Sunday, March 20, 2011

You should be playing the free game 'The Necronomicon' right's THAT fun

The Necronomicon is a loathsomely awesome turn-based card game from the fine -- though of course cosmically insignificant -- humans over at Games of Cthulhu.  This is an updated version of the already pretty fun 2008 version, and it kicks things up a significant notch.  How much of a notch?  Let's just say, there's a very good chance a Great Old One will appear at some point in the game to eff everyone's shit up. That's a good notch, am I right?

You'll recognize the style of play immediately if you've played card games before, and by that I mean, if you're a  Magic: The Gathering freak.  If not...well, you're on the wrong site. Here's a link to Yahoo for you. Those of you still with me will want to know that the game revolves around everything Lovecraft held dear: life, insanity, and giant unspeakable monsters from other worlds.

Being Lovecraftian, you summon monsters, add tomes for offense or defense, have characters join your side, etc., all at the cost of your sanity, in this case determined by sanity points. Use up too much sanity and you start to do weird, bad things, and by bad I mean bad for you, not others.  When you hit -5 sanity points (I love that your sanity goes below zero) you'll get into suicide mode where every turn you have a random chance of killing yourself, so...try not to do that.  More mundanely you have good old-fashioned life points, and those are usually what will determine the game one way or another.

The addition of new cards, and new kinds of cards like characters and items, makes this updated version of the game a much richer experience than the original, but also more complex.  The best thing ever is that your monsters can finally go on offense in this version.  In the last one, your monsters only attacked if you were attacked first by some physical or psychic assault. I can't tell you how many times I sat there with a giant unholy monster on my "side" thinking, typical fucking Shoggoths, completely unconcerned with MY welfare!

Well, no more.  Now you can have up to 4 monsters in play, 2 on offense and 2 on defense. This makes things a quite a bit more dynamic and also kind of confusing because first you have your monsters do their blasphemous attacks and sort out life and sanity points, then you play a card and sort out life and sanity points. So each player gets a two-stage turn, and to make it more confusing, in the monster stage you have to deal with both offense and defense points. Things move quickly, and sometimes your opponent will whomp you with some heinous card in their second stage that will come and go so quickly you'll be like, Who the...? What the...? For those times there is a "Roll Over to View Last Card Used" icon so you can see what the hell happened, but just needing that feature is a bit of a flaw IMHO.

Anyway, aside from monsters you can also attack your opponent with "regular" weapons like Shotguns or more cerebral methods like the dreaded Mindburn card, and there are a bunch of cards that can do multiple things, and even at least one I've seen that can do random things (aptly titled Mad Experiment).  After you win or lose each round of the game, you'll be given a grade of A, B, C, D, E, F or S.  S is the best one although why it's S I don't know. "Sanity?" Whatever, the game is fun and free so I don't want to hear ANY complaints from you, got me? There are 30 progressively harder rounds to play through, and earning that S will give you valuable bonuses later on, so whatever it stands for, your job is to earn the S early and often.

I've got nothing else to say about the game, other than , STOP READING THIS AND GO PLAY IT ALREADY!  After all, what could go wrong by opening the Necronomicon?

P.S. Dear Games of Cthulhu. rock. Seriously. LOVE YOU! Second, please add some kind of point totaling thingamajig to the game so when there are multiple monsters and arcane powers in play I can figure out what attacks will net me rather than trying to do it all manually.  Thanks. Regular readers, skip this part. Seriously. 


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