Roll the Bones

The great majority of Games entries on this blog are video games, and for good reason. It's just easier to load up a game on the computer or XBox than it is to throw together a board game night with friends. Those game nights are awfully fun, though, and I've been fortunate enough to fall into a fairly regular one. It's a nerdy bunch (a label I apply with love), so the games tend towards the Settlers of Catan variety, though Cards Against Humanity has been known to pop up, too.

Nerdy games can get pretty complicated, and Eldritch Horror is no exception. As a matter of fact, the first time we broke it out to play it, it took the entire first evening just to try and understand the rules. Once those were nailed down, the second playthrough went much more smoothly. Eldritch Horror is nifty in that it's cooperative; all the players work together against the game, which throws all sorts of Lovecraftian monsters up as obstacles. Each player is represented by an "investigator", all of whom have different strengths and weaknesses. Investigators travel around the globe, encountering creatures to defeat, spells/items to deploy, and portals to seal.

One of the things I like best about this game is just how well-written it is, which is a strange thing to say. I've played similar games that just give little blurbs about the people you're playing as and the challenges you're facing, but it's obvious that a lot more thought went into this one. Every person has a backstory written on their investigator card, as well as an epilogue if things don't go your way. Each of the obstacles you face on the map is given a short little story about the enemies and allies you're interacting with, making the game feel like an actual adventure, rather than just a series of decisions to make.

If you don't like complexity, though, this is decidedly not for you. There are approximately ten million cards and tokens to keep track of. The rules are intricate and need to be consulted often. There is an irritating imbalance in the investigator powers, meaning that some should always be chosen and some should always be avoided. Overall, though, my friends and I are having a great time with this game, and if you like nerding out, I'd definitely recommend it.

Eldritch Horror: B+


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