Okay, every time I type up this game name, I have to double-check my spelling of Cthulhu because I always am sure I’ve spelled it wrong. Cthulhu Death May Die has been played heavily by my family for the past three months. Maybe even more, it’s been a fun bit of gameschooling as we’ve pulled it out and joked about many things.
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What is Cthulhu Death May Die?
Cthulhu Death May Die is a cooperative role-playing board game. If you’re not familiar with these terms let me break them down.
Cooperative- you are all working together to beat the game, rather than a single player winning.
Role-playing board game (RPG board game)- you play a character (sometimes over the course of several games) and level it up with equipment (or in more long-term games literally leveling up), many involve a story for the game
This particular game uses a Call of Cthulhu horror theme complete with elder gods and cultists, and the various Lovecraftian monsters.
Okay, with that said, let’s talk about the different components.
How a typical game works
The first thing you do, is pick what elder god/mission you will run. In the base game, there are 6 missions.
So that creates the first bit of changes.
Next, there are different characters to pick. The quickest way to do this is to pass each player two characters to pick from, and then decide which character you want to play. Characters have different abilities, and as they go more insane (which of course you will do because it’s Call of Cthulhu and reality is being bent), they grow more powerful. Each ability set will have different play styles, there is no obviously better character, there are just characters that fit your play style better.
Next, you pick from two psychoses. This is an ability that goes off each time you go insane. Some very clearly have downsides, like psychotic where you stab everyone in the room when you advance a level of insanity. Some have possible downsides, like pyromaniacs, they set the room on fire when they go insane, causing damage to everyone in the room. It can be great in some circumstances, but in others absolutely horrible.
These two things are part of what add to the replayability of the game. Each combination of characters and insanities truly change how the game plays. Each game is very unique. Especially as different people will level up different abilities as they go insane.
Setting up the game
Each mission has a clear setup card, telling what maps you need and where to place all of the starting bad guys. I’m also going to add the entire game has a great storage system, keeping each figure in a nicely molded container, and there are enough containers for the various different map tiles and the cardboard chips.
I’ve come to admire well-designed game storage. Truly admire that. It’s crazy how important that becomes as your game collection grows.
Here is your character sheet with all of the relevant details. Like most well-designed games it has a turn order, so you know what you can do if you’re unsure. Things you can do on your turn, any combination of three of these:
- run (move 3 spaces, unless you have a special ability to use more)
- attack (1 enemy, unless you have a special ability to use more)
- rest (heal on a safe space)
- trade with another player on your space
After performing your three actions, you draw a mythos card, which is pretty much always something terrible, and then if there are still no enemies on your square you can draw a discovery card (which are awesome and can get you weapons, allies, or special abilities). Then the turn passes on to the next player.
Another aspect that helps Cthulhu Death May Die be relatively easy to play (seriously we have some games where you have to consult a lot of different manuals as you have questions about rules which can be annoying).
What I’m going to call the Monster Board has all of the information for running the bad guys in one place there you can find:
- what your goals are to defeat the monster (are you looking for clues, do you need to stop a certain number of monsters, interrogate suspects)
- The particular monsters for the mission and what is special about them for the mission. Sometimes a monster you saw in another mission has a special ability for this game (another aspect that adds to the replayability)
- Then each of the final boss monsters have different phases that you have to fight through. Each phase has a different aspect.
Also, there are so many cool minis for the game. That’s a fun aspect, and whenever we tire of the game we can always use the minis for D&D…
Batman bought the game probably back in October, then for Christmas he was given an expansion, and finally, for his birthday he got the final boss that was released. Sadly there was a Kickstarter last fall for Season 3 (what they’re calling expansions), which we missed because there are a lot of cool things that come with the Kickstarter version.
And now, I’ve told you about the game we’ve been playing nonstop for the past several months. Even The Artist will play it, which is a big deal in this house.
More RPG-style games
I actually have only talked about two games like that on here, so I’ll also share some cooperative games
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