This post is something I've been wanting to write for a while now. I couldn't before because I wanted to have my own copy of Eldritch Horror and really analyze it deeply before I make my arguments.
I hope this post is especially helpful for those who are interested in the game but are on the fence about purchasing it because of "what their friends said" or "what the internetz say."
Long story short? I've come to the conclusion that this is a fun, accessible game that's friendly to newcomers. You'll have a memorable night of gaming with stories to look back upon..........really, what more could you ask for?
You know, I've been reading thoughts on EH from many differents forums (including this one and BoardGameGeek). Some of the negative reviews I've read generally seem to fall into the following line of thinking: this game "sucks" because it's a watered-down, dumber version of AH - you "don't really have any control over the game" and EH is akin to "putting your hands on a plastic toy wheel, thinking you are driving the car when in fact you're not."
To those people, I say: you are so wrong, you need to go and play some truly BAD games before you open your mouth.
1) "Waaaaaaaauuuugh, how am I supposed to know what kind of test I'm gonna get during the Encounter Phase??! It's so random, waaaaaaaugh, no fair!"
How many times have you played the game before you came to that conclusion? Once? Twice maybe? Do you even see how the game was designed? For Combat Encounters, you need a character that has high Strength. For acquiring items in the reserve, you need someone who has high Influence. To shut down portals, you better have someone who has either high Lore, Will, or Observation (adequate Strength is not bad too). A lot of major city encounter cards or general encounter cards ask that you have adequate Willpower and Lore (decent Strength and Observation wouldn't hurt either). Expedition cards require high Observation and Strength.
I know it doesn't look like it, but there's a method to the madness. You'd know if you played the game more than once.
2) "Waaaaaaaaaaughhh, my character sucks! He/she doesn't have the right Skills necessary to overcome tests, waaaaaaaugh."
Did you look at the game board? Do you see that certain cities have a higher probability of improving the skills you want? This is what the designers had in mind; to have you racing across the globe to improve yourself, tailoring your character as you see fit, to make you sweat between beefing up your character or solving mysteries. Also, the Reserve has PLENTY of Assets that CLEARLY show you what skills will be improved upon its acquisition.
Don't say your character sucks, just admit that you don't like reading or paying attention to details.
3) "Waaaaaaaaaaaauuugh, this game is dice heavy - it's so luck based! Waaaaaaaaaaugh, like a stupid slot machine in Las Vegas! I'm a macho hardcore strategist, I don't like luck! Waaaaugh!"
This claim is harder to defend so forgive me for going on a tangent, but if you look at some of the most current games that resonate with the mass market today, this seems to be a trend that isn't going away anytime soon.
Let's harken back to what the state of board games was like 15 years ago: board games were fighting a losing battle against videogames, movies, and pop culture in general. Board games designers realized that they had to make games that were easy to grasp and lured you into their web of fun within minutes of playing the game or they would lose the attention of your average Joe. If we look at the world of casual games, you see people glued to their phones playing 'Candy Crush Saga' or addicted to 'Zynga Slots' and 'Texas Hold'em' on their computers at work. We need to accept the fact that, on average, most people LIKE elements of chance or probability. We like rolling the dice and not knowing what's going to come up. We like defying the odds when we get the numbers we want. In short, people don't mind if their games include an element of surprise.
Some of the most successful (or more successful) board games I've played rely on a seemingly heavy dose of the luck of the draw......... Augustus (drawing the right tile for you), Dominion (drawing the right card for you), Jaipur (drawing the right resource on your turn so your opponent doesn't get it), Elder Sign (rolling the dice so that the right symbols match your task)........the list goes on and on.
What matters isn't so much that your game is more luck-based, what matters is: Does the game let you react and DO something about the luck of the draw (be it bad or good)? Can you use your brains and/or skill to get out of a bad situation or form some sort of plan to victory? The answer with Eldritch Horror is a resounding 'yes.' If you are smart, resourceful and can work harmoniously with your team, you CAN overcome the obstacles that the game throws at you, regardless of how well or poorly you roll. Setbacks in EH are hurtful, yes, but temporary - in stark contrast, careful planning and a keen sense of playing the odds will produce desirable results, everytime. There are meaningful decisions in this game, it's just not so laid bare and exposed like a game of chess or something...............
4) "Waaaaaaauuugh, this game is Arkham Horror lite for newbies so it sucks! I like the way things were back in 2005 when I was the first person to discover this game! Waaaaaugh."
Well, I guess you're not the target audience for EH, are ya? Stick to Arkham Horror then if that so pleases you. For everyone else, time marches on.
Edited by Saint7, 30 December 2013 - 12:53 AM.