Cthulhu is a fictional cosmic entity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was first introduced in his short story “The Call of Cthulhu”, published by the American pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, this creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts it as a gigantic entity worshipped by cultists, in the shape of a green octopus, dragon, and a caricature of human form. The Lovecraft-inspired universe, the Cthulhu Mythos, where it exists with its fellow entities, is named after it.
With such a rich background and mythos boardgames were sure to follow and so we have Cthuluh Wars.
Publisher: Petersen Games
Number of Players: Core set supports 2-4
Play time: 90-120mins+
Age Guide: 14+
Cthulhu Wars is an asymmetric war game/armies-on-a-map game, where each player controls a faction dedicated to one of Lovecraft’s various Great Old Ones* —monstrous immortal beings squabbling over annihilation rights to a doomed Earth.
Each round the factions will gain and spend Power to move forces around the globe, fight each other for control of gates, summon monsters (including the godlike Great Old Ones) and earn Doom points which can win them the game.
In addition to amassing Doom points the factions also need to amass six spell books, gained rather like video game achievements by meeting certain requirements. Once acquired the spell books add new powers, granting access to the faction’s strategies and tactics.
Asymmetry plays a big part in the design of this game. Each faction has its own feel. Everything is different for each faction from the spell books to the monsters and Great Old Ones they can summon. The only identical thing for each player is their starting forces of six cultists and a controlled gate.
The biggest draw to this game for me was the miniatures ” and they are big!” with the cultists standing around 28mm, the larger monsters really tower over them.
The card stock is good for the counters, but i feel some should be plastic; the faction sheets have great art and layout but are a little flimsy. The card stock gates are uninspiring and a bit flat, i feel the gates should have been miniatures. There’s no custom dice even though the combat system really begs for them.
But you know what? You can have all that stuff. All of it. You just have to buy it all separately.
One thing that isn’t skimped on is the rule book, which is a glorious 145 page, full colour tome with splendid artwork and production quality. Only a small part of it is actually rules, with the rest covering numerous play examples, tactics for factions and details on all the wonderful expansions, along with the rules that apply to them.
The board is also pretty nicely made and illustrated and comes in two parts that can be flipped independently depending on the player count.
- The game looks fantastic.
- Great replayability.
- Reasonable play time at around 90 mins.
- Great rulebook which is easy to read and has great production quality
- High cost of entry. RRP £199
- 2 player rules are heavily modded from the core rules.
- “Miniatures” either a bit too big or the board a bit too small.
- You have to buy the better quality game components separately.