Updated: Jan 13, 2021
For an author that is barely known and rarely read outside his (appropriately) cult following, H P Lovecraft has inspired a massive number of board games - we reckon, second only to the rather more widely read J R R Tolkein. Cthulhu raises his ugly head in countless board games where players represent hapless investigators struggling stave off insanity while the work to close the portals used by demonic creatures.
Czacha Games are turning the table on most of the other Cthulhu games. In Call of Madness, the 2-4 players represent not the investigators but the cultists that are summoning the 'ancient gods'. Players represent competing cultist priests defending their headquarters from investigators. It's a hand management game where you'll be trying to make use of the cards in your hand to defeat the investigators on your individual board. You can summon the ancient gods to add to your deck and for much of the game you'll be offering up your cultist followers as sacrifices to pay for actions. Of course, you only have a finite supply of cultists to send to their death, and the game ends when any player has no more cultists left. Players score points for achieving objectives, plus the points value of any cultists left alive, and that determines the winner.
Designed by Szymon Malinski and Bartlomiej Zielonka, with brooding art by Radoslaw Jaszczuk, Cthulhu: Call of Madness plays like a tower defence game. Each turn another wave of investigators will come onto your board and all the investigators will advance towards your headquarters. As in most tower defence games, you'll be spending much of your time firefighting - often literally - while still striving to achieve your objectives and do a better job of worshipping the 'ancient gods' than the other players.
Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Call of Madness ahead of its launch this week on Kickstarter. We loved the statuesque minis - tho' they actually only feature in the game as markers. More integral to play are the hexagonal investigator tiles, which you rotate clockwise to show their reduction in strength and anti-clockwise when their strength increases. In Covid lockdown, we've mainly been playing Call of Madness as a two-player game. It's a game that should lend itself very well tho' to solitaire play, so we'll hope to see solo rules emerge during the course of the KS campaign. Click here to link to the campaign.