Spiel 2014 Preview: Night of the Grand Octopus

Posted by James (admin) on October 1st, 2014

Night of the Grand Octopus gameNight of the Grand Octopus is a game of second-guessing and double-think your opponents, with Cthulhoid overtones, as you try to be the cult that summons the great tentacled one.  The first player to gather all of the required items to perform the summoning rite wins.

Each player has two tokens – one represents your cultists and the other represents your monster.  Each turn, players set, and then simultaneously reveal, the locations where each of their tokens is going to move to.   Monsters can move anywhere, but cultists can only move to one location one space from their current location.

Each locations starts with items that the players are trying to collect.  If one cultist token is on a location with no monsters, they can take one of the items.  However, if there are cultists and monsters on a location, the cultists gain nothing and a fight breaks out with all players involved losing 1 cult power.  If there are multiple cultists but no monsters, the player must agree to all take nothing, or agree which single player will take an item; if they can’t agree, a fight breaks out and all players lose 1 cult power.

As well as the main locations, the game is played with 1 of the 4 external locations which players can move to instead fora special effect.  I like that the rules explain what effect on the game each of these external locations will have, i.e. longer, more tactical, etc.Night of the Grand Octopus boxSo, Night of the Grand Octopus is about working out what your opponents are going to do, and then trying not to descend into the madness of thinking I-know-that-they-know-that-I know-that-they-will…

I enjoy this type of game as it makes for great interaction as you try to second-guess each other and sometimes the most ridiculously bold and obvious move is often the one people least expect – such as Mille Grazie, last year’s Om Nom Nom and this year’s forthcoming Attack on Monster.  However, the core gameplay mechanic in Night of the Grand Octopus sounds most similar to that of Sneaks and Snitches, which is one of my favourite games.  Night of the Grand Octopus is a bit different though because each player needs to collect a set of specific items, plus cultist movement is limited to moving to neighbouring locations; as a result, there should interesting information with which to work when trying to guess what your opponents’ actions will be.  Also, each player has cult power and a player is eliminated from the game if that reaches zero, which means you may want/need to try to avoid bumping into opponents sometimes.

The artwork and playing pieces look nice and suitably mad.  More info and the rules are available on Superlude’s Night of the Grand Octopus web page which can be reached using this shortlink: bga.me/octopus

For more Spiel 2014 previews, check out my Spiel 2014 Previews page which lists the games on my radar with links to their previews too.


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