Here is a collection of horrifying games to keep you entertained this Fall.
Call of Cthulhu Starter Set
Chaosium, Inc., $21.40
When I got the latest Call of Cthulhu Starter Set from Chaosium, I got all verklempt. After D&D, Call of Cthulhu was the next RPG I moved on to via the original Call of Cthulhu Starter Set. I loved that product, so I had great rushes of nostalgia unboxing this updated version. Mike Mason and Chaosium have done an excellent job creating a gateway, a hell-portal if you will, into the world of Cthulhu-based RPGing at a super affordable price. For under 22 bones, you get three saddle-stitched books, one that's an intro to the world of Cthulhu and includes a solo adventure to teach you the game, a basic rulebook, and a book with three starter adventures. You also get 5 ready-to-play investigators, blank character sheets, player hand-outs, and 6 RPG dice. It feels a little less substantial than the original (which included a thick, 100-page rulebook), but overall, it offers a satisfying and immersive introduction to Cthulhu gaming on the cheap.
Ravensburger, $35, 1-5 players, Ages 10+
As much as I enjoy the Lovecraft mythos and some of the zombie genre, I have to admit to being both bored and overwhelmed with how dominant these themes have become in the gaming hobby. So, I was thrilled to see Horrified, a cooperative horror strategy game featuring the Universal Studios monsters: Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Frankenstein monster, bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Invisible Man. Read the rest
Osprey Publishing, the UK-based military history publisher beloved by wargamers and toy soldier nerds for their amazing Men at Arms series (which lovingly details the uniforms and accoutrements of war), has been expanding into gaming in a big way recently. They've been responsible for the increasingly popular skirmish-level dungeon-delving miniatures game, Frostgrave, the hugely popular Bolt Action (which they distribute through a publishing partnership with Warlord Games), and a growing number of excellent miniature rules sets covering everything from historicals to fantasy, sci-fi, and horror.
Another notable thing they've been doing is re-vamping existing games that had a lot of promise but had some rules problems, or component issues, or some other crippling flaw that limited their appeal on their first release. They've been re-doing these games in gorgeous new editions. One such game is Odin's Ravens, which I previously reviewed here. They also recently released a lovely, revamped edition of the very trippy The Ravens of Thri Sahashri, a Japanese cooperative card game where players enter the mind of a character and try and repair her memories and guide her to safety before she goes insane with ravens eating her mind. Another notable example of this revitalizing of a promising title is their recent "Ultimate Edition" of Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space.
Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space is a card-based hidden movement, hidden identity game of deception and bluffing. This "Ultimate Edition" is a significant upgrade to the original which launched in 2010. Read the rest
The delicate, literary works of Kitty Horrorshow are some of my favorite discoveries of 2015.
Ah, the tech and the aesthetics of 1990s games. The terrible framerates, indistinct faces and rough edges seem eerie today, perfectly recalling the horror games of a bygone age. If you miss it too, you really need to watch this: Read the rest