I had the pleasure of attending Gencon last summer to assist part-time with the Chaosium stand. Sandy Petersen had an adjoining table on which he was demoing his new boardgame Cthulhu Wars. Those wonderful miniatures were getting plenty of admiration from passersby. When discussing those figures I’m reminded of Peter Jackson’s neologism for some of his larger Lord of the Rings movie ‘miniatures’ which he renamed bigatures! That’s certainly the case for the Great Cthulhu mini – it stands over seven inches!
As you probably know the Kickstarter for Cthulhu Wars was a huge success, bringing in over a million dollars. Now I’ll admit that I didn’t back it. In part this was because I thought that playing mythos gods trying to gain dominion over the Earth didn’t appeal to me. I love the idea of playing downtrodden investigators fighting the mythos (obviously), but playing the gods? I wasn’t too sure. But fear not readers, yet again my opinions were about to be proved invalid.
Sunday morning Sandy was short of a player and asked me if I’d like to join in. I’ll admit to thinking twice about it; I don’t really know why. I guess because I was at Gencon and supposed to be helping on the stand; I didn’t want to burn all morning playing a boardgame. Anyhow, I mentally slapped myself and for thinking twice about an offer of a game with Sandy and leapt in.
There were four players, including myself and Keeper Dan from the Miskatonic University Podcast. Sandy took up his rightful position at the head of the table and explained the rules and oversaw play. I took the role of Shub-Niggurath trying to spread her goodness around the globe. As a player I performed to my usual crap level, just about grasping the basics of play by the end of the session. Essentially you’re trying to get all six of your spell books in to play, each of which grants you further powers as you add them. In combination with this you’re summoning your minions to the world. In my case that starts with cultists, then escalates to Dark Young and ultimately Shub-Niggurath herself.
My concern about the duration of the game was quite unfounded, in less than an hour we were done. Unlike Arkham Horror (which in my experience takes more evening than the average evening contains), you could play Cthulhu Wars several times in one evening. And you know what? I would happily have played it again there and then.
So my conclusion? If you backed the Kickstarter then you won’t be disappointed. Those figures are very nice and will look great with a nice paint job. Second, you’re getting a fun game that for all its size is reasonably easy to learn and should provide you with plenty of replay potential.