Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Elder Sign - Boardgame Review

Elder Sign is a cooperative boardgame set in a noir-lovecraft universe in the 1920s. There's real potential here for an atmospheric and engrossing game, as players pitch in as various investigative types to halt the manifestation of some interdimensional horror. 

Each player uses the luck of the dice and careful employment of items, spells and the like to solve mysteries during their turn. Dice rolls must bring up certain icons in order for our plucky characters to succeed. With increasing frequency monsters appear to make completing each mission that much trickier. Completing a mystery brings points that can be spent resorting stamina or sanity - both depleted in the process of battling the nasties - or you get to buy useful items (drawn randomly of course). All turns take place during the night for obvious narrative reasons (spooky!) and as the clock ticks additional monsters arrive, locking certain dice or imposing health depleting forfeits if left undefeated come the following midnight. 

Throughout the game players must prepare for the coming of a potentially world-ending 'old one'. Collect elder signs to maybe ward off their manifestation or stockpile items, re-roll counters and such to take them on in a big end battle. 

Eldar Sign is the first cooperative boardgame I've played. It's a fun alternative to regular 'oppositional gaming'. It seems likely that non-gamers would enjoy the cinematic feel of the game, while cooperation means newer players could be accommodated easily. The character archetypes are good fun - stoic nun, nutty professor, sleazy salesman, trust fund girl - and there's the opportunity for a few laughs as you bear witness to the catastrophic end of existence as the fabric of reality is shredded. Good fun. 


  1. Oooh, I have wanted to play this since I saw it on an episode of Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, on Youtube. Must, buy, soon, cannot, resist.

  2. I think the next time we play we should read all the cards in a Vincent Price voice. With the same mechanic being used to resolve abosultely everything, I think you really need to pay attention to the 'fiction' or it may as well be Yatzee!

    I enjoyed it though - we'll have a bash at it next Tuesday before you all tackle the Crown of Kings.

    1. Yes the right role playing atmosphere is key. I also suggest candle light (seriously!).


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