|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 04 February 2011|
The first of the incidents, in which it is thought an attempt to bury something was frustrated, occurred a year ago last March, and has been attributed to bootleggers seeking a cache. It is possible, says Sergt. Riley, that this third affair is of similar nature. Officers at the Second Station are taking especial pains to capture the gang of miscreants responsible for these repeated outrages.
- H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
I have to be honest about this. Syndicate is my personal favorite faction. While it may have something to do with the number of criminal anti-heroes that have their operations on the periphery of society (where the dark mythos forces also lurk), or the speakeasies where deals are done under the enjoyment of bootleg liquor, the main reason is just one card: Panic (Core Set, F77.)
When I started playing, this is the card that drew my immediate attention. I always like quick, straightforward strategies and even though Panic doesn’t have a permanent effect on the board, often it’s enough to commit to three stories, resolve them unopposed and win the game before there ever is another chance for characters to restore. There are some inconveniences though: When going up against high skill, it can cost a lot for Panic to be effective, and the Loyal keyword means that you’ll have to be very invested in Syndicate to make it work consistently.
That, and you can only carry three copies of Panic. Fortunately, the upcoming Perilous Trials Asylum Pack brings you another option, in a do-or-die package called Gang Warfare (Perilous Trials, F38) that gets rid of Loyal but introduces a few challenges of its own.
First of all, it asks you to sacrifice a criminal character, preferably one with high skill. Those are few and far between. Your only real options are Tyler Scindere (Whispers in the Dark, F15) or Elite Hit Squad (Secrets of Arkham, F13). Aside from those you can take a random criminal and urge him to Get On Yer Feet! (Core Set, F78) – and promptly kick him down again by sacrificing him in the Gang Warfare. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
Another trick is to take a character with natural high skill, then frame him using False Papers (The Path to Y'ha-nthlei, F106). It wasn’t like you were planning to keep that Basilisk (Sleep of the Dead, F96) around for long anyway, so, that’s a win/win situation, right?
Or you can use the standard ability of Syndicate to lower the skill of other characters, and use a criminal with medium skill as bait in your evil plan. Syndicate Liaison (Core Set, F68) is a good example. After exhausting the highest skilled opposing character, he pretty much outlives his usefulness, so no one will miss him.
Your final challenge is timing. While Panic can be played at your convenience, you have to play Gang Warfare during your operations phase. Since Syndicate isn’t quite known for high skill, this means most of your characters will be exhausted before you can enter the story phase to capitalize on an empty field. Freelance Photographer (Core Set, F72) is easy to ready and Legacy of Ramses (Core Set, F80) most certainly works, but the best trick is just to play a few characters after you used Gang Warfare.
When things start to stagnate, and two opposing forces just stare angrily at each other, this is your chance to break through and score the final tokens, by running unopposed. Just be very careful: If you fail, it’s likely you’ll get the short end of the stick. But if you’re true to the ideals of the Syndicate, you aren’t afraid of a little high stakes gamble. Time to go all in.
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.
Oh snap! Now this is an offer that will be very hard to refuse...