The Cultists of Cthulhu kickstarter goes live on August 4th, 2015. This page will redirect you to that once it’s up. In the meantime, click here to see more about the game!
It’s from Rick Perez of Let’s Level Up, and the key quote is “it’s great!”
In conjunction with NYC-Playtest, ProtoSpiel, and the NYU Game Center, I am proud to announce ProtoSpiel NorthEast!
Click here to buy tickets for only $15! They will be $20 at the door.
Are you a tabletop game designer looking to get your prototype in front of more playtesters? Are you a player looking to try out the best and brightest new games before they hit stores? Are you a publisher looking to snatch up that diamond in the rough design and get it in front of gamers the world over? Then I am pleased to invite you to ProtoSpiel NorthEast!
There will be tables with dedicated time slots that designers will sign up for at the convention, so if you’re a Designer, show up early to set up! The doors open at 8am and time slots will be first come first served. Everyone who purchases a Designer ticket is guaranteed at least one 1 hour slot. If you need more time, be sure to show up early to reserve time, or contact me ahead of time.
There will also be an open-play area, where anyone can playtest any game without having signed up ahead of time. Designers are not allowed to sign up for a second playtest slot until all designers have had the opportunity to playtest their game at least once, but are allowed to make use of the open play area.
If you have any questions, or are a publisher or designer wishing to sell or donate your earlier games, please contact me at thomas (at) sixpencegames.com.
If you have already published a game, whether yourself or through a traditional publisher, you are encouraged to donate a copy of your game to be raffled off at the end of the day on Saturday! Raffle tickets will be given out based on the number of other people’s games that one playtests, to encourage people to focus on helping each other. Not that you’ll need encouragement to play these games!
This is a charity event: after paying expenses, all profits raised will be donated to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, an award winning disease treatment charity.
I thought Save the Singularity was through with changes and updates nine months ago. I thought I’d gotten it all finished and perfected. And yet, like any good game designer, I kept playtesting it. And eventually, after playtesting it with the New York Playtesters group, I got some feedback that has lead to some substantial changes.
The feedback: there isn’t enough drama in the mid-game.
The change: replace the Rest of the World d12 with a deck of cards, one drawn after each player’s turn, which have mini-challenges on them that the players must accomplish in order to prevent the rest of the world from pulling ahead.
The feedback: people aren’t paying attention during other people’s turns.
The change: replace the once per game power with something else. Now, players start the game with 3 tokens, and have two powers: one which costs 1 token, and one which costs 2. Now they have more opportunities to pay attention to other people’s turns, and more decisions to make when helping other players.
I’ve implemented preliminary versions of both, and they are now undergoing yet more playtesting. So far they’re working well! This really reinforces the lesson of never stopping playtesting: I was already proud of the prior version of Save the Singularity, and taking it from an A to an A+ game will be really wonderful.
How did I not post this yet?
At the beginning of setup, all players draw map tiles and place them in real time following to a few simple rules (doors must connect to doors, for instance) to generate the map of the University. Then the group selects which Scenario to play, the players each pick a Character, and a Role Card is distributed to each player. There are two types of Role Card: the Cultist, which secretly describes how that player will betray the rest of the party and summon some sort of unspeakable abomination, and Academics, who are trying to complete the Scenario Goals before the Cultist can kill them. Academic role cards describe the particular way that character could go insane during the game.
On your turn, you first drawn an Event relevant to your location, Indoor or Outdoor, and then take two actions. Actions can be Move, Attack, Search, Use an Item, Steal, Trade, and doing any character or Scenario specific actions. Each player takes a turn in clockwise order, and then when it gets back around to the Start Player, instead of taking another turn, they move any monsters which may be on the board, and draw two University cards. University cards are all bad, but in different ways and to varying degrees. They could be an instantaneous one-time occurrence, or last for the round, or be Weather, which affects all Outdoor tiles and remains in play until it is replaced with a new Weather effect. The Start Player picks one to play and one to shuffle back into the deck without revealing it, and then passes the Start Player token to the player on their left, who begins the new round.
Events and University Cards have the chance to move the Star Chart forward. When the Star Chart gets to a particular number which only the Cultist knows for certain, they may reveal themselves, summoning a monster, or transforming themselves, or a number of other options, depending on which particular Cultist role card they have.
Play continues in that fashion until either the Cultist successfully kills all of the Academics, or the Academics complete all of their Scenario Goals.
Ability scores are of the form “a pair of colored dice.” The colors are Green (masterful), Blue (mediocre), and Red (miserable). They each have an assortment of faces on them, which are called Good, Bad, and Weird (in the final version they will be referred to by the August Derleth Elder Sign, the Yellow Sign, and the H.P. Lovecraft Elder Sign, respectively). Ability checks tell you what ability to use, what the difficulty is (Green for easy, Blue for moderate, and Red for difficult), and give a chart of possible outcomes based on the check result. To make an ability check, you take the dice for your ability into your hand, and then grab dice that are the color of the difficulty until you have five dice in hand. Roll them. You get a single reroll, which consists of you choosing all the dice that came up with a certain face (all the Weird results, or all the Bad results), and reroll those. Ability checks always have a beneficial result which occurs if you get three Good results, a result that is harmful to the individual character making the check if you get two Bad results, and a result that is strange and bad for the group as a whole if you get two Weird results.
Combat is done with opposed Brawn checks. The difficulty is determined by a random Combat card, which also determines the Weird result. Bad results decrease your own defense, Good results deal damage to your opponent.
These portraits are unfinished – they’re here to give you an idea of what the characters will look like, the style, et cetera. The monster art and the sample room tiles are finished, so that will give you more of an idea of what the final version will look like. Thank you for checking this out!
Here are a small portion of the room tiles. The final version has 49 room tiles, four more than Betrayal at House on the Hill.
Cultists of Cthulhu: Miskatonic University is coming along smashingly. It’s going to be quite a struggle to get the game ready for Kickstarter by April, but if we can maintain this pace it’ll be golden by then.
In addition to the refinement of various mechanics, math, and other crunchy bits, there have been two major changes in the past few weeks. There used to be a complex, Resistance style minigame at the end of each round, where the Cultist would have an opportunity to betray the other players. Playtesting revealed this to be too complicated, out of place feeling, and not actually provide interesting decisions. Therefore it has been scrapped, and instead, at the end of the round, the first player draws two cards from a specific deck (haven’t decided yet if this is constant from game to game, or dependent on the scenario), picks one to play, and then shuffles the other back into the deck without revealing it. This vastly simplifies things, makes it easier for the Cultist to betray people, and gives Academics an interesting choice to make. Definitely an improvement.
The second is in how the map works. Previous prototypes used the Betrayal at House on the Hill style “when you leave a room, draw a new tile and place it,” or a pre-made map, or larger tiles a la Last Night on Earth. The new map mechanic is unique, fits the flavor of being at a university that you already know, and is just fun. At the beginning of the game, before picking characters or assigning Academic/Cultist roles, the tiles are placed facedown on the table, and players go around in turns drawing one and connecting it to the others. The rules for placing these are simple: every new tile has to be accessible from every preexisting one, and only exit/entrances can open onto grass. Then each Scenario can have other rules: the Library can’t be within 5 tiles of the Vault, or the like. This generates a lot of different, interesting looking university layouts, and makes it easier to base the game mechanics off of specific rooms at the like.
And finally, check out yet more art! My favorite of the room tiles so far, and four characters. There will be more to come later, I can’t wait to share the next update!