Mythos in the Media: Board Games!

We’re back with another Mythos in the Media, and this time we’re slinging cardboard. Fans of gaming and the Mythos know, there are A LOT of options when it comes to playing games about Old Ones and insanity, so this time we wanted to show off a couple of favorites and some older or more obscure titles that any fan of Lovecraft’s apathetic cosmos should have on their shelf.

Whether you’re interested in playing investigative cultists or want to embody the dark priest himself, hopefully you can find something to fill that desire here.

Find something amazing we haven’t posted? Drop a line to Simeon and put Unspeakable! in the title.

Without wait, let’s see what the Great Cardboard Gods have for us.

1985 Arkham Horror

  • First on our list is a classic and a perennial favorite, Arkham Horror. Published in 2005 by Fantasy Flight Games, Arkham Horror is a mix of board game and storytelling where the players take on the roles of investigators trying to stop one of many Ancient Ones from entering our world. Since it’s inception, the Arkham Horror brand has become an umbrella for many of Fantasy Flight’s games; Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Call of Cthulhu the Card Game, Elder Sign, Eldritch Horror and Mansions of Madness. While many fans are familiar with the Arkham line, did you know that it’s all based off of an original, 1985 board game also named Arkham Horror? If you have an original copy, send us some photos! I’m sure it’s a rare sight to see.
  • Speaking of Mansions of Madnessit’s such a unique game in the Arkham line that I wanted to give it it’s own entry. Mansions is essentially a dungeon crawling style game where a Game Leader plays as the Mansion trying to thwart the investigators attempts at solving a mystery. It requires deciphering clues that are read to the players on cards, exploration, and solving actual puzzles that are like mini-board games in themself. With a proper sound track, it is a truely immersive game. And for those who are less inclined to run the game, or if players just can’t find a Game Leader, Fantasy Flight released a second edition that uses app support to run the game so that everyone can be an investigator.
  • For those of us who are more on the side of the Old Ones and not the investigators we have Cthluhu WarsA huge game of world conquering madness where a player takes on the role of one of many cults trying to bring about the destruction of the Earth by unleashing spells, cultists, monsters, and ultimately a Great Old One. For fans of beautiful (horrific?) miniatures, this game is a must coming with 64 figures..
  • Maybe you like cultists but are less inclined towards all this seriousness? Enter Cults Across America an older board game that encourages strategy as you romp across the U.S. trying to create a string a lunatics that stretches from coast-to-coast. There are four different ways to play, depending on how serious the players feel like getting, but no matter how serious it’s sure to be hilarious. As a slightly older game (1998) it can be difficult to find, but worth it to those who need a strategic laugh.
  • What if you’re a fan of Cthulhu, but also fan of say…..strategy and strange geometries? Enter The Stars Are Right from Steve Jackson Games. Perhaps hilarity and not strategy is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Steve Jackson, and while the art is classic Munchkin style fare, the game is not. Players take turns attempting to summon alien entities and Old Ones by finding arrangements of stars on a 5×5 tile grid. This sounds easy enough until players start flipping and moving tiles all over the place. The real brain-buster though is that the patterns players are trying to create can happen from any direction, and the patterns may seem like they don’t exists until you look at the board from a different side! This means you’re constantly looking at the grid from all four directions instead of just your side of the table, sure to make even the most devout cultist of strategy’s head spin.

That’s it for this run, but if you know if a particularly great Mythos board game you’d like to share then drop us a line!

Until next time, stay sane.


4 comments for “Mythos in the Media: Board Games!

  1. greuh
    January 23, 2017 at 4:40 am

    I got Arkham Horror 1985, but in its French iteration. IIRC, there’s a “one turn” combo finish : using the taxi whistle to go to the one and only portal and destroy it with dynamite or shotgun (it’s a long time I’ve played it, since the FFG version is way way better).
    If I may suggest : A Study In Emerald (excellent card management game based on Neil Gaiman’s short story), Pandemic Reign of Cthulhu (excellent hack of the excellent Pandemic game). There’s also a Cthulhu version of Heroes of Normandie, but I have not tried it : some friends of mine tell me it’s excellent. Finally, Arkham Investigator, the cthulhu version of Sherlock Holmes Detective Conseil, which I’d love to try.

    In the Cthulhuploitation subgenre of board games, we can readily forget :
    – Munchkin Cthulhu (another year, another Munchin variant)
    – Cthulhu Dice (SJGames)
    – Pocket Madness (make a game, paste-on some Cthulhu on it)
    – Do You Worship Cthulhu (Werewolf, Cthulhu version)
    – Chez Cthulhu (SJGames, again)
    – Monopoly Cthulhu (I’d rather staple my tongue than play Monopoly, let alone the Cthulhuploitation version)
    … without evoking all the promos and expansions that tried to jump in the cthulhuploitation bandwagon !

    • greuh
      January 23, 2017 at 4:43 am

      For a complete list of Cthulhuploitation games :

    • S_Cogswell
      January 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I tried to avoid the “Cthulhuploitation” games because they don’t really evoke the feeling of the Mythos. They just kind of slap tentacles on game and that’s it. It’s the equivalent of Steampunk’s “glue some gears on it” to me.

      That being said, if people enjoy these games they should most definitely play them, because we’re all here to have fun. So thank you for posting about them!

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