Horror on the Orient Express Board Game Funds on Kickstarter

03 April 2024
The gruelling game much loved in the Call of Cthulhu world has called all aboard for a successful Kickstarter campaign, funding in less than 24 hours more than £400,000.

Horror on The Orient Express

It's a merger of great things – the Orient Express is immortalised as the height of luxury train travel, but best known perhaps for the novel Murder on the Orient Express, and various iterations of it. Call of Cthulhu, Chaosium's RPG take on Lovecraft's work that delved into the mythos, first met the Orient Express back in 1991. You play as characters searching for pieces of an artefact called the Sedefkar Simulacrum, with the cult Brothers of Skin trying to stop them. The mortality rate was well over 50%, but this didn't stop it from becoming a classic, being revived in 2014 as part of a revised and expanded edition which met much acclaim. 

Related article: "Quick and Painful": How Call of Cthulhu's scary stories changed roleplaying.

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Horror on the Orient Express: The Board Game

In a slight change of pace, Chaosium, renown for their epic RPG range, have launched the board game version of Horror on the Orient Express. Whislt Chaosium have released games in the past, the last was a 2019 Reiner Knizia game called Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection, with one three years prior, and almost twenty years on from its previous. Board games are therefore unusual from this publisher – but they certainly have the foundations available to them to do it incredibly well. They describe the project as being the first for their new dedicated board games division, and so have taken to Kickstarter in order to make it both unique and luxurious.

The game is designed by Adam Kwapiński (NemesisFrostpunk) and Michał Gołąb Gołębiowski (Destinies) and is a cooperative game of survival on a doomed train. You'll need to find the cultists, and prevent them from performing their ritual, whilst making sure the train reaches its destination, playing as one of four different investigators. It's suitable for 1-4 players, with a specially designed solo experience.

Actions take place aboard an assembled series of carriages, making the game feel vastly more cinematic, against the backdrop of a story rich tale from the RPG. There are two minor spoilers included (that we won't detail here), that can be discovered in the FAQ section of the Kickstarter if you have concerns regarding the campaign. Otherwise, your decisions, actions, and combinations of the same with other players mean your game will vary each time. To win, you'll need to correctly identify the cultists, and keep the Orient Express and its passengers, safe on the route to the destination. Too many monsters, too many deaths, too much essence on portals, wrongly accusing a suspect, or having one of your investigators go insane, are automatic lose conditions. More details are provided in the early rulebook, but it certainly sounds like it's following the success rate of it's heritage...

The Kickstarter includes an Investigators Unveiled Expansion, which lets you use all the characters available in the main game as investigators or suspects, offering ten playable characters instead of four. 

When will Horror on the Orient Express: The Board Game be out?

Chaosium are anticipating a release in August 2024. For now, you can back it on Kickstarter, where they're offering frequent stretch goal reveals, and a Kickstarter exclusive horror locomotive. 


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