but if you count cards, and remember what 8 cards you just shuffled on top, then its just optimizing. Its fun though, and I love that too - but I much prefer the layers added on by EH.

And yes you only have two actions. Which for me means you cannot whack every mole. You simply cannot. You have to prioritize ... and leave some horrors untouched even though you may regret it later. Your actions are scarce, so you really need to make all of them count. I love that!
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Mark Bauer
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baba44713 wrote:
TL;DR it's not really the same thing IMO.

And thats where the differences between the games come into play ;-)
EH is a world sprawling adventure - a world that has no idea what is going on. Even your investigators don't know. They investigate some strange lights in Tunguska, some weird phenomenon in London, rumors of an unfamiliar creature popping up somewhere in South America.
It's not only how much time passes between your turns but also how much time passes in the scope of the game. During their research of the strange happenings in the Himalayas, Zoey makes a halt in Rome. While she waits for the next day until her train leaves she has an encounter with a guy in a restaurant... She has no idea so far about the lingering doom that threatens to destroy the world.
The whole "meanwhile on the other side of the world.." is basically the whole thing what makes it so great and different from AH:LCG.
While the card game feels like an exciting episode of a TV-show, EH feels like a whole season packed into 3 hours of gameplay
Not better, not worse, just different.
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Bart Rachemoss
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baba44713 wrote:
EH often plays so random that any quarterbacking feels pointless.

I've heard similar complaints about Pandemic and LotR:TCG. Before people understand good strategies and tactics for the game, all they see is the randomness. This is probably true for most co-ops. In all three of these games (and many others) experienced players have a much higher success rate than newcomers. If you want to shorten the learning curve, I suggest you watch some of the Catweazle playthroughs on Youtube.

Quote:
Now imagine you play Whack-a-Mole... underwater. What is the biggest problem? You just can't move your hammer too fast. Mole pops up, and you want to hit it, but your hand sloooooooowly moves towards the position, and then sloooowly tries to whack it. In the mean time, five more moles popped up elsewhere. This is how EH feels to me in a nutshell.

If this is a cause of frustration for you (it is for me sometimes) then you might actually enjoy Arkham Horror more than EH.
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In general there is a story tied to each Ancient One. It's spread across all of the Research cards and/or Special Encounter cards tied to that Ancient One. The Mysteries come in a few flavors, 1.) Interact with the Research Encounter deck and accumulate Clues 2.) Interact with Special Encounters and accumulate Eldritch tokens, usually location specific 3.) Kill an Epic Monster. These mostly tell a story in a non-linear Tarantino-esc manner.

Location encounters are a bit more generic but they fit in with the overall story of any Ancient One.

While it's not the greatest design the game works best with 4,6, or 8 investigators. Mysteries are easier to solve and you're forced to make tough decisions on which moles to whack in lower player counts. It's easier to pull off when you're more experienced with the game. Knowing which encounters typically test which stats, how to push your characters without outright killing them takes some nuance, and gaming the mythos deck to manage debts and monster surges are just a few examples.
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George Aristides
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baba44713 wrote:
I guess the usual default choice would be resting or shopping - but I never cared much for shopping because, unlike in AH:LCG where my tableau is something I carefully cultivated and micromanaged, in EH it's a randomble jumble of bonuses and hindrances which I have to carefully peruse to see which options are available to me. I realized that after having 5 tiny cards beside my investigator I didn't really want to have more tiny cards beside my investigator, which to me is a problem. Getting gear and improving should be fun, but while I enjoyed improving my skills, the various tiny card bonuses quickly lost their appeal.


This is why you played the game wrong.
You don't want 5 tiny cards beside your investigator; you want 15 tiny cards beside your investigator.

If you can't manage the game's various allies, items, spells and other ways to improve your character, you will lose, again and again.
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nobody82b wrote:
This is why you played the game wrong.
You don't want 5 tiny cards beside your investigator; you want 15 tiny cards beside your investigator.

Actually, I want 11 tiny cards beside my investigator. The last four I would gladly lose. Especially the Dark Pact.
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nobody82b wrote:
baba44713 wrote:
I guess the usual default choice would be resting or shopping - but I never cared much for shopping because, unlike in AH:LCG where my tableau is something I carefully cultivated and micromanaged, in EH it's a randomble jumble of bonuses and hindrances which I have to carefully peruse to see which options are available to me. I realized that after having 5 tiny cards beside my investigator I didn't really want to have more tiny cards beside my investigator, which to me is a problem. Getting gear and improving should be fun, but while I enjoyed improving my skills, the various tiny card bonuses quickly lost their appeal.


This is why you played the game wrong.
You don't want 5 tiny cards beside your investigator; you want 15 tiny cards beside your investigator.

If you can't manage the game's various allies, items, spells and other ways to improve your character, you will lose, again and again.


Everyone his opinion of course, but ... really if you as the OP think EH is a kind of Pandemic game, you simply played Pandemic too much and never understood Lovecraft games.

There is only ONE Lovecraft game in the Pandemic era and that’s Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. But really comparing EH with Pandemic is saying that Cluedo resembles Monopoly...

Btw I hate basic Pandemic. I love Eldritch Horror. The first one is an advanced euro game, the second one is a thematic story teller.

In BASIC Pandemic you calculate your steps, trying to intervene with the grouping of 3 agents. Hardly anything thematic. In EH you are into a story that lets you fight the end boss and its ticking dilemmas and mysteries with stories on cards.

Sure ... every game can be cut dry to its bear bones mechanics, but that’s not the reason why I play thematic games like AH LCG, MoM2 or EH or RB3.


In my view EH and Pandemic are THE complete opposite and it is one of the main reasons why I would not like to play EH with euro or Pandemic players. These kind of players cut games to their dry bones win mechanics, killing ALL my fun pleasure of playing the THEME instead of a win mechanic.

Pandemic players play mechanics to win the game - like dreadful card counting. Thematic players play games to see the story unfold and will never card count, at least the ones I play with.

Oh I can see a HUGE difference between these 2 kind of gamers.

And OP ... it is NOT because a boardgame has a world map or city map that it has anything to do with Pandemic. For that you clearly missed out on older AH Lovecraft games that were designed long before your Pandemic got designed.

The first AH was published in the 80’s btw.
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Ben_Bos wrote:

Everyone his opinion of course, but ... really if you as the OP think EH is a kind of Pandemic game, you simply played Pandemic too much and never understood Lovecraft games.


I haven't played Pandemic much. I definitely played Eldritch Horror much (some would say too much).

Ben_Bos wrote:

Pandemic players play mechanics to win the game - like dreadful card counting. Thematic players play games to see the story unfold and will never card count, at least the ones I play with.

Oh I can see a HUGE difference between these 2 kind of gamers.


There is a lot of overlap too. I hate games without theme, but also I hate games without interesting mechanics and optimisation.

I play the mechanics of the thematic games, to see the story unfold towards a positive outcome. And I 'card count' to the extent possible (among other ways of strategic and tactical optimisation)

By 'card counting', I mean things like:
- 'Counting' the cards of the mythos deck, and knowing where you are in the phased mythos deck and the likelihood of a reckoning/rumour coming up.
- 'Counting' the gates in the gate stack and knowing which ones have already been closed and which ones are yet to come up. This is especially beneficial later in the game (when a lot of gates have already been closed).
- Knowing the assets in the asset deck, knowing which cards are must-haves and which are best discarded or saved in the reserve for special occasions. I have a great win rate every time I play Charlie Kane or a similar 'asset purchaser' investigator, as proper control of the asset purchasing (and making sure the right investigator gets the right asset at the right time) is key to success in this game.
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Mark Bauer
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Ben_Bos wrote:
In my view EH and Pandemic are THE complete opposite and it is one of the main reasons why I would not like to play EH with euro or Pandemic players. These kind of players cut games to their dry bones win mechanics, killing ALL my fun pleasure of playing the THEME instead of a win mechanic.

true, everyone his own opinion, and you also say "in my view", but in the scope of how we today compare games than this is just a wrong statement. Pandemic and Eldritch Horror are definitely very similar (and of course very different in other ways).
- both are world sprawling with locations connected via routes.
- both have the structure of an "action phase" and a phase where bad things happen
- both are action selection games with card/hand management
- both are complete cooperative with open information
- both have the theme of the world ending if you don't succeed
and so on and so forth...

I personally love Pandemic and I love Eldritch Horror, and I think Pandemic has a lot of theme that is even perfectly represented in the mechanics.
And as nobody82b already said, "card counting" is a constant thing in Eldritch Horror. If I know that phase 2 has no more yellow cards in the mythos deck, I know that I don't have to get rid of my Debt condition for instance...

nobody82b wrote:
This is why you played the game wrong.
You don't want 5 tiny cards beside your investigator; you want 15 tiny cards beside your investigator.

If you can't manage the game's various allies, items, spells and other ways to improve your character, you will lose, again and again.

I don't think the point was that the OP was not enjoying the game because he lost due to not having enough little cards
The point is that the cards in EH are overall a random jumble - especially compared to AH:LCG. And that is true and of course unavoidable. On larger cards you can get a lot more nuanced mechanics on there.

In EH it does not really matter if you have tome X or Scroll Y or Dagger Z. One gives you +1 lore, the other 1 reroll on strength tests, the third gives you +1 strength AND a reroll. As soon as you have to use your assets, you just go through your arsenal and pick out everything that gives you a bonus. Pretty different to the asset management of an AH:LCG. However, again, different focus. EH does not focus so much on the investigators and their arsenal and abstracts a lot of that away to put the world, the encounters and the ancient one in the center of attention.
No need to fuzz around with putting bullets in your 35mm or performing 5 different steps to execute a spell effect.
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Lars Rasmussen
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baba44713 wrote:
Other thing that bothere me was... I didn't feel there was actually much to do on my turn. Action phase felt like a tiny fiddly step so you can reach the fun Encounter phase.



Hmmm, I think anyone who thinks this way should look at how the last action phase was played in the Play by Forum game (#35) that just concluded...
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Jason K
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Many games can be over-simplified and then labelled a version of another:

Eldritch Horror and King of Tokyo are just Yahtzee with extra mechanics.

Every trick-taking game is just Hearts and Euchre.

Every dexterity game, like Catacombs and Flick Em Up, are just Paper Football.

Formula D is Candyland with dice and less pictures.

Mystery of the Abbey is just Clue with extra mechanics.

Tales of Arabian Nights is a giant, non-sequitur Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.

And a million different games are just bloated chess.

The list could go on and on and on.

But calling EH whack-a-mole (as with all of this type of criticism) greatly downplays all the different strategies that can be employed in order to keep your characters on the move and effective at combat. I’ve played this game many times in the last few years, and every experience has been fun as we have had to tactically decide how best to eliminate rising threats; prevent future threats; and deal with the curveballs thrown at us by the game. It’s great fun actually, with a great narrative to boot.

If you had liked the game, you could have compared it to putting out fires as you select the best people and equipment for the jobs, dispatch them, and then tactically respond to the various crisis that arise all around the board.

But most games can be boiled down to something else. What you compare them to simply depends on whether the game was for you or not.

In any case, thanks for the review.
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MC Shudde M'ell
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GreatDebate wrote:
But calling EH whack-a-mole (as with all of this type of criticism) greatly downplays all the different strategies that can be employed in order to keep your characters on the move and effective at combat.


As a fan of EH, I thought "underwater whack-a-mole" was an appropriate and evocative metaphor that illustrated one respect in which EH is different from Pandemic and Ghost Stories - that sense of a huge world in which you might not be able to get to the next "mole" in time despite clearly seeing where it is and what you need to do about it. EH can feel very frustrating but the bigness of the map also contributes to the epic campaign feel.

For people frustrated by the Action Phase, Focus definitely helps, and should be proxied by anyone lacking the Expansions unless your perspective is that that frustrating dead turn is a feature, not a bug.
 
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Esgaldil wrote:
For people frustrated by the Action Phase, Focus definitely helps, and should be proxied by anyone lacking the Expansions unless your perspective is that that frustrating dead turn is a feature, not a bug.

you should be expecting that anyways going in. Effects like "delayed" or "detained" are basically dead turns as game mechanics that are usually frowned upon in other games. (and I still don't like them here ) But admittedly, this also got better with the expansions since encounters that delay you got rarer.
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Anduin wrote:
Esgaldil wrote:
For people frustrated by the Action Phase, Focus definitely helps, and should be proxied by anyone lacking the Expansions unless your perspective is that that frustrating dead turn is a feature, not a bug.

you should be expecting that anyways going in. Effects like "delayed" or "detained" are basically dead turns as game mechanics that are usually frowned upon in other games. (and I still don't like them here ) But admittedly, this also got better with the expansions since encounters that delay you got rarer.


Not to mention, there are characters that can help you with that. Guys like George, Mark, and Charlie. (In fact, as a lawyer myself, I highly advise that you have George Barnaby on your team) whistle Not to mention, there are assets that help, like the pocketwatch and things that move other characters to your location to help (at least, with detained.) Also, I like to keep a focus in my backpocket for the conditions that can be avoided through tests. Also, I try to spread out the good assets and spells (by not putting all my eggs in one basket.) And early on, try to have a pair of field characters who stay close to each other. (You shouldn’t always play a zone defense

Basically, you have the tools. You just have to play with an eye towards these problems. I find that lots of people like to play “attribute and combat min/max” while ignoring the possibility of conditions. (After all, playing with someone who can just get you out of rare situations doesn’t feel powerful). Then, when they get zapped, they complain.

But you can minimize the impact of delayed and detained.

Easy? Nope. Possible? Absolutely.
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In addition, many times you are delayed, it is voluntary to gain something. Like gaining an improvement, spell, clue, artifact etc. Some times that really forces you to consider cost / reward.

(Then there are the times when your strength 1 investigator gets the leg injury that delays you on every reckoning where you fail the test. I lost three consecutive rounds, then was forced to rest two rounds in a row after that - while at full health - just to get rid of the damn thing. It did not cause me to hate the delayed mechanic (too much) but it did cause me to fear leg injuries in the future....)
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Could you elaborate on this?

I am trying to pick a Cthulhu game (any clarification among them would be appreciated) and I've found that a lot.

That Arkham Horror is the old broken game and Eldritch Horror is the new fixed version.

Also reading this review, I'm not sure this one is for me. I tend to hate games with restrictive movement. I like positioning like miniatures, but can't stand a giant map with 1 movement.
 
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