|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 09 April 2010|
He must have set the fire, you know, while I was asleep. He told me it ought to be burned - the clinic, and everything in it, Surama, too. It was the only way to save the world from the unknown horrors he had loosed upon it. He knew, and he did what was best.
– H.P. Lovecraft and Adolphe de Castro – The Last Test
In this week's Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game spotlight we'll take a look at another new subtype that was announced as part of The Yuggoth Contract cycle: the Lunatics. These come with a particularly evocative type of templating asking you to drive them insane. Before they end up in the asylum though, they will act out whatever their mental illness compels them to do. Crazed Arsonist (Whispers in the Dark, F5) will try to burn down buildings, for instance.
The cost for triggering this effect looks a lot like exhausting a character, but it's actually a different cost. There is nothing standing in your way of driving an exhausted character insane. You can commit Crazed Asonist to a story, and still use his ability on your opponent's turn to set fire to one of his locations. And if he restores, he'll be exhausted again, but his ability is ready to be used again.
Some of the downsides are that you can only restore one character at the beginning of your turn. At some point this requires careful planning if you control more insane characters, for example if you used multiple lunatics. And insane characters are very vulnerable since they always have zero cost, zero skill and can't benefit from toughness to protect them. Any deck can play a Shotgun Blast (Core Set, F16) or Deep One Assault (Core Set, F56) for free, and without the need of a resource match to kill them. Some cards even trigger on a character going or being insane, so be careful!
The upside is that going insane also removes a character from a story. Clever use of a lunatic allows for some bait and switch tactics. Insanity is a temporary harm so in some cases you'll gain a slight advantage. Arkham Asylum (Core Set, F146) allows for a quick recovery if it doesn't get burned down first. Insanity also removes any unwanted attachments. While these upsides don't come up often, keep them in mind.
Lunatics can be switched off, using willpower. Willpower stops the ability of playing their cost. The same is true for terror icons. Empty Sockets stops any of their tricks, as long as you're willing to face double terror at the opposite site of the stories. A lot of cards and abilities take on a new meaning when lunatics are around.
Crazed Arsonist isn't the only Lunatic in the upcoming set. The insanity cost is one that works well within this games' framework but it hasn't been done much before. A Small Price To Pay (Core Set, F19) went before this, but it's surprising there aren't that many more. The Lunatic subtype ended up on these cards relatively late in the process. Subtypes have lots of different functions; Some are there to group cards to make it easy to refer to each other. Mi-Go cards do this to transfer bonuses to each other. The Lunatics got their subtype to group them together to make it easy to refer to the ability, making it easier and shorter to inform players of the game state. And Locations are in more danger of being destroyed, if risking a Dhole Attack! (In the Dread of Night, F54) isn't bad enough. Crazed Arsonists are just waiting to turn them to ashes.
Special thanks to Marius Hartland, who provided this week’s Call of Cthulhu spotlight.
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.
That card is crazy good (no pun intended).
I really enjoy this card!
Excellent flavor and art.