Earlier this year, game designers Chuck D. Yeager, Matt Leacock, and Z-Man Games released a new version of the beloved game Pandemic set in the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Having played and loved both Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy, I was really excited to play this game! I also grew up as a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s work (issues aside) so unlike many people, I am not sick of the Cthulhu theme yet. While I will do a full review of the game and the gameplay at a later time, I thought I would do an “unboxing” and show you all of the components that come in the box.
First of all, I really like the artwork of the game. The artists Chris Quilliams, Atha Kanaani, and Philippe Guérin did an great job capturing the powerful, foreboding Old Ones.
While I haven’t posted any evidence of it yet on my blog, I really enjoy building foam core inserts for my board games. As such, I always eye the inserts that come with the games with increased scrutiny. The original Pandemic insert was one of my favorites, and I only had to modify it slightly to fit all of the expansions. This one just seems like a lot of wasted space! I think they want you to put the investigator and Shoggoth figures individually into the cubbies, but I don’t think I can bring myself to do that! I do hope they release expansions for this game eventually, but I will probably build a simple custom insert for this game in the mean time.
While I don’t want to get too much into the difference between Pandemic and Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu in this post, one of the big difference is illustrated in the above game pieces. The tokens on the left are sanity tokens. If you play a lot of games set in the Cthulhu Mythos like I do (Eldritch Horror, Elder Sign, Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness etc.), you will be familiar with sanity tokens and sanity loss mechanisms. Characters in H.P. Lovecraft’s stories are also in danger from losing their sanity from the extraordinary and incomprehensible truths they witness or read. This is an interesting addition to Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.
This game also comes with miniatures for the investigators instead of the standard pegs or meeple. Seeing as I generally hate meeple, I appreciate that the designers were able to include miniatures at this price point. Compared to the miniatures in Mansions of Madness, these ones aren’t half bad! In addition to making foam core inserts, I also enjoy painting miniatures so maybe I’ll try to paint these at some point.
There are also miniatures for the cultists and the Shoggoths! The cultists are essentially the disease cubes from Pandemic in miniature form! The Shoggoths represent a new mechanic specific to Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.
The stars of this game are the Old Ones. Each one does something terrible to the investigators and usually modifies the game rules. These cards are revealed during the awakening, which is similar to an outbreak in Pandemic. I definitely see some familiar faces here!
These cards detail the actions available to the investigators as well as explaining the sanity mechanism.
The investigators in this game all have a specific role and special ability. Many of the roles have counterparts in vanilla Pandemic. The Detective, for example, can seal a gate using 4 cards instead of 5 (Scientist). The Hunter may remove all cultists when performing the defeat a cultist action (Medic). There are also several roles that are new and specific to Pandemic; Reign of Cthulhu. Again, I think the art in this game is really great!
The top picture shows the relic cards. While these cards are similar to the event cards in Pandemic, you can get them through ways other than drawing them from the player deck. The only catch with most of them, however, is that you have to roll the sanity dice when you use them. This means that using a lot of relics increases the risk you will go insane. The second picture is of the cards in the player deck. Rather than each individual location having it’s own card, the cards are simply divided into the four towns: Arkham, Innsmouth, Dunwich, and Kingsport. The third picture includes the cards in the summoning deck. This deck is similar to the infection deck in Pandemic.
Finally, here is the Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu game board. The board is divided into four connecting towns and is not as spread out as the cities on the Pandemic game board. This game also introduces some interesting travel mechanisms that aren’t in the original (like travelling through gates or by bus). The board has a dark feel to it that fits in perfectly with the theme of the game. I will talk more about the gameplay in another post, but overall, the components of this game are amazing and well-designed.