While at the Dragonmeet gaming convention yesterday, a pun entered my head. One that suggested that there yet remains a thin patina of derivative tut to be scraped from the bottom of the HP Lovecraft barrel. Ladies, Gentlemen and Elder Beings, I give you... Cthluedo! A board game for 3 or more players aged 8 to 888.
I banged out the rules below just now in a Lovecraftian fugue of intense mental creativity, purely for a laugh. Only the more I thought about it, the more it felt like it might actually work. I let you judge.
From the four corners of the world, and the angles in between, you have gathered. The dark gods in their cosmic wisdom have decreed that one among you shall be sacrificed tonight. Whosoever slays their quarry first shall be exalted in their god's non-Newtonian sight and be rewarded with power and life eternal.
Race around the board searching for weapons and sabotaging your rivals' progress, then race to trap your victim in the place of their execution. But beware! You yourself are also being hunted...
Object of the game:
Be the first to sacrifice your dark god's chosen victim in the allotted location with the requisite means of destruction.
Each players chooses a cultist model and places it in the starting position in the centre of the board.
Shuffle the Who (victim), How (weapon) and Where (location) cards face down in three separate packs.
Shuffle the Weapon cards face down into one pack.
Shuffle the Power cards face down into one pack.
Each player draws a random Who, How and Where card and keeps them hidden in their hand from the other players.
Weapon cards are randomly distributed face down around the board, one to each location.
Each player draws a random Power card and keeps it hidden in their hand from the other players.
Each player rolls a D6. Highest goes first, then play proceeds clockwise around the board.
On their turn, the active player rolls 2D6 to move their cultist that number of squares around the board. Cultists may not leap over other cultists and may not occupy the same square.
Upon entering a location, the player may take the face down Weapon card from that location and keep it in their hand, discarding any previous Weapon card in that location.
Players may use Power cards at any point, as directed by the text of the card.
If a cultist occupies the same location as another cultist, the active player may use and discard a Weapon card to kill the other cultist and remove that player's cultist from the game.
If the cultist, Weapon card and location match the active player's Who, How and Where cards, then they have won the game, otherwise play continues as normal.
Unusually Large Penguin
Not Dead - if your cultist has been killed, bring them back to life in the starting position.
Fold Space - move your cultist to a location of your choosing.
Uncanny Summons - move another cultist to a location of your choosing.
Weird Sight - take a look at a single card of your choice in another player's hand.
Mental Exchange - swap cultists with a player of your choice. Cultist models do not swap location, but Weapon and Power cards are swapped.
Occult Theft - take a Weapon card from a player of your choice. Discard any previous Weapon card in your current location.
Indomitable Will: negate the effects of a single Power card.
Astral Misalignment: swap Where cards with a payer of your choice, without looking first.