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Subject: First attempt at Eldritch Horror at Essen: Impressions rss

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Mike the little chemist
Germany
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Hello everyone,
after a long day at the Spiel 2013 in Essen (Germany) I was randomly wandering around and passed the playing area of Heidelberger Verlag (the german distributor of the FFG games) where my eye fell on a poster of "Eldritch Horror". My first thought was: "Probably only an advertisement". But I took my chance and dug into the rather crowded playing area. And yes, at one table there was a full copy of Eldritch Horror. The session was about to start and one place was open. Of course I could not pass up the opportunity to have a go and was able to play a couple of turns and get a first hand experience on the "Arkham Horror 2.0/Arkham Horror Light". And after coming home today I thought I could share my impressions here.

(Disclaimer: I was pretty tired at the time I discovered the game, so I may have some facts wrong. Sorry for that in advance).

(Also much of the stuff I am going to write about has already be made public by FFG but I will repeat it anyway)

(Moreover, I am not a native english speaker, so please forgive any weird sounding phrases.)

EDITs: Typos, oh so many typos. And some really weird phrases. And sentences ending suddenly. One should not write when tired. Hope it's better to read now.

General Overview
So, the Yellow Shirt Guy (dude in charge of teaching us the game, who was very nice and patient with our questions) asked if i knew Arkham Horror. I said yes, and he responded: "Good, then you will feel right at home here". And indeed I did. The basic setup was the same: An Ancient Evil is going to awake from its slumber and our job is it to prevent that. For this we have to collect clues about the mythos, combat monsters, have encounters and close gates that could open in various places and try to win before the Old Evil awakes. All that with mythos cards making our life hell and a doom track, spelling our approaching...doom. Until there I really felt right at home. But from there on things developed rather differently from the good old Arkham Horror, that I came to love so much.


The Ancient One, conditions to win and loose
As one could have guessed we were set up against the "Beginner" Ancient one: Azathoth.


He did come with, a cool Artwork, an instruction on how to build the mythos deck (more on that later),something about cultits getting some other stats (but that never came up, and I did not pay attention to that) and a rule about under certaing conditions you decrease the Doom Track depending on a number of open Gates (more on that later). We were explained that in order to win, we had to solve 3 missions (out of 4 available in total), which were tied to Azathoth. And each of the other Ancient ones got their own set of 4 individuall missions. The mission we got said something along the lines of: "Whenever you close a gate you may spend 1 clue token. If you do this a number of times (I think it was 3) we solve this mission. My first thought was "Hey, like in Arkham Horror, but 1 clue seems to be rather easy". Well, until we tried to get some clue tokens, but more on that later.
As loosing condition we got the Doom Track. Yellow Shirt Guy explained, that if the Doom Track ever reaches 0, we would have to flip the Ancient One's Sheet over and read on the back what would happen. Being Azathoth all the guys at the table with Arkham Horror experience of course knew what we would read on the back of his sheet...but I found it awesome, that one does not know right away, what happens if we loose, and what the conditions of a possible final battle would be. So at least in the first session against an Ancient One, preparing for a final battle would be rather hard.
Also a major change: You don't loose by default if too many gates are open. Still, too many gates being open is not so good, as I will explain farther bellow.
Anyway, this were the informations we got on how to win or loose the game.


Investigators
The investigators were recognizable, with known faces but new artworks. They all again had a number of health and sanity (which was generally higher than in Arkham Horror) special effects, starting items, and a set of skills.

The skills worked like in Arkham Horror: Roll a number of dice equal to the number of skill points, modify this number by effects on cards and items, every 5 and 6 is a success. Clue tokens do not add additional dice, but allow you to reroll. What I like about this new system is, that you don't have to fiddle around with the sliders anymore, although the adaptability in Arkham Horror was good. Moreover, there are ways to permanently increase these skill by a maximum of 2 now.
The new thing is, whenever either Sanity or Health drop to 0, your character is out of the game and you have to draw a new one. Your old character becomes then a one time NPC encounter possibly giving the encountering investigator some benefit.

So as example, I played with Mark Harrigan, who got 8 Stamina, 4(?) Sanity, the Ability not to be delayed or arrested (and I think something else, but memory is fuzzy) and I had an revolver (+2 Str in Combat) and Kerosene (+6 str in combat, discard after use) as starting items. I don't know if they were fixed or not, the game was pre set up.

Turn Overview
Like most FFG games, one turn was broken up in several phases:
1. Mythos Phase:
Draw a Mythos card and watch the game kicking your butt.

2. Investigator Action Phase:
Investigators can do stuff, like buying items, moving on the board or using items (reading tomes for example).

3. Encounter Phase:
Investigators Encounter their occupied spaces. This includes drawing an encounter card of your location, picking up clue tokens, fighting monsters and closing gates.

As you can see, there are some major changes from Arkham Horror. Picking up clues and fighting monsters are not done anymore on the move, but during the encounter phase. As a result, monsters do not block our movement anymore. Even more, you can be at the same place than a monster or an open gate all day, as long as the player does not decide to attack the monster or tries close the gate. You may think now, that this very much lessens the threat of monsters (who mostly served as roadblocks in Arkham Horror), but monsters got really dangerous in a different way. More on that later.

Mythos Phase
This phase is basically the same we know from Arkham Horror (now being referred to as AH): Draw a card from the mythos deck and resolve what is written on there. Mythos cards come in different colours (as it apparently was spoilered by FFG yesterday). The Yellow Shirt Guy himself could not say exactly, what was the difference between the colors, FFG states that blue means "easy", but the one blue Mythos card we saw hit us with a pretty nasty rumor, so no idea if this categorizing in "easy" or "hard" is that true.
The interesting thing is, that each Ancient One introduces a different mix of Mythos Cards:

This means, that every Ancient one hits you with a different flavour of cards, which I think is an awesome concept, making each game a different experience. Moreover, the cards being arranged in different stages means, that one can predict a little, what is coming up. If for example, the only blue Mythos card got already played, then you'd know that for the rest of the phase there would be no more blue Mythos cards. I can only speculate on the implications, since we only saw around 4 Mythos cards, but it could be very helpful to know what was left in store for you.
A typical Mythos card looks like this:


At the top you have a number of symbols I will talk about in a minute. Bellow that you have some cool fluff text (which was more extensive than on any AH Mythos card) and bellow some other effect. So, again, the basic structure is much alike Arkham Horror, but the execution is rather different, which has to do with the symbols up there.
The first symbol (left side) says, to advance the "Omens Marker" one space.
The Omens Track looks like this:


And the symbols correlate with the symbols on gates:


What the advancement on that Omen Track actually does depends on the Ancient One. In our case Azathoth had the special rule: When the Omens Marker advances to a new space decrease the Doom Track by 1 for every open gate with the corresponding symbol. That means, if too many gates were open, the Doom Track would decrease rather quickly everytime the Omen Track would advance, forcing the players to keep those gates in check. There may be other effects which I did not get, but basically the Omen Track controls the Ancient Onces "A.I.", since supposedly other Ancient ones would do other things with those symbols and the gates.

The next symbol, in the middle, I will only refer to as the "EVIL SYMBOL(TM)". We quickly learned to fear this symbol, because when it appeared, all kinds of bad stuff did happen, as I will explain later. Still, start to fear, hate and loathe this symbol if you plan to get Eldritch Horror:


The symbol on the right announces more gates opening, and the number of gates depends on the number of players:


There are also symbols for spawning new clue tokens, other stuff and monster surges. Yes, monster surges now are their own event and can happen with or without gate openings and also depend on the number on players.
So all in all, this systems allows for a nice scaleability of the game.



Investigator Action Phase
This is the phase, where the investigators get to do stuff. Every investigator gets 2 actions, he can spend on whatever he wants, with one rule: One is not allowed to take the same action twice.
The following actions are usually available:
1. Move
For one action you can move to another space connected by a line with the current one.



There are i think three kinds of connections, water, railroad and uncharted. If you have one you could, after moving once, use a rail or ship ticket to move a second time. And (but I am not sure) if you had more tickets you could move even more, but maybe that is restricted by the rules, it did not come up in our game though. There are no tickets for uncharted lines, which means you have to use your one move per turn to travel along that path. All in all, this means, moving from A to B may take some time, since you may use only one move action per turn. As a result investigators have to coordinate more carefully on who goes where.

2. Shop
Whenever you are in a city space (there are different kinds of spaces), you may try to shop. Eldritch Horror does not use money. Instead you make an influence check. The number of successes defines on what you can buy. At all times there are 4 items publicly available with different costs (I saw them ranging from 1-3), which gives the number of successes required to buy that item. So, if you wanted that rifle with a cost of three you had to roll three successes. Although: You are always able to get at least 2 successes...by taking a loan: Taking a loan immediately adds 2 successes to your roll but you have to take one of those cards:

At first this does not hurt you at all. Even better, you can expend an action, roll influence, and with one success get rid of this card again. But, whenever the EVIL SYMBOL(TM) appears on a mythos card you have to flip the debt card over and resolve the back, which can lead to...consequences. In one case one had to do a skill check, if successfull he could evade his pursuers and nothing happened. In another case they sent some rather scary collectors after you, who were not interested in you paying your debt in money (a.k.a. loose 2 sanity). So you never knew what awaited you, when the EVIL SYMBOL(TM) activated your loan. It was still a too tempting way to get some good items, not to use it almost everytime.

3. Rest
Simple: Use one action to rest and regain some stamina and sanity (I think it was 1 each but could've been 2 as well). And you could do this whenever you want. So no more dying painfully just because the hospital was blocked by a Dhole or something.

4. Use a card ability
Same as in AH, some cards allow you to spend actions on them. Mark Harrigan got a "De Vermis Mysteriis" relic card (they are equal to unique items, but cannot be shopped for so easily. I got mine for example from defeating a Mi-Go) which allowed him to use an action to roll on Lore. With a success he could loose 1 sanity to train one of his skills. And the book was reuseable.

5. Take a train or ship ticket
Can only be done in cities (I think), but this is a good way, if you don't know what else to do with your actions. This could happen if you for example tried repeatatly to close a gate or fight a monster, requiring the investigator to stay in the same place


Maybe there are sometimes special actions or other actions, but those were the ones that came up in our game. All in all, I like this system, enabling the investigator to flexibly use his actions on what was required most.


Investigator Encounter Phase
This is were the investigators encountered their location (duh!). What happened during this phase heavily depended on which space the investigator was, and what else was on the location.

1. Common Location
There are three types of common location: Sea, Wilderness, City. If your space is not a main location (locations with a picture), and there is nothing else on that location (Monster, Gate, Clue Token), then you draw from the pile of "Common Location Encounters", and read the passage for your space:

These are very common, and this deck remains the same, no matter which Ancient one is in play. I can only estimate, but i think this deck had at least 30 cards, which means there is enough variation in there for subsequent plays.

2. Main Location
If you encounter a main location (the one with the pictures), then you get to draw from another pile of encounters and read the one, which correspondends with your location. So an investigator in Rome would get another encounter than an investigator in Arkham.

3. Location with a clue token
If there is a location with a clue token, then an investigator can now attempt to pick up that clue token. Yes, I wrote "attempt", because being in the same space than the clue token is not enough anymore. You have to draw one card from a special "Clue Encounter" Deck and resolve it. The awesome thing is: Every Ancient One brings his own deck of clue encounters (!!!...!). For example, one investigator saw a comet coming down from the sky causing him to have some revelations about outer space and Azathoth (or something like that), while another one had a talk with a person (or did he read some books) revealing him more secrets about Azathoth. This means, getting clue tokens is not an abstract think anymore, but is actually uncovering knowledge about the Ancient One himself. And each of those encounters add to the story experienced by the player. And this story is different on what Ancient One is currently being played against. For me this was very awesome, giving each playing an individual flair. The deck consisted of at least 10 (maybe even 20) cards, which means one may not even see every of them in one playthrough.

Clue tokens can spawn from Mythos cards, but the location of the clue token is denoted on the back of the token, not the mythos card. Moreover, some encounters can cause for further clue tokens to spawn on the board. Example: One investigator encountered some kind of wraith who wanted to share secrets. If he failed a will check he would have lost 2 sanity, but he succeeded, causing another clue token to spawn.

4. Place with an open Gate
If you have an open Gate in your location, you can try to close it in this phase. For that you have to draw one Gate Encounter Card and resolve it. They can be rather difficult and differ on what is required. The cool thing about this is, that each card tells a specific adventure in different other worlds. Mark Harrigan for example tried to close a gate Rome. For that he had to venture into the Underworld. He encountered a bunch of Ghouls, who did not seem to be hostile by default. Mark passed an Influence Check and the Ghouls led him to some Dark Tower. In there he experienced some mind shattering things. But (by passing a Will Check) he found a way there how to close the gate and managed to do so.
Yellow Shirt Guy told us, that sometimes there are sacrifices of clue tokens involved if one wanted to close the Gate.
This Deck was the thickest of all. I estimated at least 40 different cards, meaning it takes probable 4-5 playthroughs to have seen most of them.

Some changes in Gates from AH:
1. You don't get a Gate Trophy. Just be glad the damn thing is closed.
2. Mythos cards now say "Gate Opens", not "Gate Opens Where". The location of the Gate opening is on the back of the Gate Marker. This prevents Gates opening at places with an already open gate.
3. You can only close Gates, when the symbol is the same than the current Omen Symbol (see Mythos Phase). This prevents you from rushing the nearest gate, and from repeatedly trying to close the same gate if you fail, because sooner or later the Omen changes and the gate cannot be closed anymore

Again, you may not loose by default from too many gates open. But you cannot encounter the location normally as long as the gate is there, Ancient Ones may gain some benefit from open gates (Azathoth causes the Doom Counter to decrease) and they are required for some missions to resolve. So, ignoring gates for too long is not a good idea.
This mechanic also gurantees for some encounters thematic with other worlds which was a problem in AH, since you rarely hit a gate card with an encounter tied to the specific other world you were currently exploring.

5. Place where "deceased" investigator is sitting as an NPC
If another investigator dies, he re-appears as NPC at a certain space. An investigator at that space encounters this "dead" investigator by resolving the encounter at the back of that investigators sheet. Which encounter one has depends on whether the old investigator got wounded (he cannot fight on but helps you out) or was driven insane (he may have written some gibberish on an asylum wall which still gave you some benefit.

6. Place with an expedition marker
At all times at one location on the board there is an expedition marker:

When an investigator encounters that space he draws from an expedition encounter deck. From what I have seen those encounters are rather difficult but more rewarding and always tied to the space where they take place. Example:
An investigator made an investigation into a mine deep in the African Jungle. There he found some weird gases. If he passed a skill check, he would have been able to proceed without harm and getting the cards reward (don't know what, since the player failed, maybe a "Unique" item), if failed, the gases hurt the investigator. Following that he tried to escape the gases. If he would have been lucky (another skill check, don't remember which one) some people would have found him and carry him to safety. Too bad he failed that check too and he had to loose stamina and draw an injury card on top.
No matter the encounters result, the expedition marker wanders to the location shown on the top card of the expedition encounter deck, creating another possible expedition counter in a new location.

This mechanism gives the player a high risk high reward encounter and the possibility to do something meaningful if there is nothing else around at that time.

7. Space with a monster
EDIT: Apparently I got something wrong: If there is a monster in your space you have to kill it before encountering the space. But apparently you still could try to close a gate, since Gug explicitly forbade that.

If you are in the same place as a monster you can try to kill it. It is completely your decision, if you don't want to fight the monster, then you can coexist on the same space and even try to close a gate. You may wonder now, what then the point of the monster is, if it does not hinder you in any way? The answer is, that monsters can execute some nasty actions on their own. In our game we had 3 monsters which I want to give you as an example.
1. Mi-Go: First, when you defeat him, you get an Arcane (a.k.a. Unique) Item. More importantly, if the EVIL SYMBOL(TM) comes up on a Mythos Card, the Mi-Go moves to the nearest space with a clue token an destroys that clue token. So yeah, obviously you would not want him to do that.

2. Gug: He does not do anything when the EVIL SYMBOL(TM) comes up, but he prevents any attempts at closing a gate in the same location. And is a bitch to fight.

3. The Wind Walker: He is one of the new EPIC MONSTERS (to be said aloud in a deep threatening voice). He also does nothing on his own, but if you don't defeat him after a while, this rumor will activate:

And he was not an easy guy to defeat (don't worry, I will spoil him a little later).

So as you can see, ignoring monsters is a bad thing in general, at those were only three examples. The evil thing is, you CAN ignore the monsters, allowing them to do bad stuff. On the other hand, you concentrate too much on monster killing and don't pursue clues and close gates, the gates do evil things to you. And if you don't focus on the missions enough you will not win the game. So yeah, monsters are bad.


So how does a fight work out? Example:
Before closing the gate in Rome, Mark Harrigan decided to kill the Mi-Go, sitting in the same spot. For that he first had to make an unmodified Horror Check. If failed he would loose 1 sanity. With a willpower of 4 (a.k.a. 4 dice to roll) it was not a problem. Next he tried to kill the Mi-Go. The monster had a combat modifier of -2, did 2 damage and had 3 health. Mark had a Strength of 4 (4 dice) and a pistol (+2 dice) which allowed him to roll a total of 4 dice in that combat (4 (strenght) + 2 (Pistol) - 2 (Mi-Go combat modifier). He rolled 2 successes. As a result he caused the Mi-Go to take 2 damage and the Mi-Go was not able to deal damage in return, since 2 successes - 2 damage the Mi-Go can do = 0 stamina lost.
(If you have equal or more successes than the monster has damage you don't loose stamina, if you roll less you get the difference as stamina loss).
Still, the fungus from Pluto was still alive. Therefore next turn Mark fought the Mi-Go again. He passed his Horror Check again but rolled only 1 success in the combat round. It was enough to kill the Mi-Go who had only 1 life left. But that time it managed to deal one damage to Mark too, causing one stamina loss, since that one success blocked out only 1 of the two damage the Mi-Go could do.

As you can see, combat is similar to AH, but also completely different. Personally I like the idea, because several investigators can work together now to kill a monster. And it is not the "all or nothing" method that AH employs. And investigators working together is sometimes necessary as was seen by that epic Wind Walker Monster.
That thing had 3-4 damage, 2-3 negative combat modifier (i think), but more importantly, it had health = number of investigators + 2 (in our 6 player game that was 8 health) and before fighting it an investigator had either to discard a clue token or loose 2 stamina. But if you did not fight it, that rumor shown befor sooner or later would have activated causing EACH investigator to loose a ton of health. So yeah, working together in fighting monster may be very necessary. And EPIC monsters apparently deserve that name.



All in all I like the new concept. Monster don't prevent moving around and doing stuff anymore, but if you ignore them you will be in trouble. And the revamped combat system is awesome.

EDIT: Oh and I forgot to mention, that you don't get to keep a defeated monster as a trophy. So, no reward for your effort, just be happy the bloody thing is gone.

Injuries and Madness cards
They are back. Now you don't get them when one of your stats goes to 0, but mostly by failing encounters (see Expedition Encounter above).

At first they either do nothing at all or give some small malus. Some can even be discarded easily, for example the Hallucinations card, which goes away by a die roll of 1-2 during a resting action. But, when the EVIL SYMBOL(TM) appears, you may (EDIT: "May"? I mean "must"!) flip your afflictions over causing different "interesting" things to happen. One guy for example had internal bleeding, that caused him a stamina loss, when the injury was activated.
This way of not knowing what your afflictions actually do to you leads to a lot of tension, because one never knows what happens when you get an injury. Also, there are several copies of the same injuries/madnesses in the deck, so if you have to draw one "Internal Bleeding" for example, you take the first one you find in the deck.


Spells
Spells did not see much play in my game, but they work similar to Mansions of Madness's spells. Example: A successfull encounter allowed an investigator to draw one "Wither" spell. He looks through the spell deck and takes the first "Wither" spell he finds. The spell itself only says (from memory): "During combat make a spell check and flip over" or "During combat get +2 fight, make a spell check and flip over". No spells got used, but Yellow Shirt Guy said, that what happens depends on the number of successes you roll. So bad things happen if you don't roll a success, and maybe the spell gets some extra effect if you roll many successes. Again, I like this concept, since it makes casting spell unpredictable and and turns them into that, what eldritch spalls are supposed to be: Meddling with things that not mortal should meddle with.



Conclusion
I hope I could give you some overview on how I experienced the game. I personally have to say, I really liked what I saw, the mechanics blend together wonderfully. My concerns, that this is only a rehashed AH are gone, this is its own game. It is much less predictable than Arkham Horror, since you don't know what the debts do, you don't know what the Spells do, you don't know what your madness and injury cards will do, heck, you don't even know what the bloody Ancient One will do to you if the Doom Track reaches 0 (well, except for Azatoth, of course).
Also, the monsters don't serve simply as roadblocks anymore, but cannot be ignored though.
Also, the game is more thematic and fighting Cthulhu will be a very different experience than fighting, say, Yog-Sothoth:
- The Omens trigger different effects from different Ancient Ones
- Ancient Ones bring their own quests you have to do in order to win
- Mythos Deck Composition is determined by the Ancient One
- The Clue Token Encounters are tied to the Ancient ones, giving you the impression, that you really are investigating the Mythos around that specific Ancient One

I could say more, but my fingers start hurting, so some last thoughts:
- Expeditions are cool
- EPIC MONSTERS are cool
- New Artwork is nice (I like the AH artwork, but it was used in Mansions, as well as Elder Sign, so something fresh is cool)
- There WILL be expansions, everyone at the table, including Yellow Shirt Guy agreed on that. And come on, it's FFG, what does one expect...
- I don't see a problem with the city encounter decks being small, or having much repetitions in encounters in general, since your draw from 5 different kinds of decks (Common, Main, Clue, Gate, Expedition) depending on what is going on, and the Clue Deck is in a specific Ancient one flavor.

So all in all, this game makes for a very very thematic experience. And compared to AH it is much less fiddly (until the expansions i guess).
Mind you, AH is one of my favourite game and will always hold a special place in my heart. But I think EH is in some ways more refined and better than AH. At least it is its own game completely, proudly standing appart from its older brother. I will definitely buy it asap.


P.S: Fear the EVIL SIGN(TM). It will ruin your life.



P.P.S: This is a private message for a friend who will be reading this:
Hey Dieter, ich hoffe das ist etwas ausführlicher als neulich am Telefon. Wirst ja selber sehen wie das Spiel ist, wenn du's demnächst in der Preview testen kannst. Und wenn ich Weihnachten in Regensburg bin müssen wir das unbedingt mal spieln.
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Richard Murtaugh
United States
Rancho Murieta
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Thanks very much for your time and thoughts in this report.
Looks like it's going on my want list.
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Alex F
Israel
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Thank you. I learned some new things that didn't crop up in the various previews. I'm even more excited about this game now.
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Anders Pedersen
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I am not much for "early play" reviews.
But this one was impressive!
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Enon Sci
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Great formatting and use of images.

Loved the review!
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Jonathan
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Great write-up. Thanks.
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Daniel Loke
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BUT MY DREAMS THEY AREN'T AS EMPTY
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I am most excited for these "cultits". I can't wait to see them in action. whistle After all, mb.





But seriously, amazing write up. Thanks for taking the time to go through it with us.
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Chris J Davis
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Great write-up, thanks! Just one thing I think you got wrong (or maybe the guy demoing the game got wrong): I'm pretty certain the FFG previews have mentioned that if you're in a location with a monster, you *must* have a monster encounter, and you can't have any other type of encounter unless you kill it, so I think you actually can't ignore the monsters. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Matthias Fischer
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Thanks for your impressions! Sounds really great. I'm glad, I preordered this one.
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Enon Sci
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Great write-up, thanks! Just one thing I think you got wrong (or maybe the guy demoing the game got wrong): I'm pretty certain the FFG previews have mentioned that if you're in a location with a monster, you *must* have a monster encounter, and you can't have any other type of encounter unless you kill it, so I think you actually can't ignore the monsters. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.


From the Encounter's preview:

Quote:
During your journey, you’ll need to fend off the fiendish monsters you may find lurking in locations around the world. If you begin your Encounter Phase with a Monster token on your space, your investigator must encounter the Monster in combat instead of resolving an encounter card. If you manage to defeat the Monster in combat, you may choose to resolve another encounter, so make sure to travel prepared.
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Mike the little chemist
Germany
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Great write-up, thanks! Just one thing I think you got wrong (or maybe the guy demoing the game got wrong): I'm pretty certain the FFG previews have mentioned that if you're in a location with a monster, you *must* have a monster encounter, and you can't have any other type of encounter unless you kill it, so I think you actually can't ignore the monsters. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.



Hah OK, I said, I was unfortunately too tired to pay attention to the details. Also, since i got Mark Harrigan I wanted to smash in some faces anyway and attacked the Mi-Go first. Then let's rephrase it to: You can stay in the same space as a gate
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MC Crispy
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Actually, it's worse than Anarcosyn states: IIRC from the games I've played, you have to defeat all the Monsters in a Location before you get to have a non-Monster Encounter. Each defeat of a Monster allows you another Encounter, but if there's still a Monster on the Location, then that Encounter must be with the Monster.
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8bg
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Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed report!
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Oleg volobujev
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Amazing info! Thanks a lot! Now i even more cannot wait when this game is out.......Sounds like is really much better then AH
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Sander Mulders

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Thanks for your game update and experience of what looks to me to become an amazing game. As for your overview keep up the good work, it gives a really nice idea.

Hopefully I will be able to get an demo/play session on upcoming spellenspektakel at holland fair. There they will show the game and hopefully sell it as well.
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Tim Garland
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Thanks for the review. It still sounds very promising. Do you have an idea of how many dice you would need for a game? I'm assuming it comes with 5, like Arkham Horror. The stats seem lower for the characters, so do you think 10 would be enough, or the standard 15?
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Mike the little chemist
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First off, thanks for the positive feedback. Makes typing this all down not seem like a waste of time.
Concerning the dice: As far as I can remember we had only 4 dice available. In most cases that was enough. But if I had used my cerosene with Mark against that Mi-Go I would have had to roll 8 dice. I cannot say, what else is in there, but I don't think, that more than 10 dice will be required, and as i said, in 90% of the cases, the 4 dice that came with the game were enough.



Addendum: I'd like to comment on the difficulty of the game. I belong to the group of Arkham Horror players, that believes, if one wins an easy victory at Arkham Horror, something went most obviously wrong. Or in other words, I usually like it when the game kicks my ass. And from what I saw, I felt, Eldritch Horror is right up there in that league. After 3-4 turns we had 4-5 gates open, 2 Monster out and 5 out of 6 people had Debts and Injuries (some even multiple ones, from failing encounters) activating all at the same time. Plus that EPIC MONSTER, that, if left unchecked would have caused that Rumor to wipe out at least half of the players a few turns later. And the few Clue Tokens we managed to salvage at that point were required to combat the Wind Walker instead of closing gates. And the next time the Omen track advances, the Doom Track would decrease by 2-3 from all those open gates. With a starting doom track of around 12-14, and no progress on the first mission we were in quite some trouble. So yeah, I felt like I usually do with Arkham Horror: There is no chance in hell we would be able to turn it around, but it would've been awesome if we did.
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Enon Sci
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Battlepeon wrote:
I felt like I usually do with Arkham Horror: ...


Mike, speaking of Arkham, can you compare and contrast the feels of these games. I mean, does it go beyond the the simplifications, and carry a unique sense of presence? Did the encounters feel similarly simplified or the same?

And, speaking of simplifications (like the money), do you feel they were for the best, or did you find anything unfulfilling due to its streamlining? Personally, I always liked shopping in Arkham, but am unsure whether what you described above will enhance or detract from the experience (on one hand, you have access to many more "stores" across the map, and have an increased chance of adding something new to your growing arsenal throughout the full arc of the adventure. On the other, the unique feeling of regionally available goods will be lacking, as each "store" will have the same--or nearly the same--inventory).

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Jacob Busby
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Anarchosyn wrote:
[q="Battlepeon"]On the other, the unique feeling of regionally available goods will be lacking, as each "store" will have the same--or nearly the same--inventory).


That practically sounds like a simple expansion idea. e.g. Tribal Mask cost 3 Influence, but onlu 1 influence if bought in Africa or south america.
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Mike the little chemist
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Anarchosyn wrote:


Mike, speaking of Arkham, can you compare and contrast the feels of these games. I mean, does it go beyond the the simplifications, and carry a unique sense of presence? Did the encounters feel similarly simplified or the same?

And, speaking of simplifications (like the money), do you feel they were for the best, or did you find anything unfulfilling due to its streamlining? Personally, I always liked shopping in Arkham, but am unsure whether what you described above will enhance or detract from the experience (on one hand, you have access to many more "stores" across the map, and have an increased chance of adding something new to your growing arsenal throughout the full arc of the adventure. On the other, the unique feeling of regionally available goods will be lacking, as each "store" will have the same--or nearly the same--inventory).



The encounters i have seen did definitely not feel simplified. I mean many AH Encounters were like "Do a skill check to gain an item/clue/money, loose Stamina/Sanity if you fail". Like that were most of the encounters here. On top, the Gate Encounters, Clue Encounters and Expedition Encounters (Mind you, I only saw a small number of the cards) were more complex than that, often being 2 stage encounters, like: "First do a skill check, if failed you're screwed. If passed, do something else. Only then you pass the encounter". And all that layered with more storytelling than the usual Arkham Horror encounters.

Compare how it feels...lets see...
In both games you had the feeling, that the game hates you and wants you to suffer. Hence, you really had to struggle for any achievements (often being foiled by some of the games machinations). So yeah, this I did like.

One big difference for me were the monsters. As already said, in Arkham Horror they served mostly as obstacles, blocking a road or accessing a gate. Here, the monsters don't hinder you so much anymore but still can not be easily ignored.
The most striking difference for me was certainly the combat. In Arkham Horror it was usually like "I don't have any way of defeating that monster over there", while in Eldritch Horror you can act more like "OK, I cannot defeat that monster on my own, but I can certainly damage it a little and maybe someone else can finish it of". So in AH, you needed a very good fighting gear to even make a dent in the monsters, here you can actually contribute in monster killing without being rigged up like Rambo.
Another difference for me were the clue tokens. In AH, they were treated more like another form of currency, since you could gain and loose them pretty fast (everyone who spent 10 clue tokens just to get that 1 more success knows what i mean). In EH, clue tokens were much more valuable. This showed for example in the mission we had: We needed only 1 clue to seal the gate, and i guess other missions would not even include clue tokens at all. On the other hand, you had to pass a rather difficult encounter to just get one single clue token, while in AH there were literally lying around on the streets. As a result you'd value each single Clue token more, since you really had to work for it instead of "I got there, pick up 1 clue token...".
What I felt was really improved is, that clues now actually are part of the story you are experiencing, since the clue encounters are rather rich in description and come from the personal deck of encounters that each Ancient One brings along. In Arkham Horror they were rather abstract, as I said, currency.

About the gate closing I am not sure. I really liked having to spend roughly 2 turns in the other world in AH, with the constant threath of failing (getting Lost in Time and Space) and doing it all over again. And even if you passed the Other World, you still had to pass that Lore or Combat Check, and if failing that, dealing with any monsters that spawned in the meantime.
In EH, you had to resolve one single encounter, if failed you could instantly try again. I am not COMPLETELY sure, but monsters don't prevent you from trying again (as i said, the Gug monster explicitly forbade having a go at the gates while it was sitting there). So yeah, in this case I may prefer the AH system. The positive thing for me was, that you really had Other World specific encounters all the time instead of the "Other" which happened >70 of times in AH. And also, but I cannot confirm it, I guess, that the costs for failing an Other World Encounter are rather dire (Madness and Injury included), at least it was like that in the 2-3 cards I have seen. So yeah, it's a mixed bag.

The shopping I don't know, since it is so completely different from AH. I like, that you don't have to fiddle around with the money anymore. I don't like so much, that there is only one kind of shop for common items accessible. It is fine, that Unique Items are more of a reward for risky encounters now, but not being able to shop for spells was not so cool (maybe there IS a way, but we did not see it). This takes away some of the decision making.

I also am unsure, whether I like the revamped skill system. Being able to adapt you skills was fun in Arkham Horror (although those unfastened, always bouncing away slider thingies were not), and it gave you lot's of options to customise your characters. Being able to train your skills a little is a nice addition though. Also I really miss the skill cards, giving each investigator another special ability.

Also, from what I have seen, the items are simpler than in AH, mostly giving straight stat boosts (again, I have only seen a few items, i could be completely wrong) but mind you, base game AH also went with rather basic stuff, adding the weird and whacky stuff in the expansions.



Concluding, I felt the simplifications were fine for me. If I wanted to play a game as complex as AH I would simply play AH. I will certainly miss all the whacky stuff that could happen in Arkham Horror with all its expansions (being corrupted, taking dark pacts, rifts popping up, personal quests, random stuff from mythos cards that simply screws you over), but I am sure, there will be whacky stuff going on in EH as well, especially when the expansions come (and they WILL come...it's FFG). The bonus points for EH definitely were, that it is less fiddly than Arkham Horror, and that there were more layers of story telling added to everything. Mind you, we also made our own stories in Arkham Horror (like the bicycle riding Sister Mary wielding the dual magic swords, or the kid running around with the whiskey and the flamethrower), but in Eldritch Horror the game itself delivers more story, it is less abstract as AH sometimes could be.

And, I think it will be more accessible to non-hardcore gamers than Arkham Horror (where the FAQ is longer than most rulebooks), since you don't have to keep so much track of all kinds of different shit going on at the same time.

So I conclude again: For me, this is a game that sets itself appart from and plays differnetly than Arkham Horror, and rightly so. If not I could simply keep on playing Arkham Horror. It will not replace Arkham Horror for me, since it is NOT the same game (but that is completely my opinion, you have to try it for yourself to make that decision), but I will rather take it to my weekly public boardgame meetings and just play with random guys than having to prepare for like 1 hour setting up Arkham Horror and getting together the right group of people, who can stomach the beast of a game, that Arkham Horror is.



Moreover, Eldritch Horror is easier to transport and set up than Arkham Horror. NO game needs as much maintenance than Arkham Horror. That is, until the expansions will roll out i guess.



Hope that answered your Question
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MC Crispy
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Battlepeon wrote:
Moreover, Eldritch Horror is easier to transport and set up than Arkham Horror. NO game needs as much maintenance than Arkham Horror. That is, until the expansions will roll out i guess.
Yes, I know you mentioned expansions, but there is zero difference between EH and AH base game for portability. Similarly, there isn't any real difference in setup times between the two base games: where you lose some components in EH compared to AH, you gain a Mythos deck setup. I've now tweaked my EH setup in the same way as I have my AH setup and I really don't see the difference Base game vs. Base game.

I do wish people would compare like with like.
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Chris J Davis
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One concern: with clues being so precious, did anyone ever consider even once using one to re-roll a die?
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bleached_lizard wrote:
One concern: with clues being so precious, did anyone ever consider even once using one to re-roll a die?
Clues are not so precious as you might think: in the main, Mysteries only let you use the Clue that you earned from the Research Encounter you just had rather than any that you may have accumulated. The text of the Mystery is usually "as part of a Reasearch Encounter you may place one Clue token from that Encounter on this card...". They do not say "spend a Clue token..."

So spending clues that you have in hand isn't a huge deal(unlike in Arkham Horror IMO). Mind you, I seldom have any Clues in hand because they either go straight on a Mystery or I don't collect them in the first place because there are better things to with my time if I don't need to do a Research Encounter for a the purposes of a Mystery.
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Chris J Davis
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mccrispy wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
One concern: with clues being so precious, did anyone ever consider even once using one to re-roll a die?
Clues are not so precious as you might think: in the main, Mysteries only let you use the Clue that you earned from the Research Encounter you just had rather than any that you may have accumulated. The text of the Mystery is usually "as part of a Reasearch Encounter you may place one Clue token from that Encounter on this card...". They do not say "spend a Clue token..."

So spending clues that you have in hand isn't a huge deal(unlike in Arkham Horror IMO). Mind you, I seldom have any Clues in hand because they either go straight on a Mystery or I don't collect them in the first place because there are better things to with my time if I don't need to do a Research Encounter for a the purposes of a Mystery.


Hmm, okay. I was just wondering how worthwhile the re-roll option was, as one problem I always had with AH is that you're essentially giving up a victory point just for an extra 33% chance of passing a skill test.
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Mike the little chemist
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mccrispy wrote:
Battlepeon wrote:
Moreover, Eldritch Horror is easier to transport and set up than Arkham Horror. NO game needs as much maintenance than Arkham Horror. That is, until the expansions will roll out i guess.
Yes, I know you mentioned expansions, but there is zero difference between EH and AH base game for portability. Similarly, there isn't any real difference in setup times between the two base games: where you lose some components in EH compared to AH, you gain a Mythos deck setup. I've now tweaked my EH setup in the same way as I have my AH setup and I really don't see the difference Base game vs. Base game.

I do wish people would compare like with like.


I see, where you're coming from, but for me personally I have to compare the EH base game with an all expansion AH, since I don't think I will ever get back to the base game. Therefore there is a big difference imo in transporting and setting up AH with all its expansions or doing the same with the EH base game. Of course this will change when the expansions will be rolling in, but at this point it will be much easier to find the room, space and people willing to play EH, than I would with AH. I mean, we still play AH from time to time, and as soon as I'll get my new table I will play AH more again, but with EH it is much simpler to bring it along, quickly set it up and have a quick match. Plus, the streamlined rules will make it much easier to play with people who would not stomach an AH.

Of course, for someone who considers getting AH base game or EH base game the storage thing won't be an issue, but for me it is.

Quote:
Clues are not so precious as you might think: in the main, Mysteries only let you use the Clue that you earned from the Research Encounter you just had rather than any that you may have accumulated. The text of the Mystery is usually "as part of a Reasearch Encounter you may place one Clue token from that Encounter on this card...". They do not say "spend a Clue token..."

So spending clues that you have in hand isn't a huge deal(unlike in Arkham Horror IMO). Mind you, I seldom have any Clues in hand because they either go straight on a Mystery or I don't collect them in the first place because there are better things to with my time if I don't need to do a Research Encounter for a the purposes of a Mystery.



Huh, maybe we did not see enough of the game, but for me in EH, Clue Tokens felt much more precious than in AH, since you actually had to pass a rather difficult encounter to get one clue token, while in AH you simply went to the space where the clue token was and picked it up. Plus you could generate much more Clue Tokens from reading tomes or getting them directly from random encounters. Maybe you will get Clue Tokens directly in EH too, but the only times we had encounters with clue tokens, they spawned new ones somewhere on the map, which ment you had to go there too and pass another encounter before getting that damn thing. So, for me they felt much more precious than in AH.

How often one does use them to reroll is a matter of preference I guess. In AH experienced players usually used Clue Dice Generation, when the skill check really mattered, a.k.a. "Pass this test or DOOM", while I knew also players who were much more trigger happy, especially with that ally who spawns new clue tokens everywhere, or the "Hypnos" herald.
When we played, no one actually used a Clue Token for a reroll, mostly because we needed them for the mission and to get rid of that pesky Wind Walker dude threathening to obliterate us all, and not so many people actually acquired Clue Tokens.
I guess we will have to wait, until we all get our own copies to find that out, but I think it will run similarly to AH: You will spend the Clues for Rerolls, when passing the skill check REALLY matters. Just my personal opinion.
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