17 October 2013 | Eldritch Horror

Dark Encounters

A Preview of the Encounter Phase in Eldritch Horror


December 15. Finally, we found our way out of the jungle. Our expedition into the Amazon did not go as planned. I hesitate to even record the terrors that we endured during our journey, so I will say only that those of us who made it out of that fiendish place are lucky to have survived. At least we accomplished what we set out to do. The artifact we have been searching for has been found. If the mysterious signs are any indication, this precious object should aid us tremendously in our efforts.

In Eldritch Horror, a global board game of mystery and terror, you and up to seven friends take on the role of globetrotting investigators who must must travel around the world, working against all odds to hold back the approaching horror. Foul monsters, obscure mysteries, and brutal challenges will take you to your limits and beyond. All the while, you and your fellow investigators must unravel the otherworldy mysteries scattered around the globe in order to push back the gathering mayhem that threatens to overwhelm humanity. The end draws near! Do you have the courage to prevent global destruction?

After an overview of the intrepid investigators working to save the world, we took a look at the Action Phase in Eldritch Horror, detailing the options available to our unlikely heroes. In today’s preview, we’ll cover the Encounter Phase of the game, looking at monster combat, and other types of encounters you’ll have during a global expedition in Eldritch Horror!

What Will You Discover?

As investigators travel around the world, working to solve mysteries and defeat the Ancient One, they’ll have to battle horrific monsters, explore strange and varied locations, and research clues scattered around the globe. During a game of Eldritch Horror, after each investigator has completed his two actions, the game moves to the Encounter Phase. Each player resolves one encounter of his choice, beginning with the Lead Investigator. Eldritch Horror features three types of encounters: Combat, Location, and Token. Let’s take a look at each of the encounter types you’ll discover in Eldritch Horror.

Combat Encounters

December 17. As soon as we stepped off the train, it was clear that something was horribly wrong. Closed shops lined empty streets. Newspapers stated that the recent tragedies were the result of wild beasts or madmen, but hinted at a more supernatural explanation. It shames me to confess that I briefly considered simply leaving in the morning, knowing that the beast would continue its grisly work. It was only a moment. I have acquired a map and marked those locations where incidents have occurred. Tonight, the hunt begins.

During your journey, you’ll need to fend off the fiendish monsters you may find lurking in locations around the world. If you begin your Encounter Phase with a Monster token on your space, your investigator must encounter the Monster in combat instead of resolving an encounter card. If you manage to defeat the Monster in combat, you may choose to resolve another encounter, so make sure to travel prepared.

In order to resolve a Combat Encounter, flip the Monster token facedown to reveal the information on the back. The Monster’s effect, if any, is shown on the bottom of its token. Some Monsters have effects which alter how combat against it is resolved, so always read this text first. Then, you must resolve two tests, Will and Strength. First, resolve a Will test with the modifier (if any) listed in blue at the top of the Monster token. For a refresher on resolving tests, see our earlier preview. If the Monster’s Horror is greater than the number of successes (fives and sixes) you rolled, your investigator is terrified by the horrible creature, and loses Sanity equal to the difference.

Whether or not you pass your Will test, you must next resolve a Strength test with the modifier (if any). The Monster loses Health for each success you roll. Place Health tokens on the Monster to track this. If the Monster’s Damage is greater than the number of successes rolled, your investigator is hit by the loathsome beast, and loses Health equal to the difference.

When a Monster loses Health equal to or greater than it’s Toughness, it is defeated and returns to the Monster cup.

If despite your best efforts, your investigator cannot defeat the Monster, the token remains on its space along with any Health tokens on it, and your Investigator’s encounter is over. You or other investigators will be able to fight this Monster again on a future turn. Keep in mind that your investigator cannot Acquire Assets or perform Rest actions with a Monster present.

Epic Monsters and Ambushes

Certain game effects spawn Epic Monsters, which are extra powerful creatures that will wreak additional havoc upon the world when they are spawned. Epic Monsters are never placed in Monster Cup, and cannot be moved or discarded. Combat with Epic Monsters is resolved in the same way as combat with regular Monsters, as described above.

Some effects will cause your investigators to encounter Monsters that are not currently lurking on the game board. When an effect causes a Monster to Ambush you, draw a random Monster and resolve a Combat Encounter with it, following the steps described above. After resolving combat, return it to the Monster cup, even if you didn’t manage to defeat it.

Location Encounters

December 19. I was once told that each city has a soul. After crawling through the abyss-like crypt upon which this city was built, I came to the ancient columns described in the charred journal. Each column was adorned with leering demonic faces and indecipherable runes. I was sickened to recognize that these runes were exactly the same as those carved into the curator’s flesh. If this city does indeed have a soul, I believe it must be utterly insane.

During a Location encounter, you will draw a card that matches your investigator’s specific location, or type. If you have multiple types of encounter cards you could draw, you may choose which deck you’d like to draw from.

On numbered locations, you will resolve location type (City, Sea, Wilderness) encounters from the General encounter deck. Become indebted to the Syndicate in cities around the world, or discover the dangers of the high seas.

On named locations, such as Rome, you can choose to resolve either an encounter from the General encounter deck, based on the location type (such as City), or a specific encounter from the specialized decks. Specific encounter cards are color-coordinated by region, and offer an encounter which corresponds directly to your named location. Visit the Vatican in Rome to gain their blessing for your endeavors, or investigate Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. The named spaces feature text on the game board that lists the most common effect found on its specific encounter cards, so you’ll know the likely outcomes of the encounters you attempt.

Token Encounters

December 22. The anthropologist said that thousands of years ago, a mighty temple once stood upon this bleak, uninhabited landscape. The priests performed blasphemous sacrifices and cried out to their monstrous idol. Nearly a dozen travelers have disappeared passing through here in the last two months. I can hear the chanting creep across the night. They will be coming for me soon. Their temple may no longer stand, but the faithful live on and continue to spill blood in the name of their dark god.

As each game of Eldritch Horror unfolds, tokens will be scattered across the game board for your investigators to discover. All tokens symbolize a corresponding encounter, which you can choose to resolve during your Encounter phase. If your investigator is on a space with multiple tokens and/or location encounter options, you choose which type of encounter to resolve (with the exception of Monster Combat, which must be resolved first).

Clue tokens, which are spawned as a result of Mythos effects and other game effects, appear randomly across the board, and allow your investigator to resolve a Research card which correlates to the Ancient One you are battling. These encounters contribute to the immersive nature of the game, and further the narrative you create with each turn. For instance, when playing against Azathoth, you might draw the following Research card:

Research cards help you become more knowledgeable about the ancient evil that you face, so you can more effectively work against it. You’ll gain valuable clues, which can help you solve certain mysteries, and always allow you to reroll one die when resolving tests. Knowledge is power, so make sure to do your share of research during your travels.

Rumor tokens are spawned when Rumor Mythos cards are drawn, and allow investigators to resolve the encounter listed on the corresponding Rumor Mythos Card. We’ll take a closer look at the Mythos phase of the game, including Rumors, in our next preview.

As revealed in an earlier preview, defeated investigators remain on the game board, and become encounters. If your investigator visits a location with a defeated investigator token present, you may learn the fate of your unfortunate colleague by resolving the corresponding encounter listed on the back of the defeated investigator’s character sheet.

Complex Encounters

December 24. With each new discovery, my reason slips further away. The arcane ritual had been completed before I could interfere and in a heartbeat, the world turned upside-down. I was transported, if such a word can adequately express what became of me. The vastness of my new surroundings should have included something familiar, an ocean or a starlit sky, and yet no such comfort was to be found. What I did see was so alien, so horribly unspeakable, I dare not even suggest that such a thing could be so.

Other encounter types are known as Complex encounters. Both Other World and Expedition encounters are Token encounters, because they are resolved when your investigator is on a location that contains the corresponding token. However, the way that they are resolved also makes them Complex encounters.

Complex encounters are high-risk, high-reward encounters that are resolved in multiple steps and often contain more than one test. When resolving a complex encounter, such as the ones below, first resolve the Initial Effect at the top of the card. Then, depending on your result, you will resolve either the Pass Effect, located in the middle of the card, or the Fail Effect at the bottom.

As eldritch energy grows ever more potent, portals to eerie other dimensions may open around the worlds, at hubs of these unseen forces. These portals, or gates, allow you to enter otherworldly realms and encounter the strange and unknown. These encounters may prepare you to fight against your extradimensional enemy, allow you to close the portal between your worlds, or, may drive you to madness.

Gate tokens are spawned during the Mythos phase and appear only on named locations. When your investigator is located on a space containing a Gate token, you may resolve an Other World encounter card. During an Other World encounter, you might draw this card.

During your travels, you’ll visit all types of exotic wilderness locations. Sometimes, you’ll have to venture deep into the unknown to find the answers you’ll need to push back the evil that threatens the world. Expedition encounters allow your investigator to delve into the strange secrets of the world’s wild locations. Who knows what rare Artifacts you might find deep in the Heart of Africa, or beneath the icy landscape of Anarctica?

The Active Expedition token travels the board to the Expedition spaces. An investigator on a space that contains the Active Expedition token may resolve an Expedition encounter card. For example, an investigator on Tunguska, where the Active Expedition token is located could draw this Tunguska encounter card.

After the investigator completes his encounter in Tunguska, the Active Expedition token travels to another location. This is determined by the image on the top card of the Expedition encounter draw deck. The back of each Expedition encounter features a snapshot of an Expedition location on the board. This card shows an image of the Amazon space, so the Active Expedition token is placed on the Amazon space on the board.

Rare and valuable Artifacts will often be your reward for successfully completing these challenging encounters. Claim the dreaded Necronomicon for yourself, or perhaps gain the Silver Key. Artifacts will provide tremendous aid, so seek them out by undertaking an Expedition, and use them well.

Prepare for the Coming Horror

Eldritch Horror’s Encounter Phase will test the limits of your investigators, pushing them to the brink of madness, and forcing them to stare death in the face. The stakes are high, and the fate of the world rests with these few brave souls. Eldritch Horror is drawing closer to its release date, so prepare for your own dark encounters by placing a pre-order at your local retailer today! Then, keep watching our website and Facebook page for more news and previews for Eldritch Horror!


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