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#1 Runix

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:54 AM

My initial thoughts on this new entry in the Arkham line:  less Ameritrash, more Euro.

 

FFG has long been known for its entries in the Ameritrash category, and Arkham Horror was first in line, with all the requisite features:  big board, long play time, mechanics loaded up with "chrome", and lots and lots of fiddly bits.  (Granted, Arkham Horror was initially a bit light on the mountains of plastic bits that Ameritrash games are known for, but that oversight has subsequently been corrected with the release of the miniatures.)  And expansions - lots and lots of expansions.  A veritable Tides of Iron for the lover of Lovecraft.

 

Eldritch Horror seems to be moving away from all of that.  The board is smaller, the mechanics seem tighter, the fiddly bits fewer, and plastic is nowhere in sight (although I am confident FFG will be willing to sell some suitable plastic bits to the diehard if-it-doesn't-look-like-Axis-and-Allies-I-won't-play-it crowd).  The preview focused on what appear to be carefully designed, interlocking mechanics - more the mark of a Euro design than an Ameritrash design.

 

One significant variation from the Euro trend would be more emphasis on the flavor - which I think is one thing FFG does get right.  Elder Sign (another move away from Ameritrash and toward Euro in design) was criticized for being light on the flavor, and I think they've taken that to heart.

I don't really have a specific thought on whether this is designed to replace Arkham Horror  - I think it's more designed to draw a wider range of gamers in.  Gamers who would look at a gigantic layout with massive piles of cards and bits and would instinctively say "no thanks" may take a closer look at this one, and I think that's the goal.  FFG has no fear of endless expansions - just look at the LCGs - so its presence doesn't automatically mean no more for Arkham Horror.


Edited by Runix, 06 August 2013 - 10:55 AM.


#2 Old Dwarf

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:34 AM

A Rose by any name & you can pull out the Inv/Monster pre painted if you want to add the minatures.

 

OD


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#3 klaymen_sk

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:00 PM

Elder Sign (another move away from Ameritrash and toward Euro in design) was criticized for being light on the flavor, and I think they've taken that to heart.

 

What is this I don't even....


Edited by klaymen_sk, 06 August 2013 - 12:00 PM.

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#4 Shooock

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 01:31 PM

few components, especially a few location cards

 



#5 Runix

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:20 PM

 

Elder Sign (another move away from Ameritrash and toward Euro in design) was criticized for being light on the flavor, and I think they've taken that to heart.

 

What is this I don't even....

 

 

Let me put it another way.  The Euro approach is about designing a game system, and then building the theme and components around it.  That seems to have been the idea with Elder Sign:  it's a dice-rolling game that someone built a Cthulhu theme around.

 

The other approach, in contrast, is to start out with the theme and components and built a game system around them.  (I can just see the Tides of Iron developers, standing around a huge pile of miniature soldiers and map components, and asking each other:  so, who's going to design the game that will use all this stuff?)  For the other titles in the Arkham series, I suspect that that's how it went - they started with investigators, weapons, spells, monsters, and a map, and asked, how can we turn this into a game?

 

I don't see Eldritch Horror as being purely one approach or another.  Rather, it would seem that they started with a clear idea of both the theme (Cthulhu) and the gameplay (fast, story-driven) and built the game and its components around that.  It's not the pure Euro approach of moving blocks around on a board with just a hint of a theme . . . but it's certainly not the other approach, of a massive map with huge numbers of bits and a rulebook whose only purpose is to give all that stuff some reason for existence, either.



#6 Soakman

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 08:11 PM

O_o

I'm not sure we can say all that much at this point from the limited preview. 

But I'm also oddly sensitive to the word Ameritrash, because...well... it has the word trash in it. The connotation just doesn't sit well with me. 
 

I'm not sure if what you are saying here is what you "hope" it is like, or what you actually believe it is based on the previews.

I think it looks rather complex and probably will have a dozen expansions in one way or another.

I mean 12 characters out of some 50ish alone suggests multiple releases. And with the game focusing on Ancient One lore, I wouldn't be surprised to see other-world boards created down the road.  

But I'm okay with that. A simple base game with dozens of complicated expansions is exactly what I enjoy.


Edited by Soakman, 06 August 2013 - 08:12 PM.

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#7 klaymen_sk

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 01:03 AM

Runix, it seems to me that you try to pigeon-hole things just for the sake of it. Many people complained about AH being too long, too clunky amd whatnot. Then the developers decided to make a lighter game (ES). ES's theme really seems to be just an afterhought rather than something that was built upon, but that's the matter of light games - their theme lacks.

So it is not a matter of approach (AT vs. Euro as you said), but the game weight. I haven't seen any Euros with a strong (or at least passable) theme, neither in light nor in heavy games.

Soakman: that's nothing. Go check the upcoming Pathfinder card game at BGG - the game is not out yet, but I saw a thread about houserules already....
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#8 Julia

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 02:16 AM

So it is not a matter of approach (AT vs. Euro as you said), but the game weight. I haven't seen any Euros with a strong (or at least passable) theme, neither in light nor in heavy games.

Sorry pal, but... for "theme" you mean flavour text? In this case, I could agree (somehow), but theme should be given by many other things and not only flavour text, and yes, there are tons of euro with theme, starting from Yedo and ending up with Troyes (if you want a couple of examples of FFG euro games with theme, go with Planet Steam or Constantinopolis)


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#9 DarthDude

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 08:54 AM

As an actual european I find this talk about "euro" and "ameritrash" games quite amusing. Especially when some FFG games (and I was believing FFG being an american game company with american game designers :P ) are referred to as "euro" games. True "euro" games lack atmosphere and consistency, that's why FFG games (beside others) are happily and succesfully published and sought after by european gamers in several european countries  :D



#10 Julia

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:56 AM

As an actual european I find this talk about "euro" and "ameritrash" games quite amusing.

 

Sorry, I don't get the point. I'm European as well, so? Could you be more specific?

 

Especially when some FFG games (and I was believing FFG being an american game company with american game designers :P ) are referred to as "euro" games.

 

There are Euro games produced by FFG. As said, Planet Steam and Constantinopolis are good examples. Additionally, Planet Steam original design was made by a German author, while Constantinopolis design was conceived by an Italian author. Nonetheless, American vs Euro has nothing to do with countries the games are produced to, so again, I don't see your point. Finally, just to give another example, one of Kevin Wilson's projects he's working on right now is an euro game (you can cross-check this in his blog).

 

True "euro" games lack atmosphere and consistency, that's why FFG games (beside others) are happily and succesfully published and sought after by european gamers in several european countries  :D

 

Could you gently point out what euro games lack of atmosphere and consistency? I have no doubts some Euros are poor games, as some Ameritrash games are poor as well, but saying as a general principle "True "euro" games lack atmosphere and consistency" is a position I'll never share

 

Take Troyes for instance. the historical setting is pretty accurate, and the events that slowed down the cathedral construction are pretty well represented. Plus, art is very similar to certain Dark Ages representation of people and crafts. The way the three spheres of influence interact is also kinda realistic

 

If you look at the activity cards, they're all themed as well, in the sense that what they do in the game mirrors the title. For example:

- Templar converts one white die to two red dice of the same value. Since the Knights Templar were a Christian military order, it makes sense that the Templar would convert white (religious) dice to red (military) dice.
- The Archer lets you add cubes to events when you roll a 3-4-5-6 on a black die; makes total sense. You can imagine the archer "pinging" away, shooting this, then that, sometimes missing.
- Confession allows you to add 2 to the value of each die in your group. Your workers confess, they feel better, are stronger, and so on, and can do more.

 

You really can't say this is not thematically consistent. And the list can go on and on for a long while


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#11 DarthDude

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:17 AM

bla bla bla...

 

 

Less smart-alec, more nonchalance  ;)



#12 El Mariachi

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 02:57 PM

Blue Moon City is a good example of a euro game with solid enough mechanics, but ultimately a dry experience if you're looking for integrated theme (it feels very tacked on in BMC). 

 

I tend to prefer 'Ameritrash' games myself, but I disdain the term because of the implied snobbery that probably came about during the whole eurogame renaissance (something I've only read about, not actually experienced myself as I've only been really into boardgames since 2006). To be honest though, the terms are quite archaic these days but still serve as a rudimentary stick on which to describe the style of the game. At the end of the day, I agree with Julia's sentiment that a good game is a good game even if the lack of integrated theme in the eurogames I've played makes me acutely aware that i'm pushing wooden blocks  ;)

 

On a final note, I tend to use the word 'Americana' for 'ameritrash' games...



#13 Jake yet again

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:19 PM

Eurogames usualy have fairly elegant mechanics, Ameritrash will happily dispense with elegance if it damages the thematics in the process. This is not to say the Eurogames always lack theme. Agricola has plenty of theme. I feel like I'm building a farm when I playing Agricola. Flash Point has theme. I feel like I'm trying to save victims from a burning house. However, I've played plenty of Eurogames which are just too dry for me, because, either the game has a tacked on theme, or in the process of streamlining the game, the designer threw the baby out with the bathwater.

 

For me, theme is very important. I don't mind if a game has some fiddly mechanics (e.g. search the deck for a Tome) as long as those mechanics make sense in context (I've just persuaded the librarian that I need to see the book that the late Professor Stevens last checked out) Any game can be dispensed down to mechanics - you can do the maths and suss out that you've a better chance of taking out the Hound of Tindalos than the Flying Polyp - but if the theme is good and you've got enough imagination, then taking one for the team and going up against the Polyp just feels right.

 

I once played a certain game - and those who have played it will know the one I mean - where I was meant to be settling the cradle of Civilisation, Unfortunately I felt like I was collecting red, yellow and blue cards with marginally different patterns for no discernible reason whatsoever, which was an utter bore. For all I know, there could have been a good game in there, it's tough to tell as the game was little more than a mental agility test and about as fun as a page and a half of maths homework. Now, had those patterns been reed, gold and clay, and had the colours been Babylonians, Persians and Hittites, if, in all honesty, I genuinely felt like there was some purpose to collecting the different card sets, I might have felt a little more well-disposed towards the game.


Lovecraft Country Horror - A completely FREE Big Box expansion for Arkham Horror, exploring the minor locations of the Cthulhu Mythos. Contains: Lovecraft Country Board, 16 Investigators, 4 Ancient Ones, 16 Skills, 32 Common Items, 24 Unique Items, 10 Spells, 16 Music of Erich Zann cards, 76 Leads, 4 Allies, 32 Monsters, 24 Injuries and Madnesses, 54 Mythos Cards, 41 Outer World Encounters, 52 Location Encounters for each Neighbourhood.


#14 Grudunza

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:09 PM

bla bla bla...


Less smart-alec, more nonchalance ;)
Really? She gave several thoughtful and very specific responses and comments to your post, and you sum it as "bla bla bla" and tell *her* to be less smart-aleck and nonchalant?

Edited by Grudunza, 09 August 2013 - 11:11 PM.

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#15 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

Obvious troll is obvious.



#16 Narsil0420

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 04:02 AM

I just played the game today at a preview event in San Rafael, CA.

 

I, and the rest of the people I played with (6 players in total), really enjoyed the game. It seems to really streamline the elements of Arkham Horror that seemed to slow things down. Closing gates is a matter of one encounter now instead of taking out of Arkham for an extended amount of time.
One thing that has really put me off playing Arkham for the past year was a sense of very limited things I could accomplish on a turn. This is helped in this game because you now have two actions and so can boost your character and help out the overall goals on the same turn, whereas before, if you wanted to get items or heal yourself, you had to waste a whole turn doing so.
The Rumor cards and the way you "win" the game (the Ancient One's Mystery cards) also felt challenging and thematic but attainable, unlike the frustratingly difficult tasks on the Rumor cards in AH and the usually futile task of trying to close all the gates in AH.

Overall, very positive and I think my complete AH collection is in danger of getting replaced... as sad as that is to think about...



#17 JorduSpeaks

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 04:53 PM

Mechanically, at least, Eldritch Horror is a much better game. Your choices feel more meaningful and the clues feel less abstract. I still think AH has a place, though, in that you are just far less likely to see an encounter you've had before.

#18 Redclock

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 02:18 AM

Having played this game for the fourth time earlier tonight I think I can start to give a useful opinion of the game.  The group I play with at my FLGS tends to be on the larger side with an average of 6 players.  I have personally played in games with group sizes of four, six and eight and other games were played over the weekend that I did not participate in.

 

The mechanics are fairly sound and easy to learn.  I like the uniquenesss of the items, not knowing the possible outcomes of spells or conditions, having 2 actions to choose from, always getting to roll at least one die and the ramped up difficulty after the ease of winning Arkham Horror (with the exception of new Yig, other Arkham Nights Ancients Ones are fun).

 

The only problem with the mechanics of the game that I've notived so far is the scaling for larger groups.  The two games played with four ended in a win and a close loss, so far the larger groups have not fared so well.  In the first game with eight players it took three hours just to complete the first mystery, we were all new and learning the rules, but three hours is a long time for one third of a game.  With tonight's game of six players we failed to advance the first mystery even once in the two and a half hours before the doom track advanced to 0 and we lost to Shub.  Bad rolling played a part here in that of the three attempts made to advance the first mystery all failed, but we lost overall because a few bad rolls and unlucky monster draws seemed to have much more of a snowball effect than in the four player games and most of the game was spent trying to pass the rumors and play catch up with monsters.

 

While I want to play more games with varying group sizes to be sure, my initial impression is that the game works best with four players, is functional but with a large difficulty increase at six and nearly unwinnable with eight.  Given the scaling mechanic I would not want to play with a group of five or seven investigators and would be heistant but willing to try three investigators, I have no interest in one player board games.

 

My biggest disappointments in the game components was the inclusion of only four ancient ones and twelve investigators.  Given the ancient one mechanics I can understand why it was limited to four, but for as often as I like to play games of this sort, I like more diversity in my fight for survival.  The investigator pool being limited as a play mechanic I can also understand, but after much Arkham play we like to deal out a few random investigators and choose from what we get.  With only twelve we can't even deal out two to each player when eight are at the table, not a big deal for most groups but for my group it's something we'll consider when it comes to choosing the game of the night.

 

One suggestion in the rulebook is to not read the possible outcomes to the player before they roll the dice and then only read off the results of the check.  While I like the idea in theory, mechanically it can lead to very bad choices being made. One example being gate checks, on one check a player failed the first check, but decided to spend his clue to pass to reroll a die and then passed the check.  Unfortuantely for him succeeding on the first check led to a second check with which he now had only one die to roll to close the gate as that was his lowest skill, had he not spent his clue and chosen to fail the initial check he could have made a skill check with his highest skill, had four dice plus the clue and still had a chance to close the gate.  To make things more frustrating on the next turn he was required to spend the clue he no longer had just to have a chance to close the gate.  Other times players have not spent clues on a reroll only to discover that it was not possible to close the gate if they did not pass the first check, but would have had they known.  Given the difficulty in gaining clues in this game and how often they are spent rather than used for rerolls I lean toward a compromise of let me know if I'm wasting resources or hurting myself by spending one or more clues to try to pass the check.  You lose a bit of setting but also a lot of frustration.

 

Overall I really like the game so far and would recommend it to people that like Arkham Horror or Lovecraft in general and think it would make a good addition to almost any game library.  More games will be required to see if our larger groups were just epicly unlucky or if there really is a mechanical issue with the game that should be addressed.  I'm looking forward to having a second win soon or at least another close loss.  :D



#19 teweller4

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:21 AM

i got to play the game up in Minneapolis at FFG's Arkham Nights this last weekend.  I played a total of 6 games over that weekend, even got a game in with one of the designers (Nikki) and i gotta say i really enjoyed it.  The big reason for me was when i play Arkham Nights it feels for some rounds i am "useless" if i can use that term...just meandering back and forth between locations and not really contributing at some points in the game...i think that is where eldritch succeeds greatly, i felt that every turn i took was crucial in the outcome and when i failed at killing a monster or didnt get a clue token or didnt close that portal the whole group took a large step twords being devoured...the characters themselves really make you feel important (from one character giving sanity back, to one giving you an extra die to roll when you in same space)...now following up on Redclocks post, yes this game is difficult, out of the six games i played i won 1...thats right 1 (and the one that Nikki ran we got absolutely destroyed) but it really has nothing to do with the game mechanics...it had everything to do with bad rolls and looking back on it poor decisions by myself and a couple others at the table...which the other players and i will fix once we get a full understanding of the game and have played it more...but for me i love those games that kick your ass because you make a poor choice, that makes me wanna play them more and more...but im sure it will turn others off as well...

 

For me whats inside the box is a little disappointing...FFG doesnt give you any form of storing any of the tokens or monster tiles...just bags for the cards...so have a few ziploc bags or an organizer ready...the lack of ancient ones is a bit surprising (but this is FFG so im sure they already have 4 expansion packs lined up to take my money) so im sure more ancient ones will make an appearance...but the biggest gripe for me is the lacking of some of the adventure cards...only 10-15 to a couple of stacks, so you run into the same content a few times in the same game (nothing horrible to ruin the game of course, but they could have made a ton more of those cards to keep the game fresh) now i know the more games i play that is just a normal thing, but when you get same card possibly 3-5 times in the same game it does get a bit repetative...

 

It is a rather long game...but they tell ya right on the box 2-4hrs so no surprises there...the board is done well and all the cards are solid (and alot of the content is amusing and fits the cthulu theme)

 

But the biggest surprise for me was that the wife loved it...she normally doesnt get into my board games but she really loved this one...i thought i was gonna have to convince her to let me buy the game but she grabbed it and bought it herself on the way out of the game center!!  So needless to say that is a BIG plus :)

 

Overall i would give it a 4/5 and would recommend it to any Lovecraft junkie or really anyone that loves a good cooperative board game...but like earlier i will give you the warning again...you WILL LOSE...and you WILL LOSE often!!  



#20 dunkha

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:47 PM

I'm really excited about the game. It's like Arkham Horror but much more straight lined and so many things have been improved or things I didn't like have been removed. For example, I really loved encounters in Arkham Horror but going through them was usually not a good idea. A better idea was to close gates as fast as possible. In Eldritch Horror you don't need to wander off from your route to face encounters but you can face encounters even when you are traveling from place to place. Also, 2 actions per round will allow players more choices how to spend their turns.On top of that the encounters seems to be even more interesting (for example, complex encounters).

 

Another nice thing is that skill sliders have been removed. Waiting for every player to determine their skills at the beginning of each turn was just draining time. Sometimes you might even forget to change your skills which could lead either wasting your turn or that a bit awkward moment where you tell your mates you had forgotten to change your skills and do that afterwards.

 

In addition to all the improvements all kind of cool new stuffs have been added. Some of them are minor and are there more for fun factor. Story telling is in bigger role in Eldritch Horror which is really nice. I love the world and I like to imagine all the stuff happening to the characters. For example, In Arkham Horror the events could also be funny and a little bit out of place. Like once we found a motor cycle from a cabin in a witch house  :) but that is there just to add more fun.






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