Monday, June 10, 2013

Of Sandy Petersen, Fenris Games, and Great Old Ones...

     Sandy Petersen and his new Green Eye Games have, with the help of our friends at Fenris Games, are about to become the first "true" Board Game we've discussed at length here at LXG.  The reasons... well... the speak for themselves.  Through the Dark Aether of Kickstarter approaches... Cthulhu Wars.
No, that's no a Great Old One.
Well, techinically...
     There are some names you just wind up mentioning if you go long enough in conversation about horror gaming, and Sandy Petersen is one of those.  From the early days of Chaosium Games back before the Dawn of Time in what us old timers like to call the 1980's, Sandy Petersen has been involved in some of the most memorable projects on the market.

     His RPG resume includes the original Call of Cthulhu RPG, Runequest, and Elfquest, among others.  Around the end of the 80's Sandy got out of the RPG market (which was beginning to sag quite a bit) and instead turned his creative efforts to computer games, giving us the likes of Doom I and II, Quake, Darklands, Sword of the Samurai, and Age of Empires.

     Well, The Sandman is back to his roots, with a Cthulhu based board game on Kickstarter.  This one has a lot of unique elements going for it, blended with tradition board game elements.

What's new in Cthulhu Wars
     Generally, in previous Cthulhu inspired board games, you'rep laying the role of humans trying to stop the invasion and subsequent destruction of your world.  Not so in this new project- you're now the Great Old Ones and their minions, wreaking havoc and attempting to grab the whole pie for yourself verses the other players, also playing Great Old Ones, trying to do the same.  Yup, no gallant Investigators slowing going insane here- the world is nothing more than a snack bar, and you're trying to prove who's hungriest. 

"It's like Risk, but with Cthulhu"

     This quote comes from the enigmatic Mr. Zipprich- who also likened Cthulhu to bacon (it makes everything better) in the world of Wargames.  Hate to say it, but he's dead on- the Cthulhu mythos is  widely appreciated and well received in RPG, TTG, and wargaming of all types.  While we haven't seen any play demos of this game yet, the board and gameplay do seem to be somewhat Risk-like. Which isn't a bad thing, as that's a pretty well tested and accepted mechanic.  In addition, the board is printed on both sides, allowing some variety to gameplay- and further boards are yet-unreached unlockable goals. 

Fenris Games Support
     To be fair, this is where I first heard about this project- our friends at Fenris Games.  They are doing the model support for this board game, and let me tell you, "doing it right" doesn't even begin to cover it.  There are going to be some serious, serious kits coming out from this board game- so much so that at first I thought it was another skirmish wargame being released! Each of the Great Old Ones and their chosen entourages are unlockable stretch goals in the Kickstarter, with a good number of them already out at this point- backing for this blew up very quickly.   Even if you're not into board games, this one is worth backing at the $50 level to snag a set of models from a faction, like you see pictured left.  These are incredible sculpts that could easily be introduced into any existing wargame, or dropped into games of Arkham Horror or other Cthulhu board games to replace cardboard counters.  

Downloadable Rules!
     I can only assume I'm not in the minority in that I like to "test drive" things before throwing money down on them.  Cthulhu Wars allows you to do just that, with a downloadable rules sheet to give you a more solid idea of turn mechanics and gameplay.  

A wide range of pledges for the Cthulu Enthusiast
     One thing many Kickstarters struggle with is finding a way to support a variety of pledge levels, and not just a "sweet spot" and high-end pledges.  You really gets something good at all levels in this one, if you're a fan of the mythos- from as little as $10, you can get a digital art and imagery book, filled with some of the design and concept art.  Limited "Kickstarter only" Paraphernalia begins as low as $25.  A full set of models start at $50.  A copy of the game including strecth goals for the "sweet spot" of $150 (although some limited numbers of Early Bird bids remain for less than that).  All the way through $240 elite versions of the game, and $500 for dinner with Sandy Petersen himself and limited signed copies of everything.  Hmmm.... no "your face on a Great Old One" pledge?  That's probably best...

     So, if you're a fan of Mr. Petersen and his work, a fan of Fenris Games, a Cthulhu Mythos buff, or just a fan of striking, well-built board games, this is a good kickstarter for you.  Either way, I'll see you on the other side of the table.

The Second Class Elitist

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