Saturday, June 15, 2013

(Kickstarter) Cthulhu Wars

When I get my driver's license renewed this month, I have to remember to change my address on it, because I've obviously been living under a rock.

Now on Kickstarter, Call of Cthulhu creator Sandy Petersen's newest endeavour, Cthulhu Wars.

To see a half million dollars raised in what feels like scant minutes for a boardgame is extremely encouraging, but I ask one simple question that will piss some people off. 

Why am I paying $169 MSRP for a copy of Cthulhu meets Axis & Allies?

Yes, the minis vary between just awesome to breathtaking. 

Yes, the "Early-bird" bids allow a cheaper price PLUS the stretch goals.  

Yes, it's Sandy Petersen, the Godfather of Call of Cthulhu.  Just about everything he's ever touched turns to to playable gold.

Yes, the figures are all 28mm scale so you can use them in your games (Cthulhu and his ilk are 40mm) although I've never actually seen the old RAFM CoC minis used in anything but pulp wargames at cons.

I get the feeling that this is the minis version of Arkham Horror.  Great visual presentation, good gameplay, it's just looks so cluttered on that board. 

You know what I first thought when I read Cthulu Wars.  Full blown legions-from-beyond armies-of-cultists tabletop wargaming.  In 15, or even 10mm, these battles could be truly epic.  Heck, you probably could keep the big bad nasties the same size for effect.  A Cthulhu Apocalyptic wargame could go over so well, I actually picture it as what Inferno could have been.

Inferno was a game produced  by Global Games, the same that made my beloved Legions of Steel.

It was 1/285th scale (6mm) game set on the planes of Hell.  Demon Princes (40+mm tall) would tower over the battlefield, commanding their lieutenants (25mm) and their legions of the damned (6mm).  The CONCEPT of the game was cool, the execution of the game not so much.  The rules needed more playtesting  (I believe I was listed as a playtester.  The first time and only time I played was when Marco taught me the rules the first Origins in Columbus.)  The minis were not aesthetically pleasing.  And this was the beginning of the end for Global Games, with their merchant packages for Inferno and LOS.  Mix in the carnage that was the X-Game and the sub-license to produce Star Wars minis with the fall of West End Games, and it was not a good time for them.

But imagine a blasted 40k landscape that dots every game store in the country the stocks GW product.  Now instead of an Ultramarine army defending against the forces of Chaos, make it the unending legions of Cthulhu vs the unnameable armies of Hastur.  Cthulhu Wars needs to have a full wargaming component to it.   A boardgame doesn't do the figures and scope of the game justice.    In 6mm, the hordes of human cultists and smaller denizens could be properly represented.  Hell, you could even pull out some Dystopian Wars units for some exotic battles, or micro-armor for pre-apocalyptic ones.  In 15mm, we could do some cross-playing with the All Quiet on the Martian Front.

But 28mm?  For Role-Playing.  If I need to break out the battleboard for more than one PC vs Shoggoth fight a year, I'm going to lose players.  Maybe in this post-3e universe, everything needs to be set up visually, but it's not my thing. 

And that's all I'm going to say about that.


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