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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: The Core Set rss

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Ed Bryan
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I wrote this for my newsletter article, and I'm pretty sure you all don't read it. Shame on you. So I figured I post it here as well. This is my thoughts on the Call of Cthulhu LCG Core Set, and the LCG system in general. Without further ado:

Today, I’m going to talk about a non board game, well it comes with a board, but it is mostly a card game: Call of Cthulhu LCG Core Set.

Almost two years ago, Fantasy Flight announced that the Call of Cthulhu CCG would no longer be made. I was saddened by this announcement, because I enjoyed the game immensely, even though I couldn’t afford to keep up with it. However tucked in the announcement was that the next set was already designed, and instead of putting all that work to waste, they had decided to change up the packaging. They would release Asylum Packs. This would be a set of 20 different cards, ten of which would be repeated 3 times in the Pack, for a total of forty cards. They announced they would release these over the next summer. This format looked to be light on the wallet, and a way to get new cards. The first set was released, and then the next set, and apparently they did better than expected, now it is hard to find the first and second set, the third and fourth set are getting more scarce as well. It did so well, that Fantasy Flight announced they were going to change the format game, to an LCG (Living Card Game) No longer would rare hunting be a problem. Every release would be exactly the same format 40 cards, 10 cards repeated 3 times, 10 cards only once. In addition there would be a Core Set released with the rules, and starter cards for new players. After some hiccups in the production process, I finally have this incredibly beautiful game in my hands, and I’m going to tell you all about it.

First the Components. The box has incredible cover art, and is the typical nice sturdy Fantasy Flight Box. Opening the box, we are greeted with A full sized rulebook, no more squinting to read the tiny text! A set of success tokens, with the backside being wound tokens. These are nice and thick. A board is next The board is small, but functional, it has spaces for three story cards, the story deck, and a spot to place your tokens. There is a cardboard insert, that has a slot for Three decks of cards, which of course have 3 decks in them. I’ll cover the cards in a second. Underneath the insert are some lovely little Cthulhus!. There are 6 of these bad boys, and you aren’t going to lose them. They are roughly 3 inches tall. The sculpt is good, they are unpainted, but molded with a lovely shade of green. My only complaint about the components is the insert. The insert is cardboard, and is designed to hold sealed decks, once you’ve opened your cards, the cards will slip through the flaps and end up in the bottom of your box. In addition, there is no additional room for the asylum packs. Ultimately, I’ll be removing my insert. It would’ve been nice to have a nice plastic insert that could hold multiple Asylum packs, Something like the Dominion box insert. The cards are up to the usual good standards of Fantasy Flight, The backs have been changed since the CCG era, and they use a white border instead of the black border of the CCG era. The art on the cards is amazing for the most part. My only quibble is the backside isn’t quite as nice as the original as far as I’m concerned.

Ok, enough about the components. How about those cards? Well You get a good chunk of cards. 165 to be exact. This is roughly 3 starter decks worth for a normal CCG, and the price is pretty much inline with that. It’s retail is $34.95. The cards you get are NOT duplicated in the box set, you receive 155 unique cards. This means if you go whole hog into the tournament level decks, you’ll not be buying unusable cards with your other core sets. The deck construction rules are 3 of any particular card in your deck, so you can use up to 3 core sets. I’m not an expert on the original CCG, but I’m pretty sure, these are all duplicates of cards from the original CCG updated with errata. The cards included are very good, there are staples for each of the factions.


The Game:

CoC LCG has a lot of interesting features, it has some standard concepts as well as concepts unique to it.

Each player has a hand of cards, and three domains. Cards in hand can be played to a domain, similar to playing Land in magic. However, unlike Magic every card can be used in a domain, the cards produce the faction influence that the card belongs to. Domains are used to play cards to the play field. Cards come in various types, Character, event, and support. Character cards are used to complete stories. The other cards are used to modify the game play. At the beginning of the game, Three stories are chosen randomly from a group of ten. These stories are fought over by both players. Characters are committed to stories, where they fight opposing characters. Struggles occur over four different aspects of the story. First is the Terror struggle. The characters compare terror icons, and the fewer has one of their characters go insane. Next is combat, whoever has the fewest combat icons has one of their characters take a wound. Most characters have one wound which means this usually results in a lost character. Next is an Arcane Struggle, the side winning this one gets to refresh a character (read: untap) Since you exhaust (tap) to commit to the story , this is nice way to commit extra characters to the attack, and still retain a character for defense. The last struggle is Investigation, who ever has the most icons gets to add a success token to the story. After the last struggle is concluded the active player may add a success token to a story if his characters have more skill than his opponents. 5 success tokens completes a story, and every story has a truly dramatic effect on the game. An example: Opening Night: All discarded characters are put into play, insane. There is a lot to keep track of in the story struggles, and when you add the events and support cards, this game becomes a very meaty experience.

The Factions:


Miskatonic University: These professors are always dabbling in Things Best Left Alone. They are full of investigation icons, and tomes.


The Agency: The precursors to the Men In Black. These guys have incredible firepower, and believe if you pump enough lead into anything it’ll die.


The Syndicate: These innocent folks are just trying to run their rum in peace, and yet, the seedy underbelly of the cities, are home to more than speakeasies.


Hastur: The King in Yellow loves to spread the insanity, lots of terror icons, and effects affecting the insane.


Cthulhu: Raw destruction. Deep Ones, cultists, and shoggoths…led by the great old one himself.


Yog-Sothoth: Magic is this factions domain. They can do a bit of everything, and like to manipulate space and time.


Shub-Niggurath: The beasts populate this faction. Unnatural beasts that is. This faction is a nice mix of Terror and combat, Watch out for Dark Young, and Mi-go.



In addition to the factions there is a chunk of unaligned cards any faction can use.



If you like CCGs with depth, then you can’t go wrong with CoC LCG. By the end of the current cycle of asylum packs, you’ll have access to over 400 cards counting the first cycle of Asylum packs. With new cards coming out once a month, the metagame of deck building will not get stale, I really don’t see any downside to the new format, and I plan on picking up a full play set of all the asylum packs.



Am I happy with my purchase? In one word, yes. In multiple words, yes, yes, Other than the silly insert which is worse than useless, everything was excellent, and quite the value compared to other CCG starter sets. The Domain markers are cool, the board is a very nice feature, and the choice of included cards is excellent.




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David Etherton
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Anybody have any idea why they changed the card backs? I have a few thousand cards from "before" that I assume are no longer legal?

I don't expect to play in any organized play, so I guess I could just mix and match and people would have a slight clue as to what was in my hand based on the exposed back?

-Dave
 
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Mark Johnson
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The old cards say Collectible Card Game on the back and with the new marketing of the LCG game model, it wouldn't really make sense for it to say CCG.

As for the different backs and casual play, just use sleeves that have a solid coloured back.
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Christian Rankin
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You had me at "incredible cover art".
Now where is my credit card...?
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Andy Leighton
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etherton wrote:
Anybody have any idea why they changed the card backs? I have a few thousand cards from "before" that I assume are no longer legal?

I don't expect to play in any organized play, so I guess I could just mix and match and people would have a slight clue as to what was in my hand based on the exposed back?


It is still reasonable to play with a mix of CCG and LCG cards you just have to invest in some sleeves so you can't see the card backs.
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Ed Bryan
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As far as I'm aware, your cards are still legal, just use sleeves. However, if I was a betting man, I'd bet they won't be legal for very long, maybe till next year.
etherton wrote:
Anybody have any idea why they changed the card backs? I have a few thousand cards from "before" that I assume are no longer legal?

I don't expect to play in any organized play, so I guess I could just mix and match and people would have a slight clue as to what was in my hand based on the exposed back?

-Dave
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Matt Lindhout
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yay! cant wait to try mine! still unopened...but soon! Your review made me more anxious to crack it open!!
Ive had no experience with the old CCG version, though..im trying to figure out which expansion packs are new and which are old..are the ones that say call of cthulhu: the card game
the new ones, intended for the LCG? and the ones that say collectible card games are the old ones for the CCG?
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Pete Lane
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This is a fantastic game and I'm glad it's back. While I have mixed feelings about the LCG thing... I certainly don't want to buy 3 of these $40 box sets so I can get a playset of each card... it opens up some neat possibility with highlander decks and fun no pressure casual play.
 
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Michael Cox
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fbi_boy wrote:
im trying to figure out which expansion packs are new and which are old..are the ones that say call of cthulhu: the card game
the new ones, intended for the LCG? and the ones that say collectible card games are the old ones for the CCG?
Go here and anything under Legacy is CCG. Everything else is designed for the LCG.
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Andy Leighton
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michaeldavidcox wrote:
fbi_boy wrote:
im trying to figure out which expansion packs are new and which are old..are the ones that say call of cthulhu: the card game
the new ones, intended for the LCG? and the ones that say collectible card games are the old ones for the CCG?
Go here and anything under Legacy is CCG. Everything else is designed for the LCG.


Although that is confusing as the CCG had Asylum Packs which aren't mentioned on that page. A underinformed gamer might see something like the Dunwich Denizens Asylum Pack and buy it thinking that Asylum Pack == LCG. It doesn't Dunwich Denizens has the CCG backs and to be fair it does say "Collectible Card Game" on the front albeit much smaller than Call Of Cthulhu.
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Michael Cox
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andyl wrote:
Although that is confusing as the CCG had Asylum Packs which aren't mentioned on that page. A underinformed gamer might see something like the Dunwich Denizens Asylum Pack and buy it thinking that Asylum Pack == LCG. It doesn't Dunwich Denizens has the CCG backs and to be fair it does say "Collectible Card Game" on the front albeit much smaller than Call Of Cthulhu.
You have a point. I did not realize Dunwich was not listed under their legacy products. Then I would just give them this list as being designed with the LCG in mind:

At the Mountains of Madness
Ancient Horrors
The Spawn of the Sleeper
The Horror Beneath the Surface
The Antediluvian Dreams
The Terror of the Tides
The Thing from the Shore
The Path of Y''ha-nthlei

Not all of them have been released yet.
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Ed Bryan
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stagger lee wrote:
This is a fantastic game and I'm glad it's back. While I have mixed feelings about the LCG thing... I certainly don't want to buy 3 of these $40 box sets so I can get a playset of each card... it opens up some neat possibility with highlander decks and fun no pressure casual play.

To me this is a matter of perspective. You simply can't get a full playset of any new CCG for $105 (at full retail, more likely $75-85 online) So while it is more expensive than an average board game, It is significantly cheaper than a CCG. I believe FFG is really trying to appeal their board game crowd with the LCG, while hoping to keep some of the CCG players. I really hope it works, as I love CCGs, I just don't like selling plasma every couple of weeks to keep up. With this format you could easily support 3 or 4 lines for the price of keeping up with any normal CCG.
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Todd Gardiner
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andyl wrote:

Although that is confusing as the CCG had Asylum Packs which aren't mentioned on that page. A underinformed gamer might see something like the Dunwich Denizens Asylum Pack and buy it thinking that Asylum Pack == LCG. It doesn't Dunwich Denizens has the CCG backs and to be fair it does say "Collectible Card Game" on the front albeit much smaller than Call Of Cthulhu.


True, but your going to find that all of the previous Asylum Packs are out of stock and just about every single online retailer or LFGS. The only way to get them now is through e-bay, and significantly marked up in price. Looking at the BBG advert, seems that a Kingsport Dreams Asylum pack is bidding for over $33 on E-Bay right now.

That's probably not how someone just starting is going to get their cards.
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Selling Plasma? Say... that's not a bad idea... goo
 
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Brad Johnson
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My core set is on its way in the mail right now. Can anyone tell me in advance what is the (alleged) purpose of the 6 molded plastic Cthulhu figurines in the core set?
 
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Ed Bryan
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tempus42 wrote:
My core set is on its way in the mail right now. Can anyone tell me in advance what is the (alleged) purpose of the 6 molded plastic Cthulhu figurines in the core set?

They are to mark when you have used a Domain.
 
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Brad Johnson
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Edbryan wrote:
They are to mark when you have used a Domain.


Ah, thanks. Guess you're out of luck if you play an Eldritch Nexus then...
 
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Ed Bryan
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tempus42 wrote:
Edbryan wrote:
They are to mark when you have used a Domain.


Ah, thanks. Guess you're out of luck if you play an Eldritch Nexus then...

That's why you buy multiple sets devil
 
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Brad Johnson
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Edbryan wrote:
That's why you buy multiple sets devil


No thanks! I have way too many of the old cards already. If it weren't for the new story cards, I probably would have skipped the core set entirely...
 
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