Gameday First Play – Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

~ H.P. Lovecraft

Beings of ancient evil, known as Old Ones, are threatening to break out of their cosmic prison and awake into the world. Everything you know and love could be destroyed by chaos and madness. Can you and your fellow investigators manage to find and seal every portal in time? Hurry before you lose yourself to insanity.

So this is Pandemic, but instead of fighting diseases, you’re fighting Cultists.

The board is divided into 4 sections just like Pandemic but each only contains 6 spaces so it’s much smaller… Also instead of cubes you have minis…

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-minis

You have a choice of characters which are pretty much the same as the standard version but dressed up to the Cthulhu style.

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-character-cards

Instead of curing diseases, you’re closing gates which makes sense. To do this you need to be stood on the Gate space of the board and discard 5 cards matching the Town you are in. The cards don’t match the individual places on the board, just the Town…

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-cards

The rest of the game plays very similar. You have action points and move around the board spending actions to remove cultists (or Shoggoths), pass cards, move spaces, transport from one town to another, close gates etc

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-dunwich

Instead of Epidemic cards you have, Evil Stirs…

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-evil-stirs-card

This shows the 6 steps you need to take when a card is drawn…

The first thing is to roll the Sanity Die

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-madness-die

Every character has a sanity limit and if they hit that limit they go insane. They flip over their character card and they lose their special ability…

The sanity die may spawn Cultists at your location instead.

You reveal the next Old One… You have a number of random old ones laid out which will act as an game end timer. You flip the next one over when an Evil Stirs card is revealed and I think when there is this games equivalent of an ‘Outbreak’?

These Old Ones do things like Spawn Cultists and Shoggoths, move things around, mess about with players cards or have an ongoing negative effect.

The final one is always Cthulhu which will end the game.

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-end-of-game-card

That’s the main way you’ll lose and that’s how we lost. We also nearly lost by running out of Cultists to put on the board…

Back to the Evil Stirs card… You pull the bottom card of the deck and add a Shoggoth to that Town. They require 3 actions to remove but can be moved towards gates by the game, if they go through the gate I think you lose? (I don’t remember all the rules :))

Then you shuffle the cards and put them back on top of the deck and the game continues.

We closed 3 of the gates and we could have closed the 4th to win but the player who could have done it was one action short… That action was taken from him via being insane… so close!

pandemic-reign-of-cthulhu-gates

This is a much simpler and better version of the original. The simplicity makes it smoother to play especially as I’m currently near the end of a Pandemic Legacy game and the extra rules are hard to follow right now 🙂

I never considered adding Pandemic to my collection but this one could change that 🙂

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