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Call of Cthulhu: Collectible Card Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: Frustrated! rss

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Keith McCleary
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I've been an Arkham Horror fan for about a year, and decided to try the card game for a different take on the FFG version of the Mythos. After reading recommendations in the forums here, I ended up buying an Arkham Edition Premium Starter deck (not an easy find, I assure you.)

So the game came in the mail today, and I've been working over it for a few hours. I can't make heads or tails of it! I find the rules very confusing, and am wondering if this is only for gamers with previous CCG experience. I feel like I don't understand how the game works on a few basic levels.

I understand the concept of taking cards from your hand and putting them 'into play' by draining Domains. But I don't understand how cards' additional 'exhaustible' effects fit in with gameplay. Does a card's effect occur immediately on being played, or is it essentially just being brought into circulation so it can be exhausted during another phase and/or turn? Does exhausting a card drain a Domain just like bringing cards into play does? Can an exhausted card then be used during the Story phase? What is the advantage to having a character be refreshed after winning an Arcane stuggle?

I am also TOTALLY lost on bringing cards into play when you're not the active player. I actually don't even know what to ask (a bad sign). I suppose I mainly don't understand how bringing in cards as the opposing player affects the Domains, and how whatever Domains you may have drained as the opposing player affects your gameplay once you're the active player, and vice versa.

I guess I just don't really understand how the effects listed in the text on these cards works into the sequence of a player's turn. I also don't understand how exhausting and refreshing cards actually affects gameplay. But all this is the tip of the iceberg -- I really just don't understand how the game is played, period.

I dunno -- I'm already thinking this just may not be the game for me. I got through the Arkham Horror rulebook, for pete's sake -- I don't consider myself a chump in deciphering confusing games. But this one has me at a loss. Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated, but I have a feeling this game is on the fast track to eBay.

PS - Please DON'T respond with a link to the FFG game tutorial on Youtube. I've watched it a bunch of times already, and have come to the conclusion that game designers who know their games backwards and forwards may not make the best instructors for people coming in with no prior knowledge of how CCGs are played.

PPS - I still love Arkham Horror. Don't hate me for dissing the Youtube vid, FFG!
 
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Beau Bailey
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There are a few people on here that can probably answer your questions better than I can, but have you tried reading the Call of Cthulhu LCG rulebook on FFG's site?

The rules in it will still apply to the CCG version of the game and may clear up some of your problems, though the rulebook is not perfectly clear in some areas. http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/coc/support/co...

Hope that helps some, and yes previous CCG experience would probably help somewhat. A lot of CCGs fail in their rules explanation because they assume new players already know how to play Magic.
 
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Universal Head
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Try my rules summary and reference cards - I put a lot of work in them because I was trying to understand the whole concept myself!
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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Whoa...at first blush I don't really know how to answer such a post. So many questions. Looking at your profile Poor Ronnie it doesn't give any hints as to what sort or type of games you've played before. I gather from your post that you have Arkham Horror the boardgame but must have never played Magic the Gathering or any other (card)game with a 'tapping' mechanic. I'm also probably not the best person to try to answer your problem since I found the Arkham Horror rulebook rather easy to understand and the one sheet Call of Cthulhu cardgame rules (Arkham Edition) a snap. But I try to help until some better poster.

Remember the game has a fixed sequence of play laid out for each player. All the other rules sort of hang on to it's skeleton. While I have the Arkham Edition rulesheet I'll describe based on the current rulesbook found in the Living Card Game box which is freely downloadable from the Fantasy Flight Games website. It is basically the same as the Arkham Edition rulesheet but with better TIMING descriptions, which seem to be the basis of most of your confusion.

When to play event cards and/or activate effects on cards already in play is a up to the controlling player. Conflicts that arise when players want to do effects at the same time are resolved using the TIMING rules.

Cards come into 'play' in the 'ready' position, that is upright from the point of view of the player. Cards that are 'exhausted' are turned 90 degrees from the players point of view. 'Insane' cards are both at 90 degrees and flipped over. 'Exhausted' is the same as 'tapped' in the Magic the Gathering ccg. It's just a method to remember that the 'card' has 'done' something (or action) that it can do only once per game 'cycle' until it is 'readied' during the player's next REFRESH phase, as shown in the SEQUENCE OF PLAY. It isn't a new game mechanic. For example in the Monopoly game mortgaged property cards are flipped over until unmortgaged and cannot collect rent. My wife now call them 'Insane' properties. Flipping them over is the 'cost' to do an action, ie. get money from the bank.

Some cards, like events, have effects that occur immediately on being played and then are discarded. Other cards that remain in play, like characters and support cards may have effects/actions written as card text that have to be done as a separate action at some future time. This is all described in the 'The Cards' section of the rules. There are five types of cards and each is described along with how and when their effects take place. If a card text has an effect that doesn't say it exhausts the card...then it doesn't and might be able to do many times per turn. But most effects have some 'cost' which limits how often the effect can be activated.

Each player may take actions in Call of Cthulhu LCG (by playing event cards or using character abilities) during each step of every phase, except for certain intervals of play. These intervals are described in the rules, in particular no card effects or actions can take place during the resolve story phase. In the Monopoly game a player can do certain actions when his piece lands on a space, like draw a chance card or buy a property. In the card game players can carry out actions/effects when allowed, which can be during another player's turn, hence the rules on TIMING. Some actions/effects have a 'cost' like draining a domain or exhausting a card while a few actions do not. The cost is always written on the (event or otherwise) card or in the rules.

To try to sum up so far:

-Event cards effects occur immediately on being played from hand, then are discarded.

-Characters and supports remain 'in play' on the table and to use effects written on them is a separate action from bringing them into play.

-Event cards can be played during any players turn. Since they are played from hand this requires draining a domain.

-Characters and support cards already in play can activate card text effects during any players turn. Since they are already in play this doesn't require draining a domain unless the card text says otherwise.

-Character and support cards can only be brought into play during the controlling player's OPERATION PHASE.

-Exhausting a card doesn't drain a domain.

-Domains are drained to 'bring a card into play from hand'

-Exhausted cards cannot commit to a story. Only ready cards can commit which then exhausts them.

-Winning an Arcane Struggle readies one exhausted card for the winning side which then can be later exhausted (again) to pay a cost to do some effect.

-Exhausted cards are readied and domains are un-drained during the REFRESH PHASE. Unless readied or un-drained by some exceptional card effect before then.


Draining a domain is required to play a card from hand. Drained domains cannot be drained again until the counter/Cthulhu statue is removed from it during a player's REFRESH PHASE. A card already in play and on table doesn't require a domain to be drained to activate it's card text effects. The card text will say what is the cost to activated the effect. Since event cards are played from hand they require draining a domain to activate their effect. Most event cards can be played during another players turn as long as the controller still has undrained domains.

A common action that as a cost 'exhausts' a ready card is to commit it to a story during the STORY PHASE. This isn't written on the cards but is part of the rules. An already exhausted card cannot commit to a story because it isn't 'ready'. Read the rules section called 'Exhausted, Ready, and Insane'. Thus committing to a story during your turn prevents that same card from committing during the following opposing players turn (as a defender) unless it has some way to 'ready' (ie. untap) before the controlling player's next REFRESH phase. Hence the 'bonus' from winning an Arcane struggle can be very useful.


Any help?
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Chris Long
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/189754

That is an article I wrote on how to give a successful demo of this game. Its geared toward a different audience, but a lot of quotes I use you might find helpful. And the structure and order in which I use to explain the game is very different from the rulebook. Hopefully it might make more sense to you.

poor ronnie wrote:
I understand the concept of taking cards from your hand and putting them 'into play' by draining Domains. But I don't understand how cards' additional 'exhaustible' effects fit in with gameplay.


The best way to view these effects are as event cards you can use over and over again (as long as you can pay the cost). This usually gives additional value to a character because they get to perform some cool ability.

poor ronnie wrote:
Does a card's effect occur immediately on being played, or is it essentially just being brought into circulation so it can be exhausted during another phase and/or turn?


Usually the second option, although some abilities do happen when they come into play. Your best option here is just to read the cards. They will tell you if the ability only happens when it comes into play. If it doesn't specifically tell you that, don't assume.

poor ronnie wrote:
Does exhausting a card drain a Domain just like bringing cards into play does? Can an exhausted card then be used during the Story phase? What is the advantage to having a character be refreshed after winning an Arcane stuggle?


No. No. And the advantage is to have that character available for defense on your opponent's turn. At the end of the story phase, the characters are removed from the story, so you'll have to commit them again next turn. If you have no ready characters, you can't defend. That's the power of the Arcane struggle.

poor ronnie wrote:
I am also TOTALLY lost on bringing cards into play when you're not the active player. I actually don't even know what to ask (a bad sign). I suppose I mainly don't understand how bringing in cards as the opposing player affects the Domains, and how whatever Domains you may have drained as the opposing player affects your gameplay once you're the active player, and vice versa.


When you are not the active player, you can only play events or use special abilities on the character and support cards already in play which you control. Does that help at all?

And please, read the article.
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Colin Houghton
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Mr Head..

Where be your Rules summary please?
 
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Keith McCleary
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Good news -- I took my CCG decks with me to our local boardgaming club (http://www.nycwargames.com/) and asked for a tutorial on the game. My tutor had some pre-built LCG decks, so we played through a game using those and I picked it up right away.

Bad news -- upon bringing my CCG decks home (the Arkham Premium Starter), I played through a few games with my girlfriend and we found it pretty dull. I'm looking for a good out-of-the-box game, and here on BGG the Arkham Premium came highly recommended with that in mind.

Put into practice we found that the huge number of duplicates in the CCG starters made for a game that was TOO stable. Within a few turns it's easy to figure out the types of cards your opponent has at their disposal, and it quickly becomes a sit-and-wait sort of game in which each player stacks up all their available characters onto one story during their turns, becoming effectively invincible, and sits through their inactive turn with all their cards completely exhausted while their opponent does the same on their turn. With only a few event cards per faction, there's very little you can do to disrupt your opponents' active turn anyway, so the only tension comes at the end if one player is able to play a really nasty character and sweep through the endgame.

Also, the Arkham decks come with an UNEVEN number of cards per faction. MU has ten cards, the police force has 20, and so on. So it becomes nigh impossible to do anything but play Investigators vs. Mythos (giving each player a 47 card deck), which is great for theme but ridiculous for gameplay. One side has all the Terror icons and the other has almost a monopoly on Combat icons. The sides are SO different that the outcome for each story is repetitive -- one of the humans goes crazy, one monster dies, and whoever is left gets added up to see who wins the struggle. Again, with so few event cards there's little you can do to alter this pattern.

After a few games the playthrough got no better, so I decided to declare it a loss and buy the LCG core set.

THIS IS THE GAME I WAS LOOKING FOR.

Some people have complained about the "Highlander" game you are forced into playing with the core set (with no doubles, every card only comes up once). I think this is GREAT! I realized what I was really looking for was a "beer and pretzels" Cthulhu game -- something with less set up and requiring a shorter play time (and less thought) than my first love, Arkham Horror.

Granted, there are some fiddly rules to COC that my girlfriend is still having trouble remembering, so we haven't quite moved from "play-teaching" to real competitive play. Still, even as we help each other learn the rules, there are enough surprisingly dynamic cards in each faction to increase the unpredictability and tension of the game in a HUGE way by comparison to the out-of-the-box CCG starter decks. And with seven factions to pair up (with their many combinations), I'd argue that the core LCG set alone offers replayability that rivals that of Arkham Horror.

I have a few complaints about the LCG. The box is enormous and I can't imagine ever being able to justify its size -- my "game tutor" has every expansion thus far and they still only take up a tiny corner of the original box. I also really missed the domain cards that came with the Arkham Premium Starter, so I brought them in because the LCG has no equivalent cards. Lastly, the price on the core set is inexcusably ridiculous for how little you get in the box.

Oddly enough, I enjoy the LCG so much that I would consider trying an expansion or two if I get bored with the core set -- even though I purchased it when looking for the version of the game that worked best WITHOUT buying additonal cards.
 
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Colin Houghton
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Glad it's turned out all OK in the end. I too have the LCG Cthulhu starter box, but haven't yet persuaded my lady to play it- but she has played and liked Race for the Galaxy, and Hex Hex, so hasn't got anything against card games yet...

I wish there were some solo game rules for Cthulhu, although I can't really see anything would be as satisfactory as having a live opponent (dead ones are pretty crap).

Have you tried any of the booster packs for LCG? That should add some variety and surprises
 
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