Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
27 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: What's the deal with Cthulhu? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Alex
United States
Alabama
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't been living under a rock (or so I thought); but before I got into board-gaming I had never heard of Cthulhu.

So why is Cthulhu such a popular theme in games and especially expansions?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Mench
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As an outsider myself... Only my perspective...

HP Lovecraft created a mystical world that might have been the first of its kind in literature. Kind of a niche set of books us geeks picked up on. The reason this appears in so many games is beyond me, but it is an intellectual property that is in the public domain and doesn't require royalties. Pandemic: Hoth Virus just wouldn't be as cheap!

-m
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Marowske
United States
Macomb
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
abonosky wrote:
I haven't been living under a rock (or so I thought); but before I got into board-gaming I had never heard of Cthulhu.

So why is Cthulhu such a popular theme in games and especially expansions?


Check out this thread...

Cthulhu. I don't get it.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
that Matt
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
badge
I can feel bits of my brain falling away like wet cake.
Avatar
mbmbmb
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Debien
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
abonosky wrote:
I haven't been living under a rock (or so I thought); but before I got into board-gaming I had never heard of Cthulhu.

So why is Cthulhu such a popular theme in games and especially expansions?


It is a rich horror genre with a lot of attendant mythology. As a 20th century invention, the themes are more relevant to today's audiences then say greek or norse myths (not to say that those subject aren't also popular in games). Finally, and likely most important, Cthulhu is in the public domain where anyone can use it for free.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trevor Taylor
United Kingdom
FARINGDON
Oxfordshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When I initially read the title I thought it was more of a...

What's Cthulhu's beef? Why has he got to be so evil? Did his mum not hug him enough?

...kind of question.

I clearly have late afternoon brain on...
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trevor B
Canada
Brampton
Ontario
flag msg tools
Something for the rag and bone man...
badge
No soldier outlives a thousand chances. But every soldier believes in Chance and trusts his luck.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
esquire468 wrote:
abonosky wrote:
I haven't been living under a rock (or so I thought); but before I got into board-gaming I had never heard of Cthulhu.

So why is Cthulhu such a popular theme in games and especially expansions?


Check out this thread...

Cthulhu. I don't get it.


Yes, this was a lengthy discussion about it a few weeks ago. You'll get a lot of information and opinions there.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex
United States
Alabama
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
esquire468 wrote:
abonosky wrote:
I haven't been living under a rock (or so I thought); but before I got into board-gaming I had never heard of Cthulhu.

So why is Cthulhu such a popular theme in games and especially expansions?


Check out this thread...

Cthulhu. I don't get it.


Thanks! Perhaps it was even more naive of me to think that I was the first person to ask this question. But to search BGG for a Cthulhu thread like mine was, well, a bit daunting because of the pervasiveness of Cthulhu on BGG.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Belgium
flag msg tools
Meaningless means there's a strong limit to how much I can mess up!
badge
This overtext is not in use.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
HP Lovecraft's stuff was popular with the early D&D creators via their love of Conan. More importantly, it was and still is, out of copyright.

Everything else is more or less inertia from that.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Boaty McBoatface
England
County of Essex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CaptainMench wrote:
As an outsider myself... Only my perspective...

HP Lovecraft created a mystical world that might have been the first of its kind in literature. Kind of a niche set of books us geeks picked up on. The reason this appears in so many games is beyond me, but it is an intellectual property that is in the public domain and doesn't require royalties. Pandemic: Hoth Virus just wouldn't be as cheap!

-m
It was not the first of it's kind, but he became it's front man.

As to why so many games, public domain evil that is not going to offend anyone.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Strait
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Dolphinandrew wrote:
More importantly, it was and still is, out of copyright.


This, more than anything. It's in the public domain, and provides a ready-made, distinct-yet-off-the-shelf setting and theme that still contains a certain amount of positive cultural cachet. (Compare with, say, an anthropomorphic or cartoon animal theme, which is generic enough to be public domain but has the negative "furry" cultural connotation, or a romanticized medieval theme which is often considered generic to the point of neutrality.)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CaptainMench wrote:
it is an intellectual property that is in the public domain and doesn't require royalties
It's free.

CaptainMench wrote:
us geeks picked up on
And it has a built in fool pool customer base.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Don Weed
United States
Clemmons
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cthulhu, or rather, the Cthulhu mythos is actually a series of stories that, at their heart, are science fiction but presented as horror. These stories were first embodied by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft but soon spread to his contemporaries and many other authors to this day.

Most have a theme where mere men are visited upon by otherworldly beings or situations that they cannot comprehend. That is the trick and the catch of great 'Cthulhu' stories. Often it is what you can't see or understand that is the most frightening - not brashly being exposed to some bug-eyed monster. Most of the tales build on this theme like a good horror movie. A lot of the action takes place off the main stage and you're left with finding and puzzling out the remains.

The 'Call of Cthulhu' role playing game captured this in the 70's and became (and still is) quite popular. It is the players who have to 'discover' the answers to riddles posed by the circumstances that they have blundered into.

That tends to be the fascination with me. Games can convey some of this with blind chit draws or puzzles that need to be solved. Games that utilize this method correctly will be more long lived than those that just paste on the theme.

Plus a lot of the role-playing modules are just plain fun reads! Try a couple out.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Zuccarelli
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just to add to the chorus of correct answers.


Because it's public domain. This is the central answer.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Pomeroy
United States
Chester Springs
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dude, you have some serious catching up to do in the Cosmic Evil department.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Harbin
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Everybody keeps mentioning that H.P.Lovecraft is public domain.
Not too many people mention the fact that many of his works are really very good.

Now, not all of them are true gems of literary genius.
Some of them are, quite honestly, difficult to plow through, and the antiquated writing style, and grammar, can throw you off, but when he is on his game, they offer some truly creepy, downright shuddering moments, that stick with you.

His cynical view that there are great unmentionable, many times, unpronounceable, entities just beyond the edge of our daily reality-entities and forces that do not care about us or our world-entities whose very being is such an anathema to our own, that our sanity is torn away when we encounter their true nature and that of the vast, uncaring universe-these concepts resonate so deeply with elements of mind-shattering horror that one only has to mention the ambassador of the asylum, Great Cthulhu, and your game has instant horror credentials, without too much necessary backstory needed.
Just like a vampire,a zombie, a pirate, a ninja-symbols and characters used in 80 billion other works-add a little Cthulhu, and you pretty much have your theme wrapped up.

Unfortunately, Cthulhu and possibly the Necronomicon, became the only thing that most people recognize about Lovecraft, and that is a shame.

The vast, unknowable, horrors beyond all time and space have become so overused and generic, that I wouldn't be surprised to see Cthulhu in a Happy Meal.

Plus, the works of Lovecraft have a great pulp-fiction feel, with many of them occurring in the 1800's or the 1920's, eras that have been greatly romanticized and lend well to gaming.

Oh, and public domain.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julien K
Japan
Kyoto
flag msg tools
statman8 wrote:
The 'Call of Cthulhu' role playing game captured this in the 70's and became (and still is) quite popular. It is the players who have to 'discover' the answers to riddles posed by the circumstances that they have blundered into.

That tends to be the fascination with me. Games can convey some of this with blind chit draws or puzzles that need to be solved. Games that utilize this method correctly will be more long lived than those that just paste on the theme.

Plus a lot of the role-playing modules are just plain fun reads! Try a couple out.


This was my thought too. Beside the copyright thing and the fact that it presents an easy-to-identify evil, I'm guessing that without the rpg we would not have had that much cthulhu games right now. I don't know for other countries, but a while ago in France, the two big rpgs (in terms of number of players/sales) were D&D and Call of Cthulhu.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
badge
The problem in the equation is people. Eliminate that, everything works.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thunkd wrote:
CaptainMench wrote:
it is an intellectual property that is in the public domain and doesn't require royalties
It's free.

CaptainMench wrote:
us geeks picked up on
And it has a built in fool pool customer base.


It's also really easy to add Cthulhu to other games and make them that much better. Hmmm...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex
United States
Alabama
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jujulautre wrote:
statman8 wrote:
The 'Call of Cthulhu' role playing game captured this in the 70's and became (and still is) quite popular. It is the players who have to 'discover' the answers to riddles posed by the circumstances that they have blundered into.

That tends to be the fascination with me. Games can convey some of this with blind chit draws or puzzles that need to be solved. Games that utilize this method correctly will be more long lived than those that just paste on the theme.

Plus a lot of the role-playing modules are just plain fun reads! Try a couple out.


This was my thought too. Beside the copyright thing and the fact that it presents an easy-to-identify evil, I'm guessing that without the rpg we would not have had that much cthulhu games right now. I don't know for other countries, but a while ago in France, the two big rpgs (in terms of number of players/sales) were D&D and Call of Cthulhu.


Well this is starting to make a lot of sense. I guess I don't need to post my next question: "What's the deal with dungeon crawlers."

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jens Witgeers
Belgium
West Vlaanderen
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
negatrev wrote:
When I initially read the title I thought it was more of a...

What's Cthulhu's beef? Why has he got to be so evil? Did his mum not hug him enough?

...kind of question.

I clearly have late afternoon brain on...


I tought exactly the same! I really wanted to know what his deal was, maybe somebody sneezed in his cereal one morning so he decided to destroy the world as we know it, just to take the edge off...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julien K
Japan
Kyoto
flag msg tools
abonosky wrote:
jujulautre wrote:
statman8 wrote:
The 'Call of Cthulhu' role playing game captured this in the 70's and became (and still is) quite popular. It is the players who have to 'discover' the answers to riddles posed by the circumstances that they have blundered into.

That tends to be the fascination with me. Games can convey some of this with blind chit draws or puzzles that need to be solved. Games that utilize this method correctly will be more long lived than those that just paste on the theme.

Plus a lot of the role-playing modules are just plain fun reads! Try a couple out.


This was my thought too. Beside the copyright thing and the fact that it presents an easy-to-identify evil, I'm guessing that without the rpg we would not have had that much cthulhu games right now. I don't know for other countries, but a while ago in France, the two big rpgs (in terms of number of players/sales) were D&D and Call of Cthulhu.


Well this is starting to make a lot of sense. I guess I don't need to post my next question: "What's the deal with dungeon crawlers."


Then I won't answer "D&D!" to your question you did not ask
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Belgium
flag msg tools
Meaningless means there's a strong limit to how much I can mess up!
badge
This overtext is not in use.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Snigwiddle wrote:
Not too many people mention the fact that many of his works are really very good.


Sure, but there are plenty of works that are very good (sometimes even better), but that don't have the pretty large number of games themed after them. That Lovecraft's writing is good (imo) and plenty of people like it is really not enough to explain why so many Mythos-games exist.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
skutsch wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
CaptainMench wrote:
it is an intellectual property that is in the public domain and doesn't require royalties
It's free.

CaptainMench wrote:
us geeks picked up on
And it has a built in fool pool customer base.


It's also really easy to add Cthulhu to other games and make them that much better. Hmmm...
Fortunately Vital Lacerda doesn't share your lack of good taste! No Cthulhu Gallerist retheme for you!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark B
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agre with what most people are saying about Lovecraft's sometimes brilliant writing, relavent themes and pulp adventure feel. I also think that some of the lighter treatments of Lov craft are a way of dealing with his themes of overwhelming dread and despair.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve B
Ireland
Derry
flag msg tools
badge
EZ FLASH 3 FTW
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Public domain is probably one reason as mentioned. Sherlock Holmes is also public domain and I have not seen dozens of Sherlock Holmes games on the shelves.

I would guess the reason it's so popular is just like zombies. Somebody made a game with that theme that became really successful and so other companies followed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.