At some point we’re going to have to realise that keeping large amounts of occult relics together in one place is a bad idea – and in the case of the Arkham Horror Universe, this needs to be realised pretty darn quick!
Elder Signs is a co-operative dice game set in 1929. A museum in small town America has noticed odd things happening amongst their collection of exotic curios and occult artefacts. Portals to terrifying realms have been spotted, hideous creatures have been seen lurking in the shadows and rumours are abound that the Ancient One is about to awake.
You take on the role of an investigator and with a team of up to eight players, though to be honest it’s best with four, it’s your job to collect Elder Signs and seal away the Ancient One before it awakens. However the only way to collect Elder Signs is to traverse the horrors awaiting you inside the museum, complete a set of tasks by matching the symbols on the adventure cards with your dice rolls and collect enough Elder Signs to lock away the Ancient one for good – or at least until your next run of the gauntlet. It’s kind of like a sadistic game of Yahtzee, but instead of trying to gain the highest score you’re trying to stop a tyrannical beast from devouring the Earth.
Elder Sign is an elegantly simple game that really enforces the importance of co-operation. Each investigator has their own skills and weaknesses, making them incredibly useful in certain situations but as weak as a day old kitten in others. You’ll spend a lot of time discussing who should go where, what the best combinations of characters will be to take on certain demonic tasks and then praying to the dice gods that you’ll get the roll you need. It can be incredibly tense stuff and with so many ways to lose, there’ll be occasions when you can’t help but to let out a cheer, followed by some crisp high fives on the rare occasion things seem to go your way.
Elder Sign is beautifully presented, thematically immersive, incredibly easy to learn and in a lot of ways, the perfect gateway game into the Arkham Horror series. I cannot recommend this game highly enough and if you’re still unsure, check out the mobile version of the game available on Android and in the App Store now.