23 November 2019
At its best you may even begin to question your own sanity.
Every new board game begins with the usual ritual of punching pieces, unwrapping cards and placing a board. This custom can induce bubbling excitement or dull disappointment amongst participants as they make their first impressions. Gates of Delirium suffers from the latter as it looks very much like a bogstandard worker-placement game. That is, until you play your first turn.
Fans of Eldrich Horror, will immediately recognize the familiar Lovecraftian setting of Gates of Delirium, including mysterious monster-spewing portals, except in this case you want to summon all the horrors. Much like the monsters lurking just beneath the portal’s veil, Gates of Delirium hides its best bits right in front of you. Dual-toned cards which can be easily mistaken for a single action – have two distinct options that can be taken during sane or insane phases of the game. This creates an immediate dilemma of which half to use at the expense of the other. Two cards are played per turn in the usual attempt to earn the most victory points.
You face a multitude of set collection options: building maps, uncovering ancient ruins and storing lost pages from secret tomes, all of which score in different ways. You will also be attempting to gain control over sections of the world map to coincide with portal openings to score maximum points.
Gates of Delirium finds a way to lull you into a deceptive sense of simplicity when you first lay your eyes on it, but once you begin to unravel its mysteries, you’ll be enthralled by this delightfully-dark board game. At its best you may even begin to question your own sanity.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Jordan Goddard, Mandy Goddard
Artist: George Cotronis
This review originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.