Board Game Review: Elder Sign

So let us talk about Elder Sign.  This post is going to be an intermission between my Eldritch vs Arkham Horror but I also have Elder Sign. This book is a fraction of the cost of other two....

Well Fantasy Flight Games first began with Arkham Horror and all expansions, then they went to Call of Cthulhu LCG and now they are moving two ways - Eldritch Horror & Elder Sign. Between Eldritch Horror & Arkham Horror there are similarities but Elder sign is a dice game and Call of Cthulhu LCG is a Card game (in the likes of Magic the Gathering). Currently they stop doing expansions for both Arkham and Call of Cthulhu and are focusing on these two ones. Eldritch now has 2 small box expansions and 2 big boxes expansions (Arkham had 4 small and 4 big) and Elder Sign is per definition a small box and they have release 3 expansions (this last one was released this month.

I only have one expansions call Gates of Arkham and the main board. First of all the base game.


First of all FFG used the same drawings, paintings and art from the previous games - yeah, why create new things if we can milk these cow this way. The investigators are the same, the old ones as well (in eldritch there are some new old ones). Well, each character has stamina & sanity points and each one starts with a base set of items or clues and has a in-game bonus. 

Old One
The Old Ones
The Old ones has a beautiful character sheet where we can see the omen track (on the right side) and it's attack and on the left the condition that exist on the game. Each one has a special condition. There is also the way to defeat the monster. In this case Yog-Sothoth for each hit we have to roll 3 clues plus 2 manuscripts (more on that later. 
As you can see neither the investigator or the ancient one has a fluff text. They exist because they do. There is no story, there is nothing that links me to one or other investigator. It's irrelevant who I am battling. For a Cthulhu based game I don't konw where they are going with it.

Encounter cards
Where the action Occurs
Then we have the encounter cards where the action occurs.  Each card has some design in it but the fluff again is almost non-existent. At much there is a sentence for each one. In elder sign we are inside a museum and almost each card relates to it. With Gates of Arkham the place takes place outside the Museum in the city of Arkham. The last expansion the action is set on Antartica. So, usually there are 6 of these cards laying around and we can do it at any order. Each card also have a winning or losing condition. Per example look at the card on the right side. In the first card we have to roll two eldritch plus sacrifice some sanity or the second row we have to roll 2 skulls plus sacrifice some stamina. If we fail we (bottom left) there is a penalty - in this case we lose a stamina ((the brain) and we get a doom token. But if we suceceed we get two elder signs tokens. If we go to the second drawing there is one row with a single skull and then another row with two skulls. Again each one has a failing and winning condition. But this card has another characteristic. If a monster is loose on the museum he will get to this card on the first row and if that was not enough that green locker locks one green die until we resolve this card.
The 8 dice & Monsters (And the common, rare cards)

Dice, Monsters and Cards
So let us talk about how do we play. Well each player gets 6 green die. And there is also a red and a yellow die. These two dice only enter play when we play a common or rare card. The green dice have 6 sides: 1 Clue; 2 Clues; 3 Clues; 1 Manuscript; 1 Skull; 1 Eldritch Sign. We have to roll the dice each time and resolve one row on the encounter card. Even if we have the amout necessary to clean two rows that is not possible (there is a character who can do it but the rest they do not). So If in the first row I have one clue and one manuscript and the second has 3 clues - I can do it in any order but if I lock the first row I lose those two dice there. Then I will have only four. So as you imagine cards with three rows can be very difficult. Each time I fail to complete one row I lose one gree die until I have none and fail the encounter which makes me do the Fail condition. This is a cool mechanic because I can be closing encounters because they are the easiest and leave the dificult ones who have the Elder Signs. 

Tokens & Clock
There are also monsters who appear because of the Old One or because of Mythos Deck. These monsters are inserted on the encounter cards and I have to deal with them the same way. Some are pretty awful and when they have 3 conditions plus your encounter card has more than 3 conditions unless you have a common or rare item it would be very hard if not  impossible. One of good things is that another investigator on your spot can "lock" a particular hard die and help you out. There is also spells that do the same thing.

Mythos Card
Now for the Mythos Card.... The mythos card in Elder Sign are very straightforward. A monster appear, a doom token is added, the clock moves faster or slower or something like that. That clock on that picture turns with each investigator. With four players, if everyone plays the clock chimes for midnight and a new mythos card is drawn.

So, what do I think??
Well, if you want a fast game that takes 30 minutes of your time, then go for it. If you want to roll some dice without any story or fluff get in your away, then go for it. As I said, this is a good game for playing with your 8 year old son or daughter. Yeah son, roll those dice if they match Yeee.. if not welll something bad happens. It's fast and quick to learn with only a couple of rules. But if you are used to Arkham or Eldritch you will find it boring. Truly boring. It's just roll some dice. This game is 8/10 of Luck based. The rest 2/10 is choosing the investigator to have some benefit and the choosing of the encounter or gate card. 
In that back is the expansion Gates of Arkham

I have bought this game and the expansion in amazon and played 2 or 3 times. Never got around to play the expansion but I will and make a review... But as I said. This game will stay put in my house hoping my baby boy grows so we can play a easy game.

If you enjoy Arkham or Eldritch stay away from it, unless you are a Cthulhu Mythos freak like myself....

Post a Comment

Popular Posts