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Subject: Elder Sign: Dice Rolling for H.P. Lovecraft Fans rss

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Robert V. Bolton
United States
Syracuse
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Elder Sign from Fantasy Flight Games is an one to eight player dice game designed by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson. In Elder Sign players take on the roll of investigators working together in search of the mythical Elder Signs used to prevent the Ancient Ones from traveling to this dimension and wiping out all human kind. Players carry out this by rolling dice to collect combinations, using them to complete tasks and defeat monsters. Depending on whether players succeed or fail at a task, they are either rewarded or punished. The rewards include items that help the players prevent the ancient one from awaking. Failing to complete a task brings players ever closer to their impending doom. The game is easy to learn and plays in about an hour.

Overall Impression of Elder Sign

I love rolling dice and chance, and Elder Sign is full of both. You’re rolling dice trying to collect various combinations like Yahtzee, but unlike Yahtzee your chance of success increases or decreases with the addition or subtraction dice. For people like me who love Probability theory this is fascinating, for “normal” people Elder Sign has a great Lovecraftian theme. Most of the cards in the game have flavor text that enhance the theme. I was able to get more enjoyment from Elder Sign once I started reading the flavor text on the cards. The only cards that don’t have flavor text are the item cards. Fantasy Flight miss the mark with these cards. If they’re going to go though the trouble of naming each common, unique, and spell card then you should have added some flavor text to each card. It’s not hard! For example: .45 Automatic – “The feel of the cold steel upon my skin gives me a sliver of hope against this unspeakable evil”. This game is often compared to Arkham Horror, but it is not a replacement for Arkham Horror. If you love Arkham Horror with its complicated rules, monstrously long game play, and complex setup then skip Elder Sign and use the money to buy another expansion. But if you hate Arkham Horror for those reasons then I’d recommend you try Elder Sign. If you don’t prefer H.P. Lovecraft themed games then I recommend you look for another game. Elder Sign doesn’t offer enough depth if you’re not invested in the theme.
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Zigi Hogan
United States
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What's it going to be then, eh?
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Very good quickie review. I absolutely LOVE this game!devil

But, as you mentioned, I wonder if I would be all that much of a fan with a different theme. I am a HUUUUGE Lovecraft fan but would I like this game as much if it were a sci-fi theme (and not the awesome cosmic horror of the Lovecraft kind) which I am fairly indifferent about?

I have played this with several other people (adults and kids) who had no clue who Lovecraft was surprise and they still enjoyed this game quite a bit.

Maybe I answered my own question.
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Nick Storm
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I'm a huge gamer and a huge HPL fan.

I would bet most HPL fans would love this game as the theme and ease of play carries it nicely.

I would also bet the 90% of all Arkham Horror fans would buy/play/love Elder Sign for the same ease of play. That's why the smartphone version is doing so well. Who doesn't enjoy a quick game ? AH is like by some, mainly the hardcore gamers and older fans of the game, but it's really too long and complicated. Elder Sign, while almost too SIMPLE and easy on it's face, attempts to bridge that gap. With a decent amount of mods, E.S is excellent.
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Bob T
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Zigihogan wrote:
Very good quickie review. I absolutely LOVE this game!devil

But, as you mentioned, I wonder if I would be all that much of a fan with a different theme. I am a HUUUUGE Lovecraft fan but would I like this game as much if it were a sci-fi theme (and not the awesome cosmic horror of the Lovecraft kind) which I am fairly indifferent about?

I have played this with several other people (adults and kids) who had no clue who Lovecraft was surprise and they still enjoyed this game quite a bit.

Maybe I answered my own question.


I'm a huge HP fan too, but I probably would love this game if it were Sci-Fi or Indy Jones adventure or something (either genre could have a skull symbol- not sure about Terror though)

If FFG released it with "Android" theme and artwork, I'd buy it in a second even knowing they ripped off their own game. In fact it may work better with an adventure/SF theme cause then the game could relax and be the fast-paced dice-fest that it is without the pressure of being scary or Lovecraftian.
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