A lot of you guys have doubtless played Fantasy Flight games. For years, they have been one of the world’s premier game manufacturers. One game, Twilight Imperium, influenced Cthulhu Wars spiritually. I love Twilight Imperium. I am especially impressed with the way that dynamic imbalance flows throughout the whole of a given faction, and isn’t just something simple like “this faction gets +1 move” or whatever which is how many so-called “asymmetrical” games work. It incorporates their home world, their ability, their starting techs, and their starting fleet.
I wanted to emulate that aspect of Twilight Imperium in Cthulhu Wars (obviously very different games), but each part of a Cthulhu Wars faction is intended to combine into a greater whole. I accomplished this to my satisfaction. When I see online or hear discussions about how to play Crawling Chaos or Sleeper or whomever, the speakers have to range around between the faction ability, the Great Old One(s) ability, the monster stats, the numbers of monsters of each type, the spellbooks, and even the spellbook requirements. You can’t sum up a Cthulhu Wars faction with one sentence because they have so much depth to them. For example, it makes a huge difference that Black Goat has just two Ghouls. If she had three, it would greatly change her tactics and strategies. I know this for a fact because at one time Black Goat had four ghouls, and man the whole game was different. This was very early, when we were still feeling out how the game was supposed to work (it was even before Rituals of Annihilation!), and so no one was good at playing it. Nowadays a skilled player of Black Goat with 3 Ghouls instead of 2 would be an unholy terror. But the reason she would be an unholy terror isn’t just because 3 > 2, but because of the combination of Thousand Young, which makes ghouls free; Necrophagy, which punks attackers; and Fertility Cult, which lets Black Goat spawn many at once.
Another much played Fantasy Flight Game is Arkham Horror. I was developer on the old Chaosium version back in 1987 – had nothing to do with the FFG version though for whom Mr. Launius and their team get full credit. While I like Arkham Horror and Twilight Imperium much of Cthulhu Wars design is constructed as a reaction against them! They are complex games with giant rulebooks that take many hours to play. I wanted Cthulhu Wars to have much simpler rules (though of course there is depth in the interactions), and to play far more quickly. Not because I didn’t like the FFG titans, but because we already have those. We don’t need another one. Or at least I don’t.