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    Review: Feed the Shoggoth

    May 2, 2016

    In short, Feed the Shoggoth! is a light-hearted card game about being the leader of a Lovecraftian cult. Three to six players take turns attempting to sacrifice the newest members of their cult to the protoplasmic Shoggoth in order to gain power and influence within the dark, otherworldly realm of the Cthulhu mythos. Care must be exercised, however! If the vile Shoggoth comes to you looking for a sacrifice and you have nothing to offer, it’s YOU who will be the lunch of the Elder Gods. Buckle your seatbelt; this game is fast-paced, aggressively fun, and just a little bit ridiculous.

    Things start off with each player (Cult Leader) choosing their faction (cult). There are ten different cults from which to pick, each with its own unique advantage. The Chapel of Contemplation, for example, allows its leader to win the game with one less point that everyone else, while the Esoteric Order of Dagon lets its leader move the Shoggoth one space each turn. Particularly useful is the Keziah Masons Coven, a faction which allows you to look at another player’s hand, which is great for teaching the game to new players and advising them in their actions.

    There are four card types used in the game: Minions, which are sacrificed to the Shoggoth; Actions, which can be played at any time for an immediate effect; Spells, which can be played at any time but can be countered or reacted to; and Artifacts, which have powerful abilities but take a turn to get ready. A great number of the Actions and Spells deal with moving the Shoggoth around the play area, as a central goal of the game is pulling the Shoggoth toward you for sacrificial offerings while keeping it away from your opponents so they cannot do the same.

    Some Spells do particularly mean things, like Eltdown Shards, which allows a player to steal points from an opponent, or Shriveling, which permanently reduces an opponent’s maximum hand-size. At the end of each player’s turn, he or she draws back up to the maximum hand-size of seven cards, so it’s okay to go wild and use as many cards as you think will be effective on your turn. But be careful to save important cards you might wish to play during an opponent’s turn, as they can be equally helpful to your ultimate plan. Thus the balance of offense- and defense-based allocation of resources in Feed the Shoggoth! is a central strategy to the game. As fast and frantic as it can be, there’s some serious decision-making to be done.

    Points are earned through sacrificing Minions to the Shoggoth, and the game plays to three to five points depending on the number of players involved. If the Shoggoth lands in front of you and you have no Minions to offer forth, you’re eaten by the hungry beast and are out of the game. In addition to winning by points, a savvy Cult Leader may also win by being the last one left alive.

    Feed the Shoggoth! rewards players for outwitting their opponents by playing them off each other, as well as for making use of as many cards as they can on opponents’ turns, which maximizes their replenishment draw at the end of their turn. Putting yourself into the lead at the beginning is not necessarily the best plan as it can put a target on your back, forcing you to suffer the worst of your opponents’ cards. So a careful balance must be struck between when and how you score points. Some good bluffing skills are also helpful, especially when you don’t have a Minion to sacrifice, and making the other Cult Leaders do the work of pulling the Shoggoth away from you is always advantageous.

    Feed the Shoggoth! is a “deliciously evil Lovecraftian card game”, great for playing with your friends who are able to handle a little aggression. Though the box recommends ages 14 and up, the game is easily learnable by kids as young as eight. It’s fast-paced, dynamic, and tactical, making you think about your choices and making your opponents think about them twice as hard. So don your robe and funny hat and get ready to thwart the plans of those whom you call your “friends”. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!


    If you like: Fluxx, Guillotine, Munchkin
    You’d definitely enjoy: Feed the Shoggoth!
    MRP: $20.00
    Designers: Badger McInnes
    Produced by: Squamous Studios