Now, this review is long overdue. I have had this game for quite a while now, but because of a lot reasons it has taken me a while to finally make this post. Before I get started I want to say that I dedicate this review to Kurt aka the Vitruvian Gamer. If you like boardgames, and also enjoy seeing them in action, I highly recommend to check out the boardgame channel of the Vitruvian Gamer. Not only is this one of the best boardgame channels out there, Kurt is a really kind person who always takes the time to answer any comments you post on his videos. And all of his videos are a lot of fun to see, and really help you to learn the rules of a certain game. I have included a Link to a playthrough series of his of this game, so you can watch the game in action, and ofcourse subscribe to his channel. (Which is pretty much a no-brainer). And now on with the review of this great game, which really has become on of my alltime favorite boardgames.
This being a Fantasy Flight game, the components are absolutely top notch. Contained within the box is a lot of awesome stuff. The gameboard looks simply amazing, and depicts a map of the world across which you are going to be travelling in order to stop an ancient evil from rising. Also included are an enormous amount of cards that are used in a lot of different situations that will arise throughout the game. We get cards for spells, artifacts, assets, and encounters to name but a few. In total there over 200 cards that can be used in the game. Ofcourse there are also a lot of tokens included, that will be placed on the board in a variety of situations. Rounding out the game are 12 investigator sheets with matching tokens and plastic stands, which are the roles that the players will take upon themselves, and 4 standard dice. Last but not least we get two rules booklets, one to help you quickly get started, and the other a reference guide to be used when the more difficult situations creep up during a game. The rulebook is well written, and because of this system with the usage of a reference guide, it will not take you very long to set up the board and start your first game.
In a game of Eldritch Horror players take on the roles of investigators, who are in a race against time to stop a being of immense power. This so called Ancient One is intent on bringing about an age of darkness, and possibly even end the entire world. Eldritch Horror is played in a series of gamerounds. Each round has three phases, that are resolved in the same order every time.
First off the players will spent some time to take actions. These range from moving across the board, gain assets that might help them during the game, or even rest in order to regain some strength. Next up is the heart of the game, the encounter phase. During this phase pretty much anything can happen. Players might get attacked, become cursed, gain clues which might help them to stop the Ancient One, or any other number of exciting things. This phase is really a lot of fun, and because of the number of cards that are included within the box, you never quite know what might happen. Finally the Ancient One takes it’s action, which is resolved by drawing a card and play out what happens. This usually means something bad, that will hamper the investigators, and sometimes turns the entire game upside down.
As this game is a cooperative game, either everyone wins, or everyone loses. To win the game, players need to find enough clues to resolve a number of mystery cards that put an end to the rise of the Ancient One. If they can’t do that before the Ancient One awakens (depicted on the board by a timer called the doom track), this usually means the players lose immediately or it becomes incredibly hard to win. Sometimes certain cards can also bring about the end of the game. This creates a tense atmosphere with players racing across the world to put a stop to the rise of the Ancient One.
Now one would expect that a game with this many cards and tokens to keep track of, will be quite hard to learn. Honestly, you might be really surprised by this when I say that is not the case. Reading the rulebook takes you about half an hour, and after that it will be not much longer and you are off to playing your very first game. The great thing is that when a certain situation arises throughout the game, you take out the reference guide and will quickly find the rule you are looking for. This works extremely well, and because of that it will really not take you very long to learn the game.
Winning the game is a whole different matter though. Because of the sheer amount of situations that can arise in Eldritch Horror, no game is ever the same. There are a lot of ways you can lose though, and this does depend a lot of times on luck as well, I will not lie to you there. Sometimes getting a bad dice result on a very important test might cost you the game. I have so far only played this one solo (and really this is one of the best sologames out there), and have not yet managed to win. That said, this game is so much fun, that quite frankly I have not even cared about losing the game.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect game. Every game has it’s own flaws, but this one most certainly comes very close. Ever since I have bought this game, I have been enjoying it more and more with every session. Having recently bought a few expansions for it, it has become an even better game. The fun thing about this one, is the enormous amount of situations that can arise. One moment you are in a city being chased by evil cultists, and then you might find yourself in a icy cave tracking down an ancient artifact. One might argue that the amount of encounter cards for the cities in the basegame, should have been more. But that really is a minor note, to an otherwise splendid game. If you like adventure movies with a small touch of horror, this game is most definitely for you. I highly recommend it, and if you don’t always have friends to play a game with, this game provides a very satisfying solo experience as well.
I give Eldritch Horror a 10 out of 10 score.