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I'm new to Eldritch Horror and am baffled by how difficult this game is. I've won difficult co-op's before (like Ghost Stories and Pandemic with 7 Epidemics) but Eldritch seems impossible. Thusfar, I've only played against Azathoth (the recommended Ancient One to get acquainted to the game) and only with 2 Investigators (although I've tried different combinations of Investigators). I've read posts like this one (https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/2an394/is_eldritch_horror_too_easy_with_only_2/) suggesting that it's too easy, and so I'm wondering if I'm missing something. I'm aware that Azathoth is not the Ancient One with the highest win rate, but it should be possible to win.

I've also seen this post (What is a solid basic strategy for surviving Eldritch Horror?) on basic strategy, but I have never lost from running out of Mythos Cards...every loss (5, now) has been from Doom hitting 0 (because awakening Azathoth is immediate loss). So here are my questions:

  1. I always lose from Doom getting to 0, meaning I need to prioritize closing Gates. How can I effectively do this with only 1 or 2 Investigators?
  2. How important is the choice in Investigators? (Again, I know there are stats, but I'm looking for a qualitative answer.)
  3. Is the game difficulty significantly different with different numbers of Investigators? 1 Investigator seems dramatically more challenging than 2 due to the values on the Icon Reference.
  4. I know some cards like the Icon Reference have been updated. How important is it for me to see if I have the old info or the new info (in terms of my success rate)?
  5. This question is on some general rules that I'm unclear about. I've chosen the easier interpretation for each so far. When resolving a Monster Surge, do you place Monsters on Gates in which the color is covered by an Eldritch Token? E.g. With Azathoth, the Green Gate starts with an Eldritch Token; so does a Monster Surge happen when the Omen Token is on Green and a Mythos Card requires it? Similarly, does Doom advance for each Green Gate in this case or just the Eldritch Tokens on the space? Finally, do Reckoning Effects apply to Cards/Monsters that get drawn during the current Mythos Card?
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Investigator count

Look at these statistics calculated from hundreds of logged plays: Eldritch Horror Statistics.

With the original reference cards, you can see the normal win rate for 1 investigator is 23% versus 66% for 4. If I play this game with four or fewer players, I always play with four investigators. I find this much more enjoyable.

The updated reference cards you've heard about are now considered a variant of the game: Revised Reference Cards. They make the game slightly easier for 1 or 5 investigators, and slightly harder for any other number (which you can see in the above statistics). But the difference between 1 and 4 investigators is still 32% vs 55%. So "easier" with 1 investigator is still harder than the "harder" 4 investigators.

Reckoning

From the rules reference, last bullet point on page 9:

If a Monster is spawned or an investigator gains a component while investigators are resolving [reckoning] effects, they do not resolve the [reckoning] effect on that Monster or component.

So no, reckoning effects don't apply to monsters or possessions gained during the reckonings step. Remember also that the icons on mythos cards are resolved left to right, and the event text is resolved last of all - so if a gate opening or a monster surge spawns a monster with a reckoning effect, or if the event spawns such a monster or gives players possessions with reckoning effects, those effects will not trigger this round because the reckonings step has already been resolved.

Eldritch Tokens

The eldritch tokens on the omen track serve one and only one purpose with azathoth: they cause you to advance doom even if no green gates are open. If green gates are also open, the eldritch tokens cause additional doom on top of the normal amount.

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I can't comment on playing with one or two investigators because just about all of my experience is with 4-5, but here's a partial answer:

3) The game is easier with an even number of investigators than with an odd number, because a lot of things key off of half the number of investigators, and that is rounded up. So, for example, a mystery that requires some tokens equal to half the number of investigators requires the exact same amount of work whether there's one investigator or two.

5) The eldritch token Azathoth places on the omen track doesn't erase the covered symbol from the track. You still use that symbol for monster surges and advancing doom. And about reckonings - according to the rules reference, last bullet point of the "Reckoning" section, if a reckoning effect causes something else with a reckoning effect to enter play, you don't resolve that new effect this turn.

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