Zed has hand-picked an exciting and varied selection of games in his subscription box. Expect to receive some of the best games as well as a few surprises!

    Subscribe Now »

    Looking for the latest new releases? Then this is the subscription for you, each month you’ll receive an amazing box full of just the newest & biggest games!

    Subscribe Now »

    Our two new Mystery Box offerings will help you pick up some of the latest top of the range games and exclusive goodies, but at a much lower price!

    Order Now »

    Menu

    Buy 3, get 3% off - use code BOARD3 · Buy 5, get 5% off - use code BOARD5

    Buy The Game

    Awards

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Can be really funny
    • Thematic components and designs
    • This is dripping in Lovecraft theme
    • Brilliant artwork
    • Confrontational story-telling is bit different

    Might Not Like

    • Need the right group of people involved
    • Might be a bit light for some
    • If you dont have imagination then this will be a hard game to play
    • Harder to narrate the story if you are not familiar with Lovecraft

    Have you tried?

    Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

    Cthulhu Tales Review

    cthulu tales feature

    Now for something completely different, as they say, to gloss over a jump cut in Monty Python. I really do mean something completely different now though, Cthulhu Tales is not like any other board game I have played. This initially scared me. But I have embraced it now, and this game has been the biggest surprise of 2020 for me. I am talking about only games here. 2020 was a rollercoaster start to finish!

    In Cthulhu Tales, you are immersed in the world of Lovecraft and are chained up in a sanatorium. You are trying to convince doctors that you are not mad. In fact, it is your fellow inmates that need to be locked up. You try to seem sane in order to avoid being treated by the doctors. The person who squeaks through the process having undergone the least severe treatment is the winner. Although if I’m honest, more than most, this is a game about the journey rather than the win. 

    Created in 2016 from Cubicle 7 Entertainment. This is a new Lovecraft themed game from the same designers as Hobbit Tales. Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello who are most famous for their big games The War of the Ring and the roleplaying game One Ring

    Gameplay

    Cthulhu Tales plays in 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how flamboyant a tale you spin. This game accommodates 2 to 5 players. The components in this game are great looking. There are large tarot sized cards with individual and inspiring artwork that reflects all areas of the Lovecraftian world. There is a heavy feeling custom D12 and some thick treatment tokens to complete the game. 

    During the game, players will take it in turns to accuse their fellow opponents of being insane and in need of commitment to the asylum. The accused will use cards to weave a story of why what they are accused of has a logical and altogether reasonable explanation. The cards have three parts to them; the title, the artwork and the flavour text. The game encourages you to take one of these three parts and be inspired by that to create your story. 

    For example, if I drew “Museum”, “Nightmare Horde” and “Foul Crime”, then I may create an accusatory tale that;

    “MJ is in the sanatorium having been found sitting in the middle of a room surrounded by a whole horde of disfigured taxidermy animals. Each had been decapitated and stabbed in the eye with historical dentistry implements from the local museum. MJ was sent to the asylum after refusing to explain what had happened and becoming violent.”

    Accuse Me?

    As the accuser, I place these cards underneath the board in slots 2, 3 and 4. A facedown story card is placed under slot 5, and slot 1 remains blank. The narrator will need to connect the cards below the board to those story cards that they place. Not putting them in the most obvious order will make their job harder.

    It is now up to MJ to use the story cards to create a story which explains what happened and how he is in fact not insane. MJ will draw a hand of cards and he needs to use these to create a story which ties in the accusation as well as holding together as a coherent defence for his own sanity. His tale helped by the story cards could start a little like this;

    “I am a professor of folklore studies at the University of Edinburgh. I specialise in the study of the Scottish folk songs of the medieval period. Whilst I was found in amongst the stuffed animal pieces, my hobby is the artificial preservation of animals for museum exhibitions. The animals that surrounded me on the night of my arrest were in the process of being completed. They were not decapitated as you say, but simply not yet completed…”

    Curveball, Don't Go Mad!

    Whilst the accused battles to tie the cards they have drawn into their story seamlessly, the other players are trying to throw them off by playing madness cards. Each time they are able to throw in a madness card by matching the symbols, they derail the narrator’s story. They catch them out in a lie, and they exploit that. When a madness card is played, the narrator must try to weave it into their story. This can be in a minor or a major way. It is determined by the rolling of the custom 12 sided die. The die features numbers 1-10, a silhouette of Cthulhu and one of Lovecraft himself.

    Major madness effects mean that you were unable to weave it convincingly into your story and the madness and story card it was played on are both discarded. The narrator must work hard to work the remainder of their story cards into their narrative. To complete their tale, the narrator must successfully play 5 story cards onto the board, some of these will need to be tied into the accusation cards that it is placed above. 

    The scoring of the story is based on the value of the treatment tokens that the player collects during their turn. Treatment tokens are drawn blind and display “mild treatment” like pills and injections, and harsher treatments like straight jackets, electroshock therapy or solitary confinement. These are worth different values from 2-6 points. The winner at the end of all the stories is the one with the fewest points. As I said at the top though, this game is about the journey rather than the score. 

    Final Thoughts

    I was incredibly surprised by Cthulhu Tales, I was initially scared of the idea of having to be so imaginative. I’m not into RPG games and have never played anything like this. I received it in a Zatu subscription box, and from reading the blurb on the back, I wasn’t expecting much. We were both pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had playing it though, and it has earnt its spot in my collection. There is very little downtime as you are engaged in the story that the other players manage to weave and can play madness cards to throw some Cthulhu theme into their perfectly reasonable story. 

    If you are looking for something totally different, that is great to look at and sets your imagination on fire, then give Cthulhu Tales a whirl. You might be as pleasantly surprised as me. Get the group to buy into the storytelling aspect and let your minds run wild. Perfect escapist fun.

    Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Can be really funny
    • Thematic components and designs
    • This is dripping in Lovecraft theme
    • Brilliant artwork
    • Confrontational story-telling is bit different

    Might not like

    • Need the right group of people involved
    • Might be a bit light for some
    • If you dont have imagination then this will be a hard game to play
    • Harder to narrate the story if you are not familiar with Lovecraft

    Zatu Blog

    Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

    Join us today to receive exclusive discounts, get your hands on all the new releases and much more!

    Excellent
    08000075444
    Bowthorpe Main Centre, Unit 15, Norwich NR5 9HA
    Zatu Games is rated 4.86 based on 12830
    Reviews

    Excellent company, very responsive customer service team, and the games always arrive quickly and safely.

    Excellent company, very responsive customer service team, and the games always arrive quickly and safely.

    Great price (cheaper than my usual online go-to store) and fast delivery and packaged safely! Easy to use and navigate the website. Already asked someone to buy me my birthday present from here! Will definitely use them again

    Great price (cheaper than my usual online go-to store) and fast delivery and packaged safely! Easy to use and navigate the website. Already asked someone to buy me my birthday present from here! Will definitely use them again

    Competitive Prices in today's 2021 CCG/TCG Market. Great Card Shop option to purchase gaming cards compared to most Card Shops that lack a variety of inventory. Gives players a chance to buy and play these wonderful games. Excellent Customer Service. I'd drive here and visit the store if I didn't live that far.

    Competitive Prices in today's 2021 CCG/TCG Market. Great Card Shop option to purchase gaming cards compared to most Card Shops that lack a variety of inventory. Gives players a chance to buy and play these wonderful games. Excellent Customer Service. I'd drive here and visit the store if I didn't live that far.

    Good prices, good selection and preorder/restock options. Good communication. Deliveries are quick and nicely packaged.

    Good prices, good selection and preorder/restock options. Good communication. Deliveries are quick and nicely packaged.

    A large selection of games available to the UK

    A large selection of games available to the UK

    Have been buying from Zatu for a year now, always a swift delivery. Rapid answers to questions. A thoroughly awesome company. Highly recommended.

    Have been buying from Zatu for a year now, always a swift delivery. Rapid answers to questions. A thoroughly awesome company. Highly recommended.

    Really great, easy to order and very reasonable. Ships really quick to offshore uk! Have used Zatu a few times now and I'll definitely order from again to get our game fix 😊 I can barely wait for my next preorder to arrive.

    Really great, easy to order and very reasonable. Ships really quick to offshore uk! Have used Zatu a few times now and I'll definitely order from again to get our game fix 😊 I can barely wait for my next preorder to arrive.

    Great games, delivered quickly with wonderful customer service

    Great games, delivered quickly with wonderful customer service

    I'm in Ireland and ordered on a Friday and received on a Monday. Umbelievable, thanks so much. Very nice to deal with too!

    I'm in Ireland and ordered on a Friday and received on a Monday. Umbelievable, thanks so much. Very nice to deal with too!

    Both times I've ordered from Zatu, my order arrived promptly, in good condition, and with no real issues.

    Both times I've ordered from Zatu, my order arrived promptly, in good condition, and with no real issues.

    Read All Reviews