Eldritch Horror is the new Lovecraftian board game from Fantasy Flight. Many people have called it Arkham Horror 2.0. After playing several games I don’t think EH is a revised Arkham. It plays quite differently and when my AH group approached this game as yet another AH big box expansion we lost. We lost a lot.
The game looks like any other Arkham based Fantasy Flight game. It’s a downward spiral of failure that will end with your devouring, unless you plan carefully and have a good deal of luck with card draws and dice rolls.
In Eldritch Horror it’s not so much about planning moves to directly deal with the game. Players are much better off if they plan to prepare for what might happen. Where in an AH game it’s a good strategy to divide and conquer the board. You gather clue tokens and equipment then place characters in spaces where gates are most likely to open. Using that strategy EH destroyed us. Too many things happened in too many places for people to effectively “gear up” before they had to confront a randomly spawned monster, or a wandering Hound of Tindalos, or deal with something from their local encounter. That level of randomness can put people off. I think it really speaks to the Call of Cthulhu RPG where players are normal people forced into supernaturally abnormal conditions. In EH you don’t have time to amass all sorts of supernatural gear before hiking the Plateau of Leng. You get what you can grab and hope that it’s enough to deal with the sailor who’s turning into a deep one and threatening to toss you into the India Ocean.
Divide and conquer failed as well. In the very last game we paired up and moved as a team using each investigator’s strengths and items together. This teamwork allowed us to finally put a messy and violent end to the Nug in the Amazon. Solving that final mystery, four games and nine hours later, was extremely gratifying. It’s definitely a game that requires patients and a certain desire for punishment. At this point I’m not playing this game to win. I’m sure as we become more familiar with the game mechanics and get a better feel for the game flow we will start winning. Right now I’m playing the game to see how the world ends and what fun things happen along the way.