So, I got to try it out at the games fair in Essen this weekend. That was allegedly the only full copy in existence because apparently there have been some problems with the monster plastic casts. Since it was a short demonstration, I wasn't able to play the entire game - only about four or five rounds. So while I cannot give any judgement on the overall greatness of the game, I can drop some impressions I had:
- The plastic miniatures are awesome! There are a lot of monsters - including 2(!) Shoggoths and 2(!) Cthonians who tower above anything else. I wonder why one need two of each kind. I'm certain that one alone is enough to kill everything. The miniatures are very detailed - it will be fun to paint them.
- The character cards are smaller than expected. They're a little bit larger than the item cards in Arkham.
- Finding clues and running about the house is less random than you might think. For example there was a some sort of hole in the ground you could not enter. But you could find a crowbar that stated you could.
- Often, areas are locked. In order to open these locks, you have to solve little puzzles. The catch is, you can only move so many tiles depending on your intellect score. So even if you know how to fix a puzzle, you might not be able to because you would need one more move than your character can deliver. This is a pretty awesome mechanic, because you can hand the puzzle over to another player who can continue from where you left off.
- Fighting is fun! You DO roll a dice - but beforehand, you draw from a set of cards until you find one marked with the appropriate context. For example, if you fire a Tommy Gun, you draw until you find one marked with "ranged weapon" and use its text. Those cards usually add or subtract a little factor - like stunning an enemy, for example. There are different kinds of cards depending on which kind of monster you fight - human, otherworldly or beast (I think). They are a bit like the Final Battle cards from Arkham and really fun.
- The flavor text is godly. There is a lot of stuff to read, but if you can manage a good atmosphere (quiet, dark, dark music), it must be really awesome. Think Android.
- The monster bases allow the keeper to look up special monster attacks from under the creature. The players are not allowed to look at these pieces of information. In addition, the players may not know how strong the monster is. I'm not quite sure if that's really within the rules - but at least we played it like this.
- Weapons are important.
- You start with a number of clue tokens. You can use these clue tokens for exceptional better performances during the game, i.e. you can add your luck number to your intellect number for puzzle solving. The clue tokens are not or seldom replenished.
That's the gist so far. Feel free to ask, I'll try to answer.