“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
Our world spirals through the cosmos orbiting our star, so arrogantly and exclusively named The Sun. From the ground level, our existence may seem enormous, when we look at the hundreds of cultures and countries and worldviews and environments that populate the Earth. At the same time, we can gaze out into the blackness of space and feel our minds tremble as we utterly fail to comprehend the vastness of an expanse where light can travel for centuries and never reach us.
Little did we ever suspect that beyond the veils of our dimension, terrible and unseen beings might lurk, eager to crush our world and suck the marrow from its rocky bones. The entire world is in peril, and if these ancient monstrosities are to be stopped, it must be a global effort.
Eldritch Horror is a board game that sets you and up to seven of your friends in the roles of investigators, endowed with the monumental purpose of preventing the world’s imminent doom. In each game, you’ll be faced with the terror of an encroaching Ancient One, intent on destroying our world. If you’re going to turn this creature aside, you’ll need to seek forbidden knowledge and uncover that Ancient One’s mysteries—just be sure that the facts you learn don’t drive you mad!
Investigating the Unknown
At the beginning of a game of Eldritch Horror, you and your fellow investigators are scattered across the globe. A mystery is laid before you—one Mystery card from the chosen Ancient One’s unique Mystery deck. You may be tasked with hunting down a single monster that’s terrorizing Arkham. You may investigate a green meteorite that’s crashed down in Tunguska or venture into other worlds, making a dread sacrifice of magical power to close the gate and protect Earth for another day. To successfully forestall your coming doom, you and your friends must solve several of these mysteries, and you can be sure that none of them will be easily completed.
Each round begins with the investigators taking actions. Many of your actions are simply related to traveling the world. You can’t fight cosmic evil from just one city, and your journeys will take you from the jungles of deepest Africa and the heights of the Himalayas to bustling cities like San Francisco or Buenos Aires. Within these locations, you can attempt to purchase new equipment, weapons, or supplies, as well as trade with any investigators in the same location.
Of course, it’s not the journey that matters, but the encounters that you’ll find once you arrive in your destination. After every investigator has taken their turn, you’ll experience the encounter phase, as each of you locks eyes with the true face of mystery and horror. You may travel on an expedition into the Pyramids of Egypt, only to face the mummy that lies within. You may infiltrate a cult or fight a terrifying monster like a nightgaunt or a starspawn. You may even venture through a gate into another world, traveling between time and space to walk through the Plateau of Leng, Lost Carcosa, or the future of our own world. These encounters will test you to the utmost, and your skills will determine whether these encounters end happily… or decidedly not.
After the encounters have been resolved, you and your fellow investigators are mercilessly cast into the mythos phase. In this phase, the Ancient One draws even closer to Earth, and your imminent demise approaches. Terrifying events unfold around the globe—the stars draw into alignment, monsters crawl out of the darkness, and new gates are torn open between our worlds and those unnameable other dimensions. Only once you have weathered this eldritch storm will you and your fellow investigators be free to perform actions and move around the world once more. Still, you can’t take too much comfort from the passing of a mythos phase. You and your friends are weak mortals, and if enough rounds pass, you will inevitably lose the game.
You’re already able to travel across the entire globe with the Eldritch Horror Core Set, but with five currently released expansions, you can plunge even deeper into a terrifying ocean of Lovecraftian horror. Forsaken Lore pits you against the reptilian Yig, while Strange Remnants brings you into the most arcane ruins of human civilization. Mountains of Madness puts the focus squarely on the desolate wastes and inhospitable climate of Antarctica, while Under the Pyramids gives a similar treatment to ancient, lore-steeped Egypt. Most recently, you’ve been able to hear the madness that surrounds the Yellow Sign and the King in Yellow with Signs of Carcosa.