|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 20 May 2011|
…And artists had begun to dream of a strange, dank Cyclopean city whilst a young sculptor had moulded in his sleep the form of the dreaded Cthulhu. March 23rd the crew of the Emma landed on an unknown island and left six men dead; and on that date the dreams of sensitive men assumed a heightened vividness and darkened with dread of a giant monster's malign pursuit, whilst an architect had gone mad and a sculptor had lapsed suddenly into delirium!
- H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
Hellish Outlines, Nameless Monstrosities
There is a challenge representing the threat of the Ancient Ones in a game like Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. For one, Ancient Ones are so far beyond the known that it drives people insane even trying to comprehend them. A game, however, needs rules and needs the components to be defined and quantifiable. Games also need a certain amount of balance to work. Ancient Ones are about imbalance. They rise, they rend reality apart just being there. We are mere insect in comparison.
On the other hand, leaving them out of the game isn’t a solution either. Games are there to be fun, and summoning all powerful beings and subjecting them to your will is fun. Rarely do the Ancient Ones actually rise in Cthulhu Mythos stories. They just lurk at the threshold while their minor stirrings already wreak enough havoc for investigators to know these beings are there and everyone is doomed. But how can you have a game set in a world on the brink of cataclysm when there is no risk that cataclysm actually happens? Bringing about the apocalypse in a game is a fun thing to do and that is what games are for.
Stirring and Horrible
While He Sleeps (The Gleaming Spiral, F83) brings it all together though, showing exactly how impending the doom is and how Cthulhu pulls the strings on the background in preparation for the day the stars are right. You achieve this effect by doing something else that is fun, but that isn’t normally part of the game: Showing a little of your hand and sharing the excitement that you’re holding a potentially very dangerous card.
The result of spreading the fear is good too. Suddenly having a lot of terror icons can change everything. Your Cthulhu faction characters can benefit a lot from it. The Deep Ones rarely have terror icons by themselves. While they reside deeply within uncanny valley, apparently they don’t normally wield enough mind-warping magic to drive men insane. Now they do, thanks to Lord Cthulhu sitting in your hand.
Another part of the faction, the Serpents do have terror icons. But they always benefit from having more of it, as they can ‘burn’ them for various effects. Feathered Serpent (Murmurs of Evil, F25) is one of the most extreme cases, with a bewildering amount of possible icon configurations.
What Has Sunk May Rise
The most terrible part is that now, your opponent knows that it won’t be long before the Great Priest rises. They have glimpsed the unspeakable and now live on borrowed time. Cthulhu is no longer a far off myth, but a terrible reality. And that’s all part of the fun!
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.
Adding While He Sleeps to the card pool with Shadowed Reef makes Deep Ones a more viable deck theme.
I have to say... I really dread a mono-Cthulhu deck now.
Yeah, I really like the idea of getting use out of Ancient Ones without actually playing them. The new Ghathanatoa also had something like this. That definitely helps to make adding them to a deck more viable. And who doesn't enjoy seeing the Great Old Ones in the game?
I really like this new form of interaction with cards in hand. I hope it will not be limited only to the Cthulhu faction! And I see Ancient One to be dominant in the future for mythos factions...