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E-Mail: ericp[AT]lariennalibrary.com

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Eldritch Express

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-EldritchExpress - Last Modified : Tue, 27 Mar 18 - 3155 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

3.5 stars Rating 6.9/10 from 18 votes
Vote Distribution: 5 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 3 – 10

Very Good (10/10) The game is very interesting, make it as soon as possible.
Good (8/10) Great idea but some modifications are required.
Fair (6/10) Interesting but a lot of things are missing.
Bad (4/10) Would need to completely redesign the idea in order to work.
Very Bad (2/10) It will never be interesting, abandon the idea.
Already Exist (0/10) Do not waste time on this game idea.

Status: CLOSED
Status: Released
Priority: Average
Release Date: December 7th 2015, more "officially" in may 2016
Number of players: 1 - 4 players
Play time: 60 - 90 minutes


This game is an express dice game adaptation of Eldritch Horror similar to the Arkham Express dice game. It borrows ideas from Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror, Arkham Express and Elder Sign. The goal is to make a short and small game that could fit into a small fantasy flight expansion box.

As all lovecratian games, the goal is to prevent an ancient one from awakening by moving around the world to close gates and solve mysteries. You use the “dice express” mechanics to perform your actions and encounter hasards. You will gather clue, items, spells and artifact to make your quest easier and give you a chance to fight monsters. The combat system is deterministic, so you know for sure if you are going to die or become insane. So you might consider an injury or a madness instead, it's hard to live with it, but at least you remain alive.


Arkham Express is a source of inspiration for the format of the game and some dice roll ideas. Else the game play mimic Eldritch Horror in a more streamlined fashions. Some ideas, like the omen track, has been taken from the Elder Sign clock. Finally ideas has been take from Arkham Horror too especially for monster combat.


You basically assign yourself to a task, roll the dice using the express method, and use your roll to fulfill your objectives. Gain rewards or conditions, advance the omen track and repeat the process. If there are monsters on the space you need to fight them first of course.

One of the innovating element is that you do not roll dice for resolving combat, since you are already rolling enough dice. it is only deterministic, so you know if yes or no you are going to survive the battle. This add a lot of strategy to the game.

So far, compared to Arkham Express, all items, artifact and spells etc have their own unique abilities which keep an interesting flavor to the game. I intend to use Strange Eons software to make the components of the game. I'll probably re-use fantasy flight's artwork.

Prototype Pictures

For now, you can get it from board game geek:


I did not assemble yet the new Printable prototype yet.

News, changes and updates

May 21st 2016: I remade almost all the print outs. Mostly I added picture and made all the graphic design of the small cards which is awesome. I won't be able to finish the rest of the print out for now, so partially colored pages will only be available for now. There has been little changes in the rules, at most a spell changed name and a new spell was added.

October 11th, 2017: I got new ideas to reuse some concepts in the design of this game to implement it into another horror themed game (castlevania style). The idea is to make the game publishable without copyright issue. Many ideas could be taken from that other [http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/index.php?n=GameIdea.GameIdea201004181034AM | game idea ], in fact they could both fusion together.

Like many game ideas, the ideas comes in rapidly, you start writing and eventually you hit a wall, and this is where the design stop and you have to wait a year or two before the solution comes in. Anyway, here is a description of the new game idea according to the components I intend to use. As you'll see, there will be a lot of similarity with Eldritch Express. The main goal is to reduce the number of components and give more explanations why things happen.

  • Europe Map: The game will take place in europe. There will be 6 areas with each 6 cities connected by train or ship. The area around cities are called wilderness and they are all haunted. Some cities could be: London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Madrid or Seville or Lisbon, Athens, berlin, Istambul.
  • Character cards, player pawns: Each player will have a character that contains various stats and a player pawn to move around the board.
  • Skill cards, Usable weapons: There will be some skill cards, think of them as feats in D&D, and spells. Some of them will be character specific, some of them will be acquirable by many characters. The idea is to remove the need of expandable items and spell cards. There could be also usable weapons with a certain amount of ammo that could be like a limited use feat until resupplied. A cube could keep track of the ammo. Think of it like in castlevania: Dagger, Holywater, thrown axe, etc.
  • Mana, Stamina cubes: The character health is the manimum stamina, and the character sanity is the maximum mana. They can be recovered with resting and they are used for character feats and spells.
  • Condition Cards: It's possible that all wounds are actually condition cards, to actually explain why you are wounded. So like in Eldritch express, it gives you a negative effect and reduce you max health or sanity.
  • Artifacts cards: I tried to remove most expandable and acquirable cards. I think artifacts will remain but it could be specific to the scenario you are playing, so very few used per game.
  • Boss chart : Each boss chart is a scenario in it self. It changes the rules and it needs to fill up is progress track to win. Meanwhile the players need to fill up their tracks in order to find the boss and kill/banish him. Then maybe a final battle occurs (to be defined).
  • Event cards, and event markers : Each boss will have a small set of event cards (like mysteries in EH) and maybe a second set of cards could also be used. Those events will put markers on the board that will change the behavior of the game. After a certain time, if the player failed to counter the event card, the villain will progress on his victory track. Else, the effect is countered and a new card will be drawn during the right omen. Players's progress could also be done with event cards like mysteries in EH.
  • Threat tiles : This is an important change, they are"monster" tile that can represent any kind of threat present in a wilderness location which can be other things than monsters. There will be much less tile than in EE. Each tile increase the threat for traveling in that location and could inflict damage or conditions on the characters if triggered. Not sure yet how they are triggered. Players can optionally try to resolve those threat to remove them from the board and make the area safer to walk by. Those tiles could be scenario specific, or partially specific.
  • Omen Track : Same thing as EE, each turn, the track advance and various things happen. Not sure if the 2:1:1 ratio will be kept, or if a 5 or 6 position track could be used instead.
  • Action dice : There will be 5 action dice where each side is an action the player can take. Characters could have a focus stat allowing them to re-roll a certain number of dice. I am not exactly sure of the faces yet, so far it could be: travel (train/boat), rest, research, investigate, assault, infiltrate. Maybe any die could be spent to do a regular movement (no train) on the map. There is no more threat face, they are integrated on the threat tiles.
  • Clue and research tokens : They will be different tokens, clues are acquired in the wilderness, while research are acquired in cities and they each can be spent to increase your performance to succeed. Some tokens could be specialized and give more points vs certain type of encounters. There could also be experience tokens that could be spent this way. Or experience acquired will only make you draw clue and research tokens.

This is it so far. The huge problem is how to resolve the threat and encounters. Not sure if I want to use a random approach, or simply a compare a value approach. I liked the deterministic battles in Eldritch Express, it could be interesting to redo something similar. Could character have stats and simply compare value for pass fail. I am also not sure how treats get triggered. Maybe roll a die per threat, or a skill check. So this is the biggest problem I can see so far without testing the game.


Version 1.1

Rules - Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 86 K - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Map Cards and Tokens- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 4 Meg - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Small cards front- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 5.2 M - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Small cards back inverted order- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 1.7 M - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Small cards back straigth order- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 1.7 M - May 21st, 2016 )
Note: On most printer, in inverted card order should be used. It depends on if the pages needs to be flipped or not when printing the back. I had a situation where I did not need to flip the pages with a certain printer.

Another note: I made some last minute update on the rules and small cards on May 25th 2016. Basically changed the intro paragraph and a spell name.

Version 1.0

Rules - Eldritch Express - v.1.0 ( 86K, Dec 7th, 2015)
Print Outs - Eldritch Express - v.1.0 (928K, Dec 7th, 2015)

Before First Release

Rule Draft - Eldritch Express - v.2 (84K, Jan 14th, 2015)
Rule Draft - Eldritch Express - v.1 (78K, Dec 27th, 2014)

Related Threads

Board game Geek: Is there any interest for an Eldritch Express game? (dec 2014)

Development Log

12-jan-2018IdeaI would eventually like to make a game app of it but the copyright issue seems very complex. A lot of things seems to belong to fantasy flight or toher people even if it's a public domain theme. One idea is to retheme the game in my Living Nightmare settings and could take place only in europe. But many mechanics will have to be changed since the goals of the game are completely different since the equivalent of the "Ancient ones" has already awaken. Else I would need more info about what is actually public domain and what is not public.
17-sep-2016To doI playtested a bit more and there will need to have some clarifications in the rules and minor fixes. Else I'll have to adjust some card text ability. I am even thinking of eventually using icons to be visible in a glance.

Back to my list of Board Games and Ideas

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: The mechanics are borrowed from many lovecraft game. So everything is there and require little research. There is little story telling, but it includes many thematically elements from the original game (Items, spells, etc)
Video vs Board Game: The game could be implemented as a board or video game. The game is basically open since it's a cooperative game.
Single vs Multi player: Single player is possible as playing with multiple players. There is not much social aspect to the game besides making a plan.
Rating = 9/12


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