How is this game played?
This game is a bit different than the other Arkham Horror Files games. Elder Sign is a dice and card-based game.
The game takes place at the Miskatonic Museum with an Ancient One awaking. As a group of investigators, you need to amass elder sign tokens to defeat the Ancient One before it appears. If you cannot achieve that, you can try to beat the Ancient One, but it is much easier to get the Elder Sign Tokens.
To do this, you must complete Adventure Cards, which represent rooms in the museum. Each adventure card shows rows of symbols that also appear on the custom dice in the game. To complete an Adventure Card, you need to roll the correct symbols and store those dice on the card. If you do that successfully by the end of your turn, you get items that help you and those Elder Sign tokens you need. If you fail, you may increase doom on the Ancient One, making it arrive faster, or you might take damage or horror.
Whenever an enemy arrives on the board, their token covers up other symbols on the card, and you must roll the corresponding dice to defeat the monster, then complete the rest of the card.
If you want to find out more, watch the video below.
How do you Win? How do you Lose?
You win the game by amassing enough Elder Sign tokens of the Ancient One card, which you collect from the various Adventure Cards completed.
Suppose any investigator loses all their health or sanity. In that case, they become devoured, and they choose a new investigator to play. If the ancient one has already awoken, the player is eliminated from the game
How do I complete an Adventure?
To complete an Adventure card, you start with all the green dice in hand, then use item cards that add either the red die or yellow die or both. You begin by rolling all the dice. Suppose the combination of dice match any one row (task) of the adventure card. In that case, you may "commit" those dice by placing them on top of the appropriate symbol.
Some adventure cards require you to complete the tasks in order, and this is the case with the image below. The arrow next to the first row denotes that these must be completed in order.
If you fail to complete a row, you can "focus" (store) one die on your investigator card. Also, you can store it with another investigator at your location (with their permission) for use later. Then you must remove one die from the pool and reroll. You keep rolling the dice until you've completed all the tasks in an adventure.
If you are successful, you receive the benefits on the right side at the bottom. In the case of the image below, that is two clues and a common item. If you fail, you take the elements on the left side at the bottom. Here, that is one horror and one damage.
If you complete the adventure, you also get to keep the card as a souvenir used later in the game. Then you replace the card with another from the deck.
Occasionally, you will add Other World Adventure Cards to the mix. These are harder but provide higher rewards as well.
How long does the game take to play?
The game takes a couple of hours to play. The game's primary focus is completing the adventure cards and gaining elder signs before the Ancient One awakens. The game moves quickly as it's a dice game.
Detective Hawk Games Recommends
As you can tell, we really enjoy this game, and we think you will too! If you want to read our full review, we'll have it up later this month.
This game is pretty easy to learn, so we're comfortable saying it's suitable for 12 and up. Due to the subject matter, this game is best played as a family or a group of adults.
We like the custom dice and how you solve tasks in this game. If you enjoy dice games, check this one out!
Expansions for Elder Sign