One of my Christmas gifts this year from my mother was Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. Now my mother loves me very much and wants to support my interests and hobbies, even when I am 39 years old and just want to play board games. My wife and I are both fans of Pandemic and the legacy version of the game. We are also well practiced in the two player game and the difficulties you face with a bad shuffle. That being said we were excited to try out Reign of Cthulhu.
It was my responsibility to read the destructions...er I mean instructions. Our mistake lies completely in my hands. I set up the board and decks of cards as instructed. The game takes place across 4 cities, that any one who has read H.P. Lovecraft's stories will recognize immediately, Arkham, Dunwitch, Kingsport and Innsmouth. You play investigator who are moving from city to city and locations within the cities trying to stop cultists from gathering and summoning Shoggoths that will seek out portals and allow the ancient ones to affect the world. You have to gather clues and relics and use those to slow the tides of evil and madness and then finally close all four portals.
We played 1.5 games on New Years Eve, the 0.5 game was our first one that we goofed up the rules. We didn't see how the portals are opened up, but eventually figured out they start already open. So we reset and played our first correct full game. Alas we lost. It was a close game, we had all the cards needed to close the last two portals but we ran out of cultists to play before we could close the last portal. The players lose if you run out of cultists, all players go insane, run out of Shoggoths, player deck runs out, or if Cthulhu awakens! Meanwhile the players have to close the 4 open portals before Cthulhu does wake up.
If you are a fan of the original Pandemic game from Z-Man Games then I would recommend you pick this up and add it to your collection. If you are a Cthulhu fan, it is a cool game that reflects the dark world of H.P. Lovecraft and would be a neat addition to your collection. The game is currently available on Amazon for $35.00 and you can find it other places such as Barnes and Noble ranging from $35-$55. So if you are interested in picking up a copy, make sure you shop around a bit and save yourself a few dollars.
Pros (Things I like)
- The board is beautiful in its own dark Gothic Horror fashion.
- I really like the way it recommends that players choose the investigator for each game.
- As the Old Ones are able to affect the world (get turned over) the game rules can be changed to negatively affect the players and make the game harder.
- It was a quick game and you may be able to pay a couple times in a row with out it being an all night experience.
Cons (Things I don't like)
- We were confused in our first attempt to play because we didn't know how the portal opened up. We didn't realize they start the game open, it made it much more difficult playing the right way!
- The rules are a little difficult to read, but I am not fond of the dark background that is often used in horror settings for printed games or RPGs.