Analog Gaming 3 - Arkham Horror and Survival Horror Games

Jonathon Howard takes a look at survival horror games, and their pen-and-paper roleplaying game inspiration: Call of Cthulhu; specifically, Arkham Horror.

Excerpt: "The Call of Cthulhu RPG was first released in 1981 and was set in the 1920-30's that Lovecraft set his own stories. The plots that players engage in start out innocent enough, but usually end with the player's character going insane, if not being horribly maimed or killed by some monstrosity. Some of the game's more prominent themes were awe and terror of the unknown and the price such knowledge had on the human psyche.

In 1987, the RPG was ported over to board game form: The Call of Cthulhu: the Board Game. The board game attempted to distill Lovecraft's mythos and the themes of the RPG into a board game that could be played in hour or so opposed to days. Unlike acting on the screen or role-playing that can create an atmosphere of paranoia and tension through editing and surprise, the board game does so by slowly escalating the difficulty of the game and putting a random time limit on the players before the terror is unleashed upon the earth, an encounter that players usually lost. These two things created the tension, paranoia, and at times fear that are so essential to the horror genre."

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