I think there's consensus that Elder Sign is not satisfyingly difficult. The variants I've seen suggested are either too long for my taste, or don't look play-tested.

Has anyone found a satisfying (read: you've played it at least once and liked it) way to tweak the difficulty up without adding more than, say, half an hour to the base game or ramping up the complexity and housekeeping?

I would love for the change to meet most of these conditions:

  • Add no new mechanic or a very simple one
  • Add more decision making rather than more chance
  • Add no more than half an hour to the game
  • Tweak the win rate down to somewhere between 50% and 80%

That said, if you have something you love, post it regardless.

4 Answers 4


One that is simple to implement, doesn't add any time, and seems to up the difficulty without making it overpowering is to ignore the word "unless" and everything after it on mythos cards.

So, for example, "Add a Doom token to the Doom track unless at least 1 investigator has a Spell." would become "Add a Doom token to the Doom track."

Particularly if you're playing with 4 players, these cards never seem to add doom tokens by the base rules. Another alternative would be to change "unless at least 1 investigator" to "unless ALL investigators".

That same thread has some simple rules for making the final battle harder, but I haven't tried that one. Definitely seems in line with your goal of being simple and not adding time to the game, though.


We've tried to solve this in the past by advancing the clock by 30 minutes instead of 15, to bring out more Mythos cards and cause more "At Midnight" effects. The only time we lost the game was when using this variant.


The game seems a bit too easy both before and after the Elder God awakens. My two house rules to solve this are as followings...

  1. At Midnight, roll one green die for each monster in play and each terror result adds a doom token.

  2. Once the Elder God is awakened, his "Midnight" effect happens at both 6 and 12 o'clock.

I stole these ideas from another site's post and modified them slightly, but they seem to work well to up the difficulty and actually shorten the game in the case that you lose. Of course if you think this is too hard, then go with rolling 1 die for every 2 monsters in play for number 1 above.


I use this simple rule:

There can not be two successive midnights without a doom token.

So, if one midnight came without a doom token, the next midnight MUST have doom token and all 'unless' things are ignored.

This makes a game a lot harder, basically in all games I played boss needs maybe 1 token to awake and often it leads entire game. It is tested with basic game.

It shotrents the game as the doom tokens progress more rapidly.

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