“This is a great game, giving you the real Cthulhu Wars experience. If I were going to mostly be playing 2 player, I would always recommend this one. And if you’re on a budget, this is a much more viable choice.”
“Number 2 of the decade for me goes to Glorantha: the Godswar. Glorantha being the oldest richest mythology our hobby has produced full of gods and epic stories. Cthulhu Wars gets redone not as another tight strategic knife fight but as a tour de force of heavy diplomacy driven asymmetrical faction engines fully under control of players (no draw a card to discover your strategy and make the best of it here). Again it flaunts game mechanics that aren’t supposed to work but not only do but excel at what strategies they empower. Crazy asymmetry. Deep strategy. Fast playing too.” Ray (wtrollkin2000)
When I was a kid, I loved war movies – even more than cowboy movies. I can remember, at the age of 6, pretending to kill “nazis” with my friends. I also remember, after playtime, going to my dad and asking him what “nazis” were. I thought they were some kind of alien or a nasty animal of some kind. Since I was just a kid, he gave me an abbreviated answer. I was amazed to learn that nazis were actually people.
I also knew that many Japanese were bad guys in the Second World War. But I adored my Uncle Mike (Mitsuru) Takeda and Aunt Lillian, both full-blooded Japanese. Our house was full of little Japanese knick-knacks thanks to them. They even taught me origami.
This didn’t stop me from playing battle games with my friends. Usually our guns were just sticks, and we’d take turns getting “killed” in action. Those were pretty active games. Sometimes we’d play with plastic army men instead, and that was also extremely fun.
In my early teens I learned of the existence of tabletop wargames, which used miniatures. 13 year old me couldn’t possibly afford metal figures and anyway the local wargaming group was into Napoleonics which I knew zero about. But I could use my allowance to buy Airfix figures, and then my friends and I created rules to play with them.
Airfix Australian WW2
By the age of 16 we were regularly playing tabletop wargames with our little Airfix figures, with actual rules. We even had terrain of sorts – we used wooden Risk cubes to lay out the edges of rivers, books for hills, and so forth. Eventually my friend Bill decreed that one of the units on each side should represent us, personally. So I had a Lieutenant Petersen figure, who’d walk around and try to survive the battle so he could be promoted.
Well eventually we stopped playing with the Airfix figures and started playing lots of Avalon Hill games, which used cardboard counters. We still created our own games, but we used our own cardboard counters for these, and we no longer had a single person who represented “me”.
But it turns out that the way that roleplaying games first evolved was in tabletop miniature wargames. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson decided to label certain officers as themselves in their wargaming group. JUST LIKE BILL AND ME! They then started playing medieval wargames instead of napoleonics, then added fantasy creatures, then started letting their heroes upgrade between battles (again, we were doing this too). And in the end created fantasy roleplaying games with Dungeons & Dragons.
I owned two entire copies of this. Lost to mildew when mom stored them in a damp basement. I was on the exact same track, at least for a while. I wonder how many other people in the late 60s, early 70s were also orbiting Gygax & Arneson’s great idea. Now, I’m not saying that I would have eventually invented roleplaying on my own. Who knows? But I had at least embarked on the same road as Gygax/Arneson, without knowing it, Of course I was also just a feckless teenager, with zero ability to bring my ideas to the marketplace, or even an inkling how this could be done.
But now you know this tale, and I hope you find it interesting.
– Sandy P.
Sandy is one of the authors of 1986’s award-winning Ghostbusters roleplaying game. Not only was that frightfully cheerful roleplaying game the first ever RPG to use a dice pool mechanic, it was also one of the main inspirations for the Awfully Cheerful Engine — a new action comedy role playing game. We thought you’d like to see what Sandy has to say …
“I decided that before sitting down to the gruesome endeavor of writing the Awfully Cheerful Engine! foreword, I’d stop by the store and get some snacks. You know — pork rinds, crappy 7-11 nachos, diet Dr Pepper. To fortify the inner man for the task. Before I left, I called to my wife upstairs. “Hey, you want something from the store?” She was in the shower, and all I heard was “garble garble Red Monkeys burble.” Red monkeys? Must be some new thing. Maybe a brand of glue for one of her projects? Who knew.
Anyway, I walked into the store, and, having no idea what red monkeys were, walked over to the proprietor and asked, ‘Do you have any red monkeys?’
“WHAT did you ask?!” he shouted, his face turning as red as a monkey.”
What happened next?
Susurros desda la Oscuridad (Whispers from Darkness) recently took a close look at our newest book. Just click the “translate” button to read the description in your own language!
“In the end, these types of works are for the very sybarites of the subject, but I think that it is a book that not only serves to expand our knowledge about these creatures, but is also a bottomless well of ideas to create our own adventures.
The author includes for each creature some notes that will help us to use them in the games of our favorite role-playing game.”