cards cthulhuDVG (Dan Verssen Games) has a number of solitaire games. Some are more complex requiring a longer play time, set up, etc. However, there are times when you have a few minutes and don’t want to spend it all setting up the game, so you can then take it down and put it away. For those times you want a quick game: The Cards of Cthulhu Cards.

A lot of gamers I know play games against themselves. It seems there are always times when you would like to have other people joining in, but for whatever reason, there is no one else. Sometimes people pull out a computer game and play it. Tabletop gamers also set up a favorite game and play all sides. But, there are time you don’t want to play a computer game, and taking on multiple sides of a game designed for more players doesn’t always do it. For those times I know people who keep a deck of playing cards handy. They can lay out a game of solitaire and shuffle the cards.

Now game companies are recognizing there is a market for solitaire tabletop games. Some are providing rule variations so you can play a game on your own. This works better with those designed as cooperative games because it is the players against the game. Along with these games there are games out on the market designed for solitaire play.

The Cards of Cthulhu, designed by Ian Richard, is a quick set up game for one player. It also has adjustments for adding players. Also, you don’t have to be a fan of H. P. Lovecraft’s stories, or even the Cthulhu mythology to understand this game.

You take on the role of one of the investigators (a small deck of cards provided) who is working to keep the Cthulhu horrors from invading and controlling Earth. The premise is straight forward making it easy to learn—I had most of the rules down with the first game. Even with it being easy to learn, it doesn’t mean you are going to just beat it every time you play. Like most strategy games, simpler rules means there are some interesting variants that can arise.

I played a series of games, playing each of the investigators once to see how their particular abilities worked. My win loss results were almost evenly split. As with most solitaire games, a major deciding factor was how the cards turned. There are also dice used to combat the horrors, and experience coins to accomplish additional goals and cast spells. You have to plan for how you want to use of your experience coins and not run yourself down. If you run short on your experience coins or health, your investigator will quickly be in trouble.

Playing back-back games was also easy to do. Starting a new game meant choosing an investigator, shuffling the cards, and counting out the starting experience coins. Then, it’s just a matter of turning the cards over from the fresh deck and taking action.

My games were taking about fifteen to twenty minutes. Setup and clean up were easy. There are some cardboard placards for placing the cards on, tokens, dice, investigator cards, and the playing deck. The size of the box makes it a little harder for easy carrying, but with a little modification, like a larger zip lock bag, you could keep this handy for a fast game just about anywhere. After learning the game, and knowing the layout of the cards you could probably make this even more transportable.

Thanks to DVG for a review copy of Cthulhu Cards.

Cthulhu Cards is designed for one (or a couple) player. There is no age limit listed, but I think this is for players starting at 10 to 12 years old. A game is listed to last 30 to 90 minutes; I didn’t have anything last nearly this long with the longest game taking less than 30 minutes.

The Cards of Cthulhu on DVG.com

The Cards of Cthulhu on BoardGameGeek