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As is well recorded Elder Sign is a dice rolling game. That is perhaps simplistic but is essentially at the heart of the matter. However, there are a variety of methods to manipulate the rolls, from saving dice rolls to changing some results. Once that's done those not saved (and options are limited) are re-rolled in the hope of hitting the required results. The whole theme is based around the Cthululu mythos and has a decent atmosphere. Bottom line. If you hate dice rolling this isn't for you. Most board games though involve at least a few dice and/or card drawing so are inherently luck biased. If this is ok by you, then this us a good little game, quick to set up and play, relatively rules light and very nice components. Nowadays there are a good few expansion too so if it turns out to be your bag there is extra longevity in it. I recommend it as a not too taxing enjoyable game. Go for it.
I really wanted to love this game, it's presentation, artwork and components are top notch. Unfortunately my group just didn't take to it. I think with hindsight the theme can put people off and I certainly wouldn't play it at more than 4 players - there's too much downtime waiting for your turn otherwise. On the plus side you can play it solo so anyone who enjoys 'Cthulhu' themed games would enjoy this one. Ended up trading it away for another board game.
This game plays well a few times, but once you've seen the majority of the cards it does lose its replayability a bit. Also, being mostly reliant on the roll of some dice, it gets a bit frustrating in a way other Fantasy Flight games don't seem to. If you've already got Eldritch Horror and are looking for a quicker Lovecraft game then have a look at this; if you haven't, go and buy Eldritch Horror first because it is overall much more fun, much more thematically interesting, and has much better gameplay than what is, essentially, horror yatzee.
I found this to be a very enjoyable game. It is a little complicated to begin with as there are quite a lot of rules to remember. However, after a few goes it becomes much easier and so much fun. The cards are beautifully made and great at helping to immerse you in the game. The clock I received with the game didn't quite fir together which was disappointing but this could be a one off. A great choice for people who really enjoy their table top games. I mean, who doesn't want to battle Cthulhu?
Sounds like a negative review, but this game is really very challenging. You can play solo or with several friends but, unlike games like Pandemic, the difficulty level remains pretty static and that means you're in for a fight and beating the game feels pretty rewarding. Once you start to lose, it can snowball pretty quickly until you're completely defeated but the dice mean you always feel like you might have a chance to turn it around.
This is probably a game for "board gamers" - it can take a fair bit of setting up and explaining to people new to Lovecraft and/or board games and it's not a game of instant gratification so you probably wouldn't want to use it to introduce someone to the genre. Absolutely worth picking up if you're a few games into the hobby, though,
Components: All of the cardboard pieces are of high quality material and are pleasantly thick, so there are no problems in picking the pieces up. The cards have a nice, high-quality textured feel to them. However, although the adventure cards are a nice 'tarot card' size, the smaller ones (which are smaller than normal playing cards) can be a bit fiddly when shuffling. The custom dice are also high quality and will last a very long time.
Rules: The rulebook is quite brief but explains everything clearly with examples of gameplay given. At the back of the booklet, there is a quick guide to reference when playing to show the players the order of what they have to do.
Gameplay: The artwork is of professional quality and is extremely pleasant to look at, with many cards providing some flavour text for additional immersion. Although it's worth noting that only the adventure cards contain flavour text, the other cards such as the player cards do not. The amount of randomness can alter slightly depending on the players' preferences. For example, the players may choose who to play as and what Elder God to fight against, or they may choose at random. With that said, there is some strategic elements the players must consider such as which adventure card to pick and deciding on whether the risk vs reward is worth it.
Replay Value: Due to the amount of randomness, Elder Sign has a lot of replay value, ranging from adventure cards having certain terror effects that will affect the players negatively, or an Elder God's power that may be prevalent throughout the game. I have been spoilt a little by Betrayal at House on the Hill, with winning and losing flavour texts telling us a brief story on the outcome of the games. With Elder Sign, once you have beaten (or lost to) an Elder God, that's it. This somewhat breaks a little immersion, although this is subjective.
Fun: Is it a fun game? Yes. The various mechanics the game has to offer does make this game quite fun to play, even with the sudden abruptness of the aforementioned flavour text, or lack thereof. I would definitely recommend this game to have in a board game collection.
This game adds some depth to the great Elder Sign. It is a good improvement, and worth including on the journey to Gates of Arkham. Many components (e.g. blessings & curses) will live with you for the rest of your Elder Sign journey. Worth picking up if you are an Elder Sign fan.