Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this game to review.
- # Of Players: 2+
- Age: 10+
- Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
- Price Point: $6.95
You’re mad, obviously. That is the only explanation for it. Why else would you be trying to drive your “friends”, and rivals, into the gaping maw of madness?
But that doesn’t make sense… They’re the ones trying to drive you mad… aren’t they? And how can they drive you insane if you are, obviously, already insane? But then what if you are the only sane one? The only one able to see the truth of reality? But, if you are sane, why are you trying to drive them insane?
And so, your thoughts go as you go about doing as Cthulhu commands.
Cthulhu Dice is a 2+ player game where you are trying to drive your fellow cultist over the edge into utter madness. Of course, they are trying to do the same to you as well. The object is to be the last “sane” cultist. However, it is completely possible that all of you will be reduced to slavering, gibbering, frothing madmen before the game is done.
What I liked…
- Fast Playtime
- Quick turns and little downtime
- Simple rules
What I didn’t…
- No way to influence the outcome of each turn
Playing the Game
Players take turns selecting a “victim”, then rolling a custom ten-sided die to see what ghastly fate befalls them, or you. The “victim” then gets a chance to retaliate and rolls the die against their attacker. The winner is the last sane person at the table. Of course, it is possible for everyone to end up in a straightjacket, locked inside a padded cell. If that happens, then, of course, no one wins.
One clever aspect of Cthulhu Dice is that once you are driven insane you still pick a victim and roll against them every turn. They, however, cannot seek retribution against you. So, even though you are out of the running to win, you can still try to drag your “friends” down into the depths of madness with you… Good fun.
Because the core mechanic of Cthulhu Dice is a random die roll, after selecting your victim, there isn’t much in the way of strategy. This does lend itself nicely to the game’s theme of madness though since you don’t know if you are a danger to yourself or others each round. Now there is one area where you do get an option of what happens when you roll an “eye symbol” on the die. This is a wild symbol can act as any other die result. Even an “elder sign”, which is the only way to regain what wits you had, and get back in the running to win the game.
As a filler game, Cthulhu dice is excellent. With virtually no setup, simple rules, and quick playtime it makes a nice appetizer while you wait for the rest of your gaming group to arrive. It also makes a good way to pass the time while you wait for a game with a longer setup to get going.
My one issue with Cthulhu Dice is that you don’t have any real control over the outcome of the game. You get two choices during gameplay, who to roll against and what to do when you roll an “eye symbol”. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the die. However, considering the theme, and the purpose of this game, it is a minor issue at most.
If complex and meaningful choices are a requirement for you to enjoy a game, give this one a pass. However, if you are looking for a fun filler game that offers a break from the heavy mental lifting needed by some bigger games, I would say take a leap into the gaping maw of madness. After all, as the Cheshire Cat said to Alice, “We’re all mad here.”
Overall Fun - 7/10
Ease of Play - 9/10
Replayablity - 8/10
Downtime - 8/10
Game Length - 7/10
Bang For Your Buck - 7/10
Engagment - 6.5/10
If you liked this title, you may also like these as well:
Batman the Animated Series Dice Game
, also published by Steve Jackson Games
, by Fantasy Flight Games