|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 19 February 2010|
Little Tiger, burning bright
With a subtle Blakeish light,
Tell what visions have their home
In those eyes of flame and chrome!
Children vex thee - thoughtless, gay –
Holding when thou wouldst away:
What dark lore is that which thou,
Spitting, mixest with thy meow?
– H.P. Lovecraft, Little Tiger
In this spotlight for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game we'll take a look at a group of cards forming a faction of their own, warping the usual resource management... but also at their greatest enemy. Little balls of fur never had this much impact on a universe normally inhabited by unimaginable horrors from beyond.
The Dreamlands present a strange, surreal mirror universe shaped by the latent madness of many dreamers. This is not only presented in the flavor of the cards but also in their function. You are challenged in the way you approach deck building by mechanics that are sometimes counter to the norm. You will want to wound your own characters for extra power with the Gugs. Some dreamers can only trigger their abilities or commit from an exhausted state. The Miskatonic University now prefers the dark of night over the light of day – All examples of how in the Dreamlands expectations are set on their head.
Most shocking may be that the usual skyscraper dwarfing eldritch deities are traded in for almost endearing little creatures: the Zoog. They form a new pseudo faction with a kind of have-cake-and-eat-it kind of ability where resourcing them doesn't exclude them from directly impacting the game.
Normally, there isn't much of an incentive to resource neutral cards because it just makes resource matches a lot harder to do. The Zoog allow you to break the 'three action soft cap' by giving you extra abilities when you drain the domain they are resourced to. Note that – unlike Transient resources – their ability is entirely optional. You can keep using them as a resource until the moment you need them – as long as you can drain their domain.
Let's look over this faction to see what we're dealing with. Our first encounter with these critters was Furtive Zoog (Twilight Horror, F15) which changes from a inquisitive animal during the day to a eerie little critter at night. A perfect complement to the unpredictable day/night cycle of the Dreamlands and able to piggyback of the sudden appearance of The Day Dreamer (Twilight Horror, F17) and The Dreamlands Wanderer (Twilight Horror, F18).
As we progress deeper into the realm of fancy, the Zoog become progressively stranger: Secretive Zoog (In Memory of Day, F36) not only manages to sneak itself into play, but it'll put any other Zoog back on any of your domains. In multiples this even transforms the inherent Zoog disadvantage of costing you your 'resource once per turn' limit into a virtual extra resource on each of your domains. Now the Zoog really start to give you bigger, better turns.
Ancient Zoog (In The Dread of Night, F55) can become one of three things: A character, a resource, or an attachment granting a little extra arcane and providing one of the most useful subtypes in the Dreamlands. He's extra handy later on when you're done resourcing mostly, and want to have a little more bang from one of your domains.
If you have seen Horrid Dreams you might be interested in the ability of Curious Zoog (Search for the Silver Key, F76) – Not only does he hop back to your hand and becomes another character for the low cost of 1 (possibly triggering another Zoog) but you'll also have an insight into what Horrid Dreams may force to be sacrificed.
The final two Zoog allow you some control over the story cards. Inconspicuous Zoog (Sleep of the Dead, F95) prevents stories from being unopposed when other players commit to it. And being inconspicuous enough to stay out of trouble. Stealthy Zoog (Journey to Unknown Kadath, F115) stakes his claim on a story card, forcing your opponent to face the concequences when that particular story is won, hopefully urging him to avoid it altogether for some time.
These little rodents offer a lot room for experimentation. Even if a full-fledged Zoog theme deck doesn't tickle your fancy, a splash of these strange creatures allows you to do things you haven't dreamed of before. If you're unnerved now, you have may have allies in the Dreamlands though – in the form of small black kittens! The Cats of Ulthar (Journey to Unknown Kadath, F116) gladly come to your aid with two combat icons, fast and their own surprise commit effect, ensuring something will end up at the sharp end of their paws. And feeding it a Zoog (Even your own, if you have to) ensures the cats will be able to do it again next turn, keeping everyone guessing as to where what creature will show up next. In the Dreamlands you're never sure where danger lurks – even the cutest of animals are out for your blood.
Special thanks to Marius Hartland, who provided this week’s Call of Cthulhu spotlight.
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game™ format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.
A very nice article !
Zoog are not strong enough to provide a consistent deck by themselves, but I must admit their innerpower is really interesting, even in defensive situations.
I really do love the cats, which are highly thematicall to the dreamlands and have an ability that fits well to the eponym story. Thank you FFG !
Given the chance , i would buy a asylum pack that includes only zoogs. Not only are they the most adorable thing i have ever seen in a card game , the fact that they have a ton of interaction with the resources make them a great choice for all my wild combo fantasies.
Cats of ulthar are pretty darned sweet. The ability to pounce into the story phase is helpful.