Game Review: Elder Sign

Crew Game Reviews

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Cthulhu and his Friends!

Game in Question: Elder Sign

Created by:  Fantasy Flight Games

For 1-8 players with a run time of 1-2 hours. In my experience though me and my crew have in fact been done with this game in 30 minutes. We didn’t win, we got eaten, but it didn’t last 2 hours! This game is recommended for 14+ and I completely agree. Despite the content of this game, mythos and all, it takes a little extra thinking to do and has a lot of tiny mechanics to remember. This game was inspired by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and if you have ever read anything from him it is NOT child friendly material. Alas I am not a parent, I am merely a pirate.

At a Glance: Elder Sign

Contents:  1 Rulebook, 1 Cardboard Clock, 6 Green Dice, 1 Yellow Die, 1 Red Die, 1 Entrance Sheet, 16 Investigator Cards, 8 Ancient One Cards, 48 Adventure Cards, 8 Other World Cards, 12 Common Item Cards, 12 Unique Item Cards, 12 Spell Cards, 8 Ally Cards, 32 Mythos Cards, 16 Investigator Markers, 30 Sanity Tokens, 30 Stamina tokens, 15 Clue Tokens, 22 Monster Markers, 5 Mask Monster Markers, 12 Doom Tokens, 17 Elder Sign Tokens.

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How to Play:

Set up is what takes the longest time in this game. Once the game starts rolling it runs like clockwork. Smoothly flowing from turn to turn as the actual in game clock turns. After set up the game flows clockwise from player to player. I can say that this game reminds me of a Yahtzee with the way that the dice mechanics work. This game does not function on turn phases like other games so I will have to explain the play a little different than normal.

The best place to start is with Adventure Cards. Each Adventure card has challenges on it. The goal is to meet the challenge with the dice by rolling matching symbols! When you complete an Adventure you are awarded with the good stuff on the bottom of the card. This could be a New World, a Unique Item, a Common Item or even some bad stuff be it Doom Tokens or Monsters.

Lets talk about Doom. At the beginning of the game you select a Elder God to destroy you. This Elder god is asleep though and requires a varying number of Doom tokens to awaken.  Once awaken he works to devour the investigator but till then it is a battle to avoid Doom! Be it from Adventures or the constantly running clock Doom is always piling up so move fast Investigators!

Other than that you complete adventure after adventure to banish away the Elder God! Simple and Easy!

Captains Judgment

Things I enjoy:

  • This game is hard. Very Hard. I love the fact that it is a mean game. It makes player nervous and scared they will not make it. I asked the crew their thoughts on what they don’t like about this game and although they wanted to say they hated the difficulty, they couldn’t. Like Dark Souls it is fun because it is hard.
  • This is the pinnacle of cooperative play. Either we all work together or we all die. Simple as that. Although it holds true with the Cthulhu mythos “Nobody is safe” mentality it still promotes a cooperative environment.

Issues:

  • Now I personally did not like the lack of adjustment of difficulty. Although it could be played solo or with more players I felt the number of players changed the balance of the game. Less players ended up easier than more. I feel it needed a system to make the game harder or easier.
  • Two two item decks, Unique and Common Items, are almost identical in style. They have very little to differentiate them and almost every card gave you either a Red or Yellow die. With this limit on what is in the decks they limit the usefulness of the items themselves.

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Captains Call:

I would give this game 8/10 Tankards of Rum.  This is a really good game. I feel fine in saying that finding criticism for this game was rough. I have yet to find  player in my area that hated the game and my crew LOVED it. It is easy to play, easy to learn and holds the attention.

Fantasy Flight, I would say this is a very well made game.

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Hello, my name is Howl. I am a ‘professional’ gamer and reviewer that works with the NERD community. This is my personal blog and podcast and if you would like to get updates or see more please follow me on Twitter: @HowlPhilinish. or even my Instagram: HowlPhilinish. I hope to see more of you and feel free to comment! I read every comment so don’t be shy!

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