Podcast regular Robbie has decided to put finger to keyboard and offer us his opinions on some of the games he’s been playing. The enormity of this event cannot be understated as usually he only sits in front of a computer monitor for extended periods of time either if porn is involved or his Hearthstone needs a good buff, so we should accept this generous donation and speak no further on the subject lest we discourage him.
Eldritch horror is a game designed to test your willpower and perseverance, roughly out of the 10 games played our small but consistent 3 investigator group has only saved the world once. but then again saving the world from the Elder Gods is no easy feat, which is what makes coming back to it time and time again a reward in itself.
From the start it can be an uphill challenge, or cliff, dependent on which character you choose, the big bad you face off against and what mischief the assorted event decks have waiting for you. It is by far one of the meanest games I’ve ever played. I thought Pandemic was cruel, then I discovered Eldritch Horror.
The premise is that in order to save the world you have to solve mysteries, but in order to solve these mysteries you have to collect clues by travelling around the world, closing otherworldly gates, defeating monsters that want to eat your face all the while dealing with the ongoing chaos that the end of the world inevitably brings with it. (I believe Antarctica actually exploded the last time we played)
Every game crafts it’s own unique story through the use of Encounter and Mythos cards – depending on your location at the end of a turn, either in a city, the wilderness or out at sea it has a bearing on the type of encounter you’ll face the choices you’ll make and the effects it will have on you, some good many bad. The Mythos cards are the angry sibling to these effecting not only you but also your fellow investigators and have potentially far reaching ramifications to the entire world.
Some locations are more useful providing bonus “skill ups” to your character, enabling you to roll more dice, become more heroic and maybe stave off the end of the world. Of course all this adventuring has a dark side a run of bad rolls can send you doolally, push you deep into despair or paranoia and just maybe some gangsters will show up wanting to break your legs. Fun times.
If you’re lucky, you’ll become blessed, find all sorts of artifacts and have the sort of jolly adventures to make Indiana Jones envious. Sadly the more likely outcome with this being Lovecraft is you’ll end up horribly cursed, mildly paranoid, severely delusional in fact so insane you’ll have a hard time just trying to keep from eating your own feet.
Eldritch Horror is a game I love to hate, it’s like an old-school video game where you will die hundreds of times before you finally beat that end boss. Even when we did finally save the world, it was at the 11th hour, as an Mythos card resolved drowning one of our number in a pool of his own bile, murdering mine in equally unpleasant manner and stole all our stuff leaving us teetering on the brink of victory.
Overall though, the attention to detail, the potential for disaster and the sheer joy of rolling a success against all odds makes Eldritch Horror a brilliantly crafted co-op story telling board game. One where you are literally facing the end of the world each turn and must fight a rising tide of evil to save the day. It’s not easy, and my god can it be stressful. But it’s oh so satisfying when it goes your way… even with the ever increasing feeling of impending doom. It’s a game that loves to give to you nice things with one hand, then punch you in the face repeatedly with the other.
In a 3 player game we often end up running into 3 or 4 hour plays, it supports up to 8 players. So if you’ve got a regular gaming group and want something to chew on for an evening, I would strongly recommend Eldritch Horror.