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Cthulhu Dice Game - revised

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Cthulhu Dice Game - revised
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  • SJG201
The reason it's fun, of course, is the fast play and the table talk.  Le Boomb  is a... more
Product information "Cthulhu Dice Game - revised"

The reason it's fun, of course, is the fast play and the table talk. Le Boomb is a successful social pastime, even though you make no decisions! Okay, let's learn from that . . . and let's have a game in there, too.

We discussed this with a lot of energy at PAX . . . and on the plane to the ACD show that followed right on its heels . . . and, on and off, through the ACD show. Several things came out of that discussion:

  • Fast. Fast play is good. Fast play is the whole point. Fast play and fast learning.
  • And can we have some really cool dice? Because we are all dice geeks.
  • But not very many dice, because custom dice cost money, and if this is a fast game, it ought to be inexpensive.
  • And it should fit in your pocket! Which goes well with "inexpensive" anyway.
  • Theme is important, to get people involved with a minimum of rules. We came up with several different themes that had promise. One of them, of course, was Cthulhu. Another was zombies. But that's a different story. Another one was pirates, and one of these days I'll get somewhere with that one. And, of course, another one was Munchkin . . . and that has some possibilities . . . but all our best ideas for a Munchkin dice game need a lot of different kinds of dice, which would not be cheap. We kept coming back to Cthulhu. We already had Cthulhu on the brain, between ChibithulhuChez Cthulhu, and the most evil dice bag in the world.

So. Cthulhu it was. Airlines being what they are, I wound up with some time to kill in the Madison airport after the ACD show, so I started writing rules. I decided arbitrarily to use a 12-sider, because the dodecahedron is pretty and doesn't get used very much. The pentagonal faces also have a lot of room for icons.


Icons! I started by making a list of Cthulhoid symbols. The Elder Sign and Yellow Sign were easy, and the tentacle was obvious. And, of course, we had to show Cthulhu himself! Four symbols didn't seem like enough, so I added the Eye of Horus. It doesn't have anything in particular to do with the Mythos, but it's occult-looking . . . and the eye is part of our logo. In-jokes for the win!

So what kind of story did I want to tell about the Mythos? The "players lose their sanity" trope needs no explaining to gamers . . . thanks to Call of Cthulhu, everybody gets that. To make it a competitive game, the players should be attacking each others' sanity. So let each one start with a very little bit of sanity, and take turns knocking each other down, and there you go.

That meant the die symbols needed to relate to gain or loss of sanity. I wanted the balance to be in favor of loss . . . when you're messing around with Cthulhu, a sanity gain should be a rare thing. But possible! In the beginning, I had one "no effect" result on the die, but that quickly revealed itself as Stupid And Boring.


All the die results mean the same thing whether the attacker or the defender rolls them . . . except for the tentacle. When the tentacle is rolled, the attacker on the turn gains one sanity from the defender . . . whether that tentacle is rolled by the attacker or the defender. In playtest, this sometimes caused a moment's confusion even to experienced players, but I decided it was worth keeping. I like it.

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Product information "Cthulhu Dice Game - revised"
Game Type: Dice, Party Game
Topic: Cthulhu Mythos, Horror, Humor
Playing mode: Kompetitiv
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