From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
I’m going mad. The good part is, my opponent is going mad slightly faster than me. I need to move things along here though, so I pass him a copy of The King in Yellow. That unhinges him further so I follow that up with the yellow sign. He doesn’t like the look of that. A visit from the Unspeakable One is enough to tip him over the edge into madness. I;m saved! Sort of.
Cthulu Realms is a card game based in the Cthulu Mythos, which covers otherworldy monsters moving unknown through the world until the protagonists stumble upon them. What they see usually sends them mad, and this is the basis for Cthulu Realms. Send your opponent mad before they can do the same to you.
There’s a deckbuilding element to the game, so like other games of the type you begin with a selection of basic cards which you’ll soon want to drop in favour of the better cards you can buy.
The art is worth mentioning too, as it managed to be both humorous and true to the source material, always a delight to see what is on the next card.
Away from the basic cards, there are three colour groups of cards you can purchase. Your deck can freely mix the purple, yellow, and green cards available, but many cards will benefit from others of the same colour. Often a card will give you additional benefits if you have played another card of the same colour this turn.
Green cards tend to represent the monsters of the world, while yellow is more the conspirators colour, while purple often represents investigators and can offer a rare chance to see your sanity increase rather than decrease. Cards fall into a number of categories, with buildings providing a constant presence in play. Buildings can even give you shelter, forcing your opponent to destroy them before they can attack you sanity once again.
Each player begins the game at 50 sanity and will not remain there for long. Basic cards will chip away a point at a time, but stronger cards soon turn up in people’s hands that will take larger chunks of sanity away from you.
The game ends once one player has lost all sanity. The game takes 20-30 minutes to play, so is well suited to breaks in between other games, or a short game if your session won’t be a long one.
Cthulu Realms allows for more players making up to four places available.
I found the two player game to be quite superior to adding more players though. The gameplay lends itself to players ganging up on the weakest, leaving people the prospect of spending more time spectating than playing their game. Stick to two people is my advice. Update: I was playing the 3 & 4 player game incorrectly, so ignore the above, and I’ll fix that once I have played it correctly.
Don’t Mind if I Do
Overall, Cthulu Realms is a fun game that will keep new and experienced players entertained. The deckbuilding aspect ensures a decent variety from one game to the next, and the colour separation leaves room to explore different combinations and strategies from game to game.