Before I begin, I was provided a review copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid preview.
If you would rather watch this review, check it out below.
In general “take that” games are not my favorite. However, there are definitely exceptions. These exceptions are when a game does it just right, and with the right amount of humor. This is why Red Dragon Inn is my all time favorite game. So it was with a little bit of trepidation that I dove into Crazy Cultists. (Hitting Kickstarter on June 1, 2019)
The premise behind the game is that each player is a Crazy Cultist trying to summon a demon or devil into the world first. It is not stated just what demon or devil you are summoning so it is left up to your imagination.
The game plays quickly, with each player having a hand that tops out at three cards. On your turn you can play a “favor” card “or a “hinjinx” card. The difference between the two is that the former are used to get you closer to summoning your demon and the latter is used to make it more challenging for your opponents to summon theirs. After you play a card you draw a card. Once you draw it is the next players turn. It is that simple.
Once you gain 10 favor you light one of the 5 needed candles in your pentagram. Lighting all five grants you victory as your demon emerges. As more candles are lit the game speeds up as each lit candle is worth a single favor point…so if you have 2 candles lit you only need to obtain 8 favor.
So what do I think?
I like that this game knows what it is, it is a simple and fast take that game. It does not pretend to be anything else and it certainly delivers. Moreover it is fun, and we laughed a lot. It does a solid job of delivering on its theme with the cards, and the pentagram with its candle spots and candle tokens are a nice touch, it even goes so far as to say, in the rules no less, that if you manage to see another players cards then you should, and not feel bad about announcing what their cards are. There is a decent amount of variety to the hijinx cards which keeps the game from being stale, but there is not so much that you cannot learn what they all do rather quickly.
I also like that there is a lot of story that you can put onto the game. We chose to make the game quite silly (I suppose you could go all kinds of dark and creepy and go with you are actually trying to summon the devil), and we each came up with our own demon that we were trying to summon. You will be happy to know that the Glitter and Meatloaf demon both managed to be summoned, but the truly evil Potato Demon never came to destroy the world with his starchy horror. I don’t forsee most being as goofy as that, but perhaps the great old ones or something from an RPG campaign.
The rule book is pretty well done, though it did take us a hot minute to figure out exactly how some of the cards worked, I suspect that could be a little bit clearer. Though on the other hand, it is cool, that there is a spot for you to record your house rules.
I also am not overly impressed with the art. I think there could be a little more color to them, and a little more detail to match some of the great titles on the cards. (looking at you Nerdronomicon, and Beelze-beatdown). I think there is a missed opportunity to make those awesome. The same goes for the pentagrams, it would be really cool to have some kind of art on them.
I do not have much here, other than I wish that there were different cultists that you could play. Even if it was just a picture that would add a little more flavor to the game and not leave it all up to the players. It would be even cooler if each cultist had some kind of a minor power that made them slightly different. Though this would make the game a bit more complex.
Bringing it together
Crazy Cultists is a fun game. It really reminds me of a simplified Red Dragon Inn, which is a good thing. The game has lots of opportunity for fun story telling and plays quickly, while being easy to learn. I think there could be some slight improvement in the rulebook, and there could be some art improvements if some more detail were to be added.
I am afraid that I might summon a demon if I read all that
*Fun, light simple, take-that game
*Lots of room for fun story telling
*The game is funny to play
*Solid art, but there is room for improvement
*Inexpensive (going to be about $15 to pledge)
*Does a good job of delivering on the theme