Directors, Ancient Ones, and You: The Player Board in Cthulhu Island

 Cthulhu Island pieces. Miniatures, tiles, dice and cards.

When playing a game of Cthulhu Island, you start out by picking a Director, Ancient One, and a power board, all of which give you special abilities to enact your evil plans and build the most fearsome theme park of the world.

Director board for Jing Jing. Image of Jing Jing, with text describing her abilities and storyAncient one board for Cthulhu. Image of Cthulhu, with text describing its abilities.

Each director has their own special abilities that allow you to perform actions outside those available to all players. Use this to gain advantage and press your opponents!

In the same way, the Ancient Ones give access to special abilities. However, they are not wont to give up their powers for free. They require sacrifice. Each Ancient One has three powers, each requiring more sacrifices to be activated. On the power board, you can see how many sacrifices are needed to invoke these Ancient Ones’ malevolent blessings. With your Ancient One’s power, you can dominate locations on Cthulhu Island, ensuring that you’re the only one with access to these resources.

Power boad. five spaces, one for each action, with power tokens on both idle and active sides of the powers.

The power board is where most actions of the game are taken. Each power action is separated into idle and active slots. To use a power, slide all power tokens from that action’s idle slot into the active slot. The more power the better! Except… dark powers come with a cost. Too many power tokens, and you will open a portal, from which monsters will spill forth into your park! As long as the portal remains open, you can’t use that action either.

If you were lucky or clever enough to not open a portal, those power tokens remain useful to you. When wrapping up your turn, they’re put into the idle slot of the power action to the right. With this mancala-esque mechanism, what actions are available to you constantly shift as you use powers. Eventually you may be forced to open a portal, having amassed all your power tokens in one place.

With this unique mechanism, every choice you make has immediate consequences for your available actions next turn. Each action taken sends ripples into the future, so you must keep your wits about you and plan ahead, lest the powers that be amass where you don’t want them, ripping a hole into another dimension. But maybe you want monsters in your park. After all, your visitors are here for a frightfully good time.

Cthulhu Island launches on Kickstarter March 8, 2022.

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