We’re sure that you’ve noticed that at miskatonic.co.uk, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on the up-and-coming gaming entrepreneurs that have been spawned by sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The latest such gem to capture our imagination comes from … Continue reading
Cthulhu 500 boasts that it will put you in the driver’s seat for a frenzied race that mixes the madness of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and the insanity of motor sports. Well having played it more than a few times now I feel up to giving it a bit of a review.
I guess the best place to start would be by trying to describe the games premise, well, it’s a motor race with a Cthulian plot twist. it is probably best described as Call of Cthulhu meets wacky races. The game is a relatively simple card game for 3 to 8 players of ages 8 and up. Game play takes 30 to 60 minutes, although once everyone is in the swing of things this can come down to around 25-50 minutes.
The set comes with 110 cards well printed on a medium-weight, glossy(ish) card stock with rounded corners. The artwork is exceptional, all computer generated artwork by Scott Reeves who captures both the Cthulian and Motorsport themes in a humorous way. In addition there is a simple rules sheet folded and printed in black and white. Most people will find it easy enough to follow through, although the sheet doesn?t make it easy for anyone to look things up during play. This said the only ‘complex’ rule you will have to worry about is to do with “Taking Additional Damage” which will probably have you referring back to the sheet repeatedly for the first dozen or so games it is a pity they didn’t print it on a couple of cards, or splash out on a slightly larger rulebook with proper pages.
There are sixteen car cards, that is two for each vehicle in the game, one to act as a “pack marker”, which is used to show how a car is doing, and the other is a “schematic” which the driver keeps in front of him and includes a couple of extra statistics needed in play. There are eighty four cards that then make up the main deck for play, including actions, reactions, modifications, tyres and crew. All of the cards are clearly labelled and colour coded and there are plenty of Cthulian puns throughout, starting with the ‘Car of Cthulhu’ through the ‘Yellow Signpost’ and the ‘Fungi from Daytona’ to many, many others which will raise a smile or chuckle.
The objective of the ‘race’ is simple, be the car at the head of the pack when the chequered flag is played. Play is fairly simple turn based with each player able to take two actions during his turn (you can add Pit Crew, make a Pit Stop, make a Passing Attempt, or play an Action card). Most cards are self explanatory and you keep up to five in your hand drawing to refresh as necessary. After you’ve been through the deck once, you put a special chequered flag card into the deck when you reshuffle. Then, when the chequered flag is drawn, the race immediately ends.
Cthulhu 500 is a novel and well designed card game. It needs a good number of players, (we found five to be about the smallest number that maintained a good game). In terms of its design, as mentioned earlier, the artwork is great and the overall theme of the game is well presented and maintained.
The game, like most card games, is a great one to ‘pop in your pocket’, easy to take to friends and will make for a good beer and pretzels game session – we all got far to enthusiastic and there are already plans in place for a ten race championship session (see the download at the end of this article). There is scope for players to really bring tactics to play, its not all about the like of the cards or the roll of a dice you have to think carefully about when to do your pit stops, when to repair your car, when to try and pass and so on.
If you’re an H.P. Lovecraft or Call of Cthulhu fan, this card game of Cthulian Car racing mayhem is well worth the money. It is well designed, easy to play, good fun and has real novelty value as well.