Cthentacle: At the Mountings of Madness review

From Shane O’Connor, you can buy Cthentacle etc HERE

Cthentacle, I’ve learned from experience, is one of those games where everybody looks at you funny when you suggest a game of it. After all, most people would think it odd that you’d want to play (and want them to play) a card game based around tentacle-rape. This is only compounded if you mention that you’ve also got the expansion sets for the game. But you know what? If you’re going to pull out something this nasty and perverted, you might as well go all the way (innuendos intended). It’s with that thought that we turn to the second Cthentacle expansion: At the Mountings of Madness.

Like the previous expansion (The Dunbitch Horror), At the Mountings of Madness introduces two new characters and twenty new cards, along with the generic card-backs. There’s even a scenario behind this expansion to the game, though it’s little more than “an explorer and her sailor companion set out for the Antarctic to see what they can find.” Of course, what they find are some ancient and horny Mythos monsters.

The cards have a fairly even distribution of number cards (which range from 1 to 5) along with some new ! and SP cards. However, I’m still frowning over the uneven distribution of cards. It was perhaps inevitable, given that there are seven card types (note that I’m not counting character cards) and twenty cards in the set. Still, the staggered number of card types means that playing some number cards will be more difficult since you must play them sequentially and there’s less of some numbers than others.

One interesting tidbit to the game is a variation on normal Cthentacle play called Investigation. In this version, there are six “locations” (which the game says you should just lay out some sort of markers to represent) and your goal is to have your character advance through them to the final destination, which is the lost city of O RLYEH. The method of advancement requires you to give up a card, but otherwise this plays much like normal Cthentacle, with numbered cards played on your character until your “spooged,” though this doesn’t disqualify you but rather sends you back to the starting location.

I was a bit disappointed to see that this expansion pack didn’t take into account the cards from the previous expansion that required some explanation. Some of the cards in The Dunbitch Horror required explanation for ambiguous powers like “works on humanoid-looking cards.” That expansion listed explicitly what cards in it and the base game phrases like that referred to – a further listing should have been provided for this set so that things stayed clear.

Of course, for all these minor flaws, this expansion pack stays eminently true to the dark eros of Cthentacle. Artist Darkzel continues to draw full-color artwork for all of the cards, showing the lovely ladies (and oftentimes other things) in situations ranging from bending over provocatively to being bound and violated by tentacled horrors. It’s great stuff, in other words, and almost distracts from the awful card names; if you’re a Lovecraft fan, you’ll roll your eyes at titles like “Pnacocktic Manuscripts” and other bad jokes. It all just goes to show that Cthentacle has still got it, so whip our your deck and get to the Mountings of Madness!

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