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Tabletop Game / Eldritch Horror

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"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft

Eldritch Horror is a board game spinoff of Arkham Horror from Fantasy Flight Games. Like Arkham Horror, it is an Adventure Board Game based on the Cthulhu Mythos, and the two games share many mechanics. Set in the 1920s, Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game in which players take on the roles of investigators and travel the world solving mysteries in an attempt to stop the Ancient One from awakening.

Despite its much larger scale (the entire globe as opposed to just one city and some smaller, surrounding towns), Eldritch Horror is actually a quicker game than Arkham Horror.


Eldritch Horror shares many tropes both with the greater Cthulhu Mythos and Arkham Horror. The board game directly features examples of:

  • All Asians Know Martial Arts/All Monks Know Kung-Fu: The Chinese player character was raised by kung-fu monks.
  • Artifact of Doom: A staple of the mythos, though the ones in this game typically have benefits as opposed to their literary counterparts.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Diana Stanley has multiple issues regarding her abilities, both passive and active ones:
      • Diana Stanley's Action ability allows her to move a cultist on her space anywhere on the map, or to remove all other monsters on her space if one of them is a cultist. While this may seem useful at first, it's extremely dependent on circumstances the player has no control over: monsters are pulled randomly from a bag, so there's no guarantee that any cultist will ever appear, let alone appear at the right time, in a given game. However, her ability shines against Yig, as Yig wants to spawn cultists to trigger his effects.
      • Diana herself may be considered awesome, yet impractical. Sure, she's a monster with spells, with a starting Lore of four and the Arcane Manuscripts asset (+1 Lore when resolving spell effects)... but her maximum Sanity is five and her starting Will is one. Even with her passive ability being "reduce the Horror of monsters you encounter to one", she's quite likely to go insane after a few fights... and her free Wither spell? It only works in combat, meaning that she will have to roll her pathetic Will before she gets a chance to use it.
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    • Lily Chen's ability to instantly double any improvement to her stats, while extremely useful in making her a Jack-of-All-Trades that can reasonably handle any threat, can also lead newer players into a wild goose chase to improve every stat and wasting valuable time (and becoming The Load instead, as that time could have been spent helping to win the game). It doesn't help that her Personal Quest revolves around this.
  • The Atoner: Diana Stanley, the redeemed cultist.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Axe asset allows you to spend two points of sanity to reroll any number of dice in combat. Bonus points for the card's illustration being the same as the one for the Maniac monster from many other Mythos-themed board games!
  • Brain in a Jar: The Mi-Go Brain Case, featured as an artifact and in a few of the Other World encounters. For those who don't know about the Mi-go, brains put in the Mi-go jars are still very much alive and aware.
  • Cast from Sanity: Many artifacts and some spells require you to spend sanity points as part of their effects.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: One of the allies you can recruit is explicitly female and explicitly classy burglar.
  • Cloak and Dagger: The art for the Agency Quarantine asset shows a group of men in black using conventional weapons to perform a siege on a building.
  • Cool Plane: The Charter Flight asset.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: By both sides. With the right combination of artifacts, assets, and spells, an investigator can kill almost any monster in the game in just one turn. The same can be said for investigators who get caught by a large group of monsters when unprepared.
  • Crystal Ball: The Glass of Mortlan artifact, which gives additional bonuses when casting spells.
  • The Day of Reckoning: Played with during "Reckoning events", but played straight with the Ancient One slowly waking up.
  • Deadly Gas: The Poison Mist spell. Also a possible Expedition encounter.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Syndicate Agent and Agent of Secrets, to name a few.
  • Darkest Africa: The Heart of Africa is an Expedition location.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Mostly averted, unlike in Arkham Horror. If your character is taken out due to Health or Sanity loss, there is no bringing them back. However, another investigator can encounter them where they fell, allowing you to recover their possessions and possibly gain some other benefit such as reducing Doom.note 
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Defeating any of the Ancient Ones qualifies. If Shub-Niggurath, Ithaqua, or Cthulhu himself awaken, the investigators must defeat them in direct combat.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Well, obviously.
  • Emergency Stash: The Reserve can be seen as this.
  • Epic Fail: The games description of a player trying to escape a tribe of Jaguar People. Should they fail, the Investigator fails to convince them they are the tribes God, tries running and smacks face first into a wall.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: Every investigator has one Action and one passive ability, which slightly changes the way they interact with the game and their teammates.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Many of the weapons in the artifact deck, such as the Lightning Gun, which does exactly what you think it does.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Many cards feature this in their artwork. It is also a frequent consequence of failing an encounter.
  • Healing Potion: The Elixir of Life and Milk of Shub-Niggurath artifacts. To a lesser extent, Whiskey, which heals sanity (either the investigator needs a little help fighting dimensional horrors or just really, really needs a drink).
  • Hollywood Healing: A frequent consequence of failing an encounter is damage or an Injury condition, which can quickly be healed.
  • Heroes Unlimited: The base game included 16 investigators, but expansions have brought this to over 50.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: Antarctica is one of the Expedition locations.
    • The "Mountains of Madness" expansion, based on Lovecraft's story of the same name, introduces an entirely new board focusing solely on Antarctica.
  • Heroic BSoD: Some Madness conditions can cause this.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Several of the investigators as well as some Ally assets.
  • Instrument of Murder: Played straight with the Bone Pipes artifact, which deals damage to monsters if you pass a lore check, or the Flute of the Outer Gods which can banish all monsters on the investigator’s space, assuming they have the health and sanity to cover the cost.
  • Latex Perfection: The Pallid Mask artifact allows you to ignore monster encounters, though it's probably not made from latex...
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Any item, trinket, ally or state that allows you to re-roll or increase a die outcome definitely counts.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: Unlike other re-rell items, the rabbit's foot can be used in any given context, rather than being pre-definied to specific stat or situation. And Lily Chen starts with it.
  • Magical Star Symbols: The game depicts the Elder Sign, a powerful Protective Charm from the Mythos, as an off-kilter pentagram with a central eye.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Averted in one of the Tokyo encounters. An investigator may be able to convince the Emperor of the threat the world faces, and he responds by deploying the Japanese military to eliminate one monster. Obviously, the players will generally choose the most dangerous monster on the field, which implies that a star-spawn or dhole has a very unpleasant encounter with the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: The Lost in Time and Space condition removes the investigator from play and causes them to ignore all game events, including a mythos card event that would have normally killed them. This can also be played straight if you use an asset or artifact to mitigate an otherwise fatal blow or to recover enough health or sanity to avoid death/insanity.
  • Piñata Enemy: Cultists, being very easy to defeat, can turn into this with correct items, allowing to easily farm them for spells.
  • Pocket Dimension: The Lost in Time and Space condition, and quite literally the Satchel of the Void artifact.
  • Power at a Price: Variety of items, artifacts and especially spells require to shed some of your Sanity (and rarely, Health) when used.
  • The Power of Friendship: Many investigators' abilities grant benefits to other investigators when they are in the same space together.
    • Minh Thi Phan has an ability that increases all of her skills by 1, but it only works if she is in the same space as another investigator or has an Ally asset.
  • Random Effect Spell: Every spell has a consistent main effect that you're guaranteed to get if you cast it correctly, plus a variety of possible side-effects that depend on how well you cast it.
  • Random Event: Each time you interact with a city, an expedition, a gate or an event, you draw a random card and read specific blurb from it, affecting what you're supposed to do and what's happening.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: The Personal Assistant asset, who helps with Influence skill tests.
  • Sadistic Choice: One of the Dark Pacts forces you to choose another investigator to be devoured.
  • Stock Weapon Names: Many of the firearm assets, such as Double-Barreled Shotgun, Carbine Rifle, Tommy Gun, etc.
  • Spell Blade: Many weapons in the artifact deck, such as the Sword of St. Jerome or the Khopesh of the Abyss, are swords that boost Will or Lore stats or have other magical abilities.
  • Total Party Kill: Some mythos cards can instantly kill investigators even if they are at full health or sanity.
  • The Tunguska Event: Tunguska is one of the locations on the world map, and the "Seed of Azathoth" mystery card requires the characters to investigate a mysterious meteor that came to earth there.
  • The Unchosen One: All of the investigators joined by their own volition.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Cat Burglar vs. expensive items. Even if you have an investigator with high Influence, it is simply more probable you will roll either a 5 or 6 on a single die than four or five of those to buy what you need.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Just like in other games he appears in, Silas Marsh the sailor does not appear to own any shirts.