The Call of Cthulhu Collectable Card Game, a.k.a Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, is a collectable card game marketed by Fantasy Flight Games. It is based on the fiction of The Cthulhu Mythos, primarily the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.
In 2004, Chaosium licensed Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) to produce the official Call Of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game. It was designed by Eric Lang as a more accessible introduction to gaming in the Mythos environment and to provide a fast and lively interplay with the usual elements of the mythos (e.g. arcane tomes and secrets, paranormal investigations, the Elder Gods and their terrible servants, dark sinister plots, inhuman conspiracies, and dangers from beyond the stars). The game is nominally set in 1928.
Players attach resources (taken from the cards in their hand) onto domains (similar to the lands of Magic: The Gathering), later draining them to play various cards. Both players compete to complete "stories" in order to win success tokens. Five success tokens wins a story; three stories wins the game. Additionally, the first player to run out of cards to draw from loses the game, making "deck destruction" another potentially effective strategy.
Three types of card exist in Call of Cthulhu: Character cards, Event cards, and Support cards. All cards have a cost and belong to a faction (described below). Various cards have subtypes (such as investigator, tome, or location).
- Character cards are a player's agents, used to attempt to complete stories. They possess a "skill" rating (used to succeed at stories) and may also have icons, which indicate the card's abilities during the "icon struggle" phase of play.
- Event cards have one-time effects, and do not remain in play.
- Support cards have persistent effects, incurring lasting benefits or hindrances.
There are seven factions in Call of Cthulhu, as well as "neutral" cards that are not part of any faction. A card may only be played if a domain with that faction attached is drained (neutral cards can be paid for using any faction).
- The Agency faction: This "human" faction is comprised of the Blackwood Detective Agency, law enforcement agencies, and others involved in criminal justice. Its symbol is a badge, and its color is blue.
- Miskatonic University faction: This "human" faction represents the academic prowess of Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University, as well as other academic groups. Its symbol is a scroll, and its color is orange.
- The Syndicate faction: This "human" faction represents the underworld element of human society, including mobsters, killers, and journalists. Its symbol is a dollar sign in a triangle, and its color is black.
- Cthulhu faction: This "cult" faction includes Cthulhu himself, as well as his associated cultists and monsters. Its symbol is a squid, and its color is green.
- Hastur faction: This "cult" faction centers on Hastur, especially his King in Yellow aspect, as well as his worshippers and minions. Its symbol is the Yellow Sign, and its color is yellow.
- Yog-Sothoth faction: This "cult" faction centers on Yog-Sothoth, and the scholars who worship it, as well as various trans-dimensional beings. Its symbol is a key, and its color is purple.
- Shub-Niggurath faction: This "cult" faction centers on Shub-Niggurath and the many, many monsters she is responsible for creating. Its symbol is a goat's head, and its color is red.
Call of Cthulhu cards are available in Starter packs and Booster packs. To date, only the Arkham Edition and Eldritch Edition sets provide starter packs. There are also non-random (fixed) "premium" starter sets available, with decks designed so that two players can immediately begin playing; these are the 110-card Arkham Edition Premium Starter Set and 116-card Eldritch Edition Premium Starter Set.
The following booster series are available:
- Arkham Edition (1st base set)
- Unspeakable Tales (1st expansion)
- Forbidden Relics (2nd expansion)
- Eldritch Edition (2nd base set)
- Masks of Nyarlathotep (3rd expansion)
- Forgotten Cities (4th expansion)
Each booster pack contains 11 cards (including 3 'uncommon' and 1 'rare').
In May of 2006, Fantasy Flight announced that the game would no longer be produced in a collectable format. Instead, new products will be released in the form of Asylum Decks, which will be the equivalent of a Premium Starter Set with all-new content.
The first Asylum Deck will contain 20 new cards; 10 'rare' cards that will appear once in the deck and 10 'common' cards that will appear 3 times in a deck. Thus the total decksize will be 40 cards. It is not intended as to be playable from the box. At Gencon Eric Lang revealed that the format may evolve through the first couple of releases before FFG nails down what they feel is best for the market and the game. The second Asylum deck is announced to have new story cards designed that will interact in "new and unexpected ways". After the first Asylum deck FFG will draw on the designs of the almost finished 'Dreamlands' set that was cancelled in favour of the Asylum decks.
At GenCon Indianapolis 2005, Gregory Gan of Pittsburgh, PA became the first Call of Cthulhu CCG World Champion. His card, Assistant to Dr. West (bearing his likeness), was printed in the Forgotten Cities set in the Eldritch Edition block. At GenCon Indianapolis 2006, Christopher Long of State College, PA became the second Call of Cthulhu CCG World Champion. Mr. Long is currently designing his card and is predicted to be released in the 3rd Asylum Deck set due out next year.