Night of the Grand Octopus

Nov 24th 2023

Today’s post intent is to highlight on of the games we carry. The secondary effect is to pique your interest in order to pull you off video games and other electronic devices and reconnect with people in a more personal way.

Since I am a fan of the author H.P. Lovecraft, I decided to start with a game that falls into that genre. The game is Night of the Grand Octopus. If you know anything of Lovecraft lore, the Grand Octopus is the Cthulhu. Tactics 2 Toys, LLC has a few items based on H.P. Lovecraft lore, but I went with something that can be played by the young to the well-seasoned Lovecraft fan. Here is the premise of the game.

Premise of the game:

Long ago, the Grand Octopus, one filled with cosmically divine powers, reigned over the entire world — until an unfortunate combination of circumstances imprisoned it at the bottom of the ocean. Idle under miles of water, it fell asleep dreaming of the day when its time would come once again.

You are one of the Elect and have been recruited by the Illuminati to form a cult to glorify the tentacled one. Also, your dreams have told you that the time has come, the stars have aligned so that you can perform the "Ritual of Appeal" and bring the Grand Octopus to surface once again. To perform the ritual, however, you need the right magical components, components to be found in a famous English university for young wizards and witches — and you're not the only one seeking them.

Clandestinely gather the 4 components necessary to complete the ritual to allow the Grand Octopus reentry into the world from his dream state. At the same time, you need to precent the other cultist from completing it. Be the first one to invoke the Grand Octopus and earn his favor.

Game Play Sequence (abridged):

At the start of each round, players place their cult member and monster tokens secretly on locations. They reveal the locations simultaneously. If the cult member is the sole token on a location, the cult group gains strength. If multiple cult members compete for the same spot, they either loose strength or enter negotiations. If a cult member and monster occupy the same location, the cult member is eliminated.

Game component list:

  • Players: 3-5
  • Ages: 7+
  • Play Time: 20 min
  • Category: Family Game
  • 1 game board
  • 1 Dagger of Power
  • 2 two-sided Seventh Location boards
  • 5 Cultist pawns, one per color
  • 5 Offspring pawns, one per color
  • 5 Cult Power markers, one per color
  • 5 Command Clock, one per color
  • 28 component tokens, 4 each of: grimoire, stone idol, skull, potion, start chart, plant, silver key)
  • 1 rulebook

Other facts:

Night of the Grand Octopus was released in 2014. It was designed by Frédéric Morard.

Detailed Play Sequence:

1) Select movement – players use their clock to secretly and simultaneously choose where they want their Cultist and Offspring tokens to move to. The dagger is used for the Cultist and the tentacle for the Offspring. You should not send the Cultist and the Offspring to the same location. Offspring can move to any location on the board. Cultists can either stay where they are or move to any location which is connected with a staircase.

2) Reveal the clocks – move your pawns appropriately based on how you set your clock. It is possible to send your Cultist to the Exterior location – this is done when both the dagger and tentacle are pointing to the same spot. IF this happens, the Cultist is placed on the external location BUT the Offspring remains off the board for this turn.

3) Resolve the locations – best to do this in numerical order to not miss anything

IF there is only one cultist in a location, that location is “dominated”. The cult which is there is able to collect one of the ritual component tokens from that site.

IF there are multiple cultists as well as Offspring, then there’s a fight. Each Cultist loses one cult power (because they are beaten up by the bigger Offspring). If your Cult power is reduced to zero, you have been eliminated from the game.

IF there are multiple cultists, but no Offspring – there is a bit of negotiation. Players can agree to have nothing happen OR they can agree to let one cult gather a component while the other cult(s) get nothing. IF there is no agreement, then all cults presents take one point of damage to their cult power.

You should also note that each of the four possible external locations has a special ability associated with it – if your Cultist ends the turn in this external location – you should also take advantage of the ability.

Dimension of Dreams: You gain 1 point of cult power (unless you have lost a point there this turn or picked up the Silver Key)

Agoba Marsh: If you dominate this location, you may exchange one of your Components for one of you opponent’s Moon Men: If you dominate, but do not take a key, you can lose 1 Cult Point to then force an opponent to discard one of his Components

Lost City: Regardless of what happens in this location, all Cultists present first lose a Cult Point before the resolution of the location. (You could lose another point here as a result!)

4) See if someone wins – if any cult has 4 different components for the ritual, they are able to perform said ritual and gain the favor of the Giant Octopus. IF there is a tie, it is broken by the player who has the component from the lowest numbered space in the University.

5) Reset – if no one wins, then all the offspring are removed from the board, and you start the next round.