By January 27, 2012

Cthulhu Dice Game Review

I reviewed Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson Games last September, and it remains a household favorite when we’re short on time and/or everyone’s brains have shut down.

Steve Jackson Games put out another die game at about the same time called Cthulhu Dice. I didn’t think it would be possible, but Cthulhu Dice is even more casual and speedy than Zombie Dice. This is the game for when you’ve drooled so much overgaming that Zombie Dice seems complicated.

It’s pretty fun, with one possible drawback.

Here’s my review.

Overview and gameplay

Cthulhu Dice is for 2 – 8 players, although it’s more fun with at least three. The game comes with 18 green glass tokens (Cthulhu’s favorite color!) and one 12-sided die with ancient spooky symbols on it. The symbols are interpretations of lore from H.P. Lovecraft’s scary ass universe.

Each player starts out with three green tokens, which represent your sanity. The first player names another player as a target. The first player rolls the die, and one of following outcomes:

  1. Yellow Sign (question mark thingy): Take one sanity token from your target and put it in the middle of the playing area (this represents Cthulhu).
  2. Tentacle: Take one sanity token from your target and keep it for yourself. Unless you’re crazy. Then it goes to Cthulhu.
  3. Elder Sign (star): Take one sanity token from Cthulhu, unless there aren’t any. Then you get jack nada.
  4. Cthulhu: Every player gives Cthulhu one sanity token.
  5. Eye of Horace: you choose any of the other outcomes.

The target now gets a roll.

That’s one turn, and then the die moves one player to the left.

Once you’ve lost your sanity you continue to play. Insane players don’t get to keep any sanity gained from other players, and other players don’t get to attack them back. However, if an insane player rolls an Elder Sign they get one sanity and are back in the game.

Repeat until one player is the only one left sane, or when all players have gone insane (via Cthulhu sanity gobbling rolls).

Impressions

The game is mindlessly fun. Once you learn what the symbols mean it’s played with approximately 1% of your brainpower. This allows for conversation, silent stares into the distance, or gaming while asleep. Or all three.

One of the nice things about it is how little space the game takes up, which means you could put it in your pocket, bag, etc and bust the game out when you have time to kill.

To make it even more portable you could leave the green sanity counters at home. Improvise with bits of paper, twigs, coins, pocket lint, fingernail clippings, etc.

Cthulhu Dice retails for about $10. You can buy it for less than that at Amazon or similar e-tailers on a regular basis. As of this writing, it’s just over $5. That’s a great price for a cute little game.

If you’re so inclined, you can buy differently-colored Cthulhu dice. It’s a way to personalize the game. Steve Jackson Games has put out a few Web-only specials that glow in the dark, but they are out of print now and probably $1,000 each on eBay. ;)

Overall, a great game for a little scratch for when counting brains is just too damn hard to do.

Strongly Recommended

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