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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Two three player games and thoughts rss

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Christian Kløve
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I have recently been playing a lot of LCGs, mainly A Game of Thrones, and for a long while, Call of Cthulhu was the sole LCG I had not tried. I had read the rules and watched the turorial, and frankly thought that the game looked kinda bland. I cannot really remember what lead my back to CoC, but for the last while, I have read and listened to plenty about the game, and I was able to pick up a used copy (although it seems very much unplayed). So yesterday a couple of friends and myself set down to play Call of Cthulhu - the card game. I had played one game previously against my wife, and one game solo, just to assimilate the rule a lit better, so I fairly quickly taught them the rules and let them play (most of) a game. After that, we went over the Cenacle rules, although we had to modify the story deck part, since I only have one story deck at this point.

We drew factions randomly - I got Agency and Syndicate to my friends' Hastur/Miskatonic and Cthulhu/Shub. The early game saw me playing a bouncer with a Tcho-tcho Talisman, which really helped, since it was my sole source of terror icon the whole game. Cthulhu got out a few characters, including an annoying one, which could cancel wounds by paying 1. We each scored two early stories, while the Hastur player had a slow start, in part because he played Biyaki Attack on round one, forcing us both to discard two cards. All game, he played various cards, that forced our hand sizes to stay low. Mid-game I had an ok array of characters, including the syndicate character, that can be bounced back to the hand as a disrupt. The Cthulhu player was held back a bit after his good start - among other things he was forced to discard Y'gonlac (the one that can force character to commit to the same story as "him"). Hastur got out the Biyaki and Yellow Muse, as well as the character that can remove Terror icons, and finally Hastur hit the table. At this point me and Cthulhu were doing well, but things shifted Hastur winning Dreamwalkers, triggering the effect to have me and Cthulhu return our won stories, while he had none (I've since read that the effect can only be triggered if all players can return a won story), and then winning another story on the same turn. He had gone from being two down on both of us to being one up! Cthulhu brought out a Slavering Gug, paid four to wound Hastur, before Hastur drove him insane. I commented that this was a weak play, since Hastur had the nasty Yellow Muse, but Cthulhu said "If we're going to kill Hastur, we might as well get started". My turn, I drew Steve Clarney. I read his ability. I played Steve Clarney. Steve Clarney commited to a story. Hastur lost toughtness. Hastur died. C'est la vie. After that, I was able to win fairly easily on my next turn.

We discussed the play and the game. Several times the Hastur player had called out cards for being 'overpowered' - among these were Paul Lemond and Steve Clarney. I'm not sure a agree, but I think future plays will lend more light.

I suggested we play either Star Wars or A Game of Thrones, but to my pleasant surprise, they suggested another game of CoC. Again we drew factions - I got Cthulhu/Hastur to their Agency/Syndicate and Yog/Misk. The Misk player got a fantastic start with plenty of small characters with investigation. We quickly won two stories, while we were struggling to set up. I think I mismanaged my resourcing - I had a nice opening hand, with a good number of low cost characters, so in my eagerness to retain my ability to play them, I resourced a neutral card at setup. I think that's a bad play. Agency drew almost no characters, while Misk continued to load his board. The turning point came, when Misk brought out the Living Mummy, which in turn was killed by the T-Men. My board was wiped, I could not defend against Misk, and next turn he won.

We agreed, that we like the game, that increased knowledge of the cards and card pool enhances the play experience (well d'oh) and that we want to play again. I have a few other potentials, that I'll reach out to, and I think that I will be providing the cards, which I don't mind. One of the other players commented, that he liked the game better with three players, but since he's coming from years and years of Vampire: the Eternal Struggle gaming, I think his preferences are skewed towards multiplayer games. I myself am looking forward to more Call of Cthulhu gaming - and I have an acute, rekindled fire burning for the books as well. I am listening to the H.P. Lovecraft litterary podcast (again, I listened to quite a few of their episodes a few years back), and I will be dusting off my old Lovecraft books in the near future!

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David Boeren
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Sounds like some cool games, and it's awesome that your buddies are getting into it and want to play again.

I think calling Steve Clarney overpowered is just sour grapes on his part because it took out his Hastur. Ordinarily he's not really that great as his ability doesn't affect that many things and he can hurt your own Tough characters as well. Well, more accurately you probably just don't take Tough characters in the same deck as Steve and just prevent it from happening in the first place but he's still influencing what you can and can't reasonable take. I don't normally see him used that much.

Paul Lemond is a pretty good character, but without his ability he has no icons at all. So, you tend to need to pay 1 nearly every turn which puts a drain on your economy - it's almost like he has an upkeep cost. Or, on turns when you want to play 3 cards he becomes very weak and your opponent knows this when he sees all your domains drained. He's also unique which is a drawback.

I would just chalk it up to being new to the game and focus on learning and having fun. Next time he may get Agency and will realize that these guys aren't auto-wins by any means.
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Christian Kløve
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I expect our evaluation skills to improve with further play. I know, that there are more powerful cards out there - I guess the restricted list contains a number of them.

One more thing: I've read that Secrets of Arkham is the preferred expanding point - would getting Terror in Venice instead be a worse option? None of my local stores have SoA in stock, and I think I read/heard that it was out of print at the moment?
 
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Kløve wrote:
One more thing: I've read that Secrets of Arkham is the preferred expanding point - would getting Terror in Venice instead be a worse option? None of my local stores have SoA in stock, and I think I read/heard that it was out of print at the moment?
Terror in Venice would probably the best option if you cannot get hold of SoA. Like SoA it also contains cards for every faction and a lot of fun Conspiracies and Day/Night cards to mix things up.
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David Boeren
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Terror in Venice is a great option for expanding. Most of the "classic" what to get next threads were before Terror in Venice came out, so if you read old posts they'll all say to get Secrets of Arkham because at the time that was the best route.

Now, either Secrets or Terror is a great choice. Ideally, get both

The main thing is that both of them:
1. Have a lot of great/interesting cards
2. Have equal cards for each faction
3. Boxed expansions are a better deal (cards/$) than asylum packs
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