CMON knows well how to tickle the fancy of Kickstarter backers. Their games are almost always collector items filled with detailed miniatures, ready to be displayed on your shelves. Their biggest successes so far often had lots to do with their own brands like Zombicide or Arcadia Quest. Lately, they seem more and more interested in games based on licenses and famous universes. We’ve had “A Song of Ice and Fire” game and “Hate” based on a graphic novel. Cthulhu: Death May Die, CMON’s newest title, is set in yet another popular and beloved setting.
Hype Going Through the Roof
The game was announced about 2 months ago and quickly started getting lots of attention. Sure, the theme of H.P. Lovecraft’s novels was a key factor here but so were the names of both designers. Cthulhu: Death May Die was created by two industry veterans: Rob Daviau known for his work on Pandemic Legacy and Eric M. Lang – creator of Blood Rage, Rising Sun, Arcadia Quest, Song of Ice & Fire and Chaos in the Old World.
Against the Beasts
20s and 30s of the previous century. Mysterious red clad cultists appear all over the place and keep performing some sinister rituals. Little do the common folk know, that they’re about to summon some of the most disturbing and dangerous monstrosities that exist in faraway dimensions. If the cultists succeed, the world will get flooded with beings so scary, that a mere look at them may turn anyone insane.
Earth can only be saved by people already touched by the hand of madness. A bunch of them creates a small group devoted to ridding the world of nasty, tentacled menace. Players can take the role of fire wielding Rasputin, crazy nun Beth, gentleman with a smoking pipe named Adam, bonnet wearing Elisabeth or even a creepy little girl nicknamed “The Kid”.
The story feels oddly similar to The Others: 7 Sins by the same company, with some 1920’s frosting added on top.
Gameplay of Cthulhu: Death May Die
Gameplay in Cthulhu: Death May Die is co-op based, similar to many other titles by CMON. It can be played in a group of up to 5 players. There’s also a solo mode available.
At the beginning you have to choose what story you’d like to play. Start by picking an Elder One box (Cthulhu or Hastur) that will work as the center of the gameplay. Next choose one of 6 episode packs. Finally: mix elements of both of these to create a scenario consisting of map and a unique discovery deck.
Discovery deck describes who you meet, what you find and list your available actions. Episodes also dictate which Mythos Cards (used as enemy AI) to select.
Mechanics Out of This Dimension
Just like many other games set in the insane world of H.P. Lovecraft, Cthulhu: Death May Die involves a mechanic dealing with madness. Each character has his or her own progress bar. Filling it may be dangerous but will also grant additional powers and abilities. Skills related to insanity are portrayed on special cards and include things like Pyromania (powerful attack with flames) or OCD (making all your stats equal).
The game begins without otherworldly monstrosities but they keep getting summoned, which is tracked with a marker. If beasts successfully arrive, players will have to figure out how to deal with them and if necessary – defeat them.
Made to Size
One of the most terrifying things about Cthulhu is his size, and CMON really took that fact seriously. The Great Old One is 57 centimeters tall. His stand is so huge that it serves as an additional board included in the game’s mechanics. To get him, backers have to order “Ry’leh Rising” expansion and wait a bit, since it’s going to be shipped at a later date.
Base game is expected to arrive in July next year. All pledges include an exclusive character called Julia Hollister. Core version is priced at $100 and one including the colossal expansion is $250. It may sound pricey but hey, you get a half meter high plastic Cthulhu to decorate your flat (or garden).
Campaign launched barely 2 days ago, got to a million USD in 24 hours, was sitting at 1 300 000 USD when I started writing this article, and now it’s already a hundred thousand higher. Nobody doubted the potential when the game was announced but it’s slowly shaping up as one of CMON’s highest sellers of all time.