This review is also diabolically available on Zatu here!
The tales of the late H.P. Lovecraft have influenced no end of future mythos writers. With the insanities and inexplicable happenings caused by unthinkable beings as the cornerstone of every tale. Old Ones, Elder Gods, beings from beyond the star, all these nasties play havoc with the feeble human mind. One of the most prominent of these tales is The Dunwich Horror. In this tale, an abomination is born to a human mother and an incomprehensible father: Yog-Sothoth. Though this beast is never shown as having a man understandable form, it appears as the representations of Wilbur Whateley and the actual Dunwich Horror. These are grotesquely also available as an expansion to the horrifically fantastic Cthulhu Death May Die!
How To Play
The Yog-Sothoth expansions for Cthulhu Death May Die is incorporated in the same way as the other elder gods are. During set up, the Mythos cards for the being are shuffled into the episode’s Mythos cards. Yog-Sothoth’s specific enemy card is added to the Elder God’s play mat. The Yog Gate tokens are placed facedown and in reach of all players. Finally, the Yog-Sothoth “figure” and Wilbur Whateley figure are added to the bank of enemies that may be drawn.
Other than the differences in the use of this Elder God, all other set up steps are identical to other scenarios. The idea behind this expansion is to diversify gameplay and give players new mechanics and challenges within episodes, resulting in more replayability!
How It Feels to Play
This expansion has one goal. Diversify play and give replayability. It does just that. The models included are superbly detailed with all the gross and disgusting elements told in the story, and the Mythos cards follow the same theme. The tricky bit here is the new balance. The original dynamic duo of Cthulhu and Hastur were as hard as nails. Yog-Sothoth is far more squishy and manageable as an enemy. But don’t be fooled… his powers may not be in his brawn, but in his ability to warp minds!
A Face For Radio…
The Yog-Sothoth representation in this expansion is easy to fight in comparison to the original two Old Ones includes. He doesn’t hit overly hard, and his long standing effects aren’t tremendously unmanageable. So why does it still constitute as one of the harder Old Ones to fight? Ol’ Yog does what the others don’t do, it summons its hordes of followers to take you on. Before you know it, you’ll be up to your eyes in cultists, byahkees and shoggoths..
The main mechanic introduced by this expansion’s Mythos cards are Yog Gates. Now, if you thought the Mythos cards were unfair at times previously, summoning every Tom, Dick and Harry from a cross the realms, then you’re going to hate this! The balance for the Old One’s ease of defeat in physical combat is the fact you’ll have to fight through a whole herd of enemies. Basically, the Yog Gates are extra gates to summon enemies from. Should you need to summon a Cultist at the red gate, any placed red Yog Gates will also spawn a Cultist.
It might sound like an immediate uphill climb, but Yog’s stage effects are linked to these Yog Gate placements. Certain stages cause Yog Gates to move, and they can also be fought to remove. Whether you go gung-ho and take on the big bad when possible or manage the area, there’s no specifically correct path to victory. It’s all contextual and all circumstantial. But if you don’t adapt with this Elder God, you’re going to have a bad time!
Extra Tentacles, Please!
Wilbur Whateley is tremendously tricky to deal with. He’s a literal grenade! In the The Dunwich Horror, he’s the driving force behind Yog-Sothoth’s resurrection through rituals and spells. Being visibly grotesque but articulate and with somewhat intelligence, he was shunned by all of society. Those who knew of him believed him to be a daemon full of ill intent. Those who didn’t automatically avoided him. And in Cthulhu Death May Die? You’ll do the exact same!
The Mythos cards that control his movements outside of standard enemy rules show him to be a persistent threat. He moves, he explodes and reduces the sanity of those unfortunate enough to bear witness to it, and then he is summoned again. It sounds like more of a nuisance than anything else, but it’s the frequency at which it occurs that makes his dangerous. Coupling that in with his combat abilities and he’s outright deadly!
But Your Can’t Fathom It, Can You?
Have I ever mentioned how much of a fan of Mythos games I am? I love the theme! The fracturing of one’s sanity, the incomprehensibility of the beings, the trail of clues and runes… it’s thrilling! Luckily, Cthulhu Death May Die not only fits the bill thematically, it’s also a cracking game! But, as a big fan, there’s something I need to clear up. The model for Yog-Sothoth isn’t Yog itself – it couldn’t be! causes irreparable damage to one’s fragile sanity just by witnessing its power. Not something you really want to happen mid game.
This portrayal of the Old One is that from the tale of The Dunwich Horror. As much as it’s ever present in all chapters and happenings, it’s never seen. Omnipresent would be the best description of its form. Always there, acting through the actions of its followers. So what is the mountain of flesh the mini is meant to represent? It’s Wilbur Whateley’s twin. Together they serve as the children of Yog-Sothoth in an attempt to bring Yog-Sothoth’s being into our plain of existence. But don’t be disheartened that the weighty plastic stunner isn’t the big bad itself. The representations of Wilbur and the Horror are superbly on point when compared to the descriptions of The Dunwich Horror.
In A Nutshell
The Yog-Sothoth expansion for Cthulhu Death May Die is a welcomed change of pace to Cthulhu and Hastur. The need to manage enemies and spawn rates becomes a necessary objective, adding more to think about and extra challenge. The perfect balance to Yog-Sothoth’s easier to fight form compared to its peers’ mechanics and play. Yog-Sothoth is the Old One we take on when we’re really wanting to cause some damage whilst still feeling like it’s to the wire. There’s no easy win, and teamwork is more necessary than ever! A highly recommended addition!