We are just TWO WEEKS from our crowdfunding of Lovecraftesque second edition (you can sign up to be notified when the campaign launches here). There are a ton of exciting things to share about the new game and I’ll be announcing them day by day.
But let’s start really basic: what is new in the game’s core design?
It’s still a GMless storytelling game where you share control of one main character, and also share the job of creating the clues that drive the mystery. It’s still about slow-building mystery culminating in worldview-shattering horror and a bleak ending for the main character.
But the game now comes with a plethora of prompts to help you create the characters, locations and clues.
You get a dedicated deck of Location Cards with prompts to generate the places where the horror unfolds, and a deck of Character Cards with prompts to create NPCs your main character might encounter. The two of these together help you rapidly generate the setting for your game; perhaps you’ll be presented with a Holy Place, a Remote Location and a Natural Feature and immediately think to yourself “that sounds like a monastery in the mountains”. Once you’ve decided your basic setting, the cards enable you to create a bunch of ready-to-go story elements that you can grab and quickly turn into a scene.
Then there’s the Mystery Deck, which is the engine that drives the unfolding mystery. The Mystery Deck contains Clue Cards with a theme for a Clue. Themes like technology, strange writings, weird construction, and rites & customs. With each card, you can straight away imagine the sorts of eldritch weirdness you might create. But to make it even easier, the cards contain a handful of prompts that you can quickly flesh out to turn into a Clue.
The Mystery Deck also contains Special Cards, just like the ones in the first edition of the game, that allow you to break the rules. These shake up the story so that just occasionally the main character will get killed midway through the story, and pick up a new character; or, even more surprising, they might actually defeat the horror at the end.
The game also comes with scenarios, just like the first edition, written by a diverse international slate of authors and covering fresh and varied venues for cosmic horror. What’s new is, the scenarios are written on cards. This makes it simple to set up the characters and locations where everyone can see them, and dish out the clues to the group. Further, you can recombine the scenario cards with cards from other scenarios and those from the main deck to create your own scenarios, and for infinite replayability.
The scenarios aren’t stretch goals: we’re funding them as part of our main goal. There will be a set included in the main game, and more available as expansion packs. We’ll be announcing details in the coming days.
Alongside those you have the Story Track and Story Cards, which guide you through the game. They serve a similar role to the teaching guide in 1e, walking you through each part of the game so you always know what to do next. This is a bit like the way games like For The Queen present each new step of the game on cards, making it simple to follow the structure of the game.
We haven’t got rid of the teaching guide, by the way – we know this was a favourite feature of the first edition. What we have done though is integrate it into the rulebook so that the whole text is now presented as a read-out-loud guide.
Finally you have Rule Cards which describe the key rules of the game – things like the creeping horror rule which limit how extreme the clues can be. These serve as a handy reference but also help to highlight when the rules change mid-game – it’s very satisfying to discard the rules that have been limiting the horror and know that the leash is off!
All this makes for a hugely improved experience: better creative support, slicker, easier to learn rules, and a more accessible game. I’ve successfully taught and played a full session of Lovecraftesque in 90 minutes and the group was BUZZING with how much fun they had and how easy it was to pick up.
I’ll be back with more over the next two weeks. In the mean time, if you haven’t already, you should get yourself signed up to be notified when the project launches. Don’t miss it!