11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This game's not as good as Zombie Dice - but it scores highly on artistic style,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
This review is from: Cthulhu Dice - Colours may vary (Toy)
I got this dice game for my teenage sons birthday, as I was a massive fan of H. P. Lovercraft gothic horror books as a teenager, and he really liked Steve Jackson's other game Zombie Dice as an amusing distraction if you have a few mates or cousins about and half an hour spare (and Zombie Dice even has a 3 dice expansion game pack, Zombie Dice 2 Double Feature).
This Cthulhu dice game is all about the beautifully presented 12-sided red marbled die, which is the single dice in the game. The Cthulhu die comes with a set of 18 matching small red glass 'sanity marbles' (looking more like glass pebbles, they are called 'marbles' for obvious reasons when playing the game). It's based on H. P. Lovecraft's gothic mythology of the evil Ancient Ones, of which Cthulhu is the most well known, as he dwelled on Earth before being imprisoned in another time/dimension by the benign Elder Gods - other evil Ancient Ones lived far away in other parts of the universe. Although long bannished, Cthulhu & the others are still lurkers at the threshold of our reality, waiting to return. Cthulhu has been described as a mix between a giant human, an octopus and a dragon, and on Earth there are many secret sects that still worship him: The Cult of Cuthulhu, and they seek to release him and restore him back on Earth. So that's the Arkham horror background, a God so terrible that his very name can drive you to the edge of madness. Knowing a bit about the Cult of Cthulhu mythos is essential to enjoying the gameplay, as let's face it the simple dice game is over in 5 minutes.
Fortunately the game's rather more light hearted than Lovecraft's classic tales of horror. There's the custom Cthulhu die, embossed with tentacles, Elder signs, the face of Cthulhu, and more. On your turn you roll the die to destroy your opponents sanity by stealing their marbles. When Cthulhu himself is revealed he takes sanity from everyone. Lose all your marbles and you lose your sanity and you are lost, and the last sane cultist standing wins everything, unless of course Cthulhu himself steals everyone's marbles and then all are lost and Cthulhu wins. So it's OK for a quick one or two games every now and again with a few mates, but most enjoyment comes from handling the tactile and elegant dice and 'marbles'.The games better with three or more players (each player starts with 3 marbles), although there's special rules for two players where you can both play as 2 or 3 cultists.
Steve Jackson's other game Zombie Dice is the better one of the two as there are more options to the gameplay, there's the expansion pack, and it's just more fun. But Cthulhu Dice is so cheap, and so decent as a stocking filler gift for teenagers or older preteens or young adults, that it's still a good buy. There's also a 'luxury' version of Cthulhu Dice that comes with a heavy metal die of the same shape and design that can even dent the table-top in use, and they are available in Pewter, Nickel with green symbols, and Bronze `finnishes' (nice, but the cheaper plastic die actually look even cooler). There are eight plastic varieties of the Cthulhu die on their way such as Gold Pearl Die and Black Ink, Translucent Purple Die and White Ink, and Pearly Ivory Die and Black Ink. The one here in this blister pack is the original and possibly best: Red Die and Yellow Ink. I got the set for my 16 year old son, as he's an avid video gamer and really liked getting Zombie Dice at Christmas, but in fact my 18 year old daughter took a real shine to the Cthulhu set, probably as she's so into Vampires, Werewolves, Harry Dresden and the like, so I'm looking out for the Sparkly Pink Die and White Ink Cthulhu Dice set for her. So 5* for a fiver, but also check out Zombie Dice first for any avid gamer or ParaNorman movie fan aged 8 and over. Only downside, other than the 3cm die could be bigger, is that there's no bag for holding the Cthulhu set, well unless you buy a matching Cthulhu Dice Bag for a fiver on eBay.