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Shotguns and Shoggoths - An Eldritch Horror Review

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20 Apr 2020 00:00 #309426 by thegiantbrain
Globetrotting Terror
Eldritch...

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.

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20 Apr 2020 16:58 - 20 Apr 2020 16:59 #309427 by ubarose
I spent most of yesterday making tuck boxes and organizing Eldritch Horror. I’m hoping that it will now be quicker to set up so we will play more often.

Attachments:
Last edit: 20 Apr 2020 16:59 by ubarose.
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20 Apr 2020 17:12 #309430 by Gary Sax
Wow, that's commitment.

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.
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20 Apr 2020 18:09 #309432 by jeb
I am with Gary. I like ELDRITCH just fine, and I totally see what an improvement it is for people that like the idea of ARKHAM, but not it's execution. But I like the craziness, barely hanging together nature of ARKHAM. It's just a ride. ELDRITCH is probably a better game, but I'm not always after that, I suppose!

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20 Apr 2020 20:02 #309435 by Gary Sax
I knew there was someone as nutty as I am about arkham, Jeb.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Eldritch, uba.
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20 Apr 2020 22:26 #309438 by ubarose
I didn’t organize Eldritch out of any special love for the game. I organized it because we play It so infrequently that when we do crack it open, I can’t remember what the heck all the stuff is, especially some of the expansion stuff. So now it all labeled.

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.
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21 Apr 2020 00:15 #309443 by Gary Sax
I like the card game better than eldritch atm too, but I haven't played enough of the card game to really know. My spouse certainly likes the card game better than eldritch, she really had a strong negative reaction to EH after 5-8 plays or so. She's still on the fence on the card game but will request it. Reading that many unique powers is just a big overhead, and she's a reasonably avid gamer (see her all-in gaslands obsession).
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21 Apr 2020 09:06 #309449 by jpat
For me personally, the story of EH vs. AH was encapsulated in two stories. While I've had a good time with AH, I also remember one game that went on for hours where we were continually on the cusp of victory but couldn't quite close the deal and restarting on a new strategy would've taken at least another hour. With EH, it was a time a couple of years ago when my wife and I were playing and I convinced her it would be a good idea to take a Dark Pact, then somehow it ended up triggering and my character killed her. We still bring that up every time we play. AH isn't by any means a bad game, but like Kevin Wilson's other designs, it tends to be woolly and heavily RPG influenced, and sometimes the game's up to that and sometimes it's not.
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21 Apr 2020 10:13 #309456 by jeb
One thing I like about reviews on TWBG is that the commenters often have as much or more experience with the reviewed game, its developers, the background of it, &c. You get context and history added, as well as the different nuanced opinions of the rest of us. The game really gets re-viewed.
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21 Apr 2020 10:43 #309462 by waddball
I've played both AH and EH a lot, as they're evergreen around here. (Though of course when you go "all in" with AH, it's a messy, all-day affair and thus harder to get to the table.)

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.
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22 Apr 2020 05:24 #309502 by thegiantbrain
Don't know if I would call myself an expert on the card game, but I have written about it a lot. My deckbuilding guide went live on my site this morning.

giantbrain.co.uk/2020/04/22/arkham-horro...lding-for-beginners/

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.
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