Sunday, November 3, 2013

New and Noteworthy Horror

Over on NZRaG Luke has begun his annual ranking of the top games & products of 2013.  When I looked at my own top picks, all of them were horror.  I found that little surprising - I don't exclusively read horror games, and I feel that several other products I've purchased have been of high particularly quality (e.g. Doctor Source Books for the Doctor Who Adventure in Time and Space RPG, The Laundry and Mutants & Masterminds products).

So, what (other than EPOCH) made the top of my list?

1. Eternal Lies.  The true test of a campaign like this is actually running it, but the sheer quality, size and attention to detail evident in this product are amazing.  Then, to top it off, Pelgrane offer additional support, including a soundtrack, map, comprehensive conversion notes for Call of Cthulhu, plus NPC portraits.  Truly a masterful product.

2. World War Cthulhu: Darkest Hour.  So far I only have this in PDF, so can't comment on the quality of the physical book but this seems like an interesting take on Delta Green style gaming in WWII, and the first in a series of Cthulhu war books. I'm not sure how easily this setup would mesh with the history of WWII - history buffs often have high levels of expectation about integrating games like this into the context of such a well-known conflict, and may therefore have trouble suspending disbelief - for example if the characters fail to prevent the horror from manifesting, how does this not have a visible impact on the war?  Interestingly with the parallel release of Achutung! Cthulhu you can choose whether you prefer a pulp or purist take on Cthulhu in WWII.

3. Esoterrorists 2nd Edition a refresh of the Gumshoe system in this clever and compelling contemporary horror setting.  I love the idea of the Esoterrorists setting, albeit not wildly dissimilar to Delta Green or The Laundry.  However, some of the scenarios have been very well executed, and this is a game I'd like to run more of.  I find the basic Gumshoe combat system a little clunky, so i'd be interested to see how this edition improves on that.

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