Brian M
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This review is part of my ongoing project to review as many co-ops as possible in A Crazy Couple's Co-op Guide: 2013 and onward Edition

Our rating:

Addictive? thumbsup

Long Term Replayability: Early to say; probably thumbsup

Skill Factor: 2 Low skill; more luck of the draw and roll. But there are meaningful choices.

Modes: Solo, Co-op, Competitive (which is just co-op with counting points)

Players: 1-4

With a couple: Plays very well. However, you need a way to keep track of wounds; usually these are tracked by discarding dice, but with more than 1 player you need to share dice (or buy extras).

Play Time: Listed as 1 hour, but I think it usually plays in 30 minutes or less for us.

Difficulty: Reasonably easy as a co-op. We've started playing with the suggested 5 card per turn variant for greater difficulty; still not too hard, but puts it at a nice level of tension and suspense.

Individual/Group Play: Encourages group play.

Component Quality: Great. The art is well done, the dice are engraved and quite cool, and the coins in the game are nice solid metal pieces.


Rules Quality: Straightforward and easy to learn. There is a nice reference sheet that summarizes most of the rules needed during play. It can be easy to forget which foes protect which other foes.

Mini-Review
A dice rolling struggle to survive against unspeakable forces!

The Cards of Cthulhu is a very straightforward game. Each turn, you draw several cards, most of which are monsters that are added to four different faction boards. You then pick a board to attack and roll dice to try to defeat some of them.



If a board fills up too much and you can't clear it, you lose. Different combinations of cards will also awaken 'Horrors', which require certain die combos to defeat and attack you each turn.

To help out, you get a player special ability, and some of the cards are helpful items that you can either purchase or trade in for XP coins, the currency of the game.

While the game is very simple and mostly just die rolling, the variety of options for spending XP add a nice feeling of excitement to the game. There's usually a brisk flow of XP going back and forth, and tough choices as to whether to spend the XP on an extra attacks, or extra dice, or closing a gate.

There are also tense choices about which board to attack, as the risk and difficulty of various boards changes a lot as cards come out. One board might be close to filling up, while another has a nasty Horror that is about to awaken, and another has an annoying gate. Which one to try to stop?

The difficulty can depend on lot on card order; if several minions of a color and a horror of that matching color come out at once, life gets a lot harder!

This is an excellent filler or "over-lunch" game. It is easy to learn and teach, and results in a fast playing game with some nice swings of tension and excitement.

Negatives
* Limited variety; you go through the whole deck every game.
* Not a lot of actual cooperation; you can't do a lot to help other players.
* Nicer to have a set of dice for each player. We picked up one extra die set to play with two players, and have found it well worth it. Plus, as mentioned, the dice are great - I'd probably pull them out of this box to have handy for, say, Arkham Horror.
* Fairly shallow gamplay.
* Takes up a surprising amount of table space for a simple card game.

Positives
* Easy to learn and teach.
* Fast playing.
* Great components.
* Nice amount of tension.
* Decisions, while simple, are fun.

Thanks to Ex Nihilo and the BGG Gallery for the images.
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TS S. Fulk
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Thanks for the review!

Quick question: from the pics, it seems that they just created a bunch of funny names and monsters. Are there any of the standard mythos monsters in the deck or are they mainly made up stuff?
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Brian M
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tssfulk wrote:
Thanks for the review!

Quick question: from the pics, it seems that they just created a bunch of funny names and monsters. Are there any of the standard mythos monsters in the deck or are they mainly made up stuff?


Well, it's ALL made up stuff, isn't it?

There are Mi-Go, Deep Ones, Leng Spiders and Shoggoths that I recognize. Some of the other creatures could very well be from more obscure mythos sources; I'm hardly an expert on the topic.
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michal
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I'm not sure which are made up and which are real thing but DVG uses the same names (and art) in expansion for Hornet Leader.
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TS S. Fulk
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c08mk wrote:
I'm not sure which are made up and which are real thing but DVG uses the same names (and art) in expansion for Hornet Leader.


Okay, I'll have to check in that box (sitting on my gaming shelf).
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Gary Bradley
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StormKnight wrote:
tssfulk wrote:
Thanks for the review!

Quick question: from the pics, it seems that they just created a bunch of funny names and monsters. Are there any of the standard mythos monsters in the deck or are they mainly made up stuff?


Well, it's ALL made up stuff, isn't it?


Sacrilege! Death to the non-believer!
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Brian M
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GaryB wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Well, it's ALL made up stuff, isn't it?


Sacrilege! Death to the non-believer!

Aren't statements like that usually reserved for edition wars?
 
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Gary Bradley
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I'd just add that contrary to the reviewer, I hate these dice. I find the green and red ones a little hard to read.

Some of us like to play Cthulhu games in a somewhat shadowed room, you know!
 
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