SaltCon 2015: Cthulhu Wars
I would buy this game for the miniatures alone. The twisted shapes of each faction are beautifully grotesque, rendered in surprising detail. I noticed a little bit of molding issues with the Shoggoths, but nothing a little green stuff couldn’t fix. Oh, right—this is a board game review. As a game, Cthulhu Wars follows the Risk template of conquering the world bit by bit, except instead of raising armies to fight nobly on the field of battle, you’re summoning Elder Gods and their wretched spawn to corrupt and conquer the Earth. Each faction slowly gains a series of awesome special abilities through spellbooks, which help to distinguish them from one another. The trick is that you have to fulfill certain conditions to get these spellbooks, which actually turned out to be my favorite mechanic in the game. Each set of conditions is different for each faction, and they usually reward you for doing the kinds of things your faction excels at. The armies of Great Cthulhu are naturally just a tad stronger than your average eldritch horror, and so many of their conditions involved killing and devouring enemies in combat. I liked the feeling of having two distinct phases of play: one where you are setting up your armies and building portals, and one where you are using all of your eldritch power to slide the world toward its inevitable doom. There’s a lot to grasp in this game, and it might be intimidating to newcomers, but there is more than enough strategy here to satisfy a lover of long games, and an easy learning curve that will inevitably corrupt the innocent into their role as a reality-shattering force of chaos.