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Subject: Prepare to Cthu-lose your sanity rss

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Al Walker
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Imagine if you will it's the 1920's; the era of Jazz, Flappers, and Surrealism. Imagine you are a concerned citizen who has taken notice of the strange events that seem to be taking place, and have decided to investigate these events further only to find they are linked to cults who worship ancient Elder Gods, gods who are currently knocking on the door of reality trying to get in. Now imagine you're travelling the globe trying to solve mysteries to keep the Elder Gods at bay whilst battling the forces at work trying to bring forth these horrors from beyond. Grab your .45 Automatic, your Healing Words Spell, and check your Sanity at the door

Welcome to Eldritch Horror

Story
Based on the works of HP Lovecraft and the extended Cthulhu Mythos, you are an investigator who travels the globe solving mysteries to save the world from the Gods who are trying to gain entry into our reality

Game Mechanics
Action Point Allowance System, Cooperative Play, Dice Rolling, Point to Point Movement, Role Playing, Storytelling, Variable Player Powers

Number of Players
1-8

Play Time
Up to 4 hours. Depending on how experienced you are and how many players there are, it can take a long time to play

Down Time
Making a decision that will benefit the team (or yourself if playing solo). Invested players will no doubt spend a lot of time discussing what the best course of action is

How Does It Play
After the setup, which can take a bit of time unless you cheat and have everything stored in neat little boxes, the game can seem quite daunting. The rulebook at first glance appears to be crafted by Nyarlathotep himself. When you finally get your head around the rules (after reading the rulebook, studying the rulebook, embracing the rulebook, sniffing the rulebook, licking the rulebook, washing the rulebook, dating the rulebook, and being the rulebook!), the game can be quite fun to play. It’s obviously a race against time as the Ancient One you are up against isn’t going to wait for ever to smash down the door of reality and drive everyone mad.

The game itself is played over a series of rounds. Each round is made up of the following phases: -
Action Phase - Players can take up to two different actions in order to prepare for the following phases. Actions include: -
Preparing to Travel: Players can take either a train token or a ship token depending on where they plan to go. Train tickets are for railroad journeys, ship tokens are for sea routes. Players can only hold two tickets, so they must plan their journeys carefully
Travel: Players can move from one location to the first point along their intended journey route. However, by using tickets a player may move to the next point by discarding a single ticket. Players can move up to 3 points away from their starting spot by using two ticket.
Acquiring Assets: There is no money in the game, like everything in this game it all comes down to dice rolls. You roll the number of dice as indicated by your characters Influence stat. Once you’ve counted the number of successes you rolled; you can purchase items up to the value of the success. If you rolled 3 successes, you can have items up to the value of 3 (1+1+1, 2+1, 3). It’s key to get some good assets early on as they will help you no end in skill tests. Cannot be done if you share a space with a monster
Trade: If you share a space with another investigator you can give them one of your items. However, you cannot give away condition cards, or trade with a dead investigator
Rest: Get in 40 winks and recover some health and a shard of sanity. Cannot be done if you share a space with a monster
Component Actions: If you have a spell, or any other piece of equipment that says the word “Action” on it, you can use it during this phase. If you share a space with another investigator you can use their equipment as an action (Handy of you have ye olde brass knuckles and share a space with Lily Chen)

Encounter Phase – This is where each investigator gets to make progress towards solving the current mystery, which always involves making a skill test of some kind against your characters stats. Types of Encounter include: -
Location Encounter: Depending on the space you are on depends on what deck you draw from. Say you are on Tokyo, you have the option of drawing from the purple location deck or the general encounter deck. You will have to resolve the skill test on the appropriate section of the card (city or location name). Some locations will let you gain bonuses such as spells or an improvement to a stat if you succeed.
General Encounter: If you are on a space that is listed simply by an icon and number you would draw from the general encounter deck and resolve the skill test as normal in the appropriate section. General encounter cards have 3 sections for City, Wilderness, and Sea.
Gates: Gates typically come with monsters, some monsters have the caveat of moving to X Location when spawned. When encountering a gate, you draw from the Other World deck: if you succeed at the skill tests you can close the gate. Closing gates will help in some of the mysteries you are trying to solve.
Combat: If you are on a space with a monster (not always a gate space) your only encounter is a good old-fashioned bout of fisticuffs (cheating via weapons and spells is encouraged.) Watch out for any monster with the Ambush trigger effect, all sorts of bad stuff will happen. There are stages to the combat side of the game: -
Stage 1: Check Monster’s Effects. What bad stuff (if any) does this monster do. Some may cause you to roll less dice in skill tests (here’s where your prior planning comes in handy)
Stage 2: Will Test. Can your will beat the madness and insanity that looking upon this monster will cause? When you test it’s take the dice equal o the number of will you have, apply modifiers from the monster, apply modifiers from equipment and the proceed to roll said dice. If your successes equal the number of insanity it causes congratulations, you are not going to lose any sanity. If you fail to roll the number of sanity saving dice as required, you lose the difference in sanity,
Stage 3: Fisticuffs. Are you strong enough to deliver a haymaker to a Cthonian? Once again gather up all the dice that equals your strength, don’t worry if you’re playing a character like Norman Withers because you will always roll at least 1 die in a skill test, apply modifiers, add weapons and equipment. Now you can only use 1 weapon per combat phase, so if you happen to be running around with a shotgun and a knife it’s one or the other, not both. However, if you have a piece of equipment that allows you to reroll combat tests you can use it as long as it isn’t giving you a +X bonus to dice rolls. If you succeed in rolling the number of successes that beats the damage the monster causes you get to cause the difference in damage to the monster, if not you take the difference in damage. If you beat the monster it’s banished back to the monster cup and you get to take another encounter as a reward. If the monster is on a gate, you get a chance to close that gate.
Clue Encounters: The spyglass tokens are your tickets to solving mysteries. If you’re on a space with a Clue token, you can draw from the research deck. Pass the skill tests on the card and you can gain yourself a clue. These clues help with rerolls in skill tests and solving mysteries
Expedition Encounter: If you are on the space with the Compass, you are in active expedition territory. Here you would draw from the expedition deck. If you succeed at your skill tests the active expedition moves to the location on the back of the next card (if you’re lucky it’ll stay in the same space)
Rumour Encounter – Rumours are always bad, and in this game, they can be downright terrible. Some rumours will cause you to lose the game if you don’t solve them before they resolve themselves.

Mythos Phase – In this Phase, the God trying to break through the veil of reality gets a turn. When it’s the Mythos phase you draw a card from the carefully crafted Mythos Deck, which is constructed at the start of the game based on what the God you’re up against as on the card it’ll tell you how to build the Mythos Deck. Most Mythos cards are bad, in fact most will do something to advance the game towards the end, but some cards can be helpful. What happens during the Mythos phase can include the following: -
Advance the Omen Track: The Omen Track is like the in-game clock. Every full revolution advances doom one step closer to 0.
The Reckoning: The Reckoning is like a trigger for abilities that monsters and card will have. These are all kinds of bad. Anything with a trigger icon on it (looks like lightning hitting a circle) will get a chance to stick the proverbial boot in. The Reckoning always follows the same pattern Monsters→Ancinent One→Mythos Cards→Player Items. If there’s a rumour in the game, then this will help advance it to resolution
Spawn Gates: Another bad thing, this means take the top tile off the gate stack and place it in it’s assigned location as the yare all named cities. When you place a gate, you have to draw a random monster from the monster cup. If you can’t spawn a gate because the stack is empty, advance doom by 1 space
Monster Surge: This is depending on the reference card. The reference card will tell you how many monsters you have to spawn. Monsters will only spawn at gates that match the current symbol on the Omen Tracker, so if you have one gate open but it’s not the same symbol as the omen tracker then you have to spawn a new gate; and guess what comes with a new gate? That’s right, a monster. If a monster has a spawn icon on it, a green tentacle symbol, you resolve its spawn effect after spawning it
Spawn Clues: Once again it’s a reference card job. Look at the card and spawn that number of random clues. This is the least bad thing to happen during the Mythos phase as the Great Old One is giving you chances to solve the mysteries that will end the game in your favour. To spawn a clue, you simply take a random clue token from the pile of clue tokens and spawn it at the location on the back
Spawn Eldritch Tokens: And again, if you have to spawn these you spawn the amount set on the Reference Card. For this you would draw an Eldritch Token and a Clue token and spawn the Eldritch token on that space. Eldritch Tokens can only be interacted with if a component allows you to.
Event: Mythos phase card more often than not will have some event that will impact the investigators, such as delaying all investigators. This is always the last part of the Mythos Phase. Rumours are also events, so watch out for them
Top Tip: The Mythos Deck Cards come in 3 colours (Blue, Green, Yellow) and 3 flavours (normal, ice, tentacles). If you want an easier game, just remove all the tentacle cards from the Mythos deck prior to constructing it at the start of the game. If you want a harder game, do the same with the ice cards

Items
During the game there are chances to grab a number of items that will help you these include: -
Weapons: Usually give you +X to strength. Some, like Kerosene, can only be used once
Items: Things like bandages and stuff. Most items will give you s boost during skill tests
Allies: Grab yourself some Hired Muscle or an Arcane Scholar to help you throw a wrench the Elder God’s plan
Magic: Spells, Incantations, and Rituals. Just contact your local Unseen University Outreach Centre
Artefacts: Unique items that in a pinch will help you when you most need it

Conditions
In this game you will end up at some point gaining a condition. Now these are not always bad, just most of them. All conditions will detail the triggering effect or resolution method, such as the Reckoning. Conditions include: -
Debt: You want to buy that shiny new double-barrelled shotgun but your influence won’t let you so you borrow some influence from a man in a dark alley behind the reserve. The Debt Condition is usually going to end badly.
Detained: The cops have found you and either found you with a weapon or planted one on you. If you get this condition, you’ll miss your next action phase. You’ll have to perform a skill test to become free
Injury: You tried to jump off that moving train again didn’t you? And you’ve got yourself hurt. Injuries often require you to perform a skill test during a rest action in order to resolve them.
Dark Pact: You’ve done something, and a Cultist has caught you with your hand in the biscuit tin. Guess what? You’ve now got a Dark Pact. These are always bad, the Black Goat one which makes you snuff out another investigator
Paranoia – Are the Elder Gods out to get you? Maybe they’re not? But what of they are? Are there people following you? Did you see that man duck behind the bush a moment ago when you looked behind you? Paranoia is one of the Madness Condition cards that you may end up getting

Tests
Just about everything you do in this game will have you rolling dice, and I seem to have developed Wheaton’s Syndrome where I can’t roll a dice to save myself. There are 5 skills to test against: -
Lore – How knowledgeable about occult matters are you? Are you a figurative smarty pants? Or are you thick as mince?
Influence – How much persuasion does your character have? Are you able to smooth talk your way to getting what you want like James Bond? Or is it a case of open mouth and insert foot?
Observation – How good are you at noticing the world around you and noticing the little details? Do you have Eyes of the Hawk? Or are you blind as a bat?
Strength – A combination of how much can you bench-press and how good at fisticuffs are you? Are you the modern Hercules? Or are you as limp as a wet noodle?
Will – How good are your mental faculties? Is your mind a venerable Fort Knox? Or is there just a chimpanzee playing the symbols?
To perform a skill test you simply pick the number of dice relating to the skill you are testing. So, if you are testing lore and your character has a lore of 2 you would roll 2 dice.
For combat you take your strength and apply any monster modifiers, then you apply weapon modifiers then bonus modifiers/effects
At all time you will roll at least 1 die for a skill test

Complex Encounters
There are a number of complex encounters throughout the game, such as Other World, Expedition etc. When you take part in a complex encounter you read the text in the top box and then conduct the skill test required. Afterwards you read the box corresponding to the result, there may be a subsequent skill test with these results. These include the Research Encounters and Special Encounters for each god

Health & Sanity
Every investigator has an allocation for Health & Sanity. When you lose either of these the investigator is out of the game. When you die or go insane, you lay your investigator down on the board, place a token nest to it to say why you’re out of the game, and flip your character sheet. Players can use an action to encounter a defeated investigator. You may have to perform a skill test to win either the players loot or anything else that is up for grabs. After these encounters you remove the investigator token from the board and game.
If you’re player was devoured, they are no longer among the living and their loot is also lost, and removed from the game
When an investigator is defeated, Doom is automatically advanced by 1

Endgame
Like any good co-operative game there are a number of ways to lose and usually only one way to win.
Victory – Solving 3 mysteries relating to the God in play
Defeat – Doom Tracker reaching 0 and the Great Old One waking up (on the reverse of the great old one sheet their may be a final mystery to solve, as well as how investigators lose the game), all investigators eliminated from the game (whether this means all the investigators have died/gone insane on a single turn or that there are no more investigators in the box for a player to start again is still being debated), the Mythos deck runs out of cards for the lead investigator to draw, a card effect causes the players to lose the game

Game Components
Board - The board is huge and well detailed. There are 3 named cities in each colour plus numbers dotted across the board indicating unnamed cities, wilderness, and sea areas
Rulebook – 2 (one rulebook, one reference guide)
Player Pieces – 12 Investigator Cards, 12 Investigator Token, 12 plastic stands
Card Library – So many cards. 40 Asset cards, 36 Condition cards, 20 Spell cards, 14 artefact cards, 4 reference cards, 51 Mythos cards, 32 Research Encounter cards, 24 Other World Encounter cards, 18 Expedition Encounter cards, 16 Mystery cards, 12 General Encounter cards, 12 Special Encounter cards, 8 America Encounter cards, 8 Australasia Encounter cards, 8 Europe Encounter cards
Ancient Ones – 4x Ancient One Cards (Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, Cthulhu, Azathoth, Yog Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath)
Tokens – 43 monster tokens, 42 health tokens, 36 clue tokens, 36 sanity tokens, 30 improvement tokens, 20 eldritch tokens, 12 ship tokens, 9 gate tokens, 8 train tokens, 4 rumour tokens, 1 active expedition token, 1 doom token, 1 lead investigator token, 1 mystery token, 1 omen token
Dice - 4

Theme
Cooperative Lovecraftian horror is the theme of this game. Saving the world from the horrors that exist in spaces outside of our reality is the aim.

Replay Value
Lots. I got it for my birthday two weeks ago and I have played it 5 times since. There is a lot of replay value; I mean you have 4 gods to beat plus you can slide the difficulty of the game slightly when building the mythos deck. Plus, you’re not guaranteed to beat the God of the day. Fans of Lovecraft will get more out of this than those who aren’t but that doesn’t hinder it’s replayability. Like any game, if you want to play it nothing will stop you

Favourite Part
It’s Lovecraft

Least Favourite Part
Rolling 1s in skill tests; all the friggin’ time

Expansions
Yes, maybe not as many as the Arkham Horror LCG. Masks of Nyarlathotep, At the Mountains of Madness to name a few

The Bottom Line
I’ve wanted this game for ages and was over the moon when I got it from my wife and kids for my birthday. I’m a fan of Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos so this game to me what the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is to a Monty Python fan. The rulebook can sometimes be daunting and ambiguous, but when you get your head around the initial madness the game becomes relatively easy to play. This is a must for any fan of Lovecraft; I know it has stiff competition in the form of the AH LCG, but this game is no second fiddler. Being able to just step back and look at the board to see how well/badly you are doing give this game an edge. The artwork on the monster tokens and the cards fits with the theme of the game. I say this a lot about games that I own (and I mean it for most of the games I own); if you haven’t played this game, find someone who has a copy and play it.

I give this game 10 Insanity tokens, I would give it 9 but it shouldn’t lose points just because I can’t roll the dice to save myself
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Joel Brown
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Expansions add even more variety and gameplay!
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MC Shudde M'ell
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krambis12 is right - having played 5 times already, there's no question that Expansions are going to be worth it for you. Quickly: Forsaken Lore is the first and most necessary, thickening your thinnest decks so you don't keep seeing the same cards over and over. Small boxes are better value than big boxes, but none of them are bad. Focus is something you'll want to mitigate some of those bad rolls, but you don't need to buy an Expansion just for Focus. I'd be happy to expand on anything, or you can look around in here where we've talked about this stuff.

Welcome to the Madness!
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Ian Simpson
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Alixian wrote:

Stage 3: Fisticuffs. Are you strong enough to deliver a haymaker to a Cthonian? Once again gather up all the dice that equals your strength, don’t worry if you’re playing a character like Norman Withers because you will always roll at least 1 die in a skill test, apply modifiers, add weapons and equipment. Now you can only use 1 weapon per combat phase, so if you happen to be running around with a shotgun and a knife it’s one or the other, not both. However, if you have a piece of equipment that allows you to reroll combat tests you can use it as long as it isn’t giving you a +X bonus to dice rolls. If you succeed in rolling the number of successes that beats the damage the monster causes you get to cause the difference in damage to the monster, if not you take the difference in damage. If you beat the monster it’s banished back to the monster cup and you get to take another encounter as a reward. If the monster is on a gate, you get a chance to close that gate.

The "One weapon only" thing is not a rule. If you have multiple items/weapons that give you +X to a stat, you use the highest bonus, but any other effects from items/weapons you can stack as much as you like.

For instance, if you have 2 weapons, one giving +1 Str and a reroll in combat, and one giving +2 Str and a damage reduction from the enemy, you get

+2 Str
reroll
damage reduction

Appreciate you're giving a high level view here and not reproducing the rulebook, but that's a really common misconception
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Acer Acerman
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Hint: buy only small-box expansions.
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Paul Jones
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I like the big expansions too. They give you more investigators and more Ancient ones to deal with. The extra boards can give variety.
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MC Shudde M'ell
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acer77 wrote:
Hint: buy only small-box expansions.

...until you realize that you have bought them all and still want more Expansions. (But yes, small first absolutely)
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Al Walker
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krambis12 wrote:
Expansions add even more variety and gameplay!

Agreed, my wife hinted at the possibility of there being an expansion or two in my future
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Al Walker
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MrPyro wrote:
Alixian wrote:

Stage 3: Fisticuffs. Are you strong enough to deliver a haymaker to a Cthonian? Once again gather up all the dice that equals your strength, don’t worry if you’re playing a character like Norman Withers because you will always roll at least 1 die in a skill test, apply modifiers, add weapons and equipment. Now you can only use 1 weapon per combat phase, so if you happen to be running around with a shotgun and a knife it’s one or the other, not both. However, if you have a piece of equipment that allows you to reroll combat tests you can use it as long as it isn’t giving you a +X bonus to dice rolls. If you succeed in rolling the number of successes that beats the damage the monster causes you get to cause the difference in damage to the monster, if not you take the difference in damage. If you beat the monster it’s banished back to the monster cup and you get to take another encounter as a reward. If the monster is on a gate, you get a chance to close that gate.

The "One weapon only" thing is not a rule. If you have multiple items/weapons that give you +X to a stat, you use the highest bonus, but any other effects from items/weapons you can stack as much as you like.

For instance, if you have 2 weapons, one giving +1 Str and a reroll in combat, and one giving +2 Str and a damage reduction from the enemy, you get

+2 Str
reroll
damage reduction

Appreciate you're giving a high level view here and not reproducing the rulebook, but that's a really common misconception

I thought that was the message I was getting across. I might have said it in a way that made sense to me at the time I was writing this review.
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Mark Harms
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Esgaldil wrote:
acer77 wrote:
Hint: buy only small-box expansions.

...until you realize that you have bought them all and still want more Expansions. (But yes, small first absolutely)

For sure, get the small boxes, but I think Mountains of Madness is becoming my favorite expansion. I've recently completed two games against the Elder Things, one solo (2 investigators) and one with friends (6 investigators), that turned into epic struggles going down to the wire (both losses) with lots of fun ups and downs and plotting and strategizing. I like the sideboard's feel and mechanics plus M of M has some of my favorite investigators like Patrice Hathaway, Tommy Muldoon and Ursula Downs.
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