$20.00
$5.00
$15.00
Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Dog and Thimble - Pandemic Reign of Cthulhu Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
H G
United States
California
flag msg tools
I'm a dude
mbmbmbmbmb
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Old Ones.

Pandemic is a staple of cooperative board games. It’s often used as a starter game, driving new hobbyists deeper into this wonderful obsession. The reimagined Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, dripping with H.P. Lovecraft theming, is even more accessible than the original and a fresh take that will make Pandemic feel new again.

You are an investigator, tasked with the all-important duty of sealing gates to another world and preventing Cthulhu from awakening. No pressure. You and up to three friends embark on this journey into Arkham with the odds stacked against you – towns are being overrun by zealots eager to bring the end of the world, Shoggoth roam, spreading madness, and all of Cthulhu’s buddies are waking up from a long slumber to make your job even more difficult.



You must travel across four different towns, chasing off cultists and closing a quartet of gates. To close a gate, you must play five cards that match the town the gate is in. Close all four gates before Cthulhu awakens and you win.

If only it were so easy. For one thing, there are a very limited number of cultist figures. Once you run out, you lose. There are also Shoggoth – monstrosities that require three of your four actions to defeat. And there are only three of them in total, so if you ever have to draw a fourth, you lose. The Shoggoth also move towards the nearest open gate. If they get through, they immediately cause an awakening.

Awakenings are the key way to measure the approach of you-know-whom. At the start of the game, you place cards representing seven Ancient Ones face down, with the final card being Cthulhu. When an awakening happens, you turn over an Ancient One who causes either an instant effect (always bad for you) or a permanent status change that sticks for the rest of the game. As more awaken, the difficulty rises. These ancient fat cats can’t be dispelled, so you’re in for some real trouble if you don’t hurry to close those gates.



You’ll also find four Evil Stirs cards in the player deck. Draw one and an awakening happens. So, yeah, Ancient Ones always be awakening in this game.

While it might sound challenging, Reign of Cthulhu simplifies the core of Pandemic. In regular Pandemic, you would need to not only be at the same city with another player to trade them a card, but you’d need to have the actual card for the city you were on. In Reign of Cthulhu, cards only list the full town (there are only four of ‘em) and not specific locations, making giving and taking cards easier. The same goes for fast traveling. Here, you do so at bus stops, but instead of a specific location, you just have to play a generic town card. Easier to manage, for sure.

That simplicity allows for a greater focus on theme, which shines. Rarely do the nutjobs who want to bring about the end of the world get any attention in Cthulhu-themed games. But they are the real menace and problem in the new Pandemic. True to Lovecraft’s work, there’s a prevelance of madness. Yes, you can go insane by meeting up with Shoggoths and from other game effects. And if you go nuts, you flip your character card over, limiting your number of actions and altering your role’s special ability.

The changes are just enough to make Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu feel like its own game. It’s familiar, but not so similar that you can get away playing without reading through the rulebook.

Is that enough to make Reign of Cthulhu a new mainstay for co-op games? Probably not. The theme is great, but the game feels more shallow than regular Pandemic. And it’s hard to imagine this being a game people play consistently for years going forward. It serves as a nice respite, but not a replacement to the classic.

Three Best Things About Pandemic: Reign of Cthluhu:

* Awakening of Old Ones is a nice twist on classic Pandemic.
* Great use of an overused theme.
* Going insane is bad, but also kind of fun.


Three Worst Things About Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu:

* Simplification of Pandemic rules wasn’t really necessary.
* Doesn’t seem to have a good way to scale difficulty.
* Spaces on board are too small for multiple figures.


Get Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu if:

* You are bored with traditional Pandemic, but still love the gameplay.
* You’re looking for a new, light co-op game.
* You feel a civic duty to preventing the awakening of Cthulhu.


Subscribe to the Dog and Thimble YouTube channel
Read the review on the official Dog and Thimble site
Stream on the web
Listen on iTunes
Direct Download
RSS feed
6 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Limoges
Canada
Montreal
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the feedback.

For what it's worth, I disagree that the game is less complex or deep than the original. Movement is easier, more fluid, as you mention, but I don't see it as a simplification of the rules. In fact, it gives the player more options to ponder.

The only mechanism absent from this version is the virus spreading during an outbreak. It's actually replaced by a different mechanism (cultists/Shoggoth, Shoggoth movement), different but not simpler. Since it actually adds the Great Old ones effect (similar to expansion one of Pandemic) and character madness, my personnal feeling is that this version is actually more complex, a little deeper and more tensed.

Also, I don't think that the game is lighter . Shorter, maybe (a bit), and tighter (smaller map), but not lighter.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Evil Jello
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd argue that it's "lighter" in a strategy sense due to the extra randomness. I was not really a fan of this version after the second time someone tried to deal with a Shoggoth and instead triggered an Old One flipping due to a bad die roll.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
eviljelloman wrote:
I'd argue that it's "lighter" in a strategy sense due to the extra randomness. I was not really a fan of this version after the second time someone tried to deal with a Shoggoth and instead triggered an Old One flipping due to a bad die roll.

I haven't played yet, but am very much looking forward to it. My sense is that mitigating the randomness might be more important than most people are talking about. For example, if there are 2 cultists on your location, and you are at 2 sanity, you might not want to use that relic card, or enter that space if there is a Shoggoth there.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H G
United States
California
flag msg tools
I'm a dude
mbmbmbmbmb
Managing the Shoggoths is very important and something that feels different from normal Pandemic. Sanity isn't a game ender, since you still get to more (just one fewer actions) and can sure it (by closing a gate). But movement and card trading are far easier since you only have to worry about four different card types, not every location on the map.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Evil Jello
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Sanity wasn't the problem I had with the game. Poorly timed "add cultists" rolls were.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H G
United States
California
flag msg tools
I'm a dude
mbmbmbmbmb
eviljelloman wrote:
Sanity wasn't the problem I had with the game. Poorly timed "add cultists" rolls were.

Agreed. Far more likely to lose the game because of adding cultists or Shoggoth than turning over the final awakening card, in my experience.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Immortal
Canada
Quebec
flag msg tools
mb
luck of the draw of the elder god is what make the game easy or difficult imo. I played the game with my gf yesterday and all the first three elder god were weak:

- the one that prevent you to use portals
- the one that prevent you to use relic outside of your turn
- the one that adds a cultist on each portal


I think the game gets harder if you always have those:

- the one that require 1 more card to seal a portal
- the one that adds a shoggoth to one location(its a free reliq though...)
- the one that makes you discard lot of madness token
- the one that forces you to kill at least 1 cultist to move if theres 2 or more of them there
- the one that makes you discard cards







1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H G
United States
California
flag msg tools
I'm a dude
mbmbmbmbmb
nightwishpower wrote:
luck of the draw of the elder god is what make the game easy or difficult imo. I played the game with my gf yesterday and all the first three elder god were weak:

- the one that prevent you to use portals
- the one that prevent you to use relic outside of your turn
- the one that adds a cultist on each portal


I think the game gets harder if you always have those:

- the one that require 1 more card to seal a portal
- the one that adds a shoggoth to one location(its a free reliq though...)
- the one that makes you discard lot of madness token
- the one that forces you to kill at least 1 cultist to move if theres 2 or more of them there
- the one that makes you discard cards

Wish they had included an additional set of "nightmare" versions of ancient ones that you knew would provide a bigger challenge
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paulo Segundo
Brazil
Belem
Para
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Hilaryg wrote:
nightwishpower wrote:
luck of the draw of the elder god is what make the game easy or difficult imo. I played the game with my gf yesterday and all the first three elder god were weak:

- the one that prevent you to use portals
- the one that prevent you to use relic outside of your turn
- the one that adds a cultist on each portal


I think the game gets harder if you always have those:

- the one that require 1 more card to seal a portal
- the one that adds a shoggoth to one location(its a free reliq though...)
- the one that makes you discard lot of madness token
- the one that forces you to kill at least 1 cultist to move if theres 2 or more of them there
- the one that makes you discard cards

Wish they had included an additional set of "nightmare" versions of ancient ones that you knew would provide a bigger challenge


I think it's easy to do by house rulling it. Just removing the easy GOOs from the set up. Or you could go full house rulling and create new effects for them.

One thing that's making me crazy (pun intended) is that some investigators' abbilities aren't tied to their theme, like the medic or the reporter.

Why the medic has 5 actions per turn??? I think it would be more thematic if he started the game with 5 sanity tokens... or had some kind of abbility tied to the sanity system.

Why the reporter is good at travelling fast (it should be the driver skill). She should had some mechanic about getting more clue cards, like some original pandemic characters, or like her insane abbility, but for the sane side.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.