Elder Sign: Omens – As a fan of the Cthulu mythos I was excited to see that Fantasy Flight made an app version of the Elder Sign dice game. I really like their games set in the Mythos but it can be difficult to find opponents willing to sit down for several hours to grinds through a board game. The card game is really fun however it's difficult to squeeze into game nights as it's only two player.
For about $5 you can download this great little game for your iphone (and ipad as well I think). The graphics are beautiful like most Fantasy Flight products and the sound quality is pretty good.
To start the game you choose which monster you want to face. The three choices match up to easy, regular and hard modes essentially. Then you choose four investigators, from a large selection of characters, each of which provides different in game benefits.
The game requires you to "solve" mysteries or play through stories. Much like the Cthulu card game these are based on Lovecraft's work and are tied to the mythos. in order to beat a story you have to "roll" dice to generate the correct symbols. Digitally this feels a little more like random chance (yes I know there's not a skill to rolling dice–but physically doing something gives the semblance of control) but the different colors of "dice" have different probabilities of getting a certain symbol. By matching the correct symbols you defeat the story and unlock a new one. Once you've collected the correct number of elder signs you win the game. If all your characters go insane, die or the monster collects the right number of doom symbols before you collect your signs you lose.
The first couple of playthroughs this felt really random and I lost horribly. Once I figured out what the character abilities actually did the game made much more sense and I felt like I could exert more control over what happens. The trick is collecting the right bonus items to help make the difficult "rolls" easier. Also character selection plays a role in this as some characters get bonus dice, free re-rolls or can solve multiple "cases" in a story.
For the money this is a pretty fun game that you can play solo or pass and play with friends. I like it better than some of the random finger sliding games available for the iphone as it feels like you did something when you finish the game.