This weekend the weather was terrible, so it provided an ideal opportunity to get one of my larger games out. I’ve played Eldritch Horror from Fantasy Flight Games a few times as a 2 player game. But due to the set up time and the need for a few hours play time, it’s only hit the table about 3 times in the year since I got it. And unfortunately each time my wife and I have been defeated by the powers of the Cthulhu mythos.
This time I was going to run solo to hold back the tentacled forces from another dimension.
Going it alone
One of the appealing things about Eldritch Horror is the fact that its billed as a supporting 1 to 8 players. Being able to play games solo when you’re short on a gaming group is a key requirement of game purchases these days. The added bonus with Eldritch Horror is that solo play is done in exactly the same way as with a group. There are no changes to the mechanics. The game has been designed to scale by group size.
For this first solo game I decided to take control of 2 investigators.
- Diana Stanley – ex cultist
- Mark Harrigan – soldier
It’s been a while since I last played Eldritch Horror, so set up took a while. Getting back not the swing of regular play will make set up quicker. Looking at other owners online, getting the game contents organised would probably speed things up too. So, on to the game…
The first couple of rounds things started out quite well. Managed to close a couple of dimensional gates that opened, including one that allowed me to solve a mystery. Stopping the rise of Azathoth required solving 3 mysteries. So good start, 1 down 2 to go.
Unfortunately that’s where things started to go downhill.
Harrigan, the soldier, was not living up to his tough image and impressive physical stats. Heading to North America, he was sent to close down a dimensional gate in Arkham which was spewing unnameable monstrosities into our realm. Unfortunately Harrigan was taking a pounding from the beasts, and to compound things, when dealing with the encounter to close the gate, each time he failed, usually suffering some misfortune.
Meanwhile over in Asia, Diana Stanley, the ex cultist, was on a roll closing a number of gates – luckily for her, when each gate opened, any monster was usually spawned at another location. But Lady Luck can also be cruel. While in Shanghai, Stanley is asked to observe a trephination. When asked to examine the subjects brain, she misses identifying an insect like creature called a shan and it overpowers her mind. The result is she loses the knowledge gained after solving the first mystery. Now my investigators are back where they started.
Back at Arkham, Harrigan finally closes the gate and heads to London en-route to Tunguska. A strange meteor was seen hitting there so it’s a prime site for investigating. During the next Mythos phase a cult leader comes to Harrigan to collect on a debt he owes. He made a dark pact with the cult which allowed him to defeat a monster at the last gate. The debt payment? A blood sacrifice. Poor Diana Stanley, she may have escaped the cults once, but looks like her past life caught up with her.
With the loss of an investigator, Eldritch Horror allows you to recruit a new one to help with the search for clues to stopping the Great Old One Azathoth returning to Earth. Enter Akachi Onyele – a shaman.
Out of Time
Harrigan solves a mystery in Europe while still making his way to Tunguska. But now time is running out for my investigators. The next mystery to be solved involves closing a gate in either London or Buenos Aires. Harrigan is now in Tunguska and Onyele is in Southern Africa, and Azathoth is only 1 round away from breaking through to our dimension.
The Mythos had caught up with the investigators once again, only this time the consequences were world ending.
Another tough game, but enjoyable. Although it had been a while since I had played Eldritch Horror, once I got a few rounds of play under my belt, the game started to flow. I’m sure I probably missed a couple of rules, but it didn’t appear to help my cause!
Playing with 2 investigators certainly didn’t present any problems to solo play, and I think part of that is down to their being no solo specific mechanics. There’s also no extra overhead in book-keeping either – you just need to be strict a play 1 investigator at a time. Don’t be too clever, that’s when you’ll forget an action.
I’m now determined to keep playing Eldritch Horror. I love the Lovecraft theme. The game plays smoothly. And as with most Fantasy Flight games, the components are top notch, the artwork is fantastic and the fluff on the cards just adds to the theme and pulls you in.
I already have 1 expansion set – Forgotten Lore – which I’ve still to get to the table, but I think I’ll play a few more games before adding that to the set.
I’m determined this year to play more games, and to focus on the games I own and not be distracted by new shiny ones. Rather than another game system I’ll be looking at expansions to existing ones. We’ll see how well I keep to that !!