26 December 2016
The Lovecraft expert picks his favourite games of the last 12 months
ENnie Award-winning RPG designer Mike Mason is perhaps best known as the co-writer of the Call of Cthulhu seventh edition Keeper's Rulebook.
Line editor for Call of Cthulhu at Chaosium, Mason has also worked on Pulp Cthulhu, the Simulacrum Unbound chapter for the new Horror on the Orient Express and books for the Lovecraftian RPG including Alone Against The Flames, Nameless Horrors and Doors to Darkness. Before joining the company in 2013 he worked on titles including Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying spin-off Dark Heresy at Games Workshop.
Outside of Chaosium, Mason edited and published Call of Cthulhu fanzine The Whisperer in the early noughties, as well as founding and running the Kult of Keepers group of scenario writers, who were also responsible for the UK's Cthulhu Nationals Tournament.
In short, Mason knows his Cthulhu. With 2016 proving another bumper year for Lovecraft's horrific creation, TTG asked Mason to sum up his favourite games – Cthulhu or otherwise – from the last 12 months. Here what's he picked:
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
I enjoyed this updated version of the board game far more than the previous iteration. Having the associated app to tell you what to do, with its great sound effects and real-time puzzles, made the game quicker to play and more engaging.
While a couple of the miniatures within the game are a little lacklustre, the majority are suitably cool and nicely detailed. As befits most FFG games, the card stock, art, and components are very nice indeed.
Comes with a range of scenarios to play through, each presented in with different variants, which means you’ll have hours and hours of game play.
Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
Probably my favourite board game of the year. Nicely balanced, easy to learn, and plays around an hour. Enough said. Got get it. Now.
Shadow of the Demon Lord
An epic roleplaying game by Rob Schwalb, set in a dark fantasy world where malevolent chaotic forces break through to harass and worry the player characters.
The book is full-colour and packed with lavish and horrific artwork. The rules are clear and easy to pick up, and just reading through it makes you want to play. Highly recommended.
The Things We Leave Behind
A scenario anthology for Call of Cthulhu from Stygian Fox. Six scenarios aimed at mature players, each set in the modern day and inspired by TV and films such as Fargo, True Detective, and Blood Simple.
Stygian Fox is a UK-based company and this is their first major offering and one not to miss.
If you like your Call of Cthulhu games entangled with moral dilemmas, harsh reality, and horrific consequences, then this volume is for you.