So I’m sitting here at the local coffee house playing a new Steve Jackson Games product, CTHULHU DICE. Right off the bat, I’m going to give Steve Jackson some props for the idea of a nice, low cost mindless (madness inducing?) game like this. The bits are extremely low cost, low impact, and he doesn’t gouge us by adding a big expensive game box to what, essentially, can fit into a small ziploc bag, which is exactly how it is sold. You get a specialty green 12 sider dice with a set of symbols inscribed on them– Great Cthulhu, Elder Sign, the Tentacle, The Yellow Sign, and the Eye of Horus. You get a bunch of green stones that represent sanity points, and the rule book, which is a glossy foldable half-sheet. And all in a ziploc bag, which I like.
The mechanics seemed very familiar to me. And why not? They are essentially the old British pub game, PUT AND TAKE. Put and take is a game that is played with a gambling “Top” that looks very similar to a dredel. The sides of the top have variations of “PUT” (put a coin or chip in to a common pot) or “TAKE” (take a coin or chip from either other players or a common area). Whether through accident or design, that is exactly how CTHULHU DICE plays. The sides of the dice map to the Put and Take “Put 1” “Take 1” “Take ALL” (& etc.) sides of the Put and Take top. There’s some them chrome to the game– the player who has run out of little sanity stones becomes “Mad” which limits his actions. It’s not the most original game, nor particularly complicated. It does have its virtues.. it can easily be played through in about 20 minutes, it’s only five bucks, and it fits in a pocket nicely. I liked it.
PS: If anyone out there knows how to knit, I’d love to commission THIS CTHULHU DICE BAG to hold this game in!