Review: Cthulhu Dice

For a short and simple game, Cthulhu Dice is actually quite fun.  Priced at a very low $5, this is a solid pickup that falls into impulse buy territory.  Read on for our full review:

(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.
Play continues around the table until there is either a sole survivor, or everyone goes mad. The Contents:
  • One custom 12-sided die
  • 18 glass beads
  • One rules sheet
  • One ziplock bag
The contents of this game have both an upside and a downside.  On a positive note, the 12-sided die is beautiful, and can be purchased in black, green, yellow, purple, or random color versions.  This is an example of a company going the extra mile to provide variety where they did not have to, and is therefore much appreciated.  The glass beads are standard, and are a good choice to represent player sanity.  The rules are printed on one double-sided sheet, and do a good job of quickly and concisely explaining the rules of the game. Where Cthulhu Dice falls short though is the plastic ziplock bag.  I'm not sure how much it would have raised the price of this game, but I would gladly pay an additional two bucks to have this game come with a small drawstring bag to store the die and beads in.  As we've mentioned in past reviews, an important factor in evaluating a game is gauging how likely friends are to pick it up off your game shelf and want to play it.  Looking at Cthulhu Dice on the shelf, sitting in a plastic bag rather than it's original blister pack retail packaging, it is easy to dismiss it as a sub-par game when it is really not. Our Thoughts: There is a lot to like about this little game.  Although it is short, players are never knocked out of the game, as even when individual players begin to go mad, they still are allowed to participate in the maddening of those who remain.  There is even a slight chance that mad cultists may be able to regain their sanity, so at no point is anyone ever left out in the cold.  It's hard to judge the strategy and gameplay mechanics of this game, as it really has no peers.  It's not an incredibly deep or complicated game, but where else can you get an enjoyable game for $5?  What can be said is that Steven Jackson Games has done just about as much as anyone could do in creating a full game out of one 12-sided die and a pile of glass beads! Where to Buy: Cthulhu Dice is not yet for sale, but should be released at some point in the next month.  It will be available direct through Warehouse 23, or can be purchased at your fine local game store wherever Steve Jackson Games products are sold.  It is also being released with a sister product, Zombie Dice.

Giveaway Details:

To celebrate the release of this new product from Steve Jackson Games, we here at The Modern Day Pirates will be giving away a copy of SJG's most popular title: Munchkin!  This game, with included bobblehead figurine of the Munchkin mascot, will go to one lucky MDP reader.  To be eligible, you can enter by doing one (or more) of the following:
  1. Follow @ModernDayPirate on Twitter
  2. Retweet our announcement of this giveaway
  3. Become a fan of The Modern Day Pirates on Facebook
  4. Leave a comment on this below letting us know of a game you'd like to see us review next
Contestants can be eligible for up to three entries by completing several of the above actions.  Contest will be open through Sunday, March 28th.  Good luck and thanks for playing! Disclaimer: The Modern Day Pirates were provided a complimentary review sample of this game.

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This post was written by Matt who has written 128 posts on Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription » Approved Online Store. Best Prices, Fast Delivery.

If it involves cards or dice, he'll play it. Matt covers games of all types, and also enjoys writing about technology & gadgets.

5 Responses to “Review: Cthulhu Dice”

  1. Chad Ferguson March 20, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Zombies 9: Ashes to Ashes comes out next month, I would love to see a review of that.

  2. Kev March 20, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    Sounds fun! Sign me up to win!

  3. Jeppe March 20, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    How about a review of the upcoming Horus Heresy from Fantasy Flight? I would love to see that.

    /Jeppe

  4. Mojopojo November 8, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    What a fast and furious way to kill a few minutes of sanity!

    Thanks so much for this!

    -MP

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