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Subject: Cthulhu and zombies... Really that prevalent? rss

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Theodore Martinovich
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I always hear how people are tired of Cthulhu themes and sick of zombie games... Yet I, personally, never hear complaints about space and fantasy... Looking at my collection I have zero Cthulhu games... Although tides of madness is on my buy list, and only 1 zombie game... Granted if I played coop games more I would probably have an eldritch or a Arkham game. But I really don't think these Themes are as abused as the generic sci-fi/fantasy tropes synonomized ubiquitously with board gaming. Any opinions? Just curious what others think. Why do the masses get annoyed with themes that are not all that common but are totally fine with themes that comprise probably half of our hobby... Am I missing something more? Thanks
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Gláucio Reis
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You are comparing two genres that have an extremely large scope to a very specific theme and one particular fictional universe.
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Theodore Martinovich
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In the case of Cthulhu I agree but. I still feel like I could find a fairly equal part lord of the rings to Cthulhu ratio... No? Tolkienverse is pretty huge especially in board games...

So. Just taking a sample from the bgg top 100. There are 3 Star Wars games, 3 lord of the rings games. 1 Cthulhu game. 1 zombie game...
 
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Gláucio Reis
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First, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars are hugely popular licenses, so maybe a large number of games is expected. Also, I think the perceived problem is not the total number of games in a given universe (or with a given theme), but the number of games released in a short period of time. There has never been a flood of Lord of the Rings games, although a few were released around the time of the movies. I counted four currently in print, and the most recent one is the LCG from several years ago (although there is a new game coming this month). There are probably more than twenty games with a Cthulhu Mythos theme just from the last few years.
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Theodore Martinovich
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Meh. Ok. I guess it just comes down to perception in many ways. I see zombies and fantasy as very broad canvases. Others don't. So to me they are similar while to others they are very different... I see Cthulhu as not all that popular because, Off the top of my head, I can name maybe 5-6 Cthulhu games (open IP anyone can use at this point) and probably twice as many Star Wars games (incredibly popular but still heavily licensed...) I don't know. Maybe it's different walking around a convention and seeing Cthulhu at every Indy developers booth... Whereas here and on cool stuff it seems a lot less common. At least to me. Maybe it's just all perception... Maybe I'm right... Maybe I'm wrong... Good input though.
 
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Jinxstar wrote:
Whereas here and on cool stuff it seems a lot less common.

Click here. And these are just games that actually include the word "Cthulhu" in the name.
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Theodore Martinovich
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I mean. That's only 25 games/expansions/everything... Try "Star Wars" and you get over 1300 and lord of the rings gets over 200. Granted most are heroclix... The word zombie gets 350 but those are almost entirely ccg's singles... I guess again it's just my perception... Just feel like some genres are given more of a pass than others.
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Gláucio Reis
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Huh... I'm counting only boardgames. For Lord of the Rings, there are exactly four titles (here). If you include everything, there are actually 129 results for "Cthulhu". But I don't see the point in doing that.
 
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Fantasy and sci-fi are general themes, which could be compared to eras the human species has been through. And which would can develop in different fashions.

Zombies and Cthulhu mythos on the other hand, are very narrow in scope. They are not a narrow setting in which you freely do a lot of stuff. They are, well, zombies and Cthulhu. You're comparing two things that have nothing in common.

And, yes, yet another zombie and yet another Cthulhu is old. I don't have any myself either. Because I would simply not buy anything that has either zombies or cthulhu on them.

It might not be whole games, sometimes it's just *one* stretch-goal or one faction added to a game, but I go like *uuuugh* every time I see YET another Cthulhu (like in Kharnage, The Lords of Rock, Cthulhu Realms, Tides of Madness)

The thing is, most of these games use Cthulhu in a ridiculous fashion, like chibi, rock god, or whatever. They don't pay homage to it, but destroy its legacy.
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Theodore Martinovich
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GSReis wrote:
Huh... I'm counting only boardgames. For Lord of the Rings, there are exactly four titles (here). If you include everything, there are actually 129 results for "Cthulhu". But I don't see the point in doing that.


It's all nit picking at this point. The lord of the rings is missing the lcg, and others I know are in there... The Cthulhu list you gave me had maybe 10 games and the rest are expansions... It's all moot really. I do see your point though... I truly do... It is just perception on my part...
 
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Theodore Martinovich
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Razoupaf wrote:
Fantasy and sci-fi are general themes, which could be compared to eras the human species has been through. And which would can develop in different fashions.

Zombies and Cthulhu mythos on the other hand, are very narrow in scope. They are not a narrow setting in which you freely do a lot of stuff. They are, well, zombies and Cthulhu. You're comparing two things that have nothing in common.

And, yes, yet another zombie and yet another Cthulhu is old. I don't have any myself either. Because I would simply not buy anything that has either zombies or cthulhu on them.

It might not be whole games, sometimes it's just *one* stretch-goal or one faction added to a game, but I go like *uuuugh* every time I see YET another Cthulhu (like in Kharnage, The Lords of Rock, Cthulhu Realms, Tides of Madness)

The thing is, most of these games use Cthulhu in a ridiculous fashion, like chibi, rock god, or whatever. They don't pay homage to it, but destroy its legacy.


I do not agree on zombies at all. They offer a ton of variety but are usually used as an ever looming and ever forward pushing wave when they can be so much more. There can cause adventure, drama, horror, fear, cooperation, survival... Story and campaign... Just as much variety in a zombie apocalypse as most given fantasy realms I believe... This is just me though...

But I do understand what you mean about Cthulhu. "The obligatory Cthulhu expansion" for smash up... Is a prime example but they are in essence making fun of people milking the franchise while milking the franchise... Oh the irony and, I assume, your disdain... I can understand the groan you feel when seeing "chooloo" in Arcadia quest... And everyone going gaga for it...

I, however, just feel like these 2 themes/genres/whatever are not that overused in games. No more than Sherlock Holmes might be... Or marvel... Or world war 2... But that's me...
 
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Gláucio Reis
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Jinxstar wrote:
The Cthulhu list you gave me had maybe 10 games and the rest are expansions...

Just for accuracy, I counted 17 unique titles and, again, the list does not include games without the word "Cthulhu", like Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign etc.
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On a personal note, I'm not into zombies, but I actually like the Cthulhu Mythos very much. I own Cthulhu Wars and Witch of Salem, owned Elder Sign and can't wait for Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. And I do think Cthulhu is overused at this point.
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Razoupaf wrote:
The thing is, most of these games use Cthulhu in a ridiculous fashion, like chibi, rock god, or whatever. They don't pay homage to it, but destroy its legacy.

I totally agree with you. I always liked Lovecrafts work and was excited when I found out that there are so many boardgames with a Cthulhu setting (I only got into boardgaming a few years ago). But in the end I realized it doesn't come close to Lovecrafts writing. It's all about big monsters, fighting them, tentacles etc. I guess it's just hard to make a game about madness so I won't play any more Fantasy Flight Games with a Cthulhu theme.

Still, the worst one was Time Stories. It starts of as a Sci-Fi game with technical descriptions of everything and then it turns into a lame Cthulhu-bullshit-bingo. And Zombies in the expansion...great. That's stuff that make you feel these themes are prevalent. But are they? I don't know, but I do know that Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu and Escape: Zombie City exist. And that every Fantasy Flight Game with a Cthulhu setting is hyped by many BGG members.
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Theodore Martinovich
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nvsg wrote:
Razoupaf wrote:
The thing is, most of these games use Cthulhu in a ridiculous fashion, like chibi, rock god, or whatever. They don't pay homage to it, but destroy its legacy.

I totally agree with you. I always liked Lovecrafts work and was excited when I found out that there are so many boardgames with a Cthulhu setting (I only got into boardgaming a few years ago). But in the end I realized it doesn't come close to Lovecrafts writing. It's all about big monsters, fighting them, tentacles etc. I guess it's just hard to make a game about madness so I won't play any more Fantasy Flight Games with a Cthulhu theme.

Still, the worst one was Time Stories. It starts of as a Sci-Fi game with technical descriptions of everything and then it turns into a lame Cthulhu-bullshit-bingo. And Zombies in the expansion...great. That's stuff that make you feel these themes are prevalent. But are they? I don't know, but I do know that Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu and Escape: Zombie City exist. And that every Fantasy Flight Game with a Cthulhu setting is hyped by many BGG members.


Maybe it's just the insane popularity of a few games vs the sheer amount of others? I don't know... I have nothing against Cthulhu or zombies myself. I just don't play co-ops... I think this again is part of my perspective. If I played co-ops I would probably be playing a LOT more Cthulhu and zombie games as they lend themselves well to co-ops? Maybe?...
 
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Jinxstar wrote:

Maybe it's just the insane popularity of a few games vs the sheer amount of others? I don't know... I have nothing against Cthulhu or zombies myself. I just don't play co-ops... I think this again is part of my perspective. If I played co-ops I would probably be playing a LOT more Cthulhu and zombie games as they lend themselves well to co-ops? Maybe?...


I like coop games but I don't play any involving zombies or Cthulhu. The closest one to this would be Aeon's End, because the design of the monsters is reminiscent of Cthulhu. Otherwise I like more original and independant IPs such as everything Oniverse, Sentinels of the Multiverse or The 7th Continent. I did try some FFG games, and although they were good, the theme turned me off precisely because it was an IP (Lord of the Rings and Warhammer).

Now, I backed Dark Souls: The Board Game, but mostly because I wanted the figurines and didn't care about the game behind.
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I really like Eldritch Horror and that is enough Cthulhu for anyone but if a game had a different style of gameplay that looked appealing a lovecraftian theme wouldn't put me off. The reason that Cthulhu seems everywhere is that as has been said before there are no IP rights so anyone can use it. This makes it an affordable recognised brand if you like which is great for designers on a budget so as well as big brand Cthulhu you get lots of less well funded Cthulhu. All this means there should be a Cthulhu game for everybody but I doubt anybody would buy every Cthulhu game because of theme.
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I'm way more sick of Star Wars than I ever will be of Cthulhu or zombies.

The difference is I don't bitch about it because no one cares what theme you're tired of.
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I was just thinking about how over-abundant Cthulhu games are. I agree with the first poster- things like Sci-Fi and Fantasy open up entire worlds with endless possibilities, but a Cthulhu is a Cthulhu and a Zombie is a Zombie no matter what type of world it is in. Much more limited scope and therefore much less appeal as time passes (IMHO).

Edit: full disclosure, I am not a fan of Cthulhu or Zombies, so I am more inclined to grow tired of these genres. Fantasy I generally avoid, as well, but understand the broad scope that it presents. I usually enjoy Sci-Fi, but wouldn't want every game I own to have the theme. The only Zombie game I own is Risk: Plants vs. Zombies which I actually don't mind.
 
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Zombie games are likely to be terrible it seems as there are really few standout titles. DoW is more survival, but I'll add it. Z:BP and DotZ are really the only other two zombie based games of note. Even Cthulhu games offer few standout ones and they are almost all done by FFG. I can see owning at least three Star Wars games and even more sci-fi. Fantasy has a nice sized list as well.
 
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Zombies are prevalent in pop culture, with 1000 Zombie movies/video games/comics/tv shows being made in the past 5 years. Cthulhu/Lovecraft is isn't really that big but has an awful large boardgame presence. Star Wars/LOTR are both clearly over saturated but those are cash cow IP's so people are jaded by it. Fantasy and Sci-Fi are simply fictional blank canvasses for games/stories/etc.
 
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Zombies aren't really going anywhere. Most monsters represent certain fears. Zombies represent the fear of the uncertainty in the stability of the near future and how concrete morals can erode in chaos.
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Mythos (Cthulhu) stuff is prevalent in my collection. I love the theme, the time period, etc. My primary group likes co-op games so with the FFG offerings there is obvious synergy there.

I also have Cthulhu Wars, painted, and those superior figures stand in for the FFG ones when playing Mansions of Madness (7" tall Cthulhu mini instead of the lame FFG one? Yes please), Eldritch Horror.

On the flip side, I'll never spend a $ on Star Wars stuff.

I might make Star Trek Ascendancy my 4x game, but we'll see on that.

I will say that zombies don't do much for me though I did get Dead of Winter during the hype for that game.

The other theme I like is Ancient Civilization, particularly Roman. However I only have Concordia within that theme at the moment.

***

As for the annoyance of the "masses". I think they are either haters or have a weird entitlement complex. Basically if the theme isn't cool to them than that is objectively bad.
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matthean wrote:
Zombie games are likely to be terrible it seems as there are really few standout titles. DoW is more survival, but I'll add it. Z:BP and DotZ are really the only other two zombie based games of note. Even Cthulhu games offer few standout ones and they are almost all done by FFG. I can see owning at least three Star Wars games and even more sci-fi. Fantasy has a nice sized list as well.


Run, Fight, or Die! is my wifes favorite game, and the only zombie game I own... It is a ton of fun and incredibly thematic.
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Jinxstar wrote:
matthean wrote:
Zombie games are likely to be terrible it seems as there are really few standout titles. DoW is more survival, but I'll add it. Z:BP and DotZ are really the only other two zombie based games of note. Even Cthulhu games offer few standout ones and they are almost all done by FFG. I can see owning at least three Star Wars games and even more sci-fi. Fantasy has a nice sized list as well.


Run, Fight, or Die! is my wifes favorite game, and the only zombie game I own... It is a ton of fun and incredibly thematic.

Great game. the custom dice are of poor quality. Zombies!!! is fun if you are playing with non-gamers
 
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