Alone Against the Tide Review

01 January 2022
Can you escape the mythos alone?

This article originally appeared in issue 62 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

Call of Cthulhu is often referred to, unfairly in my eyes, as a system that’s for people who like maths. Percentile-roll-under, super-specific but overlapping-sounding skills, makes it much more of a ‘nerds’ game’ than others.

And yet, here, in this jolly solo adventure set in the lakeside town of Estbury, outside Boston, the system more or less teaches itself. In fact, as a way in to game and its engine, there’s really no better entry point (beyond the starter set). Your investigator will be exploring the town as a green mist rolls in, while trying to understand the suspicious death of a local professor of history. Your choices through the adventure lead to many dead ends and actual deaths, depending on your rolls – and how smart you are. Indeed, having played through with different investigators, there’s a surprising number of ways to fail through your own bad ideas. There’s real challenge here, and even my attempt to ‘game’ the book through gained knowledge failed me in a pleasing way.

While the book itself had a soft-touch cover, the insides are fairly thrift-edition – fitting for a book you’re likely to blast through a couple of times before either retiring to the hands of a friend or chopping up for use in your next full campaign. The writing, especially at the start, is a bit wonky – but cleans up nicely as you discover more of the mystery of the lake.

Whether you’re new to Call of Cthulhu, or you’re looking for a way to take a character off on a solo excursion, Alone Against The Tide is a great way to splash around in the shallows of the mythos before diving in.

Christopher John Eggett


Designer: Nicolas Johnson

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Publisher: Chaosium

Pages: 86

Ages: 14+

Price: £12

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