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Shotguns and Shoggoths - An Eldritch Horror Review
I love elegant design: small boxes, precisely targeted to do one thing really well, just the right amount of mechanics tied to a strong theme. I will always champion this kind of game. In much the same way I love beautifully directed films, human stories lovingly told. These are the things that bring me hope, satisfaction, and joy. However. Sometimes you need something, big, brash, and noisy. From time to time you want to turn your brain off and revel in action packed, explosion filled blockbuster. Sometimes you need to break out Eldritch Horror.
I abandoned Eldritch. I don't think it's as good as Arkham despite being a more coherent overarching narrative. It forces you to take lots of high risk checks with little chance of mitigation and it takes a lot of agency out of the players and instead makes them just travel around a lot. It's a niche opinion and I totally see what people like better about eldritch. The rules are certainly a 1000 times tighter and it tells a single story about the GOO you're fighting mechanically and narratively, which I appreciate.
I would love to hear your thoughts on Eldritch, uba.
I Still love Arkham Horror, but the LCG is better when there are just two of us. It’s hard for me to make an argument for playing Eldritch over either of those, but every so often I get the desire to play it.
What I want now is a competitive game in the AH universe, like Western Legends. That’s my dream game right now.
I personally prefer EH, and my kids (now grown, sniff) prefer AH. But both bring something to the table. I agree with Gary that EH's luck is a little front-loaded and not quite granular enough sometimes. The biggest frustrations I've had are when you must get something (usually an artifact, sometimes a clue) and the deck that's supposed to give you a shot at it just isn't cooperating. I mean, I don't mind failing a test, that's the game, but when you literally had no chance, pass or fail, that's not really fun. AH has less of that, though it's still pretty woolly when you get down to it.
But I forgive EH because the narrative is just so much better, both thematically and mechanically. AH just isn't coherent in a couple of ways (probably largest is the "coast to the finish" problem mentioned above), though I certainly appreciate having more detail and color around my avatar. Whereas in EH, the characters are less avatars than tools to be used and discarded when appropriate (as though the player is a head of a globe-spanning Eldritch FBI or something).
Anyway, I could go on and on. I gather the reviewer is an expert at the LCG. I just started in on that recently, and while I like it, I'm not sure the luck factor there isn't pretty insane as well. And the cost: replay ratio is insane, too. EH (somewhat expanded) is a nearly infinite story generator.
I really like that everyone has their own favourite Arkham files game, and whilst I am not a fan of 2nd edition I can absolutely respect enjoying it over Eldritch. I was hoping that the third edition of Arkham Horror would combine what I loved about Eldritch and the card game but it didn't quite do it for me. I do think the LCG is the best at telling stories that hove more closely to the cosmic horror of the original tales, probably because it asks you to invest more in your character through the deckbuilding.
It's really interesting hearing everyone's take, thanks very much for taking the time to write replies to the piece.