Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu takes the established and effective Pandemic blueprint and marinades it in H.P. Lovecraft’s cerebrospinal fluid.
It’s a co-operative game that thrusts you into a world of Lovecraftian lore, taking the fictional towns of Arkham, Innsmouth, Dunwich and Kingsport as its settings and pitting players against growing cults that support the tentacled overlords.
Players must work together to save the world from inhuman horrors, all while under threat from the eponymous reign itself, a reign which, judging by the box art, mainly involves gently caressing jazz-age stereotypes with tentacles, as do all good parties.
The game eschews the Pandemic mechanic of curing diseases and instead has players closing down portals to prevent beings from other worlds crossing through, presumably because they lack the necessary visas.
As in previous Pandemic titles, players can take on one of a variety of roles, each with its own unique abilities: Magician, Hunter, Reporter, Detective, Doctor, Mystic and Driver, the latter of whom must feel like a right div. Players have decks of relic cards which aid them in their quest, but mixed among them are ‘Evil Stirs’ cards, which release Shoggoths onto the board, creatures that take several moves to defeat and that will make a beeline for the nearest portal.
Setting it apart from other Pandemic games is the thematically fitting ‘sanity’ mechanic. Facing off against Shoggoths or entering portals reduces players’ sanity. If their sanity drops too low, they become insane, which seems medically accurate. This changes their unique ability, often reducing its usefulness.
Obviously ideal for those who are fans of previous Pandemic games and expansions, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is a new twist on a well-loved game.
Z-Man Games was founded in 1999 with the sole aim of bringing back Shadowfist, a popular CCG. Under new management since 2011, it has published a new run of original titles, including several from the Pandemic Series.
Z-Man Games are also behind the top-selling tile game Carcassonne. This Universe, as they name it on their website, now has several different versions of the game The latest edition Carcassonne:Amazonas is available to pre-order right now on our online store.
Matt Leacock is a game designer known for the extremely successful Pandemic, released in 2008. He specifically designs games that he would want to play.
Chuck D. Yager works in the video game industry as an executive producer, and designs board and card games in his spare time.
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Intrigued by this version of pandemic? If so, you should head over to our online store and order yourselves a copy before they sell out!