Signal Fire Studio’s Building An Elder God, designed by Ben Mund and developed by Jamie Chambers, brings into being horrible Lovecraftian monsters, adorable tiny Necronomicons, and taking a shotgun to the monsters your friends are trying to create in their backyard. Because they’re unoriginal and stole your idea to build an elder god.
How could I not love this game?
The point of Building An Elder God is to build your horrific, untenable monster before your friends do. Those sneaky jerks are trying to build their own monster, and you’re not going to have any of it. And if your friend Mr. Shotgun has anything to say about it, those wannabes are going to go covered in dead elder god goo faster than you can say “Ia! Ia!”
I played it with two players when we took my birthday copy for a test drive. I could see that I was going to lose about five turns before it happened. So I disagree with it being a game for two, unless you’re bored, or really bad at seeing your impending loss via shotgun application to your nascent elder god. In a larger group I could see it being a bit more enjoyable; generally I prefer 3+ player games, it’s more sociable as well as more unpredictable.
The shotgunning of monsters in the game comes in the form of damage cards. If there’s a tentacle on your opponent’s nasty friend that isn’t protected by magic or a Necronomicon, you are in luck my friend. Boom goes the shotgun, shrieking from beyond the stars goes the would-be elder god. Damage can be healed with the right cards, and if you don’t have them on hand, you fall behind pretty fast. There’s a set card goal to achieve a full-fledged Elder God in your backyard to wreak unmentionable mayhem, from top to bottom you need a total of 15 cards (if playing a 2 person game), with the number needed to win decreasing as numbers of players increase. Due to the card placement rules, I found myself quickly running out of room for card placement, and spent nearly every turn readjusting them. It has an immense footprint, even though I was only playing it at two player, and at a large table. I found the box difficult to get into and the cards tricky to shuffle, though these can both be blamed at least partially on it being a never before used copy. I’ll have to see if the difficulty decreases with those two tasks over time as amount of wear and age increases.
The game’s rated for ages 6+, and when it comes to the rules I definitely agree. It’s quick to grasp, and a few plays should make acquiring the rules through game play a quick experience, whether players are kids or adults. Play is clocked per the box at 15-30 minutes; I wasn’t tracking as well as I should have, but I think it took us about 20 minutes, start to finish, excluding first time set up (Necronomicon cards had to be cut up for use.) It’s not a bad game. It’s fun, it’s fast, I will certainly recommend you play it with more than two people. And if someone doesn’t know the Mythos? They’re not going to miss out on the fun.
If you want a copy of Building An Elder God for your very own, you can go check out the Signal Fire Studios website!