Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Frédéric Morard

IELLO 2014

No. of Players:
2 - 5



Cute graphics and an unusual theme compelled me to test Night of the Grand Octopus from IELLO, and so my gaming group assembled around the table and assumed the roles of Cultists who want to collect the needed ingredients to summon the dreaded Grand Octopus. The gamebox promised a rather short playtime, and indeed a four player game just lasts for about 20 minutes. Before the game can start, three ingredient tokens are placed into each of the six locations on the gameboard (all of which are part of an ancient University for Sorcery), and in addition an outlying location with additional ingredients is placed next to the main gameboard. Each location contains different ingredients, but all ingredients at a location are of the same kind. The victory conditions sound quite easy: By the first to collect four different ingredient tokens, wake up the Great Octopus and become his favourite minion.

The players use secret choice wheels to indicate the targets of their Cultists' upcoming movements, and when all players have made their choice all of them will reveals their wheels simultaneously and place their Cultists to the new location. No specific rules for movement need to be observed, the locations just need to be adjacent to each other.

If a Cultist ends up alone on a location, he is allowed to take one of the ingredient tokens if he does not already possess one of this kind. However, things get more complicated if one or more other Cultists are present, because now the players will have to discuss what they will do. The easiest thing is to agree to do nothing, and in this case no one in this location may take an ingredient this round. However, if the players can agree on one Cultist, that Cultist actually may be allowed to take an ingredient token. You might ask yourself why a player should agree to another player receiving a token, and the answer to this lies in the fact that, if the players cannot agree on anything, they will have a small fight which results in every present Cultist loosing a lifepoint. Now, if a player is low on lifepoints, this might induce him to agree to another player taking a token from this location, because otherwise another lifepoint would be lost.

In addition to his Cultist, each player also controls an Offspring figure, a huge thug who is meant to scare and beat up other players' Cultists. The movement of the Offspring is controlled by a second hand on the secret choice wheel, and whenever a player's Cultist shares a location with another player's Offspring no token may be taken, but instead all present Cultists will loose a lifepoint. If a player actually sends both his Cultist and his Offspring to the same place, the Offspring actually will be removed from the gameboard for one round, whereas the Cultist now is free to move to the outlying location next to the gameboard. Ingredient tokens may be gained there as well, and during his next turn the Cultist will return to the gameboard in the normal fashion, once again also placing his Offspring.

The game ends when either a player has collected all needed ingredients or when all but one Cultist have been removed from the game. Due to the rather short playing duration the removal of a player is not negatively perceived, and once the first player drops out the game will end even faster. This also suggests that Night of the Grand Octopus shouldn't be taken too seriously, but instead the players should best play in a whacky mood, being ready to guess, counter-guess and triple-guess where they should move their Cultist and where the other players possibly will move theirs. The game wants to be funny and entertaining, and this target certainly is reached on all aspects. Taking off immediately with the first round of moving, hilarious meetings take place in the different locations, and there will be some shifting alliances to stop a player who might get a lead in this crazy race. Some additional variation is added by the different kinds of outlying locations, and so each of these places has its own special power like healing a lifepoint, stealing an ingredient from another player etc. So, grasp your hoods, put on a devilish smile and try to get the favour of yer olde Grande Octopus!

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Copyright & copy; 2014 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany