Games Gazette Logo

ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS by Ripstone and Auroch Digital on the PC is a digitised version of the miniatures based Boardgame and Role-Playing Game from Modiphius Entertainment.  Steam: £19.99
Challenge the horrifying reign of Nazi terror and battle an immortal evil in Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics; a turn-based tactical strategy game set in the award-winning Achtung! Cthulhu universe.

Key Features

  • Tactical Combat: direct a squad of allied heroes in innovative turn-based ground battles.
  • Momentum System: perform well in combat by racking up kills and executing critical hits to earn Momentum and turn the tide of battle in your favour.
  • Light vs Dark: harness the power of the light to expose and suppress the spawn of Cthulhu hiding in wait in the oppressive darkness.
  • AP System: every decision is important and the Action Point System gives you the flexibility to put as much emphasis into heavy combat or nimble movement as you like.
  • Psychological System: witness too many horrors of war and watch as your unit's sanity begins to unravel mid-fight.
  • Build Your Team: characters have unique skills that can be unlocked and levelled up in different ways, and weapons can be modified to give a variety of benefits. This lets you customise your squad to better vanquish Nazi scum.
  • Weird World War: explore the Lovecraft-meets-WW2 universe of Achtung! Cthulhu like never before with Mythos-inspired enemies and a story-driven campaign handcrafted by John Houlihan which ties directly into the pen and paper roleplaying game narrative.

MATURE CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Set in an alternate WWII - battlefield violence including shooting, grenades and tanks. Depictions of war and combat throughout.

 

This is a turn based tabletop wargame in which the Nazis are the enemy but behind their uprising are some of Lovecraft's most fearsome creations. Are you brave enough to save the free world ?

You begin with a 2-person unit which you add to as you go along. Each character has a set number of points they can spend on Movement and Actions etc so it is possible to move into position and fire.

In the first few encounters when you take fire it is quite likely that the Nazi 'Black Sun' troopers will be poor shots and weak, missing more than hitting yet falling dead after one maybe two hits.

 

It plays just like a tabletop wargame with the exception that you can only see so far ahead of you (on the table you can see all the terrain, though hidden movement might conceal enemy units). As you move towards the dark so it becomes visible. Enemy units move in a fog-like visibility until they get (or you get) close enough for them to see you or vice versa.

What I like a lot about ACHTUNG CTHULHU! on Steam is that you can play it 'arcade' style charging in and getting into an exciting fire-fight where your troops will fire at whoever you order them to until they or their target is down, if they are still standing they will aim and fire automatically at the nearest enemy. I also like that you can play it strategically, sending scouts ahead, noting enemy positions, moving individually or as a unit, finding cover and firing sensibly from said cover (ie popping up, firing then ducking down again).

 

The characters are well detailed and you can get in quite close to them, both sides once the fog is clear, but the overall view of the terrain is generally fairly dark (adding to the atmosphere), lit up by burning buildings and vehicles or the colourful action lines, circles and grids. When you can see the ground clearly it is so well defined that you can almost count each blade of grass. Ok I realise that you are more interested in the action, tactics and strategies rather than how great the grass looks, but what you should be thinking is that if the designers have put so much time and commitment into the casually regarded ground then how much more time, effort and commitment have they put into the actual game and game-play itself. 

 

The deeper you get into your missions the more likely you are to find that your enemy is no longer human Nazis. Once you get inside from the grassland and forest you find that the underground bunker style buildings are mostly grey, uninteresting and just as dark, only now you are in combat against things that most definitely go 'bump' in the night and, of course, things that are certainly the stuff of nightmares. 

 

As you progress you can upgrade your skill levels by choice; you gain points through actions and reaching objectives etc and then you have a circular skill tree where you can spend those points, determining which portions of your character's whole self get the benefit. There are claims that ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS on Steam (soon to be available on consoles also) is an RPG (a role-playing game rather than Rocket Propelled Grenade) and because you can better your character's skills as well as their weaponry and armour the skill tree and point spending is seen to confirm this. In actuality it isn't a role-playing game (nor is it a Rocket Propelled Grenade) it is a tabletop wargame with animated armed forces; in fact it is a very good  tabletop wargame with animated armed forces, where the 'tabletop' is visualised through several electric circuits and processed onto your monitor.

 

There have been many similar styled action games, some featuring humans and modern war and others featuring classic fantasy creatures and heroes, and I am sure as technology gets broader and better then there will be many more games and entertainments of this genre, but for now, the present not the future, there is ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS and we should be grateful for it.

    

Will it appease pro-tabletop miniatures based wargamers ? possibly not - if they cannot pick it up and examine its paint job then it has no place in their world, but for the majority of us who only have odd and unsocial hours for their free leisure time then ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS is the closest we are going to get to a tabletop game without having to actually set up a tabletop with miniature army units, buildings, caverns and enemy creatures and Nazis and then find an available friend with the same hobby at exactly the time when you need them. Basically if you are on your own and you fancy some good, well designed, edge of seat adventure then the £20.00 spent on ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS will be repaid in entertainment value in a very short time.

I cannot, hand on heart, say this is perfect. I would, for example be happier with a quick message saying 'missed' than as it is in this game where you sit watching guideline shooting arcs going wildly past your target. I understand that circumstances, movement etc make you miss the occasional shot, trained marksmen in military units miss many many times more than they hit - the more they fire the better the chance of hitting something or somebody - I just personally don't like seeing the firing lines, they are, again this is all my personal opinion, they are unnecessary.

I would imagine that Modiphius are very happy with this computer version of ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS especially as they can have a game or video of a game running at shows they attend when they are actually demonstrating the 3D visual version. I know I like it a lot. For me it is better  then the physical version because it is often my wife and myself who play games daily and she is not a fan of war-type games of this genre, so I can sit at the PC and enjoy meeting Cthulhu and company while she sits and watches the 'Walking Dead' on TV.

This is a game that is both visually stunning and awkwardly so dark in the majority of areas. It uses the circle round the base mechanic to single out each specific figure and it also has the health bar above the head guage for life-threatening situations, where it is most helpful. 

I think that the majority of war gamers who play online and separate games that feature armed units will enjoy ACHTUNG CTHULHU! TACTICS as an atypical game with its roots in both the Wargame and the Horror genres. Fighting Nazis, running after them as they flee, and then rounding a corner to meet the monsters that live/lived under your bed is a shock to the system even when you expect it because of the games advertising campaign. Switching from reality to fantasy in the blink of an eye is a great way to kickstart your interest in what makes Cthulhu tick.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015