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gutts2

Some questions from a beginner- the point of CoC?

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Hi All,

 

I've just purchased Warhammer Invasion and CoC and these are our first ever card games. After a rocky start with warhammer (very poor manual) we are enjoying playing and eyeing up some of the expansions but we have some questions about CoC.

We aren't quite seeing the whole point to CoC,  we only played one game and we thought it would be more story centric but this was not the case. I don't even see why they are called story cards as they have no story. Also, since the other person can see the other players characters the game seems to just descend into matching the icons and it turns into quite a dull game.  The website states:

 

Story cards represent the bizarre and frightening situations that investigators and cultists alike find themselves contending in

They must be talking about a different set of story cards as the 10 in the box just have an action on them.

So I guess my question is what is the point of CoC? 

Also, the game came with only 1 conspiracy card, should there have been two?

 

Thanks in advance for any answers, hopefully understand CoC a bit more I'll be able to enjoy future games more than I currently do

 

 

 

 

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Good post and reasonable questions. 

Many players, including myself, felt the same way as you do after their first few games.

The 'story' cards represent, in my mind, places you can go to investigate, or sub-plots, but this can all seem rather diffuse.  They are the 'MacGuffins' that you need to capture for a win.   I'll try to find an old post I wrote about story cards and link it below. 

If you persevere, and play a few more games, you will begin to see the tactical depth of the game which makes it much more than just a case of comparing icons.  There are quite a few cards (events, some specialized characters) which are designed to deliver a Nasssty surprise to your opponent during the story phase.  In addition, if you go as far as purchasing asylum packs to do deckbuilding, many cards combine with others in ways which are, to put it gently, "interestingly evil". 

When I play, the decisions of which characters to commit on my turn versus which I should hold back to defend on my opponent's turn are NEVER boring or easy.  While playing I'm continually terrified of what the other guys may be able to do to me next.

One conspiracy card is correct for the core set, you got 'em all.  

If you really want a story-based game, you might want to look up the long-defunct MYTHOS card game released by Chaosium.  The art was good, but the game itself was incredibly lame.  You 'told stories' by playing particular cards which fit into the Mythos version of a story card.  Then, for the huge climax, you sorted through your discard pile to confirm that all the required cards were there.  Puts me to sleep just writing about it.

The POINT of CoCLCG is to form your cult, learn horrible spells, gather your monstrous allies, and JAM YOUR OWN GOD'S dogma right down the throat of your opponent !!    If you run into problems, you can summon the Great Old One himself to assist you in dominating the enemy !   Glorious. 

chick

 

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I found my ancient post about story cards, but it was on Boardgamegeek, not this forum:-

------------------------------------------------

 

That is an excellent question, Frankysan, but the answer is complicated, so please bear with me as I try to tell you what goes on in my mind when playing CoCLCG.

A card game will necessarily be more abstract than a boardgame which includes a map and victory conditions which are spelled out in the rules.

Your 'team' is a loose affiliation of the characters and capabilities which you have decided to include in your deck. But these resources are not reliable, and you do not have perfect control over them. (Sometimes they don't show up until late in the deck)

Your own 'goals', and those of your opponent, are randomly assigned through the mix of three story cards. The story cards, as you correctly surmise, represent things which can be learned, accomplished, or prevented. Through reading the effects of the available story cards, you must decide which ones you want to win in order to trigger the effect, and which you absolutely MUST win in order to prevent the bad guys from triggering them.

Sometimes the story cards seem like a mini map of three locations. More often they seem like some arcane bit of knowledge or history or rumour to be researched, understood, and then dealt with.

Your opponent's team and resources are also obscure to you. You have little idea what he is capable of, what vague agenda he wants to accomplish, or how to stop him.

During game play, you must make hard choices as to which cards to use for resources and which to put into play. Then more hard choices face the players regarding when to commit the available characters to stories.

When characters are at a story unopposed, They are awarded successes on that contest. Enough successes allow you to 'win' that story, and decide whether or not the story effects will be triggered.

When characters from both sides are committed to the same story, the struggles become crucial, and very interesting.

Let's now posit a situation in which a small team of investigators from the Miskatonic faction commit to a story. I might imagine them stealing into the graveyard at night, with lanterns, shovels, and a shotgun. But they are ambushed there by cultists with terrifying allies, including a controlled monster!

First is a chance to play actions. Probably the investigators fire all the shotgun ammo they have at the cultists. Some are wounded and removed from the story (killed and discarded, in game play). The cultists may also have actions, possibly spells which can be used here.

Then comes the terror struggle. If the monster has terror icons and has not been promptly killed by the shotgun, one of the investigators will likely go temporarily insane. This is very thematic, and follows many of Lovecraft's stories. "Aaaahh ! That thing is not HUMAN ! - (sounds of chortling madness as he runs from the graveyard).

Then is the combat struggle! The two sides grapple with one another, up close and personal, claws against fists! Combat icons are summed and compared, and one investigator or cultist is likely to be wounded and removed. Again, very much in the spirit of the role-playing game.

Follows the arcane struggle. I interpret this as using specialized knowledge to make some of the struggle winner's characters available on the opponent's turn (very important for the active player). Maybe they winner has deduced something which gives him a short-term advantage, realizing he cannot now go home to sleep, but must remain available to defend another story. .

At this point, IF a character with an investigation icon has somehow survived all of the above struggles, he can actually investigate, and possibly win a success token from what he discovers.

FINALLY, the skill of each character still functional at the story is summed and totals compared. Let's say the investigators win on skill. They can dig up the hoary sarcophagus and peek inside, gaining a success token at that story for their efforts.

Your comment about Cthulhu cultists winning when they get the BIG C on the board is also interesting. However, the game would SUCK HUGELY if I could lose by my opponent merely paying for an expensive card.

In this card game Cthulhu can hit the table and be used to drive opponents insane or to kill them !! And those opponents MAY be able to banish Cthulhu, if they can assemble the proper resources !

WAY GREAT FLAMIN' MORE FUN !!!

I realize that the inside of my mind differs wildly from that of anybody else's. That said, I hope the above gives you a better feel for the thematic elements of a necessarily-very-abstract card game.

Chick
 

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MYTHOS is by far the better card game, my all time favorite ever.

Chick's arcane text above is a brilliant radical grimoire. Its blasphemous derision of MYTHOS has driven me past the edge of sanity, ie!

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If if you want to learn more about how this game came into being, try reading Design Decisions and Concepts in Licenced Collectible Card Games.

In Call of Cthulhu, things are definately a bit abstract, as things tend to be in card games. The particulars of what you are doing can be sketchy, and you're more 'zoomed out' of the action than you may have been used to. Things happen on large scales in this game.

Generally, you're a person trying to tell a story, but in a competative matter.

The Story cards represent the stories, but in a skeletal fashion; Only the ending is really included.

Lovecrafts' stories are usually presented by people writing journals, letters and bits of newspaper. The success tokens represent that kind of plot information in a loose matter, until one of you characters connects the dots and solves the mystery; Then you can choose how to end the story: In maintaining the status quo, or by causing great upheavel.

You, as the player, add characters and other materials and events to these stories. Your opponent does the same. Both teams race to solve the mystery, encounter each other in struggles and use skill to find clues to what is going on.

All in all, you're given a framework of a couple stories, and the game itself roughly show how the balance is tipped in each teams favor, but the particulars aren't really shown. It's not really a simulation, but an impression evoking Lovecraftian story elements. It's up to your imagination to fill in what is going on in particular, when you commit your investigators and monsters to the stories.

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Amazing how our feelings can be various !

I myself play the game as the opposition of two head-chief of gangs (which is a lot more fun when you play monofaction). My opponent had teamed differents people and tend to conquier differents territories by winning 5 "domination points". I did the same and try to oppose my ressources.

I use stories as "agenda" we filled with our domination's token ...

And before the time is out, we battle in a way to settle our dominacy... ^^

 

Ok, that's a little bit of the story told on the rules, but I feel like it's more intense and it brings you more in the depths of the game.

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You have to stick with the game and play a few times to start to see tricky game mechanics you can play on each other.  Because your both relatively new, you may be missing some parts of the game that you gain with experience.  Its not just looking at icons on cards and comparing them, cause even in the basic set, theres cards to remove characters before the stuggles actually begin (like shotgun blast).

I always looked at the card game and story cards as if I was one of HP Lovecraft's characters in a story.  Usually, his story has some average person: reporter, cop, historian, scientist, or whatever discover some type of hidden agenda (the games story cards).  Through the course of the Lovecraft story, the character goes through different struggles (icon sturggles) to finally conclude the agenda he was exposed to (success tokens).

One of the best ways I've found to get someone really into the game is hand them a book full of HP Lovecraft stories and say "here, read this...if you dare!"

 

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Gutts said:

Story cards represent the bizarre and frightening situations that investigators and cultists alike find themselves contending in

They must be talking about a different set of story cards as the 10 in the box just have an action on them.

Ok, look at it in this light. Let's say that you are playing Agency and Miskatonic University, while your opponent is playing pure Cthulhu as an example. You are both trying to complete the story card "Secrets of Arkham".

While the game may look mechanically like icon comparrison, timing and so forth, that's because it is. Not meaning to so sarcastic or anything but think of it using your imagination. Your stalwart investigators are looking into some unusual events in and around Arkham which lkead them into discovering a cult to the Ancient Ones, and they must stop the cult before the bad guys get their hands on certain ancient tomes and spells looked away somewhere underneath the town. When one of you wins, you have the choice of enacting the effect on the story card. That's the story and the flow of the game.

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Amante said:

The default Core Set stories are also a bit boring in their effects; the Secrets of Arkham ones are much more interesting.

I don't know. Looking at them, seems SoA ones are almost the same as CS ones, slightly more powerful or with an added effect.

Innsmout Threat = Nowhere to Hide (exactly)

Thing at the Gate = Rotting Away + Through the Gates

Secrets of North Woods = boosted Opening Night

Well = Dreamwalkers (pretty much)

Not saying those are a bad thing, I'm all excited to get new stories (even though I only have 84 plays done, the same ol' stories have gotten bit bland). New stories in themselves are a bonus, even if they effects are in many ways similar to the old ones.

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