|Dark Magic and Secret Conspiracies
Tom Capor Previews His Champion Card from Terror in Venice
|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 16 July 2013|
“Charles Ward paled as he recognised what Mirandola had denounced in shudders as the ultimate horror among black magic’s incantations.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
Sinister forces are making their way into the heart of Venice, delving its alleys and canals in search of powerful artifacts. By day and by night, the balance of power teeters between the forces of humanity and the minions of greater and darker powers, powers beyond human comprehension. These are the struggles of Terror in Venice, the upcoming deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game…
In an earlier preview, we explored how the game’s different factions gain and lose strength as the time of day or night changes, but Terror in Venice offers players a deeper thematic experience than that provided by just the changing of time.
Few mortals truly appreciate the perils that threaten the world. The terrors lurk at the very edges of reality, poised to break through. Should they succeed, these powerful extra-dimensional entities could drench the world in blood, reduce it to ash and cinders, or devour it, one being at a time. Still, there are those madmen, power-hungry idolators, and monstrous servitors who conspire to help these ancient evils gain entry to our reality. Meanwhile, small, secret societies of wealthy and knowledgeable men and women dabble with powerful artifacts and dark magic; church operatives collaborate with local officials as they pursue agendas known only to the Vatican; and scholars from Miskatonic University travel to Italy as part of their desperate search for the truth…and a means to stave off imminent doom. Each group grasps at only a few strands of the larger picture, and each conceals its efforts, hoping that secrecy will give it an edge in the coming struggles.
Accordingly, Terror in Venice introduces seven new conspiracies to Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game (three copies of each). We’ve already seen a few of these with the expansion’s announcement and on its description page, but the impact of these new conspiracies reaches beyond the flavor of just one or two cards. The powerful game effects these cards offer, such as those of Unending Festivities (Terror in Venice, 29) and Purity of Purpose (Terror in Venice, 26), force players to consider their impact beyond just the story phase and the moment a conspiracy is won. Altogether, these seven new conspiracies are likely to introduce a whole new era of secrecy and paranoia to the ongoing terrors of Call of Cthulhu, and 2011 World Champion Tom Capor offers a closer look at the design of one of these new conspiracies.
Tom Capor on His Champion Card from Terror in Venice
The chance to design a Champion Card is definitely among the greatest prizes in all of card gaming. It is a rare chance to carve a place for yourself in your favorite game and an incredible opportunity to contribute to it as well.
The fine folks at FFG have asked me to shed a little light behind the scenes, so today I’m going to provide some information about “what in the world I was thinking” with the design of my 2011 World Champion Card.
Building on Success
My first Champion Card was The Mage Known as Magnus (That Which Consumes, 111), from the 2009 World Championship. It may not be a super powerhouse like some of the other Champion Cards, but it was meant to be as close as possible a representation of the sort of character I might be if I envisioned myself as a character in the Call of Cthulhu mythos.
The card I designed after the 2010 Championship, Hall of Champions (Written and Bound, 20), was a dedication to the other champions of this amazing game. It had a bit more of a casual feel, but I wanted the card to acknowledge all those great players who were (and yet may be) as lucky as I was to win the title of World Champion.
Now, The Mage’s Machinations (Terror in Venice, 30) is a card for the game itself. I often felt the conspiracy card type was largely under-utilized, so I really wanted to add something that could enhance its appeal to as many players as possible.
Up to this point, very few conspiracies have really had an impact on the state of play. Instead, their biggest impact came when you made your decisions when and where to commit to stories. Keeping the decision about where to commit at the conspiracy’s essence was key, but by reaching out and having an immediate impact on the game by removing cards from play, The Mage’s Machinations adds something new to Call of Cthulhu that I’m glad we were able to incorporate.
How Does It Work?
When it enters play for the hefty cost of zero, The Mage’s Machinations rule that the best character each player currently controls on the field goes away and takes a timeout. When simplified like that, it may seem like a bad idea to let your opponent remove your best character just so that you can get rid of one of his – even with its low cost. But keep in mind that The Mage’s Machinations doesn’t read, “non-Ancient One,” and thus doesn’t adhere to the restriction commonly found on other removal cards. That distinction could mean all the difference when the time comes to cut your deck down to size.
However, there’s more. The precarious balance of power isn’t done teetering just yet. The Mage’s Machinations also rule that the victor gains the spoils; the one who wins this conspiracy will gain control of all the characters that it removed from the game…for free!
That’s a high-stakes gamble, and a move of that magnitude should be a worthwhile maneuver in many different strategies.
When Terror in Venice arrives, The Mage’s Machinations will offer players a versatile, but high-risk, removal card that will be useful for aggressive and control strategies alike. It can be used to increase your field position substantially or to buy time against an imposing force.
In light of all that, I hope you enjoy using this card as much as I enjoyed helping to design it!
A Word of Thanks
Though I can’t take credit for coming up with the name of the card, I can certainly thank Damon Stone for going with it since it takes steps in building Magnus as a character in the game. He’s no longer just another standalone card, and this allusion to Magnus is something I have come to appreciate immensely.
Again, I have the honor of being immortalized by one of the game’s top illustrators, Tiziano Baracchi. Those of you that are new to Call of Cthulhu, start taking notice of illustrator on some of your favorite pieces of art. I wouldn’t be shocked if a lot of them were done by Tiziano Baracchi!
Even more, I’ll likely be gravitating to this image for quite some time because it has my lucky charm briefcase. The first of my lucky briefcases was a gift from my grandmother, and it or one of its cousins has been at my side during all my major competitions since the mid 1990s. Having it make an appearance certainly adds a little something special to the piece.
We hope you’ll enjoy the conspiratorial aspects of Terror in Venice when this deluxe expansion arrives. Until then, you can discuss The Mage’s Machinations and the expansion’s other conspiracies in our forums, and you can keep your eyes open for other hints of the madness to come!
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.