Back in 2013 when I first launched the campaign for Cthulhu Wars, the single most-heard comments were “Why is it so big?”, “Why not use cheap meeples?”, “Why can’t I play it 2-player?”, “Can you make a travel version?” I had just done my absolute dream game. It was so popular and had such strong reviews that naturally those who couldn’t afford the price tag wanted me to do a less expensive version. I resisted — in my opinion, one important reason Cthulhu Wars was such a success was BECAUSE of its size and impact, not in spite of it.
The two-player fans were easier to ignore; Cthulhu Wars is emphatically a multiplayer game, and its interactions are seriously distorted in two-player mode. We tried it several times, but it lacked the “mouth feel” of Cthulhu Wars, and left us cold. “Combat” factions, such as Cthulhu, dominated “Infrastructure” factions, such as Black Goat.
So we moved on and basically forgot about it. Then came 2018. In our Planet Apocalypse campaign we’d included a Super-Pledge which we internally called the Masterminds. Those who backed it got to come to my house for a weekend; play unpublished games, hang out, get design practicums, and so forth. Well in September the Masterminds showed up. We had 5 Superfans on hand, all of whom loved my games, and so I decided to use them for my own dark purposes.