It's R'lyeh Happening: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu Emerges

It's R'lyeh Happening: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu Emerges

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu takes the core mechanics of the hugely popular board game and blends it with H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.

2015's Pandemic: Legacy saw each of us writing in permanent marker on the board, tearing up game components, and finding secret, amazing gifts from a benevolent game designer patron waiting for us behind door number eight. That emotional rollercoaster may have only served to get us ready for the horrors of the upcoming Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.

It isn't an expansion, and don't call it a reskin: Reign takes the core mechanics of the original game, which first hit shelves in 2008, and spins it with a Lovecraft twist. You aren't scientists curing diseases, anymore; instead, you are investigators sealing portals and shutting down cults along the New England coast.

For those of you who haven't played the ubiquitous original, Pandemic sees players cooperatively racing to collect cards and develop cures to four diseases wreaking havoc around the globe. Each turn, cards are drawn from a deck that has you placing disease cubes onto certain locales. When a location has more cubes than it can handle, extras spill over into neighboring regions, and sometimes those regions outbreak into still more places and oh look you've lost thanks for playing.

Details are scant on Cthulhu for now, except that we know Matt Leacock, designer of Pandemic, had some input on the game but it is primarily developed by Chuck Yager (not the Air Force test pilot, I have checked). Multiple Great Old Ones are bound to appear in the game, and the focus is a little more local. No longer dividing the world into continents and their respective horrible diseases, you'll be fighting to save Arkham, Dunwich, Kingsport, and Innsmouth from... well, usually themselves, really.

Yager and Leacock clearly love crafting board games and there's no doubt this will be a hit; whether a gamer would get both Pandemics remains to be seen.

Then again, I'm only a few months into Legacy's campaign. Everything's going well and I'm sure it'll be smooth sailing to December! Now I'll just flip this card and oh no Montreal is on fire.

Source: Board Game Geek, Z-Man Games

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Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

There actually IS a Call of Cthulhu game. I think it's available on Steam.

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth exists. It's... it certainly exists.

There was a thread awhile back, though, on why Lovecraftian horror doesn't lend itself too well to video games.

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

There's a thread on it in off-topic I believe you can search for, but the short answer is: C'thulu as a setting doesn't really work in a visual setting. C'thulu is billed as a people that are unseeable, unknowable, with un-sounds that one can describe just enough using words for people to try and imagine what it might be like. Translating all that to a game, though, misses the point. How do you visually represent something that is supposed to make people go insane just from seeing?

Xeorm:

There's a thread on it in off-topic I believe you can search for, but the short answer is: C'thulu as a setting doesn't really work in a visual setting. C'thulu is billed as a people that are unseeable, unknowable, with un-sounds that one can describe just enough using words for people to try and imagine what it might be like. Translating all that to a game, though, misses the point. How do you visually represent something that is supposed to make people go insane just from seeing?

You mean like SCP games, Slenderman, and a host of others from various games I haven't played but heard about? Insanity is very easy to depict for the player. As the character loses his or her grip on reality, so too does everything the player's interacting with. Besides, the unknowable, unacceptable nature of Mythos creatures is aimed at people of roughly a century ago, the kinds of people for whom the loss of tea is a disaster. Set in a modern age, it would be a bit more like Call of Cthulhu: Nocturne, in that you can be more desensitized, but eventually the horror wears on you.

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

A mix of Cthulhu and Silent Hill is essentially the Dreamlands. It's one part your mind, one part their mind, and the rest is freakish other dimension.

Anyway, I am legit unsure as to why there isn't more of this than there is. True, there is everything everybody mentioned on this thread, but come on. Vampires alone get way more game time (Castlevania, Legacy of Kain, etc.), right along with alot of fantasy creatures. I think I know why you don't get many BIG Cthulhu productions. You can't make it 'safe'. Big companies looking to go Lovecraft - even just Cthulhu's boys - have to deal with violence, insanity, disfigurement/mutation, and of course goddamn tentacles. You can blame Japan if you want, because mostly everyone else in the world didn't make something weird out of that. Still, if you can't make it safe, you have to commit to only a portion of the customers: People who are old enough and interested in Lovecraftian mythos. That probably scares some developers away.

Xeorm:

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

There's a thread on it in off-topic I believe you can search for, but the short answer is: C'thulu as a setting doesn't really work in a visual setting. C'thulu is billed as a people that are unseeable, unknowable, with un-sounds that one can describe just enough using words for people to try and imagine what it might be like. Translating all that to a game, though, misses the point. How do you visually represent something that is supposed to make people go insane just from seeing?

You don't really. It isn't helped that lovecraftian horror relies on things thats not really frightening to begin with, but I suppose thats just my personal taste speaking.

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license?

I am fairly certain that most of the Cthulhu mythos is open domain at this point, since Lovecraft died more then 75 years ago. But as others have said, Lovecraftian horror translates poorly into visual media, not only because some of its' horror comes from alien geometry and indescribable horror, but also because much of Lovecraftian horror is in the build up. Most Lovecraft stories start out really slow, At the Mountains of Madness has almost 50 pages of description of mundane arctic expedition before they reach the actual Mountains of Madness, most of Shadow over Innsmouth is about the protagonist wondering why everyone in Innsmouth is so surly and ugly, etc.. A video/PC game that mimicked the tempo and beats of a Lovecraft story would probably lose most players before it even got halfway, as they'd grow bored of "nothing happening". Lovecraftian horror is unlike regular horror in that it rarely aims to set a "creepy mood" quickly, but slowly builds up to a frightening reveal and that much of the horror is intellectual and not visceral.

I posted in the Cthulhu game thread a while back to same effect as everyone else, the pacing doesn't work for video games. However that said, after reading this article you could make an Xcom style of game with Cthulhu mythos. You could easily have a sanity mechanic in a turn based game. You would have to balance off the sanity and skill levels of your investigators, the most skilled being the most likely to go permanently or temporarily insane. Permanently insane ones could go off and start their own cults and you have a boss fight against your own former investigator.

Don't want to bother everybody by specifically quoting them to say "I mentioned it", but I mentioned CoC:DCotE, published by Bethesda.

From what I've heard and seen, it seems to be not *that* bad, if it weren't so unbelievably buggy.

If you really think that impossible geometry were impossible to display in this day and age, then... I do understand, since barely any game tries to do it really. Portal, P.T. are the two from the top of my head. Portal even only by a far stretch with its portal. Sometimes, Eternal Darkness' insanity events had some tiny bit going on.

No, what I mean is really going nuts with it. Make it visually and sound-wise simply unbearable, it's rather easy. Just let them keep playing by doing it in spikes or by implementing other elemts that might prevent these terrors. Really, I can't believe that there isn't something like this already, except for that it is unplayable through sheer terror, P.T. x 9000 + a much bigger variety.

It?s not hard to come up with a wide arrange of obscenity, insanity, impossibility and cruelty, sprinkled with some familar themes like hell, crimes, darkness, whatever disgusts the mind. This is what creates fear. You're not afraid by default because a monster might hunt you. You're afraid because you can't endure terror and want to avoid it.

That's what I miss about modern horror games. They're either rather mundane (but entertaining like Until Dawn IMO) or just hide-and-seek. But to be honest, I doubt it would sell well. Understandably.

Sorry for the Off-topic discussion.

If you're interested in why Cthulhu itself doesn't work that well as a video game antagonist...

Extra Credits - Why Games Do Cthulhu Wrong - The Problem with Horror Games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DyRxlvM9VM

I think differently. Games are the one place where Lovecraftian horror can really be depicted well. The Call of Cthulhu game was actually reasonably good, albet with bugs and a rushed ending. Which are problems that can strike any game.

I don't think that Lovecraftian horror can't work in a visual setting. After all, a lot of TV shows, movies, and video games do in fact use Lovecraftian themes in their work, even if only a little bit. The problem is that pure Lovecraft does not have mainstream appeal due to the lack of tits and violence. So exects are too scared to take the risk.

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

The most interesting elements of the C'thulhu mythos are dark and ancient powers that are inexpressible and oftentimese totally overpowered. It doesn't make for a huge variety of games when any reasonable interpretation of the source material has to totally eschew not only combat, but encounters. In essence, a faithful C'thulhu game is you trying to live a quiet life, avoiding dark knowledge. Anything straying from that at least drives you mad, and probably kills you outright. Sort of a metaphysical Alien: Isolation.

Will go watch Dagon while i wait for this game. Im still hoping In The Mountains of Madness will be made, maybe Del Toro could make that as a game. :-)

Naldan:
Anyone familar with the C'thulhu mythos/brand able to tell me why there is almost no game with this as a license? We have one by Bethesda, but other than that one board game converted to PC, there isn't much, right? Are there legal issues? Isn't this already public domain? Because there is C'thulhu saves the world.

I know of Eternal Darkness, but I really mean the license.

A mix of C'thulhu and Silent Hill would be nice.

Would it be redundant to mention Prisoner of Ice and Shadow of the Comet, both available on GOG?

Jorpho:
]Would it be redundant to mention Prisoner of Ice and Shadow of the Comet, both available on GOG?

No, it wouldn't be. Thank you!

PatrickJS:

Yager and Leacock clearly love crafting board games and there's no doubt this will be a hit; whether a gamer would get both Pandemics remains to be seen.

I see what you did there... :P

Sounds awesome. Count me in for some Cthulhu-esque horror, and the mad scrambling panic to keep things under control.

That said, the premise does sound similar to Arkham Horror, which makes me wonder how it'll distinguish itself. Hopefully with some slightly less impenetrable rules...

For some reason http://www.alderac.com/smashup/products/the-obligatory-cthulhu-set/ popped into my head.

Don't get my wrong, I'm sure it's going to be great, but I was big into comics when Lovecrafte's stuff went public domain. Literally everything had Cthulu stuff either jammed into it or crossed with it or reimagined in it.

It got tiring in the way zombies are finally getting to.

 

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