|Drawing Power from Spawn of Madness
A Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game spotlight by guest writer Marius Hartland
|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 01 July 2011|
I drew my flame pistol and was ready for a hard fight. The odds were bad, but the weapon gave me a certain advantage. If the things knew this building they would come through it after me, and in this way would form a key to getting out; just as carnivorous skorahs might have done.
– H. P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling, Within the Walls of Eryx
We return to the very beginnings of Call of Cthulhu as a Living Card Game with a glance at cards from the very first classic Asylum Pack, Spawn of Madness and some of the adjustments it brought with the changing times. For example, Arkham Inmate (Spawn of Madness, F17) had the Lunatic trait added, with the twist that the lunacy takes effect when it’s restored.
One card that received more than a cosmetic change is Gun Runner’s Club (Spawn of Madness, F6.) The original text read, “Action: exhaust to draw a card. Use this ability only if you have exactly 3 cards in your hand.” The new version is more interactive and arguably stronger. After all, as a faction, the Syndicate is already very good at coming out of the gates guns blazing, and it's likely you’ll meet the condition of having less cards in your hand than your opponent. With the original text, there used to be the problem that when you were empty-handed, it took quite some time to build back to three cards to get the Club to work again.
Drawing You In
Let's walk through the game here. You're the starting player. First, you draw one card, putting you one card ahead of your opponent. You resource a card, making you equal with your opponent again, then play Gun Runner's Club–and now you're a card behind, so you can use it to draw a card.
If you're matching your opponent’s card draw, things might get a little more difficult, but usually not for long. Eventually, your opponent will get a draw phase, temporarily stocking a hand large enough for you to draw a little extra before he can enter his Operation Phase and play cards to dip below the threshold. If for some reason you can't activate the Club for long stretches, it probably means you're winning, even without the extra cards.â€¨
Just keep in mind that Gun Runner’s Club is only an enabler. It provides much needed card advantage, but the effect takes time. On the first activation, it simply replaces itself, and only after that do you start seeing a profit. In some ways, it works like one of the cards Francesco Zappon talked about last week, Eldritch Nexus (Core Set, F154). It also happens to synergize nicely with that card.
Because the Nexus costs one and creates a new domain with one resource, it is almost free, with the main investment being the reduction of hand size. But that only makes activating the Club easier. And having extra domains means you can empty–and refill–your hand more quickly, with enough domains to keep playing the cards you gain from multiple Clubs.
The Cat’s Out of the Bag
It gets even better! Even though the Nexus prevents you from drawing the top two cards of your deck, the chance that either is a card you wanted is slim. Say there are forty cards in your deck; the chance you lose any specific card you need is only 5%. That means there is a 95% probability that you’ll draw that card a turn sooner. These numbers slowly equalize towards 50/50 when you have only 4 cards left in your deck, but you don’t usually plan to use your entire deck anyway. The odds work generally into your favor, even though you’re always taking a risk.
Not only does this little combination allow you to draw more cards and feed you the domains to play them, there is also a very good chance it enhances the quality of your draws. That’s a win-win situation. After all, one card in hand is worth ten in your deck. All they do there is wait face-down–unobserved Schrödinger-like statistical probabilities. You want the cold, hard facts–in your hand. This is why you joined the Club.
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.
Awesome card and awesome preview! Syndicate is gaining a lot of cards that I personally put in the "controllish" side of the game...really really nice.