So, you want to be a cultist, serving Cthuhu and driving your fellow cultists mad, but you want to do so without spending a lot of time or learning a lot of rules or needing a lot of space. What to do? Cthulhu Dice, from Steve Jackson Games, is the perfect solution. Thie die-rolling game is very cheap, very simple, very compact, and pretty fun.
Each player in Cthulhu Dice is a cultist who starts with three sanity tokens. On a player's turn the main player is the Caster, choosing a Victim (another player) and rolling the special die that is the heart of this game. Roll a Tentacle and you get one sanity token from the Victim. Roll a Yellow Sign and one sanity token from the Victim goes to Cthulhu (an area in the center of the table). Roll the picture of Cthulhu and all players lose one sanity token to Cthulhu. Roll an Elder Sign and you get one sanity token from Cthulhu (if one is available). And if you roll an Eye, you get to choose the result of your roll. After the Caster is done, the Victim gets to roll against the Caster. After that the person to the Caster's left becomes the next Caster, and so on. If a player has no sanity tokens, they're Mad: Any tokens they get from other players go to Cthulhu and they can only regain Sanity tokens with an Elder Sign.
If a turn ends and only one player has any sanity tokens, that player wins. If a turn ends and no player has any sanity tokens, Cthulhu wins and all the players lose!
Those are all the rules to Cthulhu Dice. Each game takes 5-10 minutes, and each set comes with one die, 18 sanity tokens, and instructions. Since players don't need to roll dice simultaneously, it's possible to play with several people using only one set; serious gamers will want the four different dice colors, while hardcore gamers (yo) will also go for the two glow-in-the-dark dice available online.
Cthulhu Dice is one of the simplest games I own and among the simplest I've ever played. The only strategy per se is who to choose as your Victim and what result to use if you roll an Eye. So while skill is next to absent and luck is vital here, Cthulhu Dice is still fun. This is a game you can carry in your pocket, teach in almost no time at all, and play multiple times in just a few minutes. Folks looking for deep strategies in their gaming should look elsewhere, but Cthulhu Dice is a neat game for a few quick plays or something to play before a main event.
Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch