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Subject: Reign of Cthulhu in Japan Game 01: Unspeakable Words rss

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Today we originally were going to play our very first game of Fury of Dracula but day by day members of our gaming group started dropping out. By the end, there were just three of us left (curses, 3 day weekends!) so Lolai suggested we play one of HIS games that he just purchased. That game was Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.

It was a good suggestion for a few reasons. First, three players is our preferred size for vanilla Pandemic. Second, he bought the Japanese edition and the three of us make up 75% of the members who can understand the language enough to play the game smoothly.

So, game on!

*NOTE* As this is the Japanese version, forgive me if some terminology/names is incorrect.

Investigators

Magician - (me)
Reporter - (Dandelion)
Occultist - (Lolai)

According to the rules, the person who most recently read a horror story goes first. As it is, I read "The Red Hook Horror" just a couple weeks back so I was up.

A Shoggoth had spawned right next to us so, figuring out how to get rid of it while reading the rulebook, I decided to charge in and take him out. I only lost 1 Sanity on my roll but he was defeated gaining me a second Relic.

Lolai used his Relic to reduce the number of Clue cards needed to make the next seal. Because of this, on Dandelion's turn, she used her special ability to travel to the Gate in Kingsport and gain our first seal with her four red cards. So far we were off to a good start. Lolai spent his first turn just moving cultists around to keep them from bunching up.

On my second turn, I went about knocking out some Cultists but I drew our first Evil Stirs at the end. We got Tsathogua as our firs Ancient One. Not too bad. Dandelion spent time cleaning up Kingsport and Lolai moved the new Shoggoth as it started one space away from the Gate in Dunwich.

By now I had two Dunwich cards and Dandelion had three, so we both met up at the Gate in Dunwich and, by use of my Relic giving her three additional actions, she was able to close our second Gate. Lolai continued to move Cultists out of trouble spots.

Once I got a fourth Innsmouth card and Dandelion was sitting on a fifth, Lolai commented that it was looking like an easy win.

WRONG.

Fate, being tempted by our hubris, decided to kick things up a notch. With the Shoggoth making its way through a Gate, cultists flooding out into the map and drawing Evil Stirs, we suddenly had a number of Ancient Ones active and the number of Cultists in our reserves was dwindling. It didn't help that one of the Ancient Ones was Azathoth, who took three out of rotation.

After nearly being driven insane and recovering with a Relic, I was finally made insane via the Relic cards I played. Lolai, too, was driven insane when a Shoggoth appeared on his location. If Dandelion lost her two tokens, we'd be dead. Fortunately on my next turn, I was able to Seal Innsmouth and recover my sanity. I also managed to take out two Cultists--along with 5 cleared out by my seal--putting them back into our desperately needed reserve.

Now all that was left was to close the Gate in Arkham. We planned to get Dandelion over to Lolai to give him a fifth Arkham card but fortunately he drew a fifth on his own. We just needed to survive one more round to his turn and we'd be good. I cleaned up more Cultists from the board as did Dandelion. Suddenly they weren't so much of a threat. At the end of her turn, she drew the next Evil Stirs flipping over our next-to-last Ancient One!

It was Yig.

I managed to read the card faster than the others and realized how terrible that was. Amidst my muttering of "Oh no" repeatedly, we realized we needed a 6th card to seal the Arkham Gate. Once more we had to survive one whole round of turns.

Lolai spent his turn breaking up the groupings of Cultists while Dandelion and I were to focus on killing them. Lolai drew a 6th card at the end of his turn so none of us needed to race to him to trade a card. Finally it came down to Dandelion's turn. If we could survive her turn, we would win the game.

She did her four actions, taking out three Cultists. Then it was time to draw her Player Cards.

"If it's the last Evil Stirs, we lose," I mentioned.

Card one...

Was an Arkham location.

Card two...

Was another location.

A roar of celebration erupted from Lolai.

"If the Shoggoth moves three times," I announced, "we still lose."

Indeed. Looking at the board. The Shoggoth was now two spaces away from the Arkham Gate. Three activations would send it through and doom all of mankind. The tension rose as we realized it came down to the luck of the draw yet again. We all stared eagerly as Dandelion reached over to draw the top card.

"If the first card is blank, we win," I stated.

The first card...

Had a Shoggoth icon.

*gasp*

"If the next card is blank, we win," I rephrased my previous statement.

She drew the second card as well looked on nervously...

It had no Shoggoth symbol. Nor did the third.

Hooray!

Lolai started his turn and closed the fourth and final Gate.

---

What did seem to be an easy game in the beginning came down to a nail-biting conclusion. It was tense and exciting; everything I want a game of Pandemic to be. The addition of the Cthulhu theme really worked well and I had a blast. I'm still anticipating receiving my own (English) edition for Christmas this year as this is something I'd like to have in my library.

Record:

Wins - 1
Losses - 0


Current Streak

1 Win

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