|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 12 November 2010|
Of course the revelation was not as clearly cut at the time as it sounds now. There were several conceivable explanations, and we did a good deal of indecisive whispering. Most important of all, we did not retreat without further investigation; for having come this far, we were loath to be balked by anything short of certain disaster. Anyway, what we must have suspected was altogether too wild to believe. Such things did not happen in any normal world.
- H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness
This week, all Byakhees are mounted to bring the final episode of The Yuggoth Contract to an Asylum near you. Yes, cultists, The Cacophony is here. How about one more preview before we move on to something more silvery and twilighty? Something that might even work well in combination with this new, upcoming faction? Let’s talk a little about strategy here.
At first glance, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game seems to be about getting success tokens as quickly as possible. While there is some truth to that, the real strategy is about placing these success tokens effectively. Sometimes situations come up where you waste success tokens.
When we zoom out, take a step back and look at the game through our eyelashes, the real game is not a race to claim success token, but more – as it happens a lot with card-based games – a bidding game. You use the resources available to you to make bids on story cards and their effects. Roughly speaking, this is done in two steps.
The operations phase manages your income. Here you transmute what you have – cards, tempo, domains – into a board position. Your board position then can be cached in during the story phase as you bid your side against that of the opponent. These bids are dangerous. They result in wounds, destruction and insanity – and sometimes in success tokens. Every token should reflect your confidence that you can win your bids, as they often come at a high price.
And sometimes you lose more than a few characters in your investment. You’re outbid at one story, it’s won, and all tokens on it are lost and a waste of effort. At other times things go rather well. You can place multiple tokens on a story that needs only one more to be won. A victory, but not the most efficient one. You are told all bids are final; After all, the mechanic you use to place your bids is called ‘committing’ your character. You’re making a commitment.
Then Descendant of Eibon (The Terror of the Tides, F75) came along, bringing a message that sounds mad at first: Sometimes it’s good to trade in some success tokens (which are directly tied to your victory) to gain something more ethereal and abstract. The power of Eventuality, that edge that if you can roughly maintain the status quo of the current balance, eventually you will claim your imminent victory. A power you can get for doing something you didn’t get to do often: retracting your bids.
Now that such counter-intuitive transmutation has proven its worth, let’s take a look at Stone Calendar (The Cacophony, F109.) Strengthening your pool of artifact cards it also helps retracting your bids to get more things that help you win: more cards! And just like with Descendant of Eibon, soon the effect will be even better, because of the Silver Twilight.
The new faction has the ritual cards – and some of those live in the space between Support cards and Story/Conspiracy cards and use success tokens to keep track of their progress. Stone Calender doesn’t care about the actual source of the discarded success tokens, just that they are indeed success tokens. So, cards like Ritual of the Lance (Order of the Silver Twilight, F42) and Ritual of Summoning (Order of the Silver Twilight, F51) are fair game.
As the game expands, the possibilities to expand your income increase with more and more tricks. With it, you can do more competative bidding, and in the end, do -their- bidding.
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.
Thank you, Marius, for the Spoiler.
I totally agree with your vision of the board advantage and the differents gains provided by effects on the table. Stone calendar is exactly the kind of cards that are totally versatile if you're low on tokens and top-decked. But it is exactly the kind of card I love to have in 2 ex. in my decks...
Purple Monkey Dishwasher!
Nice article, and a card with some interesting possibilities!
Of course for 'Stone Calendar' to be effective it's controller
will need good cards in their deck to draw. I look forward to
seeing more new cards that will help to push the Miskatonic University
faction into the competitive realm of the Call of Cthulhu Card Game!
Awesome! Now that is a card!