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Me and my husband enjoy this game.We find it quite easy to win, so tend to put out own rules in, such as when the clock strikes 12 we add a monster counter. Its no Eldritch or Arkham horror, its far simpler, so those 1st joining the roll play community, its easily understood. It can be played 1-8 players, me and my husband find it great as a 2 player game. Games take less then a hour to play. Its good fun, but a bit too easy to win, so add your own rules.
The game is pretty fun, it's very light and simple to get your head around so it's a nice game to play if you dont have a lot of time or if you fancy somethig light to warm yourself up for a bigger game. The main issue I have is that I am not sure you can actually lose this game. I would rather give this 3.5 instead of 3 though
I have purchased several board games, and wish I had skipped over Elder Sign and just used the money to purchase another Expansion for Eldritch Horror instead. The components are of good stock, colorful, and attractive, but the entire game is difficult to see/read. I have one blind eye, and had to strain to read the font size of writing on cards. The character tokens, and other game pieces are just too small for the game to be enjoyable.
I own Eldritch Horror--the pieces are bigger, the cards have a slightly bigger font, and it means that someone with a disability like mine can still enjoy a rich thematic Lovecraftian horror game.
I purchased Elder Sign for playing with my gaming group, and looked forward to the adventure of it, so I feel like I now own a game I can't play. I just wish others had mentioned the extra small pieces, etc.
I've purchased magnifying glasses for every player in my group so that no one has to strain through game play the way I did.
Not what I expected - with a fundamental flaw in the design.
I love Elder Sign base game for its theme, relative simplicity, risk/reward component with dice, and looming tension during game play. The Unseen Forces expansion was brilliant, and the addition of blessed and cursed dice, along with the chapel card for a cost of 8 to become blessed made a lot of thematic sense.
While Gates of Arkham does add a great "face down" element which positively contributes to the tension of the game, it's feels imabalanced overall. Primarily this is due to all the extra elements this expansion introduces, which seems to follow a "more is better" philosophy, but unfortunately just bogs down game play.
In addition, it severely lacks enough ways to join the "gangs." By my math, there are only 6 adventure cards in the entire deck of 78 that invite membership into one of the gangs, and roughly 4-5 abilities in the stacks of item decks.
A simple fix would have been to add "join a gang of your choice for 10 trophies" as an added feature while on the "streets of Arkham" starting card.
Lastly, and perhaps it's just me, but the addition of gate tokens, event cards, skill cards, seal markers, etc, just gave me more items to keep track of, more text to read each turn, and more to mentally juggle, which added an unwanted mental strain and complexity to what used to be a much simpler game.
*ps. If you wanted a more complex game, making Elder Sign more closely resemble its big brother (Arkham Horror) then this expansion certainly gets the job done.
Great game, fun to play and I highly recommend. The reason for my 3 star review is that the game's store is very poor, ends up being a bunch of bags in a box. I needed to use additional plastic bags to store all of the cutouts which could have easily been stored by the manufacturer. Setup is made more frustrating by a lack of game board to designate what is going on. Once learned this game is a blast, though as a 2nd addition there are so many issues that could have been fixed.
Every time I play one of these games in the Arkham series, I wonder what I'm doing. I never win them, but there's something fun about the punishment none the less.
I think this game is probably more enjoyable for those who know Lovecraft lore, only because then you can appreciate the abuse that comes with playing one of these games.
The only frustrating thing is this game is largely based on luck. The strategy lies in gaining items and doing things that slant the game in your favor, but a bunch of bad rolls do ruin this game. That's where liking the lore comes in really handy.
My boyfriend and I play this game two player, and we enjoy it.
Pros: * Lots of Lovecraft references * Makes you go mad in true Lovecraft fashion * Beautiful pieces * Fast paced with two players * Keeps you on your toes * Longer duration game * Lots of replay value with different monsters and investigators
Cons: * Largely luck based(though this can be altered with careful strategy)
This game is fun once you get into it, especially if you love games with atmosphere. However, there are just too many rules with "but if X then Y unless Z" exceptions. You will find yourself reading and re-reading the rules well into your first 10 plays through, finding out that you were accidentally cheating in all your previous games. There's also a bit too much randomness for my liking.
Even so, it seems a little bit too easy. I've never even gotten all the way through the demon track to fight the old one; we always close the seal early simply by choosing the easy adventures that pop up, and loading the easy adventures with easy monsters while placing the more difficult monsters on adventures we plan on avoiding. Once you've figured out the rules and are comfortable managing your resources (clues, spells, weapons, uniques), there really isn't much of a challenge.
Don't get me wrong; Elder Sign is a good game. It met all the reasons for why I bought the game in the first place: It was co-op (something I'm trying to introduce to my pseudo-gaming group), working together for a common goal yet suffered individual penalties (no alpha player syndrome like Pandemic). It had a bit of role-playing, interesting theme, and ability to be played solitaire. It also didn't last the whole night, both set up and game play. When I brought it to the table a couple of times, the other players seemed to enjoy it. Some even going so far as to include it in their own collection. The problem was me. Maybe I was expecting too much. I know it was thematic yahtzee, but I guess I miss actually having a board instead of a bunch of cards; it had that "on the rails" feeling. The dificulty was a little on the easy side. The pieces were also kind of small; I was always worried about losing pieces during clean-up. Still, I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to add something different to their gaming sessions. Its a quick set-up, a non-competitive vibe, simple mechanic that others can easily pick up, and a universal theme of "good versus evil".
As this is an expansion I will review it as such. the contents are wonderful and expand the game in great ways. My frustration is that the game requires you own Elder Sign and does not take storage into consideration.