Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game (English)

SPACE HULK: DEATH ANGEL - THE CARD GAME

by Fantasy Flight Games

Published in 2010

I finally went ahead and got myself the original English version of this cool and challenging card game!

I already introduced this game in my blog some three years ago, but now - repetitive though it may be - I'm writing another story from the cramped corridors of the Space Hulk.


For a quick recap, Space Hulk: Death Angel is a light spinoff card game from the massive Space Hulk -board game.
Death Angel features a small squad of Space Marine Terminators on board of a Space Hulk called the 'Sin of Damnation'. The Space Hulk is overrun by Genestealers, and the Marines' mission is to push through a few different locations in order to reach their destination. Upon reaching their final location, the Marines have to complete the mission by doing a specific task.


Last time the mission was accomplished when my squad of Marines destroyed two Genestealer Brood Lords in their lair.

Now I have a new squad of 6 Space Marines, divided into three combat teams: Blue team, Red team and Grey team.

The Blue team consists of the squad leader Sergeant Lorenzo and his team mate Brother Deino. Lorenzo and Deino lead by example, inspiring the others to perform as best as they can in the cramped passageways of the Space Hulk.
Lorenzo also wields a power sword with which he can deliver deadly counter attacks to attacking xenos.

Brother Leon and Brother Valencio form the Red team. Eventhough Leon carries an assault cannon with unmatched firepower, both members of the Red team are also known to be very mobile warriors who are experts at using the terrain to their advantage.

The Grey team is formed by Lexicanium Calistarius, the squad Librarian, and his battle Brother Scipio.
The Grey team is stealthy and cautious, but when the combat begins, Calistarius can use his psionic powers to quickly tear apart large numbers of enemies.

The mission is just about ready to begin, but first I'm going to mention that nowdays I use a "Location Substitutions" -chart, which is an unofficial add-on for Death Angel made by a boardgamegeek.com user "haslo".
This simple and clever chart allows a player to use all of the location cards no matter how many Space Marines are in the squad. In the official rules many of the location cards would never be used when playing with only 6 Space Marines, and I find that a bit dull.
This chart can easily be found in the Files-section of the Death Angel's BGG.com page.

THE MISSION BEGINS:

The boarding torpedo docks the void lock and the squad rushes out.
Brother Scipio takes the point, followed by his team mate Lexicanium Calistarius. Two Genestealers approach from the door to Scipio's left.
The other teams follow, Brother Leon coming in last and readying his assault cannon towards the nearest ventilation duct.

The Grey team attacks the two Genestealers and kills one of them, but the other one gets close and attacks Scipio.

Genestealers are extremely dangerous xenos, and not even the thick Tactical Dreadnought Armour is enough to keep Brother Scipio alive; the squad suffers its first casualty right away!

Another Genestealer appears from the ventilation duct, but Leon easily destroys it.

After a short while, two more xenos come through the door and another pair crawls out from the ventilation duct. The monsters begin to circle around Brother Valencio...

After the rough start, the squad re-organizes and takes a more defensive approach:

Calistarius deploys a power field around the three Genestealers stalking the squad from the left - effectively locking them in place.

Valencio moves to secure the door and Sergeant Lorenzo manages to intimitade the rest of the Genestealers away - for now.

Leon turns around and trains his cannon towards the swarm held in place by Calistarius' power field.

An opportunity arises to leave the void lock and travel ahead.

The squad arrives to the main corridor. This corridor is well lit, but infested by a large number of Genestealers. Three appear to the right side of the squad.

The other three on the left side are still trapped in the power field.

The Lexicanium disperses his power field and Leon opens fire. Two of the three Genestealers are slain with the help of Brother Deino's support. Deino also kills another xeno that was engaged in a close combat with him.

One Genestealer attacks Lorenzo, and another one attacks Valencio... Both attacks come from behind of the defending Marines, but the attacks are unsuccessful and the squad suffers no more casualties.
The Genestealers often try to sneak behing the Marines, as it is considerably harder for them to defend in such situations.

Two more xenos appear from a dark corner at the right side of the formation, and another two from a door right next to Leon.
Leon is currently reloading his assault cannon and cannot attack...

Calistarius is the first one to meet the two Genestealers that try to attack the squad from behind the dark corner.

Both of the creatures are ripped apart by Calistarius' psionic powers!



The rest of the squad members re-arrange their formation and take better positions against the Genestealers that are now attacking from multiple different locations.
Brother Deino takes Leon's place at the door and scares away the two creatures from there.

Lorenzo and Valencio are attacked again, but this time the two are prepared and they easily fend off the attacking xenos.



More Genestealers crawl out from the ventilation duct, but Brother Leon has now reloaded his assault cannon. He and Valencio slay two of the monsters, but a few still remains...

Lexicanium Calistarius uses his stealth tactics to clear the route out from the main corridor. Only a few Genestealers remain between the formation and the next location.

Sergeant Lorenzo, trying to lead the squad forward, gets attacked by two Genestealers. He kills one of them with his power sword, but the other one gets past his defenses...
The squad leader goes down and the formation is now only four Terminators long.



Brother Valencio takes Lorenzo's place at the point of the formation and uses a special one-use flame attack to incinerate the rest of the Genestealers.







Valencio then leads the formation out from the main corridor and into a wreckage labyrinth of some sort. This new location is very disorienting, and the Marines immediately lose their bearings. Luckily there are no Genestealers present at the moment.

Brother Valencio finds himself in a very precarious spot; an ominous ventilation duct to his left and a volatile Promethium tank on his right side.


The back of the formation can't see any especially threatening terrains, but it would be an excellent idea to leave this labyrinth behind as quickly as possible.


It's quiet for a while. The squad uses the downtime to re-arrange their formation and to reload their weapons.
Brother Leon secures the door.

The hidden Genestealers in the labyrinth begin to draw closer, but only two make themselves seen. One appears directly behind Brother Leon.
These two Genestealers never get to attack anyone, though, as Calistarius is ready with his psionic attack... The Genestealers are destroyed.

But now more begins to appear. Two xenos appear from both sides of the formation.


Leon, Valencio and Deino open fire! Calistarius uses his stealth tactics once more to simultaneously lead the formation onward. The wreckage labyrinth is quickly left behind, and all of the Genestealers currently in sight are destroyed.

The formation arrives in the last location:
The toxin pumping station.

This is where the mission objective can be resolved. Reports show that there are a total of 14 Genestealers in this facility, and the objective is to kill them all. No more traveling forward or stalling, this is where the final fight will happen!

The squad notices that some of the machinery in the room could be used to flush out the Genestealers that are hiding in the pipes...

Some Genestealers show themselves and attack the Marines. Valencio fends off one xeno's attack, while Deino uses his intimidation to scare off the rest. Deino also tries to operate the control panel in the room, but doesn't manage to power up the machinery.

Lexicanium Calistarius attempts to attack the Genestealer fighting with Brother Valencio, but the creature is out of the psionic attack's range.


More xenos appear to the right, but Brother Leon is ready with his assault cannon.

Three enemies are obliterated by Leon's firepower.







Valencio continues his struggle with the lone Genestealer up front, but neither one manages to kill the other one.
Calistarius switches places with Deino and figures out the usage of the control panel. Four xenos are destroyed by the highly toxic materials in the facility - the right side of the formation is now cleared of the enemies.
Calistarius' stealth tactics also help him to destroy one hidden xeno from the left.

But then three more appear from the left, all the while Leon, Valencio and Deino are still reloading their weapons...
Calistarius' psionic attack is ready, but he is still facing the control panel and doesn't notice what's happening behind him.

Valencio and Leon are attacked, but the Red team won't give in. Deino takes Calistarius' place at the control panel and destroys one of the remaining Genestealers from the left side of the facility.

Calistarius is unable to attack the two Genestealers directly behind him, but he does manage to create a power field around the creatures and tie them in place.

Each one of the four remaining Marines attack!

Three xenos are destroyed, leaving only one left to attack Brother Leon. Leon blocks the attack.



One more Genestealer appears behind Brother Valencio. This one is the 14th, so the mission is very close to completion... only these two remain.

But the Marines need to reload and recharge their powers... The Genestealer next to Brother Valencio finally gets through the point man's defenses and kills him! The squad is down to three members.

The other xeno attacks Valencio's team parter Leon, but he manages to fight the enemy off, though only with great difficulties.

Calistarius uses his quick instincts and makes a surprise attack at the two remaining enemies.
One is killed.

And now all the remaining Marines have directed their weapons towards the last surviving Genestealer.
They all attack simultaneously, and the enemy has no chances of survival...
The toxin pumping station is cleared of all threats and the mission is successful - with a meagre 50% mortality rate within the Terminator Squad!

CONCLUSION:

Another victory!
I have written that Space Hulk: Death Angel is a very challenging game, and I usually do lose when I play it... But this time I scored a nice victory.

The beginning of this run demonstrated the brutality of this game: The first Marine died literally during the very first game round! And that's not even an especially rare thing to happen - the mighty Space Marines are very vulnerable in Death Angel. In fact, I gave some numbers about the death possibilities of the Marines in my first Death Angel -review, and they explain why each and every attack made by the Genestealers is too much.

Otherwise this game went rather well. I had the Grey team with me, which might be the best team in the game... Calistarius' psionic attack can be devastating, but their Support- and Move and Activate -cards are very useful as well. Looking for attack power only, Zael's flamer or Claudio's charge (from the last review) are usually better, but the Grey team works extremely well with all of their cards.

Well, so much for that! Check my previous Death Angel -review if you want to read more about this cool little game.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Zombicide

ZOMBICIDE

by Cool Mini Or Not  &  Guillotine Games

Published in 2012

Lots of zombies! That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this game. And weapons to kill those zombies... That's pretty much it. How entertaining can such a simple idea be?

Turns out; very entertaining!
Well, it works in movies, so why not in board games as well.

Zombicide delivers what it promises and does it very well, without taking itself too seriously. It's a strategy game where you get to roll dice more than enough, but for some reason it doesn't seem to get old.
In Zombicide, the zombies are easy to kill - roll enough on a 6-sided die and they'll go down, but what will you do when there are 10 of them in the building with you, and much more waiting out on the street? Are you going to be able to muster up a die for each of them... and what if you fail a few rolls?
That's where the strategy comes into the equation.


In Zombicide, players control survivors. The survivors move around the map that consists of some buildings and the streets in between them, look for supplies and kill zombies. And the zombies will never stop coming - more will spawn at the end of every round. In fact, so many of them will spawn, that a lone survivor would quickly be overwhelmed. That's why usually at least 4 survivors are needed. The game does not scale down for a fewer number of survivors, so when I play solo I use 4 survivors by myself.

Each survivor has a different set of skills. Only one skill is open at the beginning of the game, but more will become available as the survivors kill zombies and gain experience. But there is a catch: The survivor with the most experience sets the "danger level" of the game, and this level determines how many zombies will spawn at the end of every round - and every time a new building is explored. So while killing zombies makes the survivors stronger, it also summons even more zombies for the survivors to kill... seems like a no-win situation!

The game is easy to lose. In Zombicide, when a survivor dies, they stay dead. And when all the survivors are gone, the game is lost. But there is always a mission. By completing this mission the survivors can win the game. The mission that I have chosen for the soon-to-begin game is one where my goal is very simple: All I need to do is to get one of my survivors into the highest experience level. That's easy enough to remember... I can achieve this by killing zombies and gathering objective tokens that can be found from inside the buildings.

Let's meet my survivors for the game:

Josh the Thug.
This guy is very slippery in his movements, allowing him to evade zombies no matter how many of them are around. Later on he can also develop a strange luck that will make him succeed more often in his attacks.
Josh starts the mission with a crowbar.


Wanda the Waitress.
She moves around quickly with her rollerskates. With experience, she can become a strong fighter as well.
Wanda has found a pistol that she brings to the fight.





Goth Amy.
Amy is fast and she can learn to handle all kinds of weapons. During a real crisis, she might even remember some first-aid skills to patch up herself and other survivors alike.
Amy wields a deadly fire axe.


Crazy Ned.
He is so crazy that he is currently armed with only a frying pan. Maybe he's just lost all of his other stuff, though, as Ned is really good at searching for useful items. When provoked, he can become an effective fighter, and an all-around tough guy who can withstand more damage than most people could.


Now let's see if one of these four can reach the red danger level. This level of experience equals to 43 destroyed zombies, but picking up objectives can help them to reach it faster...

[It should be mentioned that this mission also features cars that the survivors should be able to drive. However, I personally dislike the car-mechanics of the game, so I'll pretend as if the cars were all broken and unusable. They can be searched though.]

THE ZOMBICIDE BEGINS!

There is a door in front of the survivors, and they think they should probably get indoors before zombies start to show up. They also notice a police car to their left - maybe there are some weapons to be found from the car...

Josh pries open the door. He does it silently, with his crowbar, like the street thug he is.

The door leads into a diner of some sort, but the first couple of rooms are a complete mess. At least half a dozen zombies are inside, one of them in the first room right in front of Josh.





Without wasting any time, Josh dashes inside and beats the zombie down with his crowbar.

The other survivors follow Josh. Amy tries to search the room, but only manages to uncover another zombie from under the debris! Amy tries to kill the creature with her fire axe, but fails. Ned whacks the zombie with the only weapon he has, the frying pan, but only when Wanda takes Amy's axe and attacks with it, are the survivors able to finish the foe. Wanda gives her pistol to Amy in return for the axe.
Not a very strong start - it shouldn't take this long time to kill a couple of walkers...

The rest of the zombies inside the diner are roused by the presence of survivors and start to walk towards them. Two more walkers enter the room, and the next room is already packed with zombies. There is even a really big one among them, taking shelter behind some walkers.

One of the zombies is moving alarmingly fast... Must be one of those runners!



The survivors decide to retreat from the diner, as too many zombies are approaching them from inside. Josh kills the two walkers with his crowbar, while Amy lays down some covering fire with the pistol.
She shoots down the walkers from the other room, but the fat zombie is not affected.

The survivors retreat back to the street. Before leaving, Ned and Wanda search the room quickly. Ned finds lots of ammo for a pistol, while Wanda only picks up a bag of rice.


The survivors regroup outside the door, but zombies are closing in from every direction.

The runner from the diner also cathes up with them.










Josh takes on the runner with his crowbar. He and Ned then finish off the walkers too... Ned borrows Josh's crowbar.

Amy takes the extra ammo from Ned and shoots a couple of walkers approaching the survivors from the south. Now she's got plenty of ammo to waste, and hitting the targets gets easier...
The women then head back inside the diner and Wanda manages to hack the big zombie down with her axe.
The survivors determine that they need better and stronger weapons.

Ned comes back in as well. Amy and Ned then finish off the rest of the zombies from the diner. Now that the building is safe, the survivors search it for weapons and other useful items. Ned finds another crowbar, Amy picks up some canned food, but then:

Wanda finds a chainsaw!

The ultimate zombie-killing tool. It makes noise and it's clumsy, but in skilled hands it can take down hordes of zombies quickly!




Not needing her axe anymore, Wanda gives it to Josh, who then sets out to explore by himself.
A bold move, but Josh is known to be careful and elusive in his ways...

Josh turns from the south corner of the diner and sees another police car. There is a lone walker ahead, but Josh reaches the car fast enough and takes a good look around - there is a rifle on the front seat! Josh quickly secures the rifle and shoots the walker with it.


Inside the diner, Amy finds an objective that grants her experience. She feels stronger and faster...
She also finds another pistol! Two pistols is a lot better than one - escpecially for one who's got plenty of ammo for them.






Wanda clears the streets with her chainsaw, while she and Ned begin to head towards Josh, who has found another building to explore.


Josh uses his axe to break down the side door of the diner, giving Amy a quicker way out.

Then he takes the axe to the door on the opposite side of the street. The building is teeming with zombies!

Every survivor should quickly join Josh... This is where the fun begins!

Josh looks inside into what seems like a garage, and shoots the first zombie he sees with his rifle. Amy appears from the door and opens fire with her twin pistols, effectively emptying the garage of all zombies.
After she's done, she searches the police car and finds a submachine gun!

Ned uses his crowbar to break open another door to the building and then steps aside as Wanda darts in with her rollerskates.
She finds two runners and cuts them into pieces with her chainsaw. Then she heads back to the street with the other survivors.

The walkers seem to gain a momentary surge of speed as they suddenly appear into the garage from the other rooms, and then pour out to the street to look for the source of Amy's gunfire.




Except for Ned, who is only carrying crowbars, the survivors have found some useful weapons...









...but there are so many zombies to kill!
Josh and Amy have climbed on top of the police car and prepare to lash out at the horde before them...






...while Wanda and Ned have another group of walkers to deal with!






Josh realizes that he would only be in the way when Amy starts to shoot around with her pistols.
He evades the horde of zombies around the police car and slips into the garage!

There is still almost a dozen zombies inside, but Josh identifies a runner among them and tries to take it out with his fire axe.
He fails though, and runs deeper into the building to prevent the zombies from cathing him.

Meanwhile outside, Amy blasts away all the zombies in her immediate vicinity and gains a lot more experience in process. But there are more zombies close by, and some of them are runners... this is going to get ugly!

Wanda and Ned dispose of the couple of walkers that tried to attack them, and hurry to the police car to help Amy. Ned searches the car and he also finds a weapon; a sawed off shotgun!
He takes a shot at the nearby zombies and takes down one of them.

A runner from inside the garage and another one from the street reach the survivors and attack.
At this point Amy is by far the most valuable survivor, and the others know it. Ned and Wanda get wounded while protecting Amy from the runners.


The rest of the walkers from inside come out, and the survivors are surrounded once again.

Also, a large group of zombies is approaching from both ends of the street...
The situation is getting out of hands.


A bloodbath ensues! Wanda cuts down several zombies with the chainsaw, including both of the runners. When she gets tired, she hands the saw down to Amy, who in turn gives the pistols and the ammo to Wanda.


Amy continues with the saw, and kills of each and every zombie still left around the police car.
She then enters the garage and finds a lone fatty-zombie from inside, which she easily destroys with her chainsaw.

Full of adrenaline, Amy searches the building and finds another objective from a nearby restroom. She is getting close to her experience goal!

And the building seems to be empty now... maybe there are more objectives to be found.



Josh sees that all the zombies from the garage and gone and heads back outside to join the others.

Suddenly two runners attack the survivors. These runners seem extra-fast, even when compared to other runners; they rush to the police car and the trio of survivors is caught off guard!
Wanda gets wounded, but the men are killed in the attack!

Wanda guns down the runners, fires a few rounds at the horde approaching from the west and then moves inside as the streets are getting too dangerous.

Amy finds a third objective from a bedroom near her, and then runs back to the garage to regroup with Wanda.
Only one more objective for Amy, and the survivors' mission would be completed!

But a huge amount of zombies is closing in on the garage door...

Three more runners appear from the street and try to get close to the remaining survivors. Wanda puts away her pistols and arms herself with a baseball bat that she had found somewhere. She kills one of the runners, and Amy takes care of the others with the chainsaw.
Then Amy runs deeper into the building, frantically searching for the next objective. She comes across a messy conference room with a large oval-shaped table. There is a lot of blood around...
But there it is on the table, the fourth objective! Amy runs to grab it, and it's done.



Amy reaches the highest experience level and the survivors are victorious. Countless of zombies have been destroyed and two survivors have died. The fighting continues, but this mission is complete!


CONCLUSION:

This was a very interesting game, and I had a great time playing it. This run didn't even take a very long time to finish - sometimes a game of Zombicide can last more than two hours.

To me, Zombicide has proven to be a brutally challenging game. I think it suits the theme well: A certain degree of desperation is an appropriate feeling when trying to survive in a zombie-infested city!
Zombicide is an unforgiving game. The survivors die very quickly when overwhelmed, and while the zombies are killed by rolling the dice, the survivors die automatically if enough zombies are allowed to attack them.

There is one oddity in the rules: When using ranged weapons, the other survivors on the target space are always targeted first, and zombies only after them! This of course means that the survivors _must_ use melee weapons in crowded situations (although there is a certain weapon-item -combo that allows to bend this rule).
This seems like a bit forced mechanic, but I don't mind, as it balances out the synergy between melee weapons and ranged weapons without making the combat rules unnecessarily complex.

There are also a few extra-activation cards for the zombies. These cards are just about the worst enemies in the game, as they can undo your careful strategies by suddenly giving the zombies around your survivors an extra action you couldn't possibly have prepared for. In this game, Josh and Ned died because one of these cards, and I think overall most of the survivor fatalities in Zombicide happen because an extra-activation is drawn at the wrong time.
But then, just kill more zombies and there are less of them to benefit from these nasty extra-activations, right? I have learned not to complain about these events, but rather to take the possibility of them happening into consideration when I plan my moves.

The game board in zombicide can be quite large. This mission uses the full 3 x 3 tiles, which equals to 75cm x 75cm, or about 2'5" x 2'5". The map tiles are double sided, so there are many ways to build the map, and custom missions can easily be created. The artwork on the tiles is very nice and detailed, but sometimes repetitive, as most of the rooms are used a couple of times with maybe a bit different coloring.
The miniatures are detailed and plentiful. Most of them are walkers, but they don't all look the same, which gives the zombie hordes a lot more lively (or deathly?) appearance.

PS. There is something called an Abomination in Zombicide, and it actually appeared in this mission as well! My survivors never saw it, but it can be seen on the background in some of the pictures...

RATING:  10 /10

SOLO RATING:  9 /10

Zombicide is a cooperative zombie-killing game that is easy to learn and fun to play. Because the minimum number of survivors is 4, playing solo can be an exhausting experience, but usually a very rewarding one too.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Eldritch Horror

ELDRITCH HORROR

by Fantasy Flight Games

Published in 2013

Eldritch Horror - I was so excited when I heard that FFG was making this game!
In fact, years ago I wanted to create a board game very much like EH myself, and I even began writing down some ideas, but nothing came out of it!
Maybe that's one of the reasons why I was so enthusiastic to add this game to my collection...

To put it simply, Eldritch Horror is a global Cthulhu Mythos -adventure with a very solid theme and some truly interesting game mechanics.

When talking about Eldritch Horror, comparison to Arkham Horror is a sure thing. After all, these two games share the theme, and EH, as well as the latest version of AH are published by the same company. Even their names are very much alike.
Is the global scale the only thing that separates Eldritch from Arkham?


Not by a long shot.
And I think that the first thing to do when you start looking into EH is to recognize that this is not an Arkham Horror lite, global Arkham Horror, or AH 2013.
Eldritch Horror really is a whole new game with a new kind of outlook into the amazing Cthulhu Mythos. Better or worse than the good old AH? - that's a whole different matter.

But let's get the story going now.
The year is 1926 and the Stars are right! The Great Cthulhu is stirring in his slumber, and magical gates to other worlds are opening all around the world. The Doom is advancing - the Doom of mankind.
The majority of the world's population doesn't know what's going on, or maybe they don't even care. Some have studied the Mythos and they know what to expect... And they despair.
But a few individuals are willing to put their lifes and their minds at risk, and to start looking deeper into the mysteries of Cthulhu. These people are the only hope that the Earth has left.

Here is a couple of them:


Leo Anderson is an Expedition Leader who has spent the majority of his life travelling all around the world, exploring the most obscure corners of the planet. He has the means and the experience to follow the Mythos clues all around the world.
Currently in Buenos Aires, Leo is hiring some help. He has always found allies very easily.

Trish Scarborough is an international Spy. Talented and persistent, Trish is no stranger to danger. As a woman of logic and reason, she didn't know about Cthulhu until recently, after following a lead to the city of Krasnoyarsk. Deeply shocked by what she learned, she decides to abandon her mundane assignment and to begin investigating the Eldritch Horror.

... the Eldritch Horror that is known by the name of Cthulhu!

Said to be the high priest of the Great Old Ones, the Great Cthulhu has been trapped into his sunken city of R'lyeh for eons. Dead but dreaming, Cthulhu's influence over the Earth has prevailed, and the Cthulhu Cult has been around since the birth of mankind.

But now the Stars are right, and Cthulhu's time of awakening is near!
The seas are getting wild and dangerous, and sightings of Deep Ones and something even more terrifying have greatly increased.

Leo and Trish must hurry and solve enough mysteries to prevent Cthulhu's awakening, or the whole world will be lost in madness...

THE HORROR BEGINS:

The Stars are right! Cthulhu's time of awakening is near, and his cultists are rushing to the seas to witness his return. The first mystery that the investigators need to look into is the behavior of these people. Leo and Trish need to gather clues from all around the World in order to gain some understanding about the situation.

Leo learns that some suspicious people have been gathering on an island near Antarctica. He immediately embarks a ship that agrees to take him over there to investigate.
While there, he finds people who claim to be natives to the island. They tell tales about ancient monsters battling each other, but the stories affect Leo's mind strangely - Leo begins hallucinating.

Trish travels to Istanbul, where she gathers some clues. She also manages to gain a blessing from the friendly imam of the local mosque.

A sinister group of men have been spotted in Australia. Some call them "The Watches", some refer to them as "Tick Tock Men", but nobody seems to know who they are, or what is their purpose.

But somehow it is clear that their presence in this world is very unwholesome...

Trish decides to look into these Tick Tock Men.
But on her way to Australia, she hears of a situation in Shanghai: A mystical gate has opened up, and a Zombie has appeared from it!
Trish makes her way over there, and guns the Zombie down with her 45. automatic pistols.

She then proceeds to walk through the gate in order to find out a way to close it. She finds herself in the Great Hall of Celaeno.
There she finds a human being, reading through tomes of dark sorcery. Carefully spying on him, she learns the he is responsible for the gate, and manages to close it. Before leaving the great library, Trish takes a look at some of the books that the stranger was reading... A mistake! Trish's scientific mind cannot fathom the horrors that the books contained. She begins to lose her sanity.

Leo stays put and tries to get some rest in order clear his head.

In the middle of the night, Leo sees that an army of Deep Ones is climbing in and out of the water, sneaking all around Leo's ship!

Leo tries to hide, but one of the creatures spots him and attacks. Thanks to his hired muscle, Leo survives the fight, but he feels deeply frightened by the whole event.

Trish gains an ally: An Urban Guide joins Trish's quest. This valuable ally will assist her in her urban encounters.

Leo finds out that an Elder Thing has appeared to prevent him from doing any further investigations. He feels that this ancient monster is too powerful for him to defeat, and leaves Antarctica. He takes his ship to Sydney.
There he acquires some dynamite.

Trish also arrives in Sydney. The Tick Tock Men should be close.

Rumor has it, that a dozen of unpleasant-looking strangers have settled into Panama with a large collection of astronomical reference books.

What ever it is that they are doing, it clearly has effects on a world wide scale... Could they be trying to hasten up Cthulhu's arrival?



Trish travels to the last known location of the Tick Tock Men, and attempts to terminate them. The imam's blessing guides her efforts, and after a furious firefight she does manage defeat the strange men... If, in fact, the were men at all.

While searching the area further, Trish finds a cave with some curious cave paintings on the wall. She explores the dark and claustrophobic passageways, and finds a book... Her knowledge of the dark arts and forgotten mysteries is not very acute, but she reacognizes the book all the same - it is the dreaded Necronomicon, written by the mad arab Abdul Alhazred!


Whether this one is the original Necronomicon, or a copy - Trish doesn't know, but it certainly looks very old. Trish decides not to open it...

Leo leaves Sydney and heads west, towards South Africa. Half way there, he is attacked by another Deep One! Are these things following him..?
However, this time the creature is alone and Leo manages to kill it. From its corpse Leo finds some clues that might help in solving the first mystery about Cthulhu!

Leo notices that the seas become more and more hostile as the days go by...

A gate opens up in Sydney, and people there begin rioting.

Leo reaches Capetown. He tries to acquire some assets, but without any luck.
A group of intimitading Syndicate members confront Leo and demand money from him for protection. Leo refuses to pay... The Syndicate makes sure that Leo meets with an accident; he gains a leg injury.

Trish visits Sydney again and tries to disperse the riots.
Diplomacy fails, as the people attack her and she is forced to shoot several of them.

Trish gets slightly injured in the skirmish.



Later that night, Trish is assaulted by a group of unknown creatures. She is badly hurt, and especially her sanity is severely damaged.
At the same time in South Africa, Leo is also attacked. Leo identifies his attacker to be something out of this world; a Byakhee. The Byakhee injures Leo, but then flies away...


Trish leaves Sydney with haste, and stops in a little town in Indonesia. She rests, calms her shattered nerves, and steals a powerful Carbine Rifle from the local gun shop...







Leo heads back to Buenos Aires, and stumbles upon a gate. A member of the hideous Cthulhu Cult is guarding the gate, but Leo kills him. Leo then enters the gate and gets transported to the distant Yuggoth!
There Leo gathers his courage and enters the city of green pyramids - a place where even the unearthly Mi-Go refuse to go...

A treasure is found from the city; the Pallid Mask!
The Mask was supposedly worn by the King in Yellow, and Leo can't think of a reason for its presence here in Yuggoth...


However, Leo takes the Mask. It will allow him to avoid monsters with great ease.

Leo successfully escapes the pyramids and returns to Earth, closing the gate behind him.

After a short rest, Leo embarks a northbound ship and reaches Panama. He finds the unpleasant-looking strangers, and convinces la policía to remove them.
Leo feels that some damage was already done, though, as Cthulhu's oppressing Doom has clearly advanced...

Trish continues to rest, then moves to India.
There she is accused of a violent crime, which she didn't commit. She tries her best to convince the police of her innocence, but they lock her up and confiscate her pistols. She does manage to hide her rifle, so the police don't get their hands on that.

Meanwhile, Leo's leg injury is causing him troubles to move. He is been offered some strange remedies to heal the leg, but Leo feels that he doesn't have the time for that, and decides to move on.

Trish is interrogated. Another prisoner tells her that the food that her captors are offering to her is poisoned. Trish tries to free herself, but fails, and eventually she is forced to eat some of the food in order to fight off starvation...

She gets a serious poisoning, but survives.

Her captors let her go as they find out that Trish isn't going to give them any information.

Leo travels to Arkham, and visits the Arkham Asylum. He discusses with some of the patients, but learns nothing of any interest.
A gate opens up in Arkham.

Both of the investigators have acquired some interesting items, but their sanities have suffered, and they have some physical injuries too...


Leo stays in Arkham, and attempts to close the gate. He enters it, and ends up in the Lost Carcossa.
He finds his way to an elaborate masquerade, where he talks to some of the decadent party-goers. Leo is forced to spend some time with the people, and fails to close the gate, but his patience is rewarded in form of a gift: A powerful magical sword called the Sword of Saint Jerome is given to him!

Trish investigates the sewer system of Bombay. Locals told her that people have been abducted by a monster dwelling in there. After a while, she finds a Deep One!
After a struggle, Trish and her urban guide fight the monster off. An abducted Vatican Missionary is rescued - he agrees to join Trish on her mission.

Trish takes a train to Rome, where a gate and a Cultist are waiting for her.
She attacks the Cultist, but the Cultist proves to be tougher than what she anticipated... Trish is hurt in the fight, and the Cultist stays there, guarding the gate.



Leo - still in Arkham - goes through the gate again. This time the gate takes him back to Yuggoth, where he finds a room filled with living brains inside of metal cylinders. Leo communicates with the brains through a speaker box found in the room, and the brains attempt to teach Leo how to operate the Mi-Go's machinery that keeps the gate open.
Attempt to shut down the machinery fails. Leo returns to Arkham and the gate stays open.

Monsters appear from several gates all around the world. A Witch is seen in Arkham, and the gate in Rome spawns a Goat Spawn. The investigators decide to move on, and hurry up to finally complete the first mystery of Cthulhu!

Leo embarks a ship to London, and continues to sail northeast. There is a clue to be found somewhere in the Arctic Ocean.
While looking for the clue, his ship is attacked by a huge Star Spawn of Cthulhu! Not much is known about this conflict, but a few days later Leo is brought back to London - having completely lost his mind...
Leo Anderson will not be able to continue his quest!

Trish takes a train to Helsinki.
She follows a clue to the library. She is unable to find the book that she was looking for, but the librarian tells her that the book was checked out by a certain Mr. Marsh. Trish manages to find this Marsh before he leaves town, and steals the book from his room.
Deciphering some of the secrets from the book, Trish completes the First Mystery of Cthulhu!

But it took a too long time!
The first mystery is solved, but the Starts are right indeed... Cthulhu has awaken!

He is still in R'lyeh, and reports suggest that he remains behind the immense doors that have kept him sealed for eons, but he is awake!
His thoughts will quickly drive everyone on Earth insane.

If humanity is to survive, someone will eventually have to confront Cthulhu himself. But before that can happen, there are still two more mysteries to solve!

The next mystery is Cthulhu's city, R'lyeh, which now has risen from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Someone needs to enter this dreadful city and solve a mystery in there!

But all hope is not lost!

Leo Anderson cannot continue, but a new investigator appears: Silas Marsh. a Sailor from Innsmouth - currently in Sydney. People tend to distrust him because of his hometown and his surname, but right now he is relatively close to R'lyeh, and he claims to be eager to help...

He takes his ship and begins the journey towards east - towards the city of Cthulhu!

Silas finds the island, bravely swims up to the slimy rocks and walks into the corpse city of R'lyeh.
The strange, non-Euclidean angles cause silas to almost lose his mind...

Trish heads back to Rome and attacks the Cultist again. This time the Cultist seems even more powerful than before - undoubtebly empowered by Cthulhu's recent awakening - but Trish manages to kill him.
She then fires her powerful carbine rifle at the Goat Spawn, but the shot only injures the inhumane creature.
Trish can't get to the gate.

Then Madness overwhelms the investigators! Cthulhu's presence on this planet is too much for the already shaken investigators, and they both go insane.

And everyone on Earth will follow soon... The Stars are right, the Great Cthulhu has risen, and mankind will be consumed by madness!

"That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."
      - 'The Call of Cthulhu', H. P. Lovecraft


CONCLUSION:

And Cthulhu remains undefeated! This was my third game against Cthulhu, and I have lost each one of them.
The main problem with this run was that I was clearly too slow in going after the first mystery. I had a pretty good start, closed up a couple of gates and kept my investigators in a good shape, but I was way too slow.
Eldritch Horror is not an easy game. Maybe not an especially difficult one either, but so far it has been challenging enough. I won't tell my exact win ratio, but I will say that it's way below 50 % :)

There is a lot to do in the game, and only a very limited amount of time to do it. To me, that's one of the main attractions of Eldritch Horror. It gives a sense of urgency, and it forces the players to think strategically. Also, it keeps the game rolling... You can't just sit around and wait for something good to happen. Or if you do, you will probably regret it later when you begin to realize that your time is running out.

The game also has Spells and Expeditions. At least these two major components were left completely unexamined in the game above, and still the game seemed to offer something new on almost every round.
The Expeditions are special encounters that usually require the investigators to go through two skill tests. All Expeditions have 4 different outcomes, ranging from some of the best rewards in the game to some of the most disastrous penalties.
The Spell-cards are double sided. When casting a spell for the first time, you may experience some surprising side effects... A cool mechanic which was also used in Mansions of Madness.

The artwork in the game is - should I say - FFG quality. Very good and detailed, though this time nothing really mindboggling. Other components in the game serve their purpose well, except that the base game comes with only 5 dice. So far I have made combat rolls with more than 5 dice in every game that I have played. Of course this is not a big deal: You can just reroll dice, or then buy some more.
Also, finally, the cards have different pictures than the ones we saw 8 years ago in AH. Not that there is anything wrong with them, but they have already been used in Elder Sign, and to some extent in Mansion of Madness as well.

RATING:  10 /10

SOLO RATING:  9 /10

So let's make the final comparison to Arkham Horror.
Yes, I think EH is even better than AH! Arkham Horror is still a great game, but for me Eldritch Horror is more suitable.
First, the global scale. I feel that the Cthulhu Mythos is something so immense, that the larger scale fits the theme better. In AH, the idea of all these eldritch monsters roaming around in one city is a bit too confined... In EH, it is very thematic to travel around the world, visiting strange locations and solving mysteries, while the whole world is inevitably descending into chaos...
Another thing is the fine tuned game mechanics of Eldritch Horror. AH is super heavy. Sure, it's also very detailed and "realistic", but I think I like the EH way better. Streamlined mechanics - that's the thing.

All in all, Eldritch Horror is a great game and I recommend it for all cooperative gamers.
For Cthulhu Mythos -fans, in my opinion, there is no game available that better depicts the feel of Mythos than Eldritch Horror.