Cults Across America

Atlas Games (Trident, Inc), 1998, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up. Cults Across America is basically Risk with a Lovecraftian theme. Players place cults and high priest units on the board and attempt to conquer territory with them. Players draw (or purchase) cards that add random events/powers to the fray. Each turn you get money and more units (based on how many cities you control) that you use to try to expand the territory you control. Combat is simple die rolling (high man wins) with the possibility of adding to your own rolls (or subtracting from your opponants) by using purchased equipment, cards, etc. There are three different scenarios players can choose from, depending on how much time they want to spend playing. The shortest scenario, "The Bloodbath" is actually pretty boring. It really guts most of the fun parts of the game and leaves not much left but die rolling. The normal game is pretty fun, although with only two players available to play, we decided it would have been a lot more fun with at least three. We didn't try the third variant ("Strategic Game"), but it didn't look like it diverged all that much from the "normal" game. The game pieces are pretty cheap - flimsy cardstock board, playing cards and punch-out cardboard counters. Certainly nothing there to justify the $45 price tag, if you ask me (and since you're here, I guess you are asking me). Although it does have one or two interesting game mechanics, it does seem to have borrowed fairly heavily from other games. Still, overall it's a pretty entertaining Risk variant, especially if you're a Lovecraft fan. I'm keeping mine.

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