The Big Green One.
This is it. Cthulhu Wars in review. We’ve already jawed about it a bunch here over the past week, but let’s put it on the books. This is a long review, I don’t usually go so long. But I felt it warranted it, and I get into some stuff that I don’t usually cover in my reviews- more extensive product and price talk in particular.
It’s all I think about in terms of games lately. I invited a couple of friends over last night to play, the first two guys I played it with, and there wasn’t even any email discussion about what we were going to play. It was just a given that it was going to be Cthulhu Wars.
But I am reluctantly playing other games, I guess.
The two new VPG games are interesting. Wings for the Baron, I opened it up and looked it over and thought “wow, this game looks boring”. It’s about German aviation firms competing for government contracts during WWI. Granted, I like esoteric subject matter and I love economic games. But this looked spreadsheety as hell.
But wow, it’s actually really neat. It’s very Eurogamey, but more on the simpler end of things. It kind of reminds me, in a way, of Industrial Waste. But it’s all done up in GMT-quality style- lots of B&W photos, Very Serious Historical Background, that kind of stuff. You pick two actions per turn and then they go off in a specific order. Your player mat is basically a tech tree, and the idea is that you improve the effectiveness of your aircraft by developing innovative technologies. Everything you develop gives you a DRM (this game speaks in wargame language) and you want to keep increasing effectiveness to keep up with the Allies- because you can wind up peddling junk planes that the German government doesn’t want. The techs are on research cards and some you have to have prerequisites to build. The research cards also have actions on them for a little take that play. You can also perform espionage and steal techs from other players.
So what happens is that at the end of actions, the government doles out contracts. You get a die roll’s worth, but you can only take as many as you have factories. Then they pay you in papiermarks, which are basically funny money that can be stripped away from you due to inflation. So you need to take Bank actions to buy gold the papiermarks. And all of this is going on while the war grinds on, reducing everybody’s morale. It can end with a German or Allied victory, which affects the value of everything at the end.
I’m really digging it, not one for everybody but I think folks that like business games or are interested in the subject matter will really like. Sag, this means you. Strangely I somehow managed to get two games with sort of similar concepts in at the same time, I also have Secret Weapons of the Third Reich sitting here from Calvinus Games.
The other new VPG release is The Hunt, and it’s…interesting. I’m not sure if I like it or not yet. It’s gothic horror, so that is a +1 right there. 3 to 6 players (yes, this means 6 is best but I played with 4 and it worked) are in a mansion. One of them is a monster in disguise. So you don’t know that, nor do you know what _kind_ of monster it is. So you have to do a little deducing to come up with that by searching the house and interacting with other players. This is how you figure out WHAT they are so you can sort out what to attack them with. It’s kind of strange, because it is basically kind of a fighting thing where you’re going up and stabbing folks to see what happens…and it TOTALLY rides on player honesty and the honor system. Which also means that a player can flub it up by accident and confuse everyone. It’s kind of experimental, and it isn’t as streamlined as some of the other social deduction games out there (which is, BTW, my least favorite genre of games I think) but there’s something worth looking at here. It’s Jeremy Lennert, the dude that did Darkest Night.
It’s not a physical board game, but if you download the Star Wars: Battlefront IOS companion, there is a little game in it that is more or less Castle Panic: Star Wars. I mean, it is REALLY like Castle Panic. There are some differences, but I think anyone who has played that game will see the similarities as soon as you see the screen. It’s simple but I’m really digging it.