Name: Cthulhu Dice
Type: Dice Game
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
No of Dice Included: 1
Play time: 5-10 minutes
(1.0 / 5)
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Cthulhu junkie and so it should come as no surprise that I own a game named Cthulhu Dice. Cthulhu dice was an impulse purchase for me, picked up from the counter at Forbidden Planet at the very last minute for the low, low price of £1.99. I’m pretty pleased that I only paid £2 for the game as I honestly don’t think it’s worth more.
Cthulhu dice should really just be called Cthulhu Die, as there is only a single die in the pack, but I guess that the folk at Steve Jackson Games figured that the title Cthulhu Die might suggest that the goal of the game is something very different from what it is. The game comes packed in a self seal plastic baggie and contains a single 12 sided die, 18 glass ‘sanity’ beads and the rules on an full colour, double sided A5 sheet. There are also now several different colours of dice that you can get as part of the set as well as a deluxe metal die version.
The game is pretty simple, as you’d expect from such limited contents. In the game you play a Cthulhu Cultist and the goal overall is to make the other players go insane by cursing them which is accomplished by rolling the dice and reducing their sanity points to zero. To start the game each player takes 3 of the glass beads that represent their sanity and then the owner of the game decides who will be the first Caster (basically the player who’d turn it is). The Caster picks a Victim (another player) and rolls the dice, which can result in one of five outcomes-
- Yellow Sign- The Victim loses a point of sanity to Cthulhu
- Tentacle- The Caster steals a point of sanity from the Victim
- Elder Sign- The Caster receives a point of sanity from Cthulhu
- Cthulhu- All players loses a point of sanity to Cthulhu
- Eye of Horus- The Caster chooses a result.
The winner is the last player to have any sanity left and if two or more players simultaneously lose their last point then Cthulhu wins. Cthulhu is considered to be in the middle of the table and, as you can see, he can gather sanity from the players throughout the game. If at any point a player should receive sanity from Cthulhu and there are no sanity points in the middle of the table, then the player gets nothing.
One of the things I like about the game is that even if a player is reduced to zero sanity then they can still keep playing, which means that no-one is left sitting at the table with nothing to do. A player who is reduced to zero sanity is considered to be mad which means that, on their turn, they can keep attacking other players but they can never regain any sanity so can’t win the game. This means that mad players can, and should, do their best to try and make sure Cthulhu wins.
Now, obviously, this game is 90% reliant on luck. Aside from deciding who you attack and, very occasionally, picking the result if you roll the Eye of Horus (a 1 in 12 chance), then there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome of the game. This really limits the mileage you can get out of the game as there is only so much enjoyment you can get out of rolling a D12. The game falls into a weird and difficult niche, it’s a bit too geeky to make it as a mainstream game but it’s a bit to basic to be of interest to hardcore gamers. The best use I can find for it is as a drinking game, with each point of sanity lost representing a shot and going mad meaning you have to finish your drink. In this way it would be a good warmup game for Cards Against Humanity on a casual evening with people that aren’t really gamers.
The best thing about the game, and the selling point for me is the Cthulhu die. It’s an interesting and unique D12 with some cool symbols on, such as Cthulhu and the Yellow Sign-
Overall, this isn’t a great game, there isn’t much there and it’s too luck based to be of much fun but, it’s also very very cheap. The score I’ve given it is based more or less entirely on the fact that it’s cheap and I really like the die. I can’t really recommend it to anyone but if you think the die is cool or if your group wants a new drinking game then it might be worth checking out.
At the time of writing there are no supplements for Cthulhu Dice.