Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Elder Sign marathon

Somehow I managed to get four, yes FOUR, games of Elder Sign in during the past 24 hours. It was my first foray with the board game, and this then delivered new strategy insights for the iPad app. I ended up at 2-2, however.

Game 1: 2 player game, versus Nyarlathotep. Not sure if this one really counts, as we were still getting our heads around the rules, and we made some mistakes with monster placement. We also came up with a couple of house rules which makes the game slightly easier. I was playing a gangster who, while long on stamina, was short on Sanity. Still, I managed to survive right up until the point Nyarlathotep got summoned, at which juncture I got taken out in short order. Meh! We had a decent lead in the early stages with three or four Elder Signs on the table with only one on the Doom track, but our persistence in failing one scenario that awarded doom markers let Nyarlathotep back into the game, and he ended up winning. Mythos 1, Investigators 0. A learning experience.

Game 2: iPad, versus Yig. Onto the iPad app, which does have some substantial differences in terms of granularity from the card game. This time I chose Yig as my opposition, as I was really interested in applying my new-found tactical insights from the previous game, particularly focusing investigators. One of the keys in this game is remembering your investigator's special powers, but the iPad version helps you by reminding you when it is appropriate to use an ability. I went with the first four investigators on the menu, just to road test them, and whupped Yig's scaly ass, despite my heiress getting murdered. Investigators 1, Mythos 1.

A typical investigator in Elder Sign - I played this dude in Game 4.

Game 3: iPad, versus Tsathoggua. Brimming with confidence, it was on to the next challenge. Many of the Great Old Ones on the iPad are locked initially. Tsathoggua  stands in the way of this, and he's a 14 point beastie, a much more serious challenge than the Yigster. This time around I carried over one of the four investigators from the previous scenario, and just picked the other three from next in line. I bit off more than I could chew, however. Harvey Walters, one of my choices, proved to be a bit of a disappointment, while I also fell into the trap of worrying away for too long at a scenario that gave too many doom points to Tsathoggua. I got defeated fairly decisively: Harvey was last seen wandering in the Great Library of Celaeno. Mythos 2, Investigators 1.

Sample screen from the iPad version showing the Hidden Threat adventure.

Game 4: 2 player board game, versus Ithaqua. We were a bit more confident this time around. We kept our house rules in from Game #1, which are quite neat and add an additional tactical element that doesn't exist in the original game. I played the magician, while my co-investigator played a nun, who ended up skirting with death a couple of times as she only has three stamina and some adventures can easily cost you that and more. Add to this the fact that using spells and unique items when Ithaqua is the Big Bad will cost you stamina, and we ended up wasting a lot of time at the museum entrance getting first aid. BUT, we got lucky with some of the adventures, and despite the red die being locked for a good part of the game in a horrendously dangerous adventure, we won. Investigators 2, Mythos 2.

One of the bonus features on the iPad is the funky - but cosmetic - museum map.

Unfortunately no time for a final decider, but a very enjoyable first foray into the world(s) of Elder Sign. It plays quicker than Arkham Horror, which is great, as these days I rarely have time from games that take more than two hours, while two hours or less can be readily fit into my schedule. Plus, this game is supported by an app, so you can go sharpen your investigative skills when you're suffering from insomnia.


  1. I really like Elder Sign. In my experience, it pays to be aggressive and focussed, going after one of the missions with everything you've got.

  2. Agreed. And...'house rules'......not cheating of course ;)..... Would be interested to see what you did/ why introduce them....especially since you were learning the game! Have you turned it into a skirmish war game again? ;)