The Game: Eldritch Horror
The Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Time: Oh, hell. Upwards of 4-5 hours?
Players: Me, +Michelle, +Rob, Mike, Sarah
|Countdown to extinction.|
Winning the game requires solving three Mysteries. Mysteries come in a deck, shuffled, and then flipped one at a time (so you have to solve them in a sequence; each Elder has its own Mystery deck). Mysteries involve gather clues, killing monsters, shutting gates, which involve moving around the board to various cities and having encounters. Encounters involve, ultimately, rolling some dice against one of your scores and trying to hit 5 or 6.
|Setup still takes freaking forever, though.|
Now, much of this is ported over from Arkham, but there are some important differences. Monsters stick around if you don't kill them, but you can wound them, meaning when you go back they're still wounded, meaning you can tag team them. You can rest anywhere, recovering health and sanity, rather than having to schlep all the way to a hospital. Turn order doesn't go clockwise, but passes from one player to a player of their choice, meaning you can strategize a little that way.
Probably my favorite change is that when a character is defeated (dies in battle or goes mad), they don't just vanish. Your body stays where it was, so other players can get some of your stuff and have a neat little encounter to finish up your story. This became relevant in our session, since Michelle "inadvertently" murdered three people.
|"Oops. I seem to have sacrificed you to a Dark God. Again."|
|The important thing is, we tried.|
Now, with that said, I will say that the game is a lot of fun. It feels like it progresses more than Arkham does, and the addition of the Mythos phase of things and the depleting deck of cards adds an urgency that wasn't always there before. Like I said earlier, it's not any easier than Arkham, just some of the rough edges have been filed down and the players have some options that weren't there before - the game feels, perhaps deceptively, more forgiving.
As with similar games, you must be patient if you're going to play Eldritch Horror. It's kind of like reading Lovecraft, in that way.