(Be sure to read about our special Steve Jackson Games giveaway at the end of this review!)Just the Facts: Players: 2-6 Playing Time: 5-10 minutes Publisher: Steve Jackson Games MSRP: $4.99 Release: Q2 2010 Summary: Cthulhu Dice is a fast, easy to learn, and inexpensive dice game. It also uses the Cthulhu property very effectively; every element of the game is styled around Cthulhu in some way. This all adds up to make Cthulhu Dice a recommended purchase. [xrr rating=4/5] The Gameplay: For those not familiar with Cthulhu, it helps to understand the character a bit in order to appreciate how the game works. Cthulhu is a fictional character, created by author H.P. Lovecraft, and written about most notably in "The Call of Cthulhu". Cthulhu is the high priest of an alien race, the Old Ones, said to rule the earth before humanity existed. This legend has served as inspiration for many cults, who worship Cthulhu as a symbol of the insanity and mindless violence He will bring when he one day returns to reclaim this world. Cthulhu is described as a green humanoid monster with wings, claws, and a face that resembles a squid. Personally I think He looks like an ancestor of Dr. Zoidberg, but that's just me! In any case, Cthulhu has become ingrained in geek pop culture, and by Wikipeida's count, has served as the inspiration for over thirty fictional works. With that kind of backing, Cthulhu serves as great source material for this dice game. In Cthulhu Dice, players take on the role of cultists, and play in a free-for-all style competition. The introduction to the game rules summarize it best: "The servants of Cthulu are trying to drive each other mad. The last sane Cultist wins.. unless Cthulu drive you all mad." Each player is given three sanity tokens, represented by green-tinted glass stones. In one turn, the current player will select an opponent to target, roll a special 12-sided Cthulhu die, gain or lose sanity according to the result, and then have the opponent retaliate with a die roll of their own. After this occurs, the turn is over and play continues to the left. The possible results of a die roll are as follows:
- Yellow Sign - The target loses 1 sanity to Cthulhu (kept in the middle of the table).
- Tentacle - The current player takes 1 sanity from their target.
- Elder Sign - The current player gains 1 sanity from Cthulhu (taken from middle of the table).
- Cthulhu - Everyone loses 1 sanity to Cthulhu.
- Eye - The current player can chose from any of the above actions.
- One custom 12-sided die
- 18 glass beads
- One rules sheet
- One ziplock bag