Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game

Call of Cthulhu:LCG Review by Todd Barker is a Living Card Game where players will use spells, characters and locations based on the weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft to compete for the success of story cards Rating: 4

Call of Cthulhu is a very fast paced cardgame where your goal is to win three story cards. You win story cards by placing 5 success tokens on them. In order to place success tokens you must commit characters to a specific story. Once both players have committed you go through a series of challenges that will effect the outcome of the story, winning and losing challenges has effects on your characters. Here are the different challenges and what they do to the winning / losing player.

Terror Struggle:  The loser of the terror struggle must choose a character and turn that character 'insane'. An insane character can no longer participate in the story conflict, is returned to its owner's play area turned face down until the character is cured during a refresh phase.

Combat Struggle: The winner of a combat struggle places a wound token on an opposing character. Most characters can take only 1 wound, the exception is a character with the keyword TOUGHNESS +. The number that follows the + tells you how many additional wounds he can take, a character with toughness+1 can take 2 wounds.

Arcane Struggle  The winner of this struggle chooses and refreshes a character committed to the story (this character does not have to have an arcane icon) This allows that character to be committed during his/her opponents turn.

Investigation Struggle: The winner of this challenge places a success icon on the story immediately. If this is the 5th token you claim the story and immediately carry out its text.

How do you figure out who wins each type of struggle  It's easy! You simply count the total number of each icon and the player with the higher amount wins. If there is a tie nothing happens, unless a character has the keyword FAST, then they break ties for the icons that character possesses.

After you have done these 4 challenges in this order you total up the 'skill' of both sides and if they 'active player' (the attacker) has a higher skill he/she adds a success token. If the "defender" has more then nothing happens.

When a player fills all the success token slots available at a story, he/she gets to take the story card and immediately carry out the action written on it.

Now that you know how to win lets start with how you actually get to that point. Lets go over a player's turn in order:

> Refresh committed characters, turn 1 insane character back to sane, remove your statues from your domains.
> On a player's turn they will first draw 2 cards, they can choose to add any 1 card to one of their 'Domains' so that it provides additional resources.
> You may now play characters/support and or event cards from your hand by paying the appropriate resource cost.
> You choose which characters you are committing to each story, then the other player gets a chance to commit his characters to "Defend" a story.


Most cards have a cost associated with them (in the upper top left corner), in order to play this card you must meet its conditions (characters/support can only be played on your turn, most event cards are self explanatory as to when they should be played) and you must pay the total resource cost. Note in addition to having the required amount of resources to pay for a card, you also need 1 matching faction symbol. To activate a domain to pay for a cost you place your Cthulhu statue on it this signifies that it cannot be used again until your next turn. Note when activating a domain you cannot split its value to pay for multiple cards, nor can you activate multiple domains to pay for a single card.

This is an example of neutral cards with no faction symbol, to play these you can use any type of resources.

Faction Symbols In a Domain

Components: The artwork on the cards are superb, even the backs. The tokens are double sided as wound or investigation this stops you from worrying about as many pieces. The board although a little small is very visually appealing. Of course the coolest part about the game are the statues you use to mark your domains as you use them, they are detailed and just plain awesome.

Card Types: All cards have their 'type' printed on the bottom left. Story and Conspiracy Cards do not, but their picture is much bigger and they are printed longways instead of like a traditional card.

Support: Once support cards are played they stay in play until destroyed by another card's effects or if the character they are attached to is destroyed.

Event: An event card is a one time use spell or action, it is played directly from your hand and discarded after its text is resolved. Event cards can be played at any time and lots of them are intended to be played on the opponents turn.

Characters: These are characters from the Lovecraft universe, they make up the core of your deck. Characters are used to win challenges and place success tokens onto story cards as well as destroy other characters and turn them insane.

Story Cards: Story cards represent your goal in Call of Cthulhu, in order to win you must obtain three. Three will be face up at all times (after a player wins a story card a new one takes its place), and each turn players will 'commit' their 'characters' to engage in four types of struggles and hopefully win success tokens, when a player has 5 success tokens they win the story.

Conspiracy: Conspiricy cards work the same way as story cards except they are played from a player's hand instead of the story deck. Once won a conspiracy card counts towards the three required to win.

Who will enjoy Call of Cthulhu?

Casual Gamers: Call of C'thulhu is more casual friendly than say Magic the Gathering because it is not a ccg. LCGs are expandable and still release new card packs quite frequently so there is room to get heavily into CoC. However because the cards are not random and you can play a full interesting and fun game with just the core set this is certainly a more casual friendly option versus traditional collectible card games.

Gamer Gamers: Because of the vast amount of lore that goes alongside any game set in the Lovecraft universe there are a lot of expansions for this game. This is a good thing, a game rich in lore and theme is easier to get into, introduce new players and there is always room for the game to expand and grow. A 'hardcore' gamer can really get into this because of the amount of cards available and deep strategy involved. You can really customize your deck until it works just how you like or until it's featuring your favourite characters, card gamers specifically will love this one.

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