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Subject: Cthulhu!: How I Made My Own Themed Copy of Loco! rss

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♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
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Recently, I had the chance to play Thor at the Atlanta Game Fest. I've played Loco! before, and enjoyed the game, but always felt like it was a dry, dry game. Playing Thor, I realized that the theme (tacked on as it is) actually lends something extra to the game. Now, I own Loco! (I've bought it twice, actually), but I figured it might be fun to create my own deck to add a little flavor to the game.

My first step was to figure out what I wanted the theme to be. At the convention, someone commented on how it could be made into a stock theme, so I searched for stock certificate art. It was all a bit boring, and not distinctive enough to differentiate between suits, so I vetoed that idea. Since I'm a horror buff, and with Halloween right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to do something horror-related. I started searching for different horror art, and played around with classic movies and books before stumbling across some Cthulhu artwork. What really got me going was a website of artwork from the Lovecraft Tarot deck. The artwork was detailed and spooky, and what's more, the art was already made to look like a card, complete with the name of the scene in the bottom border of the card! It was like hitting oil.

I found enough images to create the deck, so my next step was in determining the colors of the cards. I settled on basic colors, since I and about three other people in my group are colorblind, but since I had no experience with editing images, I requested some help from other Geeks. Chad Krizan was nice enough to create the basic images in five different colors, and match them, to boot. As I started putting the deck together, though, I realized that I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of having one character card related to one place, I wanted to have the characters become progressively stronger, from 0 to 5.

Chad didn't have the time to help me create 30 different images, so I played around with the images using the GIMP. I spent a few hours playing around with colors, trying to match them to the colors Chad had made for me by sight, before realizing that all of the base images were the same color. Once I determined a good shade after setting the hue, all I had to do was write down the settings for the color and modify the other images to the same color. It worked perfectly.

Once I had created all of the images for the base game, I decided to go ahead and create the action cards from Thor, too. I figured if I was going to make this much of an effort to create the game, why not add in the extras, too? It took me a while to find another image from the Tarot deck that suited the action cards, but when I stumbled across the Cthulhu image, I knew that would do it. I titled the action cards with place and monster names from the Cthulhu mythos, and was able to squeeze the text of what the cards did into the small border at the bottom of the cards.

Once I had all of the images colored, resized, and pasted into a Word document, I tried printing them out on my inkjet printer. Normally, my printer works well with high quality color images, but for some reason, the colors bled from one image to the other. I think I made the colors too deep for the printer to be able to change colors effectively, or else the cartridge was running low. Either way, I had to trash my first attempt at printing the images. I decided to have Office Depot print out the images for me on their color laser printer, and I'm glad that I did. It only cost $0.89 per page to print them out, and the quality was remarkable. The color was glossy and sharp, and maintained the detail of the artwork. I was even able to read the small text at the base of the action cards.

After that, I cut the images from the label stock and stuck them down to a standard deck of Bicycle cards. I formatted the images to be 2.4x3.4 inches, so that they would just cover the artwork already on the cards. They fit nicely, leaving a slight white border around the edges of the cards. I then put all the cards into card sleeves, both for ease of shuffling, and so the cards wouldn't have the Bicycle logo on the backs. Plus, I needed to be able to differentiate from the action cards and the game cards, so I used different colored card sleeves for the two types of cards.

Following all this, I only had to print out a cover for the deck box I used for the game (I found one last image of Lovecraft himself), and write up a summary of the rules to fit in the box. I think the final result adds a little something to an already good game, and with Halloween coming up, I shouldn't have any problems getting the game played.







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Joe Gola
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Knizia & Lovecraft: two great tastes that taste great together.
 
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chris schott
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Isaac,

i really love this idea. it seems damned clever and you've drawn my interest to this game. There are six publishers listed, do you think any of them would consider releasing a Cthulhu version?

Unfortunately, i have some problems with the cards as implemented. It seems likely these particular images are copyright protected. i know that's not a problem for homemade versions, but wouldn't that prohibit the card designs from being freely distributed even by posting files to bgg? also, as a noncolourblind person i find the colours to be remarkably drab. Most importantly, the low level of contrast interferes with legibility of detail and text (as sparse as that is).

I would be interested in illustrating a Cthulhu deck. if i count correctly, that would mean thirty six images. i'm sure we could develop unique Cthulhu images that work well for both colourblind and noncolourblind players. If you are open to the idea, maybe we could discuss that project.
 
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