Eldritch Horror: Strange Remnants - Board Game Box Shot

Eldritch Horror: Strange Remnants

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In Strange Remnants, you and your fellow investigators travel to the haunted ruins of massive stone monuments across the world. You must learn the secrets of these ruins and perform the requisite rituals before the cosmos aligns against you, an evil portal opens in the center of the universe, and the entire Earth is devoured.

The new Mystic Ruins deck featured in this expansion allows investigators to explore Chichen Itza, the Easter Islands, Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. New Glamour Spells and Relic Unique Assets offer you powerful tools in the struggle against a new Ancient One, and four more hardy investigators dedicate their lives to saving the human race. Four additional Prelude Cards introduce fresh scenarios and quests, transforming your games of Eldritch Horror.

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“The Stars Are Right”

Strange Remnants is a slightly different approach to Eldritch Horror and the Ancient Ones, and one that fits very well with the themes of the game: exploration, world travel, and ancient mysteries. At first I was a bit surprised at this expansion, which contains the Syzygy rather than one of the typical Ancient Ones drawn from the ranks of the Other Gods and Great Old Ones that have appeared in the other games in Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Files game line. Part of my surprise was that they would take this direction when so few of the “classic” Ancient Ones had made their way into the game–at the time Strange Remnants came out, only seven of the Ancient Ones had made an appearance (one of which was The Rise of the Elder Things, which was also somewhat divergent from the usual style of Ancient Ones in this game’s predecessors).

That said, it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. In Strange Remnants, the investigators are faced with an event rather than a supernatural entity–a cosmic alignment that is approaching. There is still a Mythos force at work, however, as the arrival of the Syzygy heralds the coming of Azathoth. This makes for a fun variation of the usual Eldritch Horror game, as well as giving Azathoth an appearance in a more complex game mode than the standard, very straight forward “when Azathoth awakens, the world ends” version (though, like an Azathoth game, with Syzygy when doom hits zero, the game is over).

Investigators still explore the world trying to solve mysteries, close gates, gather clues and combat the forces of the Mythos, but in the case of the Syzygy Ancient One solving mysteries does not mean the investigators win the game. Instead, the Syzygy Ancient One card is flipped over once the investigators solve two mysteries or when there are three Eldritch tokens on the red space of the Omen track, with one token being added each time the track lands on the red space. When the Ancient One card flips over, the cosmic alignment begins and the investigators must now solve the final mystery, regardless of how many mysteries they have solved previously. The more mysteries that were solved before the Syzygy flipped, the closer the investigators will be to completing the final mystery. Also, investigators are not eliminated if defeated or devoured in a Syzygy game, unlike most Ancient Ones.

The other major feature of Strange Remnants is the Mystic Ruins deck, which is used in games involving either the Syzygy or the related Prelude card (in the latter case, there will be an Adventure to follow, similar to the Doomsayer of Antartica Prelude in Mountains of Madness). This functions similarly to the Expedition Encounter deck, with a Mystic Ruins counter being placed on the space of the board corresponding to the location depicted on the back of the top card in the deck. The locations in the Mystic Ruins deck are The Great Wall of China (Shanghai), Stonehenge (London), Chichen Itza (space 7), and Easter Island (space 3). Each location has the investigators exploring ancient places of power to learn more about the impending cosmic alignment, with each card having a complex encounter with a pass/fail effect.

This expansion is a lot of fun, and demonstrates the different directions Eldritch Horror can take in terms of introducing new ways to play the game. The Mystic Ruins are a lot of fun to explore, and the Syzygy makes for an entertaining variation from the usual battle against the Ancient Ones, making this a fun addition to the game. I hope to see more expansions like this one in the future!

 

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