The Cards of Cthulhu


Designer Ian Richard

Available from Dan Verssen Games (DVG)

MSRP $39.99

The Cards of Cthulhu is a dice and card driven game based in the Cthulhu World as created by the famous science fiction writer HP Lovecraft. Many of the player’s actions either gain or lose Experience Points. In this game you play the role of an Investigator that looks into the 4 different Cults which are:

  • Yog-Sothoth
  • Arwassa
  • Chaugnar Faugn
  • Cthulhu

Game Setup

The setup of the game has the player separating the Investigator Cards from the remainder of the cards in the game. The large pile of cards now becomes your draw deck and the Investigator cards are held on the side, which can be purchased with Experience Points. However, to begin the game the player chooses an Investigator that will be his alter ego in the game and is given 4 Experience Tokens to start.

Sequence of Play

The Sequence of Play may appear to be a bit long for a Card Game but believe me it’s not and after awhile it makes perfect sense. The Sequence of Play for Cards of Cthulhu is;

  • Summoning
  • Draw Cult Cards
  • 4 Cards + Additional Card for each Gate in play
  • Purchase Items and Followers
  • Awaken Horrors
  • Sanity Loss
  • Combat
  • Choose Target Cult Board
  • Roll Combat Dice
  • Re-Roll Combat Dice
  • Protection
  • Attacking Minions
  • Attacking Awake Horrors
  • Attacking Gates
  • Gain Experience
  • Outcome
  • Check for Defeat
  • Check for Victory

The Dice

The player is provided with 7 dice with different colors. You receive One red die which is the Body Die and represents your body in the game. If you roll a 1 with your Body Die you are wounded and remove a health Die. If it happens that there are no more Health Dice available your character is killed and you lose the game.

Next up are the Two Green Dice and they represent your health in the game. These dice along with the red body die help you to Slay Minions and Horrors in Combat.

Finally, there are the Four Spirit Dice. The player can purchase Three of these to assist in Combat. Each Spirit Die Magic Spell purchased is done so by expending Experience. The player cannot purchase more than 3 Spirit dice during an Attack.

The Game

The first thing a player does is to select an Investigator and pays any Experience Points required. Now 4 Cult Cards are selected and the Minions, Gates and Horrors are placed on their appropriate space. If any Followers or Items are picked you set these aside for Purchase later in the turn.

If a Horror is chosen, the card will tell you if it is a Major or Minor Horror. The Horror card is placed face down, as it has not yet been activated. Looking at the Minor and Major card areas on the play board, you will see that to activate a Minor Horror it will take Two Minions from that Cult or for a Major Horror will take Three Minions. You also have “Unspeakable Horrors” which take Four Minions to activate. As you choose cards there will be Minions chosen of the various Cults and placed on the playing boards.

When the Combat Phase is reached, the player selects a Minion, Horror or Gate card on the Cult board to attack. What is interesting at this point is the interaction of the cards on the Cult Board. What the player needs to understand is that any face up Horror Cards must be defeated before the Minions can be attacked and the Minions must be defeated before any sleeping Horrors or the Gate can be attacked.

The Player points to the Cult Card that is going to be attacked and rolls the Body die and the two Health dice (plus any optional Spirit Dice) and a total is accumulated. If this total matches the number on the Minion Card, you place that die on the Minion as it is defeated and removed from the game. Removing the Horror Cards is a bit more difficult as the player must roll a combination of two, three or four dice and they must all be the same number or in sequential order.


Victory in this game is rather straightforward. If there are more than Five Minion Cards on any Cult Board at the end of any Turn, that Cult summons their Elder God and you lose. However, if you are able to run through the Cult Deck without the world coming to an end, you have thwarted the Elder Gods and you win the game.


The Cards of Cthulhu is a fast-paced fun game. The balance of the Cards and the manner in which the dice interact is a lot of fun. However, never let your eyes roam from the prize of depleting the Cult Deck and thwarting the Elder Gods who have pressured you from the start of the game. Interchanging the cards, the dice roll, when to re-roll, selecting a Cult board to attack, deciding whom to attack, are some of the decisions the Player (solitaire) or Players need to make during the course of a turn. The Cards of Cthulhu is a fun game that deserves recognition for the ingenious game strategy poking through the cards. In addition, the physical qualities of the game are up to the usual high standards that we have come to expect from Dan Verssen Games. The Cards of Cthulhu can be highly recommended for young and old and players of all ages will enjoy the game and is subtle strategy equally.

To learn more about the game or to purchase this item visit Dan Verssen Games.