Review: Elder Sign

Originally posted on on Sep 27, 2013

An Arkham Horror you can shuffle.

Elder Sign is a mix of card game and dice game set within the Fantasy Flight Games Arkham Horror universe. Many of the characters cross over between them, as well as the horrible Lovecraftian abominations and the perils they bring.

Elder sign pits a team against an elder god, often randomly chosen. Much like Arkham Horror, if the dark deity fills up it’s doom track, ‘Bad Stuff’ happens often resulting in death and dismemberment. The elder signs needed to seal the monster for now are acquired from completing various adventures. Not all adventures cough up the needed sigils though, some only give items, clue tokens (which as used for re-rolls) or spawn monsters.

Completed adventures and killed monsters are saved by the successful player and cashed out for buying items, and with enough trophies you can purchase an elder sign, but it requires ten trophy points, which isn’t very easy. Adventures are completed by rolling dice.

There are six green dice, one red and one yellow. The Red Die has a wild symbol that can be used in place of the Peril, Lore, Terror, or as an investigation result of 1. The rest of the red die’s faces are 2-4 investigation and the emblems other than terror. Terror often triggers bad things if you don’t succeed a task for the adventure you are currently on. The Yellow has slightly higher investigation values and all three of the symbol results, with no wild symbols.

Elder sign also incorporates a time mechanic. The clock advances 3 hours at the end of each players turn. When it hits midnight, a new clock card is drawn and replaces the old one. These cards often summon more monsters to the field, or offer the players a tough choice, like taking 3 damage, or adding a monster to the field. Another that we saw was Add a doom counter to the boss monster, or summon another monster.

Monsters will either replace a task on an adventure card that has a white outline, or it will be added to the bottom of the card as an additional requirement to complete the adventure.

The game, much like Arkham Horror is very luck and team work heavy. Bad adventure draws, bad dice rolls, or bad clock cards can shut you and your cohorts down.

Final Thoughts: It’s a fun, team based game, set in Fantasy Flight Games Arkham Horror setting. It is a much faster pace game that still requires a fair bit of planning and team work to mitigate getting destroyed.

Time: About 45 minutes.

Players: 2-4

Cost: $35

Difficulty: Medium to high with a high luck component