The End is Nigh
A Preview of the Mythos Phase in Eldritch Horror
Strange forces stretch you in all directions. The portals between worlds are pulling reality apart, and you feel these unearthly energies coming from all corners of the globe.
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 Action Phase of Eldritch Horror, which detailed the options available to our unlikely heroes, we covered the game’s Encounter Phase, exploring the different types of encounters your investigators will discover as they travel around the world. In today’s preview, we’ll look at the final phase of a game round of Eldritch Horror, the Mythos Phase.
The Machinations of Evil
It was the same here as I had seen in San Francisco. Fanatical thugs abducted sacrificial victims until the moon was full and their abominable ritual opened the doorway between worlds. This was no coincidence; some hideous intelligence was at work.
It is during the Mythos Phase that the malignant influence of unseen forces is manifested in our reality. From the spawning of horrid, extradimensional creatures to the tearing of the very fabric of our world, causing the opening of a portal to another, the Mythos Phase brings unpredictable effects. These provide additional challenge to your investigators – and occasionally – needed aid. These effects are represented by Mythos cards. During the Mythos phase, the Lead Investigator draws the top card from the Mythos deck, and resolves each of its elements in order.
Mythos cards are comprised of seven possible elements, followed by the card text. These elements are resolved in the order they appear on the card, each bringing new challenges for your investigators to overcome.
In the following sections, we will look at each of the elements which may appear on a Mythos card in detail, and in the order they would appear. Then, we’ll cover how the Ancient One you to oppose during each game of Eldritch Horror changes the build of the Mythos deck.
The bite wound immobilized me, but the creature paused before lashing out again. The clouds had parted revealing the night’s vast display of stars, and the beast turned its pale, decayed face upward. “Time,” the word gurgled up out of its inhuman throat. “It will soon be time.”
The first symbol that a Mythos card might contain is the Advance Omen symbol. This correlates to the Omen track, located in the top right corner of the game board. The Omen track consists of four constellations (one green, one red, and two blue). Under the gaze of watchful investigators, these eerie star formations can be used to predict the arrival of dark forces. At the beginning of the game, the Omen token begins on the green constellation. Each time the Advance Omen symbol appears on a Mythos card, advance the Omen token one space clockwise.
Now, for each open Gate on the game board that matches the Omen token’s current constellation, you must advance the Doom track by one.
The Doom track, which runs along the top of the game board, measures the time remaining until the Ancient One awakens. In this way, the Omen track can be used to predict how the current pattern of otherworldly energy (in the form of open gates) will impact your investigators. Not all hope is lost, though, as other game effects retreat Doom, or allow your investigators to manipulate the Omen track to their advantage.
A Time of Reckoning
There was a loud knock on Shaw’s door. I rose to answer, but he protested. The knocking returned. A burning pain flared across the brand on to the back of my hand and I understood. This caller was looking for me and there would be no avoiding it.
The next symbol to appear on a Mythos card is the Resolve Reckoning Effects symbol. This symbol appears throughout the game, on some Monsters, the Ancient One sheet, Ongoing Mythos tasks, such as Rumors, and Conditions. When a Reckoning symbol is resolved during the Mythos phase, the effect specified by the symbol on each component it appears on must be resolved.
Condition cards are the most common Reckoning Effect your investigators will contend with throughout the game. Conditions are double-sided cards which stay with your Investigators until discarded by passing a test (if instructed to do so by the card) or resolved through Reckoning.
Whether it is a Debt to a shady figure, or Paranoia incited by the horrors your investigator has continually faced, there will come a day when your Investigator must deal with the consequences of his actions. When a Mythos card with the Reckoning symbol is drawn, the time for Reckoning is at hand, and the text next to the symbol on the Condition must be resolved. Often, this results in flipping the Condition card over to reveal the unfortunate result of your desperate actions.
Monsters, Rumor Mythos cards, and other components must also answer to a greater power. Monsters may be rewarded by the evil forces at work with a helpful boost to their ability, while Reckoning for Rumors usually increases the pressure on your investigators to solve the Rumor before the unseen hand of fate can deliver a devastating blow to your efforts to save the world.
A New World Awaits
Once open, the portal looked like a gaping wound in the fabric of reality. Although miles underground, I was looking an alien landscape lit by two moons overhead. The paintings on the cave walls made it clear that the only hope of closing this unnatural gateway was to pass through it.
When a nexus of eldritch energy manifests in a location, it can cause a tear in the fabric of our reality, revealing a portal to another world. When the Spawn Gates icon appears on a Mythos card, you must spawn the number of gates indicated by the reference card.
Eldritch Horror is designed to scale based on the number of players, and the reference card indicates the number of Gates, Monsters, and Clues should be spawned based on the number of Investigators in the game. For example, in a game with six players, the Spawn Gates icon would result in two Gates being placed on the game board.
Gates are spawned by simply drawing the top Gate from the Gate stack, and flipping it over to reveal the location where it should be placed. When a Gate is closed during an encounter, it is discarded face up next to the Gate stack.
Terrors Roam the Streets
The enormous creature, its form now made fully visible by the flames, howled in pain and anger. Its tendril slammed into my chest with the force of a speeding truck. I struggled to regain consciousness as I felt he ground shake under the beast’s monstrous footsteps.
The presence of a Gate to another world exudes a dark and strange energy that attracts horrific creatures. Monsters from Other Worlds may use these portals to enter our world. When a Monster Sugre icon appears on a Mythos Card, each Gate that matches the Omen token’s current space spawns the number of monsters listed on the reference card.
If no Gates match the current Omen, the increase of the eerie energy that would cause a Monster Surge causes another Gate to be spawned instead.
As we rowed toward the small island, the ship’s crew exchanged stories of strange lights and living storms that have long been associated with this region. The men grew silent when we finally stepped on to the beach. The enormous toad-like statue glared at all intruders and its indecipherable runes cursed us in a long-forgotten language.
As investigators work to save the world, they’ll need to gather Clues to help get to the bottom of the otherworldly mysteries they must solve. Spawn the number of clues indicated on the reference card when the Spawn Clues icon appears on a Mythos card. Like Gates, clues are spawned by drawing a random Clue token from the token pool, and turning it over to reveal the location it should appear on the board. Unlike Gates, clues can appear on both numbered and named locations.
The newspapers confirmed what Standish had sent in her telegram. The panic and riots in Europe were raging out of control and I needed to take action. What good would it do me to protect the world from ancient threats, only to let humanity tear itself apart?
The final two symbols that may need to be resolved during the Mythos phase appear only on Rumor mythos cards. Rumors are Ongoing cards, which remain in play until they are solved, or your investigators run out of time, and are punished for their failure. Rumors add additional challenges and tasks for your Investigators to complete as they work toward global salvation.
Rumors must often be solved within a certain amount of time, which is tracked through Eldritch tokens. When the Place Eldritch Tokens symbol appears, place the indicated number of tokens onto the card. These are discarded each time a Reckoning Effect is triggered in subsequent Mythos Phases, as indicated on The Wind-Walker Rumor Mythos card. Once all tokens are discarded, the Rumor Mythos is solved, albeit with dire consequences for your investigators.
However, if Investigators manage to defeat the Wind-Walker in this example, they solve the Rumor Mythos, thereby preventing a potentially horrible fate.
Some Rumors require investigators to travel to certain locations, and resolve Rumor token encounters in order to solve the cards. The Place Rumor Token icon on a Mythos card indicates where the Rumor token should be placed. In the Spreading Sickness Rumor Mythos card, the Rumor token is placed on space 17, and investigators must be on that space, and resolve a token encounter with the Rumor token during their encounter phase in order to solve this Mythos card. This card’s Reckoning effect progressively depletes your investigators’ health the longer it remains in play, so it is in the best interest of your group to solve this Rumor as efficiently as possible.
Outside, the rumbling grew louder and the street collapsed, revealing an enormous sinkhole. As the tremor subsided, curious onlookers creeped forward toward the fissure, but I fired into the air and shouted to back away. Whatever caused this quake was still down there. This was far from over.
Many Mythos cards contain Rumor effects as described above, while others contain Events. The Mythos card text is resolved after all of the symbols on it have been resolved. Event text is resolved, and then the Mythos card is discarded, while Ongoing cards remain in play until discarded by a game effect. While most Mythos cards represent a dark twist of fate, bringing pain and destruction upon our intrepid heroes, occasionally a Mythos card provides aid or relief.
Building the Mythos Deck
In Eldritch Horror, there are three types of Mythos cards, which are categorized by different color cards: yellow, green and blue. Yellow cards are typically Events, and usually contain Advance Omen, Reckoning, and Spawn Gate elements. Green cards can be either Events or Ongoing Mythos cards, and typically contain Advance Omen, Monster Surge, and Spawn Clue elements. Blue cards are Rumors, which are Ongoing, and can contain Spawn Clue, Place Eldritch Tokens, and Place Rumor Token elements.
Before each game, the Mythos deck must be built. Each Ancient One requires the Mythos deck to be constructed differently, which alters the type and frequency of effects that will hinder your investigators throughout the game. This way, each game is tailored to the unique manifstation of the Ancient One you face.
Altering Game Difficulty
As revealed in the game’s announcement, Eldritch Horror’s Mythos cards come in three levels of difficulty, so you can make the game easier or harder, depending on your play style. Easy Mythos cards are indicated by the blue sigils on the edges of the cards, while Difficult cards are indicated by a red tentacle border. Normal difficulty cards have no special markings.
When teaching Eldritch Horror to a beginning player, removing all of the Difficult cards from the pool will make the game slightly easier.
If your daring group of investigators seeks a greater challenge, remove all of the Easy cards from the card pool when building the Mythos deck to ramp up the intensity of your game!