Sunday, 25 January 2015

Call of Cthulhu

Not an octopus pooping. It is in fact the Great Cthulhu. Fhtagn.

Type: Strategy / Combat / Card
Players: 2
Time to explain to others: About 10 to 15 min
Time to play: About 30 minutes, possibly bit more
Difficulty: To play 5/10, Game difficulty 6/10
Portability: High
Overall: 9/10

I absolutely love this game. Oh no, I hear you grumble, another Lovecraftian game. Shush, says I, just listen.

CoC is a simple (?) duel game, a great-great-great-grandson of Magic. The overall dynamic is similar, you need to spend resources to 'build' creatures and support cards, and then you use these to fight over Story cards. If you win, you take the card. 3 story cards and the game ends.

And here is where CoC starts to come into its own. A few things start to takes us away from Magic: a) Most creatures (about 2/3) are weak, and will die with only one hit, b) Each fight over a Story breaks down into 4 struggles: Terror, Combat, Arcane and Investigation, and c) You need to sacrifice cards from your hand to turn them into resources (teaches you not to fill your deck with only amazing cards).

No creature in CoC is a jack of all trades. Most, if not all, will be better at some struggles than others. Without going too much into the rules, my point is this: A weaker character(s) might be more than a match for a huge creature, as it might have strengths in different struggles, as the fights for the stories progresses. I've lost count on the number of times I've won Stories from under the nose of huge monsters, whilst playing aged Librarians. True, each turn 1 or 2 of them would crumble to dust, but as the monsters won the struggles of madness and death (the 1st two), the old guys would win the 2nd two (readying tapped characters and adding more success tokens to the story, (you need 5 to win)).

There are about 8 different affiliations in the game, and you are more than encouraged to make different experiments with different combinations in your deck (1 or 2 colours being the norm).

At times, in a kinda of odd, more complicated way, I like this game more than Magic. It is not what your creature is that matters, it is what it can do.

Rui's conclusion: By no means a simple game, but with really nice and smooth mechanics. Perhaps one more for fans or more experienced players, but a great one nonetheless.

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