Monday 30 December 2013

Eldritch World Tour

Nothing to do with the Sisters of Mercy, but my first solitaire play through of one of my Xmas presents, a copy of Fantasy Flight Games Eldritch Horror, a sequel\companion game to the original Arkham Horror. Rather than being isolated to activity in the Miskatonic Valley this game is a globe trotting affair, much like the classic Call of Cthulhu RPG campaigns such as Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and Horror on the Orient Express.

Rulebook is quite hefty at 16 pages long and with another 16 page Reference Guide to go with it. Big board and numerous card decks and tokens all in the high quality that you would expect.

Playing in one player mode, with one character in play (I later read that solitaire games are 'more dynamic' with two characters). I choose Leo Anderson, the Explorer, who starts of in Buenos Aires and choose Azathoth as the opposing Ancient One, as the rule recommend that entity for beginning players.

Victory conditions with Azathoth are fairly simple - just the standard solve three Mysteries before the Doom track reachies Zero. Unlike other Ancient Ones there is no second chances past this point, the world just ends.

As part of the initial setup a gate (to another dimension) is spawned at random and a monster placed on it - in Buenos Aires as it should happen! 'Oh great', I think, 'I'm going to die before I even start.', but this turns out not to be the case, as actions come first before encounters, so I can move off the place before I'm forced to face the monster in the encounter phase.

I set off to recover a clue token so I can solve the first Mystery ('Occult Research'). This sends me to Rome, via the coast of Africa, where I successfully deal with a wilderness encounter (this is where Leo's profession comes in handy.) and gain an artifact. Once in Rome I successfully resolve another encounter, and spend the clue to resolve the first mystery.

Took a break at this point to re-read the rules once more (I've already been reading them via the PDFs and demos on the Fantasy Flight Site.) and make myself more familiar with which cards are which and what the effects on the Mythos cards actually do. Came back with a much clearer mind and things started flowing along quite a bit faster.

The second Mystery ('Seed of the Daemon Sultan') required me to go into the Russian Wastes to Tunguska, which is only two turns away with the help of a rail travel token and going via Istanbul. I ignore the Expedition token which is on the location and resolve an encounter to resolve the Mystery

While I'm doing this other gates are poping up around the world and a number of ongoing Rumours are having an effect on the board, as Tcho-Tchos appear in the middle of the South Atlantic miles from their expected homes, and mad astrologers hole up Central America, with Sepent Men as their neighbours.

Sydney also starts to fill up with dangerous creatures ( more dangerous that the normal lethal Australian animals that is), as the Mi-Go travel from the recently spawned Arkham Gate, across the world, to devour the sole remaining clue token. With the Tick Tock Men 'epic monster' having already appeared there on top of the original gate monster.

The third Mystery ('Omen of Devastation') was to close a gate that matches with the current symbol on the Omen wheel, which ticks round on a irregular basis depending on the card drawn in the Mythos Phase. Nearest matching was in Arkham, so I nip to the coast and take a boat from the coast (avoiding Shanghai and Tokyo which also have gates and monsters) to San Francisco, then by rail across the USA to Arkham.

So I enter the Gate and end up in Lost Carcosa, I'm initially successful, but my luck lets me down in the second phase and the queen spots me - forcing me to burn the Clues I needed to solve the Mystery. Naturally in the Mythos phase the omen track moves onto a different symbol so I have to find another gate to close. I do get one bit of luck in the Mythos phase as the special effect of the Sepent Men takes effect and I get dragged towards their location. This actually puts me within one boat move of my target.

So next turn I end up back at the beginning in Buenos Aires, I test to read the tome 'Cultes des Goules' to get some more Clues, then defeated the monster and went through the gate - to the Abyss, which I just managed to crawl out of with the help of the Blessing card, shutting the gate and putting the relevant token on the mystery. Thankfully the Mythos Phase turned up no unpleasant surprises, and with the 3rd Mystery solved the menace of Azathoth has been defeated (for now).

Despite a few set backs the occurance of the events seem to fall quite nicely for me, in another order things might have ended quite differently.

Only four Ancient Ones in the current game, but more (and one in particular) are probably on the way if the crackers of the arcane code on page 11 of the rules are accurate.

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