||[Apr. 22nd, 2008|08:28 am]
I bought the Cthulhutech book before we went to Japan to have something to read besides my new stash of Judge Dee books.
Overall I was left with a good impression, but it was a mixed joy.
At the same time I bought the Weapons of the Gods expansion and Unhallowed Metropolis, but I will not deal with those here.
The design of the book is great. A beautiful book made with quality paper, though I have noted that the cover of mine bends in a weird way, and it cannot be because of the humidity in Japan since none of the other books do.
The illustrations alone almost sell the book, though they made me wonder if there is a law against women covering their legs in this game universe.
The dice-rolling mechanic is interesting. Based on D10 and with a curious tally system that makes me ponder how to calculate odds. I am guessing my method will be to not care about odds and just go with the flow as I do in most other games, and then shrug when the dice lets me down.
The game itself is a curious mix of upbeat mecha anime as found in Macross and its ilk, and the downcast vision of the Cthulhu mythos.
It is clear that the designers love their material, their enthusiasm shines off the pages.
I can see great possibilities in this mix, but also some huge flaws.
I can simply not figure out what sort of stories I am supposed to tell with this book. From the content of the rules and the two example scenarios I guess that I am supposed to play military games where the alien invasions just happen to have Cthulhu mythos names applied to them. It is appearently a fast and fun action game, but then there suddenly is thrown in mass rapes and the horrible doom of mankind.
As a GM I do not know how to play, as a player I do not know what to play.
I am certain a good GM with the right ideas could make something out of Cthulhutech, and I would certainly like to have a go at it if done by a GM that I trust.
Apart from that I think the mecha system is obsolete. Did we not leave predesigned modules behind with Battletech? In a horror game, even a action/horror game, players should not know what to expect from Enemy Mecha of the Week. This system is horribly predictable.
On a funnier note, in the advantage/disadvantage section of char generation it is noted that chars with advantages Alluring and/or Sexy Voice usually balance out the points with the disadvantage Big Ego.
I wonder if the designers often got turned down by the pretty girls back in high school. *snicker*
People really should learn to reread the stuff they write - And read between the lines as well.
My final conclusion is that Cthulhutech is a mediocre game that could be great with the right people playing it. It certainly made me curious, but I am just going to leave it on the shelf for now, for I do not have the ability to figure out how to use it.