Should I Play Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu?

Is Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu fun to play?
Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
Players: 2 – 4 players | Game Duration 35 – 45 mins | Min. Age 14+ | Game complexity: EASY Genre: Book Based, Cooperative, Horror Solo game mode: No | Co-op: Yes | Online Version: No Buy on Amazon

What is Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu about?

“Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu” is a thrilling, cooperative board game that combines the classic mechanics of “Pandemic” with the dark, enigmatic universe of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. This game offers a unique twist on the familiar “Pandemic” formula, introducing new challenges and strategic depth, making it a fascinating experience for fans of both the original game and Lovecraftian horror.

Gameplay Overview

In “Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu,” players step into the roles of intrepid investigators trying to prevent the awakening of the Great Old Ones—a group of powerful, ancient deities from Lovecraft’s mythos. The game is set in the eerie, mist-shrouded towns of Arkham, Innsmouth, Dunwich, and Kingsport. Each player has unique abilities and must work collaboratively to seal four gates that connect our world to other sinister realms. As they progress, players must also contend with an increasing number of cultists and Shoggoths, monstrous creatures that can drastically hinder their efforts.

Game Mechanics

The core mechanics of “Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu” are similar to those in “Pandemic,” where players use cards to travel, fight foes, and achieve goals. The key differences are:

  • Mythos Cards: Mythos cards introduce various events that can either aid or hinder the players
  • Sanity Mechanic: Each encounter with a Shoggoth or a gate to another dimension risks the investigators’ sanity, limiting their effectiveness as they edge closer to madness.
  • Sealing Gates: Instead of curing diseases, players must seal gates to other dimensions, requiring specific sets of cards and often putting them in battles with the game’s antagonists

Differences from “Pandemic”

“Reign of Cthulhu” differs from Pandemic by immersing players in a thematic experience steeped in cosmic fear and madness. The sanity mechanic, coupled with the constant threat from cultists and Shoggoths, creates a more immersive narrative-driven gameplay. 

What Makes It Fun

The game is engaging due to its rich theme and the intense, cooperative gameplay. The constant pressure from the awakening Old Ones and the need to manage both physical and mental resources make each playthrough a tense and challenging experience.

What do players of Pandemic Reign of Cthulhu Say about the game?

Playersare overwhelmingly positive, highlighting several key aspects that make the game enjoyable and distinct from the original “Pandemic”:

  1. Enhanced Theme and Components: Reviewers appreciate the dark, brooding Lovecraftian theme, which they feel is well-represented in the quality of the game board and components. 

  2. Gameplay and Mechanics: Players find the gameplay intense and engaging, with no downtime. The transition from managing diseases to sealing gates and combating cultists is seen as a refreshing twist.

  3. Learning Curve: Some newcomers to the “Pandemic” series find the game slightly challenging to learn, noting that it might take a few playthroughs to get comfortable with the rules.

  4. Cooperative Play: Reviewers enjoy the cooperative mechanics, finding it fun to collaborate to thwart the rise of Cthulhu and other Great Old Ones. 

  5. Game Design Improvements: Several reviewers mention that “Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu” addresses some of the perceived shortcomings of the original “Pandemic,” such as the somewhat bland theme and overly complex rules. The modifications in travel and outbreak mechanics are specifically noted as improvements that enhance gameplay.

  6. Replayability and Engagement: The game is described as being very engaging and replayable,

Find out about Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu How to play Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

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Awards Won by Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

2016 Golden Geek Best Cooperative Game Nominee
2016 Board Game Quest Awards Best Coop Game Nominee


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