Got Fhtaghn? Those who have been reading this blog for a while may remember that I’m a fan of both Munchkin and Arkham Horror. It should come as no surprise, then, that a game that combines aspects of both games would interest me. I bought Munchkin Cthulhu last night and got to play a game of it today, and I was not disappointed. The game is, as you’d expect, an irreverent and pun-filled send-up of Lovecraft’s mythos, obviously created by people who both know and love all things having to do with Cthulhism or Yog-Sothothery. The game includes some really funny cards, some of my favorites bing “The Cruller out of Space” and “Tht Whch Hs N Vwls”.
Aside from the comic element, Munchkin Cthulhu does introduce a few new elements to the Munchkin formula. One of the classes, the Cultist, works differently from the others in that you can’t get rid of that class of your own volition once you’ve taken it on, and certain cards can force you to become one. Further, if everyone but one player has become a Cultist, that last player immediately gains a level (a level which can win the game), and when everyone’s a Cultist, the game immediately ends. Another new rule involves “goth” monsters; that is, monsters that end in the suffix “-goth”. So, when cards like “Shoggoth”, “Froggoth”, “Buggoth”, or “Fun Guy from Yuggoth” are played, they have the ability to summon another “goth” monster to the fight. It’s sort of like having a bunch of extra “Wandering Monster” cards in the game.
The mechanics seem to have the same attention to balance as in previous iterations (which is to say, very little). But really, that’s what Munchkin is all about, right?
What I Liked: It’s funny, it’s fun and easy to play, and it takes Munchkin to a level of geekiness well beyond previous versions of the game.
What I Didn’t Like: It suffers from the same pitfalls as previous versions. Namely, there’s a lot of luck involved, and if you get screwed early on it can last for the entire game.
The Bottom Line: If you like Munchkin and H.P. Lovecraft, this game will tickle you in indescribable ways with its squamous pseudopods. If you’re not a fan of Munchkin, don’t bother; it doesn’t change the game significantly enough to convert anyone. Also, like other versions of the game, it can be combined with all of the previous versions of the game, giving some extra impetus to buy it if you already own one or more other Munchkin games.