|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 21 April 2009|
Frequent guest contributor Marius Hartland presents a first look at the upcoming The Terror of the Tides Asylum Pack for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. Warning: this article makes a few references to cards from previous Asylum Packs (card numbers are in parentheses), but it should be easy enough to follow if you already know how to play the game. To learn more about Call of Cthulhu, you can read the rules by following this link to our Support Page. Enjoy this sneak peek at the next Arcane contribution to the Call of Cthulhu card game.
“The sound of the incoming tide was now very insistent, and little by little it seemed to change the old man's mood from maudlin tearfulness to watchful fear. He would pause now and then to renew those nervous glances over his shoulder or out toward the reef, and despite the wild absurdity of his tale, I could not help beginning to share his apprehensiveness.
- H.P. Lovecraft,The Shadow over Innsmouth
Welcome to what is actually the second preview of The Terror of the Tides, since the first preview debuted in antediluvian times. In it, Jim Black presented his championship card, Descendant of Eibon which is part of this upcoming Asylum Pack.
The focus of The Terror of the Tides is the most “arcane” of all struggles: the Arcane struggle. New players tend to glance over the utility of this struggle, as the other struggles do more active things: Driving characters insane, wounding them, or putting on extra success tokens. Arcane just readies a character or sometimes prevents an opponent from readying a character. This is not as spectacular as sending someone off to the (mental) hospital but after a couple of games it will become apparent how useful this struggle really is. You can pressure your opponent with a little less risk of exposing the stories to your opponent’s investigations. The arcane struggle is mostly about the preservation of your resources and about efficiency. And beating people up twice!
The Secret of Success
The first card I’m going to show to you is Pagan Hall. Often, when playing a Miskatonic University-based deck you’ll have more success tokens than will fit on the story card. You run in with a couple of investigators, having high skill and multiple investigation struggles. Your opponent sees that blocking that story is a lost cause. Or you have an opening on a Story that will be likely won by an opponent before you can, and the Arcane struggle makes sure your investigators can defend. All these potentially extra success tokens will go to waste – until now. Pagan Hall will gladly pick up one of these tokens for later use. At a cost of 1 you can pay for it with a domain you weren’t going to use anyway.
It puts potentially lost gains to good use. More importantly, it forces your opponent to play more defensively (and into making mistakes) as they soon will be aware that if they give you a finger, you will rip off their arm and beat them senseless with it. Later on a charged-up Pagan Hall will create an even more dangerous situation as a story with just a few tokens on your side can be easily won by emptying the Hall on one of the stories.
Another nice bonus is that Descendant of Eibon doesn’t care if success tokens are on stories or not. Jim’s card offers a shortcut by using the ‘extra’ success token to bring in some muscle. While Pagan Hall is a relative fragile place to keep your success tokens compared to them being on stories, the low cost means you are likely to invest less into the card than your opponent will invest in getting rid of it.
Click on the image above for a larger version.
Casting a Shadow
The second card on show today is Shadow Sorceress. She looks so happy cooking up things from beyond the umbral veil. She is tied in more directly with the Arcane Struggle theme. While Repo Man (The Antediluvian Dreams F41) has a replacement effect for his struggle, the sorceress will give you both the normal struggle effects and her own response of returning a spell card. This way you can get a spell back during every players’ turn. She might lack Terror or Combat icons but her ability makes up for it. I’d be smiling at having an endless stream of spells during every players’ turn with effects like Across Dimensions to give your side lots of Combat icons, over and over again, withering away the opposition with A Single Glimpse or continually having access to the top 5 cards of your deck with Journey to the Other Side.
If that still isn’t enough, Opener of the Gate (Ancient Horrors F17) turns your monsters into Spells ensuring an endless supply of the most cruel creatures the game has on offer. She isn’t unique either, making it possible to get back a lot of cards, continually giving you options.
Click on the image to the right for a larger version.
One of those monsters which surely will make a splash is The Terror of the Tides, boasting an impressive Toughness +5, combined with a Terror icon to make sure it doesn’t go easily insane. Like the Descendant of Eibon, the meat of this character is in the ability to set up ambushes. Through its action it can come out at almost any time and without the need for a resource match, meaning every deck can use this card regardless of the chosen factions.
The four wounds even leave one toughness, making it very hard to remove it on a moments’ notice. At cost 3, the ability isn’t something to sneak through that easy, as leaving the domain open for the ambush, while having a card in hand gives a strong signal to the opposing player. This can lead to some bluffing on your part too, by leaving the domain open for a false signal.
If your opponent is leaving a domain open, you can call their bluff by ignoring the fact that a 4 skill, terror and double combat icon character may show up. When it does, the results may be dramatically painful. Or you can take it into account, but then you are likely forced to focus your attentions to one story instead of spreading out for a better success token gain, slowing you down. Or you can skip the story phase entirely, giving you the chance to enhance your board position while your opponent loses the opportunity to play this Antediluvian Beetle and the use of his big domain. All the situations have their pro’s and con’s and none of the options is clearly the best option in any given situation. The Terror of the Tides card can help you force mistakes by merely existing, while being a counterweight to Call of Cthulhu LCG’s™ overall balance towards aggression.
Click on the image above for a larger version.
The tide is changing. I hope you’ll enjoy taking control of the ebb and flow of the game using the power of the arcane struggle, coming soon at an asylum near you!
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. To learn more about Call of Cthulhu, visit our minisite.
Neat. My players and I are really enjoying the new cards and format. All being avid players of several CCG, LCG is fresh and not a money grab, as say MT:G. FFG, you have done a great job with this! Thanks from my crew and I.
miskatonic seems to just be getting better and better. pagan hall is just awesome.
Agreed! Pagan Hall gives opponents a very good reason
to pack Support destruction. The Miskatonic University faction
has finally gained my respect and should now be feared by all.
My local 'Adventure Leagues' will be starting up again in 2 weeks
and I think I might just set my Monsters aside this time to give
the human factions go!
Wow. Talk about some amazing cards. Pagan Hall is just plain ugly, and one more reason for me to dread playing against a Miskatonic deck (and, no, I have no plans to splash them into my deck at this time). This has been an impressive set of decks for the newcomer, and I can't wait to play them.