Chez Cthulhu will drive you mad from a good time

Over the years, my gaming group has occasionally branched out from the Steve Jackson Games staple of Munchkin (and its bajillion incarnations). We’ve tried things like Elixir and Descent and the ever-so-slow Settlers of Catan, but probably my second favorite party board game is another product from SJG called Chez Geek, and not just cause everyone in my group thinks I look like the game’s main slacker:

Um…no. I only have one tattoo.

Basically, Chez Geek is about an apartment of roommates all striving for one thing, and one thing only: to reach their Slack goal. Players are given Job cards to represent how much Income and Free Time they have for activities like shopping, watching TV, or having loud nookie, and other cards help towards achieving one’s Slack goal via clear-cut means. It’s every roommate for themselves, and backstabbery is plentiful. All in all, it’s frantic, frenetic, funny, and fun.

So I was doubly excited when Chez Cthulhu came out! I mean, it’s the gameplay of Chez Geek mixed with the dark craziness of the Lovecraft mythos. I was drooling tentacles and preparing for a life of servitude before I knew it!

There is, however, a new gameplay mechanic introduced into Chez Cthulhu, and alas, it’s the one that hurt the group’s enjoyment the most: Madness. Sure, the High Priest to the Great Old Ones and madness go hand in hand, but for this board game it looks a lot more like befuddlement. See, some cards give players Madness tokens, which count against their Slack goal.  If you get enough Madness tokens you can go Stark Raving Mad, and then any further tokens count for your Slack goal. The confusion comes from the time between one Madness token and, say, eight Madness tokens. We were running out of markers and a little unsure of how to count everything, but wine and a whole lot of beercheese fondue could also be to blame for that. I’ve yet to win using the Madness strategy, but then again…I’ve yet to win at all. I take more pleasure in reading the flavor text, finding all the tiny details in John Kovalic’s drawings, and watching as cards demonically interact with each other.

It’s a good time, really; just don’t get mad at all the Madness.

Check out some sample cards from Chez Cthulhu below:

Scared for your sanity? Go on over to the game’s main website for more then: http://www.sjgames.com/chezcthulhu/

3 responses to “Chez Cthulhu will drive you mad from a good time

  1. I love Munchkin! I haven’t heard of this particular game, but I have been interested in some of the other games Steve Jackson games has created. Not sure on this particular one, but if nothing else the drawings and humor make it worth it.

  2. Good review… but do you think the humour in the cards might wear out? I love Munchkin, but my friends and I only play it once in a while to keep it fresh and fun.

    • One playthrough is all is takes to basically see every card and its funny flavor text. After that, humor banks on card interaction so I’d suggest only playing this one now and then, maybe as a break between Munchkin sessions.

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