Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Microreview [games] - Cthulhu Dice

The Meat

Cthulhu + Dice + Steve Jackson Games = Fun

Horror master H.P. Lovecraft published the “Call of Cthulhu” in 1928.  Since his debut, Cthulhu has been slowly causing sailors and cultists to lose their mind.  The creature Lovecraft described as "an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature” has been permanently cemented in horror and nerd culture. Recently, it would seem Cthulhu has been getting ready to wake from his not-dead sleep, with oodles of 'hulhu cropping up all over pop culture (ie, Facebook). 
An unconventional, but democratic,
way of restoring the Ancient Ones to power.

When you take someone with the pedigree of Steve Jackson (Munchkin, Zombie Dice, etc. – look at for a full offering) and add in the cosmic entity of bad mental hoodoo that is Cthulhu, you have yourself a pretty enjoyable game.  The rules are simple.  You battle other cultists in a contest to see who can remain sane the longest. 

Each individual starts out with a certain number of sanity marbles, and if Cthulhu causes you to lose all of your marbles then you go insane.  The last sane cultist wins.  On your turn you roll a 12-sided die and either roll Cthulhu himself (everyone loses a sanity marble), a tentacle (you steal someone else’s sanity token), an elder sign (you take a sanity marble from Cthulhu) or yellow sign (whoever you are rolling against loses one sanity marble to Cthulhu).

That’s it!  It is a game so simple a five-year old can master it.  No, seriously.  My five-year old son Henry has mastered this game and wins 80% of the time.  It is more fun with more people (up to 6!)  Games last anywhere from 2-10 minutes and are quite enjoyable

The Math

Objective Quality: 8/10

Bonuses: +1 for creating a Cthulhu game for kids!

Penalties: -1 for Henry constantly demolishing me in this game.

Game Coefficient: 8/10. Well worth your time and attention.

[See explanation of our non-inflated scores here.]