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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Game of Thrones, Android Netrunner or This? rss

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Thinking of buying one of these three games. CoC looks most interesting to me gameplay wise (and theme) but GoT has multiplayer and ANR is so widely acclaimed. I'm leaning but CoC, anyone have experience with 2 or all 3 of these LCGs?
 
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Devon Harmon
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I have experience with all 3 games. I think the answer depends on which game you can get people interested in playing. I have successfully gotten other people into Netrunner. Independent of my efforts at roping folks into the game, there are groups around me that play Netrunner.

There are a couple of people locally that play CoC, but very, very infrequently. I've never seen anyone else playing it, but I have talked to 2 people that say they have played it, and like playing it.

AGoT is the least popular around these parts. I've never seen or heard of anyone playing it around here. I got a really good deal on a bunch of cards, and I've tried a few times to get people into it, but it hasn't worked out.

In my experience, Netrunner has been the easiest game to introduce people to, and from my perspective, seems to have the biggest following, which seems to be growing.

Edit: I didn't really comment on the gameplay of each. That is an area that is largely subjective. AGoT seems the most difficult to me. One really needs to read the FAQ to understand all of the timing nuances that don't appear (to me) to be that intuitive. I'm not buying anymore AGoT, at least until I regularly start using all that I already have. The card pool is HUGE (10 sets of 6 chapter packs plus 6 deluxe expansions).

CoC does have great theme, and I really enjoy the gameplay. The resource mechanic is brilliant. Even though I seldom, if ever, get to play the game, I've been hunting down all of the Asylum packs. They are no longer producing the monthly packs for CoC, but instead are making deluxe expansions several times a year. I like this aspect, as it makes it easier for me to "catch up."

Netrunner is unique to me, in its asymmetry. I really enjoy watching games played on youtube. I really want to play it any chance I get. This is the new kid on the block, and has the smallest card pool of the three, making it more accessible. I think it also has the least complex timing issues of the three games, as there are no real "response" effects that allow you to play a card from your hand to interrupt another player's turn.
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Tyler
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While I prefer Cthulhu to Netrunner, in terms of getting into either game, Netrunner has a singular advantage. Right out of the core box, you get good, interesting decks with Netrunner that make for engaging play. The Cthulhu core set uses a flat, one-of-everything distribution, so the decks you can make are not very interesting.
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Chris Long
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There are so many questions you need to answer for yourself before you can decide on this...

How much do you think you'll want to buy? This is really important because some games really require more cards than others to have a good experience.

1. AGOT is the easiest to play right out of the box. The core set decks are by far the best of the three games.

2. CoC has WAY more options for combinations in the core set, but some of those can be really unbalanced and lead to no fun.

3. Netrunner core set decks are really awful. Once you figure out how to be an even reasonably competent runner, the runner wins every time. You really need to immediately buy more cards to get a better experience.

Will you be buying expansions slowly?

1. AGOT has the best selection here as well, because each faction has a big expansion geared toward them. This means that you can pick a favorite, buy the expansion for them, and get a lot of enjoyment out of that before deciding if you want to buy more. There's also tons of chapter packs out that you can pick and choose from, although I don't know if I would focus on those first.

2. CoC is working toward a big expansion for each faction, but it will probably take a while. They've got four out right now, but they basically come out twice a year, and there's some other expansions in between.

3. Netrunner only has one big expansion out (with another on the way), but these are split between two factions (runner and corp) so the card focus isn't quite as high. But really, this is a game where you're going to want all the smaller chapter packs.

How many people are you going to be playing against?

1. AGOT works well as a 2-player (in fact it was originally designed that way as a CCG) but the multiplayer game is really good too, and works well anywhere between 2-4 players.

2. CoC is primarily a 2-player game, but the multiplayer rules work for the most part for 3 and 4 players. Not nearly as good as AGOT, and some decks are going to be better than others, but it's still fun and I've played it a lot over the years.

3. Netrunner cannot be played with more than 2 players. It is 2-player only.

Do you think you'll want to compete in tournaments?

This is the primary place where Netrunner is going to beat out the other games. There are lots of people playing Netrunner and lots of tournaments all over. Additionally, this is really the only game where you can easily get all of the cards in the card pool. The other two games have SO many cards that trying to buy up the back catalog will be really tough.

All of that said, my favorite game is Call of Cthulhu, with Netrunner close behind. I love all three games quite a bit, but which game you choose depends a lot on yourself and what your goals are for the game. All three games have great theme, so I wouldn't worry too much about that when deciding.
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Ken B.
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Netrunner, if not for the reason it's the best of the three, then for the reason that you should have no problem finding opponents for the game. Locally they run a weekly Netrunner night and regular tournaments, and from what I've read this is fairly common in many areas.
 
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Thanks Chris, Devon (and everyone) for the quick and in-depth response.

-No tournaments, 2-4 players with just friends is the focus (they all know of GoT, basic Cthulhu stuff)
-Probably buy a few small or one big expansions and thats it for awhile (prefer an expansion that gives cards for each faction probably).

This leads me to think CoC is good since Secrets of Arkham and many other big box has cards for each faction. I don't really like the theme of ANR and the asymmetric gameplay is not a big deal to me.
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David Boeren
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I've played the 3p version of Call of Cthulhu using the Cenacle variant and it works pretty well. Never tried 4p, if you have four people you'd be better off playing two normal games.

Our group plays all the LCGs but Call of Cthulhu is what we play the most and my personal favorite.
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Chris Long
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dboeren wrote:
I've played the 3p version of Call of Cthulhu using the Cenacle variant and it works pretty well. Never tried 4p, if you have four people you'd be better off playing two normal games.

I don't particularly like the Cenacle variant. I much prefer to play multi-player Cthulhu with the official FFG rules. I find that the decisions you make about whether to defend or pass (when it's not your turn) are much more satisfying in the official rules than the story structure Cenacle sets up where not all stories are accessible.

I've played lots of multiplayer Cthulhu over the years. Mostly 3-player, but sometimes 4. The time increases with each player, but it still holds up very well as a game.

I've even played in a multi-player tournament (at '06 Worlds) where there were 6 of us in a single match. That was a lot of fun actually, and I believe it least four of us had 2 stories won. But it eventually came down to who could recover quickest from a board reset, of which there were several.
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David Boeren
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Interesting. I've never actually tried the official multiplayer rules, because we kept hearing how these are better. So, next time we're going to do a multiplayer game perhaps we should give it a try. It doesn't come up a lot though because if there's an odd man we can also do LotR or Thrones.
 
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radynski wrote:
I don't particularly like the Cenacle variant. I much prefer to play multi-player Cthulhu with the official FFG rules.

There are some glaring problems with the official variant. For example, the player who has priority before you can always choose to chump block against an opponent and allow him to win a story, which then denies you any chance to defend a story where you have invested several success tokens. The Cenacle variant solves this issue.

Also, the Cenacle version has less "all in" play than the official multiplayer rules, and results in fewer stalemates. With the official version you often have a cascade effect where 1 player has to go all in to break through 2 players' defenses at the same time, thereby leaving them completely defenseless. When no one is willing to do this, the game drags.

The Cenacle rules do take a different mindset, though. It forces you to be more efficient with your attacks as you are defending against two players simultaneously, whereas the official version often feels more like 1 vs 1 (because of the flawed blocking rules).

Our group did make 1 significant change tp the Cenacle rules. You must win a story from the center. You can't win the game, no matter how many stories are in your won pile, unless at least 1 of those stories is from the center location.

A fun variant is to turn all of the story cards on the flanks (right and left locations) face-down and have mandatory story resolution. When a player wins at the center, they can choose which of the 3 stories to resolve (they are face-up but still mandatory).
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Thanks for the info guys. I made the jump and bought AnR and CoC (despite the vastly lower BGG ranking, it looks more interesting to me). Knowing CoC is playable 3 players is also a boon. GoT I can live without (more or less went into this thread with that attitude anyways though).
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On that note,

If one were to buy into the CoC right now, What would I need to get to have full sets? My confusion arises from the game's distribution model with deluxe expansions. I am still not entirely clear on this.
 
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David Boeren
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Three Core sets
One of each deluxe expansion
One of each Asylum pack


Things to wait a little while on:
Secrets of Arkham - going to be reprinted soon with 3x of every card, the old version was 2x of every card
Dreamlands cycle - these are the last asylum packs that have not yet been reprinted with 3x of every card. On the schedule for sometime soon-ish.

One nice thing with Call of Cthulhu is that there the Core has 1x of every card, so when you buy 3 copies there is no waste and you get more cards. For most of the games it's hard to justify more than 2 copies since the 3rd one will only net you a small number of usable cards.
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dboeren wrote:
Three Core sets
One of each deluxe expansion
One of each Asylum pack


Things to wait a little while on:
Secrets of Arkham - going to be reprinted soon with 3x of every card, the old version was 2x of every card
Dreamlands cycle - these are the last asylum packs that have not yet been reprinted with 3x of every card. On the schedule for sometime soon-ish.

One nice thing with Call of Cthulhu is that there the Core has 1x of every card, so when you buy 3 copies there is no waste and you get more cards. For most of the games it's hard to justify more than 2 copies since the 3rd one will only net you a small number of usable cards.

Thanks a lot. I appreciate the info.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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dboeren wrote:
One nice thing with Call of Cthulhu is that there the Core has 1x of every card, so when you buy 3 copies there is no waste and you get more cards. For most of the games it's hard to justify more than 2 copies since the 3rd one will only net you a small number of usable cards.
After that third Core, though, the little Cthulhu statuettes start to take over the whole house.
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Tyler
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Carthoris wrote:

After that third Core, though, the little Cthulhu statuettes start to take over the whole house.
I've taken to distributing them on my travels as art bombs, tucked out of the way for people to discover.
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David Boeren
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I've given a few away to other gamers, RPG guys seem to like them.
 
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Chris Long
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yipe wrote:
There are some glaring problems with the official variant. For example, the player who has priority before you can always choose to chump block against an opponent and allow him to win a story, which then denies you any chance to defend a story where you have invested several success tokens. The Cenacle variant solves this issue.

There are a variety of decisions that go into choosing which stories you invest time in trying to win. And yes, one of those calculations involves whether or not something like you describe can happen. But quite frankly, that's part of the beauty of the multi-player interaction.

When I'm playing a multi-player game things that I'm constantly thinking about include:

1. How likely it is that I am able to win a given story
2. How much effort I should put into a story even if I don't think I can win it.
3. How much effort do I put into slowing down another player from winning a story even if I know they've got it?
4. Do I pass on defending a story even though I could stop the attacker just to force the next player to make a tough decision?

There is just a ton of really interesting player interaction in the official multiplayer variant. I enjoy forcing my opponents to make difficult decisions. I like presenting options that are both bad and forcing them to choose one of them. I appreciate games that allow you to create situations like that, and I find it much more intellectually satisfying.

And frankly, the defensive choices that are required in the official rules are much more intellectually satisfying for me than the Cenacle variant. Cenacle, by comparison, is just so boring.

The fact that the person to the right (not the left) of the active player gets first choice in defense is just so interesting. Do I defend against the current player or do I hold back and wait for other players who are coming along next? Maybe the active player committed all their characters and now I have to make a calculation about whether or not I can afford to defend against them or if I need to let them go in order to defend against the next player. Or maybe I can't afford to let that player go? Maybe I know if I pass everyone else will too and that player is going after a story I need. So I have to make the tough choice to block him while leaving the other players open for relatively easy success tokens on their turn.

The decisions you have to make constantly, on each player's turn, are so frustrating and interesting and fun.

yipe wrote:
With the official version you often have a cascade effect where 1 player has to go all in to break through 2 players' defenses at the same time, thereby leaving them completely defenseless. When no one is willing to do this, the game drags.

But you don't have to defend against 2 players. You only have to fight one. So you make your choices based on the player more likely to defend and then "toss the dice" and see what happens. Your suggestion that the game drags sounds like the same complaint I hear from new players who are too afraid to attack because they might lose characters. It is the same calculation in multiplayer. You need to be more aggressive, not less, in a multiplayer game.

Now, that being said, you also have to understand that you can't reasonable go after all three stories at once like you can in a 2-player game. There's no way you can expect to put tokens on all stories. So part of your attack/defense calculation has to involve basically deciding which story you want, which story is your secondary objective, and which story you're giving up on.

yipe wrote:
... whereas the official version often feels more like 1 vs 1 (because of the flawed blocking rules).

I just disagree completely that they are flawed. You don't like them, but that doesn't mean they are flawed. I've been playing this game weekly since 2004, and a decently large number of those games were multiplayer. When I say that I've played probably 250-300 games of multiplayer with the official rules, I'm not exaggerating. The blocking rules are not in any way flawed. You just don't like playing that way. And that's fine, not every game is good for every person.

It is, however, worth mentioning that my group did make one change to the official rules. We play with one set of story cards, and just make sure that each person's success tokens are easy to differentiate. It makes no sense to me to complicate the play area with a bunch of story decks, and it has never been a problem to only use one.

yipe wrote:
A fun variant is to turn all of the story cards face-down and have mandatory story resolution.

That does sound fun. I'll have to try that. For that matter, just try that in regular games too.
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