If you’re looking for a good, serious, in-depth game with lots of strategy, this is not the game you’re looking for. If you want a rules-lite, quick, easy game with almost no depth whatsoever, but one that can be a fun mindless experience to pass the time with friends, Cthulhu Dice fits the bill nicely.
One of my favorite games for those times when I want a quick game that doesn’t require much thinking is Zombie Dice by Steve Jackson (the American Steve Jackson, not to be confused with the English Steve Jackson who did most of the Fighting Fantasy books). Cthulhu Dice is another game by Steve Jacson in that same category of games. I saw it on sale for $5.98 at my local game store and thought it would be worth trying for that price.
Cthulhu Dice contains an oversized D12 with custom symbols, 18 smooth stones, and a rule book. There isn’t much strategy involved, other than deciding who you’re going to “attack” each turn. In essence, you are battling to keep your “sanity” (represented by the stones) while stealing sanity from other players, or giving sanity to Cthulhu.
Each turn consists of two phases; an attack against another player, and then their response to your attack. An attack consists of rolling the specialized D12 and following the instructions for the symbol that comes up. A response is the essentially the same thing. For example, one symbol means that the person you are attacking has to give you one of their sanity stones. Another symbol means that they have to give a sanity stone to Cthulhu (placing the stone in the middle of the table). Yet another symbol means that everyone loses a sanity stone to Cthulhu. There are a few more symbols with their own result, but the game ends when only one player has any sanity left.
As I said, it’s a very simple, straightforward game that doesn’t require much thought or decision making. There’s still some very basic strategy, but nothing that will cause you to think very long before deciding. Games generally last only a few minutes. I think the longest game I’ve played might have been around 7 minutes, but that’s unusual.
Also, the game does not come with the green dice bag you see in the first picture. In fact, the only storage it comes with is a small zip-lock plastic bag, and the game packaging is not really suitable for storage once it’s been opened.
If you’re looking for a cheap filler game that can be played without much setup time, or to play between sessions of a more complex game, Cthulhu Dice may scratch that itch. It’s not an amazing game by any means, but it has provided some fun. I’d give it a 7 out of 10. It’s definitely as much fun as I would expect a game about a giant octopus creature making you go insane to be. Or maybe I just think that because the octopus wants me to.