Game review: Forsaken Lore, Strange Remnants expand the world of Eldritch Horror
Posted April 13, 2016
A darkness is coming that will envelop the world, and only a set of international heroes can make a stand, in Eldritch Horror, a game of adventure, investigation, mystery and horror. Using cards, dice, tokens and a board, players cooperate to defeat an ancient evil. But now there's more. New monsters, items, investigators, spells, game rules and Ancient Ones are introduced with two exciting new small-box expansions for the base game.
The first expansion, Forsaken Lore, can be classified as "must-have" expansion for owners of the Eldritch Horror base game. It contains more of everything introduced in the main game. There is a new "Ancient One" called Yig. It is a serpent god and very tough to beat. The expansion includes a bunch of research and encounter cards for Yig as well as new cards for the Ancient Ones featured in the base game. There are also new epic monsters and one new cultist monster type. Players will need to watch out for the deadly, epic hydra.
There are new mythos and expedition cards that add more flavor, text and fun along with items, spells, artifacts and weapons. For example, the new magical item, the cursed sphere, gives players +2 to all skill rolls, but each time the baneful thing is used, a player must roll a die. If the result is a one or two, the player automatically gains a cursed condition. Ouch.
One of the best additions this expansion makes to the game is the inclusion of 24 new location-specific encounters. In the base game, when playing with seven or eight players, the location encounters would often get repeated and players would lose interest in the game because the atmosphere got stale (sort of like watching a favorite part of a movie over and over again). The addition of these new cards as well as cards for almost every deck in the game adds tons of replay value.
Something unique in this expansion is the new condition for investigators called "lost in time and space." Players who suffer this are removed from the board and must first find their way out of a crazy alternate world in order to join their comrades back in the game. Usually, the escape costs a player something dear to him or her in order to leave the void, and it opens a gate by which creeping things can enter the sane world.
For those who enjoy Eldritch Horror, Forsaken Lore will add more of the goodies found in the original game. There are not really any groundbreaking new mechanics here. It contains more elements that deepen the Cthulu experience created by the base game with about the only thing not included being new investigators. But wait — there's more!
The second small-box expansion for Eldritch Horror is Strange Remnants, and it introduces a variety of new content and mechanics. First, there are four new investigators to play: Skids O'Toole, the ex-convict; Tony Morgan, the bounty hunter; Zoey Samaras, the chef; and Mary Lambeau, the entertainer.
The new "Ancient One" is a scary living planet energy called Syzygy. This mystic universe god is defeated by pursuing clues and encounters, but players may also use a new set of "fortifying the barriers" cards. These cards are tricky because even though great power can be garnered from them, they can backfire and make things worse.
A set of mystic ruins cards grants access to new areas on the board such as the Easter Islands, Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. These add more spice to the game with new skill challenges and adventures at different locations from those found in the base game.
And who doesn't like combat? This edition comes with more item cards and spells to beat up monsters. It also includes relics. A personal favorite is the Khopesh of the Abyss. This magical sword gives a +5 bonus to strength during combat encounters, and when a monster is defeated, a player may teleport to the nearest monster on the board to fight again. Amazing.
New prelude cards are also of interest. Players draw one of these at the beginning of the game, and the card outlines a variety of changes during setup. For example, the doom track may start at an advanced phase, or investigators begin with a disadvantage in exchange for a blessing. These are fun to try to see if one can beat the game under new conditions.
Another cool mechanic from this expansion is the collection of focus tokens. Instead of taking a regular action on a turn, a player may spend his or her turn focusing and receive a focus token. These tokens can be spent at a later time to reroll a die when trying to pass a test. Sometimes victory comes down to a single die roll, so these tokens are highly valuable.
Assets were introduced to the game in a previous expansion, and Strange Remnants adds more of these cards. They come in two flavors: task assets and unique assets. Task assets are used once by being activated by something an investigator does. Unique assets are mostly positive and come into play when an investigator activates them.
Strange Remnants is for Eldritch Horror fans who want to expand beyond the basic game. True, there are more cards that enhance the main game, but there are also brand-new cards and mechanics that can change the game in exciting and often unpredictable ways. Players who are getting bored with their copy of Eldritch Horror will definitely want to give this expansion a look. More information is available at FantasyFlightGames.com.