I finally integrated all the bits and pieces from the most recent Eldritch Horror expansion into my game and played with it last night. Yog-Sothoth was the Elder God who needed to be defeated and it was up to the randomly chosen and unlikely duo of Jenny Barnes the Dilettante and Michael McGlen the Gangster to dish out the damage. Both characters can do combat encounters pretty well, but neither character has a strong lore stat and I knew I’d be in trouble if spells were needed. Defeating Yog’s cultists are one method of acquiring spells which is precisely how the gangster ended up becoming quite the proficient spell caster. It was an interesting character development to say the least.
The personal stories that come with the expansion I found didn’t add much to the mental overhead with these two characters. Jenny’s story involves drawing 3 random locations and doing an encounter on each of those spaces to earn the success. She never did manage to find her lost sister sadly, going insane after an agreement condition wiped her sanity immediately to zero. Ouch. The Gangster’s personal story involves defeating monsters, one that is shared with a few investigators I found. Unfortunately, only non-epic monsters count, and he was unable to finish his personal story either. A third character I brought in to replace Jenny was the actress, and her personal story actually did slow me down a bit - the first time I succeed at a test with a given attribute (eg: lore) I can add that token to the card, and when all 5 are on there, her personal story is done. It was easy to achieve, but remembering to add the token meant shuffling back through the cards a couple of times to see if I had remembered to put it on.
I absolutely enjoyed the moment to moment gameplay with this particular session of Eldritch Horror. The mythos deck had moments of generosity interspersed with absolute cruelty. My first rumour was an easy one that simply involved moving to a space and doing an other world encounter that featured closing a gate. The second rumour added a a lot of tension to the game, spawning an epic monster (Render of the Veil) who would move on every reckoning step to the space where the top Gate was in the stack, causing said gate to open. Every single yellow mythos card was producing 2 gates, and having a run of gates opening that were associated with the red omen symbol caused me to stop and really work out how to manage this disaster with only two investigators.
Despite my best efforts at closing gates, killing the Render of the Veil and bringing back the Omen track, it eventually clicked over to red and in one turn, I took a loss of 5 doom. Yog-Sothoth awakened. I’d only just completed the second mystery with the actress and the game was beginning to look like a loss. Flip over the third mystery, killing the Dunwich Horror. “Ok, great!” I thought. Gangster is hanging around North America, he can go ahead and kill the Horror easily enough, a stick of dynamite to begin with, then rolling a handful of dice thanks to his Tommy gun asset and it should die quickly. In one turn, he wiped it out, but the following Encounter card didn’t celebrate him as a hero, but rather a villain, detaining him thanks to a failed influence check. Come on, he only stole one item at the beginning of the game, the dynamite interestingly enough, but I guess at some point there is a price to be paid. When the mythos phase rolled around that turn, my actress died and that position was now completely eliminated from the game. Worse, her death added a second gate to loss condition, one more and it would be all over.
It was up to a detained Gangster to try and squeeze out a win. There was only one turn to do it because the Omen was going to add the final gate to the loss condition. He had to succeed an influence check (yes), then cast a spell to enable travel to the nearest gate (succeed) then do a special encounter to finish the game. He managed to get through the initial pass condition (another influence check), then had to roll three lore successes to completely pass this final test. He rolled two successes and got lost in space and time instead. Not a bad way to go out as the planet he knew as Earth became no more.
Best loss in a long time!
Also, most recent expansion. In general, don’t bother unless you have most of the Eldritch Horror expansions and this is on sale. The highlight is the story cards. A few extra gates on the main board are nice. The “resource” tokens are an ok addition because it reduces the need to take on debts, but are another addition that could have been served by focus tokens in my opinion.