Monday, July 22, 2019

Review: The Cards of Cthuhu

The Cards of Cthulhu
Players: 1 – 4
Publisher: Dan Verssen Games
Year: 2014

Imagine a world where dark forces are actively trying to bring about the destruction of humanity. They have unlimited resources at their disposal. To prevent their dark dreams from becoming reality, there’s only you, and perhaps a few allies or trinkets. You are all that stands in the way of eternal damnation. Those odds don’t look very good, do they? However, it captures the gist of The Cards of Ctulhu.

Set up and ready to play!
In this game you’re an investigator trying to stop an invasion by not one, but four elder gods as they try to take over the earth. Each of these gods, and their cultists, is competing with another to take over the world. Every turn you draw four cards, place them on the appropriate board and try to stop the cultists from awakening their gods. The goal of the game is to stop the gods from awakening before the deck runs out. The gods awaken if at the end of a turn a single god has five or more minions. The drawing of cards can be influenced by open gates on the board or other cards. Minions are needed to summon the god, but they can’t be attacked directly if there are awake Horrors on the board. 
A horror is about to wake up!
While the rules might seem simple, this game is really hard. The actions you have every turn are limited and there’s always several places where you need to be, while you can only be present in one location. It’s as if there’s a whole house on fire, but you and the fire extinguisher can only save one room at a time. Besides that, the cults will slowly whittle away your sanity as you try to stop them. Open gates allow monsters to pour into reality. Expect to lose a lot of games. You can have luck and acquire the perfect card at the precise moment you need it, or you can watch all the good equipment pass by at the wrong moment and be left with little more than your fists to stop nightmares-turned-flesh from wreaking havoc. Expecting an easy turn, but then drawing two gates can really put a damper on your plans.

Or three in this case...
What I like about this game, is that it’s co-op! It can be played solo, but I like games where people have to work together towards a common goal. This can be quite stressful, as you have no idea what turns up next and people might have different ideas about how to solve current crisis. However, it also has benefits as you have more tools and abilities at your disposal to stop the invasion. Other than that it’s easy to learn and quick to set-up. Besides that, the components are really nice. The metal experience coins are well made! The theme also suits the mechanics really well. It feels as if you’re trying to stop a tidal wave of monsters from overtaking our reality.

Of course this game is influenced by luck. You can have a walk in the park if the right cards come up at the right moment. On the other hand, you can easily lose, despite all your best intentions, because the cards weren’t stacked in your favor. Although the metal coins are nice, at some moments there might not appear to be enough, especially when you’re playing with more than just one player. Another minor drawback is that some of the flavor texts at the bottom of cards don’t really blend well together. Some try to be humoristic, while others appear to be gloomy or serious.

Overall, I would highly recommend this game. Luck plays a huge part in this game, as it determines what choices you have to make and where you need to be.  However, the experience is well worth it.

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