The main reason I started blogging again was to talk about the new game I’m developing. So I should probably get on with that, eh?

*Clears throat, glances around nervously, then motions you closer, off the street and into the concealing shadows of a nearby alley.*

“The End Times are nigh. All the signs, portents and spirits whisper of a place – Newport, where the gateway to the Outer Dark will open, and the terrible alien gods of that place will enter our world to feast on the living and the dead.

Cultists, madmen, mediums, occultists, witches and psychics are all drawn to Newport, there vying to complete the ritual that will open the way for their alien gods to return and ravage humanity. “

To put it simply, it’s a Lovecraft-inspired CCG about cults vying with each other to be the first to bring about the end of the world.

You start the game picking one of the available Cult Leaders, a motley collection of half-sane occultists, opium-addicted mediums, disgraced academics, and vision-haunted lunatics, all of whom have followed the signs to a place, the town of Newport, where the End is fated to begin.

All looking to be the one to turn the key and bring down the Doom of Man.

Sounds like fun, eh?

It’s a card game like System Crash, and I’ll be building it on the same engine that I built SC on, modified, obviously.

My hope is to be able to create something fun and engaging while still leveraging the benefits of building on an existing codebase, namely making something that’s cheaper and has a shorter dev cycle than SC did (2 man years). Because, frankly, I don’t have the money to do that again. So I aim to get it out later this year.

That’s a pretty short timeline, regardless of existing tech, but I’m scoping carefully and choosing my battles when it comes to what to develop.

Besides some different mechanics to the card game, I’m also looking to build something more dynamic around the campaign, elements that change each playthrough. SC’s big weakness, to me, is the lack of replayability.

I enjoyed writing the game’s story, and I think players enjoyed experiencing it, but once you’ve played it once you’ve seen most of what it has to show, short of a few cards you might have missed. There’s little motivation to go through it a second time.

I’ve got some ideas on how to improve that with Cults, which I’ll talk about on this very blog soonish. Stay tuned, friends.

Oh, and I should mention that Cults is Lovecraft-inspired, not directly lifted from Lovecraft’s work.

H.P.’s Mythos will be an easily recognizable influence, but I don’t want to be straight-jacketed by the specific details of his stories, or to have the headache of figuring out if there are any thorny copyright issues around them.

So Elder Beings, tentacles, and odd-looking townsfolk are in, but they’re not an exact match for characters, creatures and groups from the Mythos.

In other words, not Cthulhu, but Cthulhu’s second cousin, Gary. 😉

That’s it for this post. Let me know in the comments if you’re a fan of all things eldritch and sanity-rending. 😉

-Gareth out


  • Yo. I’ll set your mind at ease about copyright: there isn’t any. Lovecraft died in ’37 and all his works are public domain.

    Suggestion re:replayability, have an optional, random “world state” rules modifier at start-of-game. A certain faction gets a significant bonus, firearms do half damage against non-humans, police crackdown, alien intervention, etc. Or this modifier could add an entire faction (subset of cards) into the game. Then introduce a second modifier halfway through or upon a certain trigger. The double-randomization would mean many many different playthrus.

  • Yeah, that’s essentially what I’m thinking, certain elements being randomized during the game. From which other cults/cult leaders you face to certain Events that trigger different modifiers and story paths.

    Regarding copyright on the Mythos, from what I’ve read it isn’t quite as simple as that. There is certainly a subset of his work that is public domain, but some derived works and terms aren’t. So I’d have to muddle through all that and, even if I use something that is reasonably in the public domain, there’s still the chance that I’d need to defend it in court against challenge. Which I don’t have the money for.

    So I’m just going to make my own Mythos. With blackjack and hookers. 😉