I have heard Eldritch Horror described as a "streamlined Arkham Horror", as if the makers of AH considered how to make a faster, more accessible successor. Having played and enjoyed Eldritch Horror, I would like to ask someone to give a comparison between the two that might give me an idea what to expect if I were to try AH. The comparison could include thoughts on why EH is better, why AH is better, what each do that the other does not, simple examples, etc.
It has been a while since I played Arkham Horror, but I own Eldritch Horror myself. There are a few very obvious differences.
- The gate encounters in Arkham take multiple turns to complete. In Eldritch, you resolve a card and that's it. You know at the end of the encounters phase if you've closed the gate or not.
- In Arkham, the characters have three sliding stats, so you can adjust your character to make them better at something at the expense at something else. You can move your stats one each turn. In Eldritch, you have fixed fixed fixed stats and can earn small boosts to those stats.
- Speed is a stat in Arkham that's paired with Sneak. If you want a high Sneak, your character will be slow because of the sliding scale. There are some items in the game that boost your speed. In Eldritch, you get one movement a turn, but can then spend travel tickets you've acquired as one of your two actions on a turn. You may have only two travel tickets on you, but you get extra movement if you have tickets for the routes out of your destination after you've moved. Most routes are by ship or train, but there are wilderness routes you have to walk with one of your two actions in.
- Arkham uses money to buy items from the stores. If you don't have enough money, you can't buy anything. In Eldritch, you test your influence and if you need to increase your test result, you can take a debt condition. You can always take a debt condition to boost your buying power in Eldritch Horror.
- Arkham has a lot more expansions and you have the option to customize how the game plays. Eldritch has only two expansions right now.
The reduction in complexity in Eldritch Horror provides a shorter game. It's still a very long game, but you're shaving off 1-2 hours of game play to get a game that takes 3-4 hours to play verses 5-6 hours.
I own both AH and EH. I have the Kingsport, Innsmouth and Black Goat of the Woods expansions for AH. Only have the base game for EH right now but those four expansions call me pretty loudly. I really couldn't say that either is better than the other because I really love both a lot but for different reasons.
One thing that I can say I really miss from Arkham when I play Eldritch is how the investigators interact with the monsters. I like that in Arkham the monsters move around, block your path and can straight halt your action when you run into one. Sometimes it seems like those cardboard tiles somehow know what we're trying to do. I'm really not much of a fan of how unimposing the monsters are in EH, I mean, in real life, if you're sitting there and all of a sudden a portal opens up where you're at and spits out a Shoggoth you probably won't be going for groceries, you'd run, hide, fight or die. In Arkham you pretty much have to make one of those choices...
However, in Arkham when a portal opens where you are you're sucked through instantly before it even spits out a monster, then you're delayed in whatever other world opened up (in AH every gate has the name of an other world that it connects to)then you gotta find your way back to Arkham(you'll have two encounters in the other world before you move back to Arkham), close that gate, which requires you to do a test of either your fight skill or your lore skill plus or minus whatever modifier is on the gate), then you get that gate as a trophy (if you succeed the roll, success is still a 5 or 6). THEN, if that Shoggoth never moved(each mythos phase makes certain monsters of a type specified move, but you never know what will move or where it'll move to) then you can't move past it unless you succeed at an evade check(which is a test of your sneak skill plus or minus the monster's evade mod). If you fail the test the monster deals you its damage and then you have to fight or just not move.
Arkham's game world is more alive, much more intense and forboding and much more rules heavy in terms of stuff you gotta keep an eye on each turn, but winning gives a real sense of triumph and there's much more player freedom.Arkham rocks, rocks. Great way to spend a weekend with friends.
On the other hand, Eldritch's game world is more streamlined, more static and funnels players along in a much more controlling way, BUT as a result of that it tells a more comprehensive story thsn Arkham does on a game by game basis.
If Eldritch Horror was a bestselling novel, Arkham Horror would be the five star epic survival horror (and AH very much is, EH can be tough but AH can and will beat you senseless)video game RPG adaptation. Eldritch Horror tells the story but Arkham lets you live it... but on that note you should really think about checkin out Mansions of Madness too. If I could play that game solo I'd own it in a heartbeat (but one of my best friends has it and all the expansions so we just play his). It could also be said that if Arkham Horror was the book then Eldritch Horror would be the (good) movie based on that book.
Also, like EH, you can play solo which I highly recommend doing for playing for your first couple games(unless you have an experienced buddy who can bring you up to speed) so that you and your friends don't have to spend the day reading rulebooks. Plus it's a blast to play even alone (I suggest playing at least two investigators for solo games though, Arkham's a pretty formidable place for a lone ranger). Sorry to go on and on, just love these games. Hope this helped. Have fun! :)
Some of the differences that I remember are: Monsters block your movement - so getting from point A to B might require you to either fight or try to evade monsters. Closing Gates - For each gate you move to a two stage area with encounter and then you come back to close it, it takes a while plus there are special rules on what happens to you while you are in other world and go insane or die. Also closing gates requires clue tokes as far as I remember. Monsters move - Every time a mythos is revealed certain monsters move across the board, some of them don't some of them fly to the sky it can be a bit to keep track. Spawning monsters - If there's more monsters on the board than a certain number they spawn in this buffer pool and once that is overrun doom track moves.
I wouldn't say AH is more complex than EH in terms of how deep strategy you need but more in the rules are more convoluted and take a while to process.
In our gaming group we have had Arkham Horror as the favored game for years. Now several of us has bought Eldritch Horror, and we have played this a lot also - but still play Arkham every other time.
I think the main streamlining that is done in Eldritch is that they have much less "If-Then-Else" cards to keep track of. In Arkham you quickly get into a situation where there is several faceup cards and monsters that might trigger based on the environment, player actions and cosmic sybols. You will find that with a lot on the table you spend a lot of time and congitive energy managing the actions and special triggers around the board. In Eldritch they have melted everything together in a "Reckoning" event. A Reconing is triggered by the Mythos cards, and this is the only time you really have to look through all the monsters and cards at the table and player/ancient one sheets, looking for "Reckoning" triggers.
In the game content, main difference in my opinion is that Eldritch has a stronger connection between the cards on the table and the actual elder one. Several of the cards is specific to the elder one you are playing.
Despite this, however, we still play Arkham a lot. Why? Well, Arkham still has a lot more expansions and cards out. Also, Arkham usually is a longer and more involved game, where you get more time to get to know, love and build your character. Arkham is also more "Closed", and it gives a slightly more hopeless and claustrophobic feel until you possibly overcome the game towards the end.