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Subject: Your dice really are trying to kill you: Elder Sign Omens rss

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Steve Tudor
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Something is awakening in Arkham’s History museum. Something old, alien and evil is trying to break through the fabric of reality and enslave the world. Your job is to take command of a team of four investigators as you explore the museum and attempt to find the coveted Elder Signs needed to close the dimensional voids and seal the ancient one away.

Elder Sign Omens is based on a dice matching mechanic in a similar method to Yahtzee and takes its themes form H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories. One by one you will send your investigators on adventures around the museum where they will unravel the mysteries of the Cthulhu mythos by solving a number of dice matching tasks. The dice matching mechanic transfers rather well to a touch screen device; tap an icon to roll and drag dice to assign them to the various tasks or to discard. To help you in your adventures are clues, items and spells which all have various effects such as replenishing health or sanity, re-rolling dice or adding more dice to your pool. If the investigator succeeds they are rewarded with these items and even the coveted Elder Signs needed to win the game. If they lose they will be wounded, loose a piece of their mind or worst of all, aid the coming of the Great Old One by adding to the doom counter.


From this screen you will select which adventure you wish your character to attempt


After all four investigators have had their turn the clock strikes midnight and doom counter slowly advances. I say slowly, at first you feel as if you have plenty of time. The doom counter seems to advance at a snail’s pace but once one of your investigators is six feet under and another is visiting a comfy padded cell you realise you don’t have enough time or resources to stop the end of the world. Occasionally, just to ruin your day even further, a monster will appear, these get added to existing locations and defeating the monster becomes an additional task required to complete the adventure. Thankfully defeating monster, and completing adventures, also rewards you with trophies which can be spent at the museum foyer to gain equipment or heal your wounded investigators. Trophies can also be used to by elder signs but this is an expensive way to do it.


There are a variety of investigators to choose from. You can try and select the perfect team or just go with a random set up.


Elder Sign Omens provides a good spread of different investigators to take on their maddening quest. Each investigator not only has different levels of health and sanity but also has special abilities they can bring to the table. Having this variety also brings some longevity into the game. Selecting you investigators and using them to the best of their abilities is the key strategy to success in this game.
Omens is not a full conversion of the physical game. Some elements have been stripped out or streamlined; most notable of which is the boss fights. In the real world game if the doom track progresses far enough the investigators have to battle the Great Old One. For the virtual Elder Sign Omens, when the Great Old One awakens the game is over. The full complement of Great Old Ones has been reduced to two, plus an extra in the expansion, and these two represent two separate difficultly levels.


Adventures are completed by dragging the correct dice onto the task.


Where Elder Sign Omens really triumphs is mood. Lovecraft’s worlds are dark, mysterious and terrifying. The music and sound effects, although simple, succeed in evoking the mood of Lovecraft’s vision and ramps up the feeling of increasing dread. The areas of the museum are expressed via static images and the artwork used is top notch. Admittedly if you have already played any of Fantasy Flight’s Cthulhu based board or card games you’ve probably seen many of the images before but again they evoke both the 1920’s setting and the horror of the game drawing you in to the setting.

Elder Sign Omens is a game that is perfectly suited to mobile devices. It is too light a game for a desktop PC or a living room console but on a mobile device the gameplay is simple enough that you can play for a few minutes at a time but engaging enough that you keep coming back to complete your game.

There’s no doubting that Omens is a touchpad game that just works; the dice mechanics have been beautifully transferred to mobile devices and the graphics and user interface are easily understood even on a tiny iPhone screen. The game evokes Lovecraft’s terrifying setting well and the music and sound effects add the impending sense of dread that physical games just can’t do. In the end though, Elder Sign Omens is a game about rolling dice and is subsequently entirely luck dependant. You’re aim is to influence that luck by selecting the correct investigator for each task, and carefully using the spells, skills and equipment available. If you’re after a game with more tactical control then this isn’t for you but If you are after a light foray into the Cthulhu Mythos then this is definitely for you.

Check out my other reviews at www.polyhedroncollider.com

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Paul S
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DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT?
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Nice review. I like it too. Have you tried the Call of Cthulhu DLC? Much tougher than the base game.
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A. Power
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Nice review. I'm enjoying this game immensely. And Call of Cthulhu is well worth checking out. It adds a final boss battle back to at least the new scenario.
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Steve Tudor
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I've got the Cthulhu dlc and I really like what they did with it. I was worried it was just going to be a more difficult setting but the changing of the location out of he museum and changing the win conditions made it very interesting.
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Original Dibbler
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Wahoffelmadenga wrote:
I've got the Cthulhu dlc and I really like what they did with it. I was worried it was just going to be a more difficult setting but the changing of the location out of he museum and changing the win conditions made it very interesting.


I did not add Cthulhu because of the same reasons but now I will add it as soon as I am at home (and have WLAN). And I blame you!
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Original Dibbler
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Nice review but I cannot agree with that point:

Wahoffelmadenga wrote:
In the end though, Elder Sign Omens is a game about rolling dice and is subsequently entirely luck dependant. You’re aim is to influence that luck by selecting the correct investigator for each task, and carefully using the spells, skills and equipment available. If you’re after a game with more tactical control then this isn’t for you but If you are after a light foray into the Cthulhu Mythos then this is definitely for you.


There are many possibilities to inflance the outcome of the dice rolls: simple items, special items, spells, character abilities, clue markers,... Luck is a factor but tactic is (at least) as important as luck.
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Steve Tudor
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Originaldibbler wrote:

I did not add Cthulhu because of the same reasons but now I will add it as soon as I am at home (and have WLAN). And I blame you!

I take full responsibility . If you enjoyed ESO then you should enjoy the Cthulhu expansion, but its is much more difficult!

Originaldibbler wrote:
There are many possibilities to inflance the outcome of the dice rolls: simple items, special items, spells, character abilities, clue markers,... Luck is a factor but tactic is (at least) as important as luck.

I think the careful use of your investigators' skill are important but I've lost count of the amount of time I've burnt up all of my items and clues to try and get one result. Its a frustrating experience that is just down to bad luck. It doesn't diminish the game in my opinion but some people may be turned off by it and I wanted to make that clear.

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Original Dibbler
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Bullseye71 wrote:
Nice review. I'm enjoying this game immensely. And Call of Cthulhu is well worth checking out. It adds a final boss battle back to at least the new scenario.


Now that I have played agains Cthulhu. Yes, it is totaly worth it. No, it does not add a boss fight.
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Vladimir Lehotai
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My dice are not going to kill me, no. They are teasing and trolling me instead.

Today, three investigators died in Rlyeh in the Cthulhu campaign. Every single one of them had perfect rolls for the first two tasks (lore and terror?), yet no amount of clues helped me to get the final two perils. The two investigators without shotgun even got one peril teasing them, but the Random Number Gods were in bad mood.

I have died many times to such "luck".
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The Fiend
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HA! I have the same luck as Vlad. I don't know if people are lying but beating Cthulhu isn't easy or frequent, in fact, for me it's NEVER. Twice I needed just one more Peril to win and failed despite having re-rolls, shotguns, etc. I've gotten to the 2nd part with ZERO Doom and then lost by random midnight effects. Nothing like ridding the board of all known midnight effects when something pops up right before midnight (that you've had no chance to even look at) and slaughters your weakened Investigators!
I WILL win, I WILL win, I WILL win (repeat 100 times).
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