My daughter is having a sleep-over tonight, and they’re going to watch some scary movies. I hate scary movies, but I do like board games with a horror theme. I had the opportunity to play Elder Sign last week, and I really liked it.
Elder Sign is a cooperative boardgame designed by Kevin Wilson and Richard Launius of Arkham Horror fame and produced by Fantasy Flight Games. The game is recommended for 1 – 8 players ages 13 and over. I’ve only played it with four players, but I think it will scale well from two to eight. I haven’t tried the solo rules, but I rarely like solo versions of boardgames. Solitaire play defeats the purpose of boardgaming, as far as I am concerned.
My buddy Joe described this game as Arkham Horror Yahtzee. Basically, the players work together to investigate arcane mysteries in order to locate items that will prevent an other-dimensional monster from appearing and making everyone’s property value go down even more than this new normal. Each player gets a character card and a special ability, along with some spells or items that will help them investigate an area or defeat a monster. Players roll dice in order to meet the goals that are present on the card. If you succeed, you get the rewards on the location card, but if you fail, you usually lose health or sanity and the horrible elder beast gets a little closer to ruining your day.
While it is a cooperative game, I didn’t see that many opportunities for players to help each other; however, it still felt like we were working together for a common goal. It took less than 30 minutes to learn, and four of us were able to play through the game in a little over an hour.
I think it’s a great game for the Halloween season, and will see a lot of repeat play throughout the year. Pick it up at your friendly neighborhood game store, or you can pick it up from the nice folks at Funagain.com.