Mythos CCG

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Mythos CCG

Postby timemrick » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:08 am

(This post might be somewhat outside the Piazza's focus on RPGs, but the CoC forum seemed the most logical place to put it.)

I played Magic: The Gathering and a couple other CCGs for a time back in the '90s-'00s, but the only one that I actively collected and still own is Mythos. This was Chaosium's attempt to cash in on the CCG craze with a game based on their own Call of Cthulhu RPG. The game didn't sell well, so Chaosium only produced a handful of expansion sets during 1996-1997 before discontinuing the line. I bought quite a few Mythos decks and boosters when it was new, and a LOT more (often as cases) when it started hitting the clearance shelves. For a very brief time, I even turned to collectibles resellers to acquire some of the individual cards I couldn't find any other way. (I'm still 13 cards short of a complete set, because they were going for more than I could justify paying then, and are probably impossible to find now.)

My wife and I continue to play occasionally with the dozen or so of the best decks that we built years ago. Our kids are now 13 and 12, so we've started teaching them how to play, too. We started them on the two prepackaged decks from the Standard Set, and they've recently graduated to playing with our custom-built decks.

This has finally prompted me to build some new decks for the first time in years. I was never happy with any of the Europe decks that I built back in the day (that region was never as interesting as the Middle East set), so I decided to try tackling that again--and ended up with three new decks to test sometime in the near future.

I've also typed up card lists for our older decks that have stood up well to continued play. That way I'll have a record of what was in them in case we ever retire them to cannibalize the cards for new decks.

And if the kids stay interested in the game, I'll have less incentive to donate my spare cards to Gen Con's Cardhalla. I had some mixed feelings about seeing a big pile of Mythos cards there the one year I made it to the con (2011), but that didn't stop me from building a Yellow Sign to leave behind for the unwary. ;)
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby Big Mac » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:40 am

timemrick wrote:I played Magic: The Gathering and a couple other CCGs for a time back in the '90s-'00s, but the only one that I actively collected and still own is Mythos. This was Chaosium's attempt to cash in on the CCG craze with a game based on their own Call of Cthulhu RPG. The game didn't sell well, so Chaosium only produced a handful of expansion sets during 1996-1997 before discontinuing the line. I bought quite a few Mythos decks and boosters when it was new, and a LOT more (often as cases) when it started hitting the clearance shelves. For a very brief time, I even turned to collectibles resellers to acquire some of the individual cards I couldn't find any other way. (I'm still 13 cards short of a complete set, because they were going for more than I could justify paying then, and are probably impossible to find now.)


If the CCG is based on the RPG, is it possible to use them together somehow? For example, could the CCG cards be used to generate random encounters for a solo-play game?

timemrick wrote:This has finally prompted me to build some new decks for the first time in years. I was never happy with any of the Europe decks that I built back in the day (that region was never as interesting as the Middle East set), so I decided to try tackling that again--and ended up with three new decks to test sometime in the near future.


How many different sets were there? How does that compare to the RPG line?

timemrick wrote:I've also typed up card lists for our older decks that have stood up well to continued play. That way I'll have a record of what was in them in case we ever retire them to cannibalize the cards for new decks.


You said this on your Mythos Deck's page:
Thastygliax's Vault‎ wrote:(Sadly, Chaosium seems to have removed all pages about the game from their website.)


Have you seen the copy of the Mythos CCG Homepage at the Wayback Machine? Is that any use to you?

timemrick wrote:And if the kids stay interested in the game, I'll have less incentive to donate my spare cards to Gen Con's Cardhalla. I had some mixed feelings about seeing a big pile of Mythos cards there the one year I made it to the con (2011), but that didn't stop me from building a Yellow Sign to leave behind for the unwary. ;)


What is Cardhalla? I've heard about something where people destroy cards. It's not that, is it?
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby BlackBat242 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:07 am

Big Mac wrote:
timemrick wrote:I played Magic: The Gathering and a couple other CCGs for a time back in the '90s-'00s, but the only one that I actively collected and still own is Mythos. This was Chaosium's attempt to cash in on the CCG craze with a game based on their own Call of Cthulhu RPG. The game didn't sell well, so Chaosium only produced a handful of expansion sets during 1996-1997 before discontinuing the line. I bought quite a few Mythos decks and boosters when it was new, and a LOT more (often as cases) when it started hitting the clearance shelves. For a very brief time, I even turned to collectibles resellers to acquire some of the individual cards I couldn't find any other way. (I'm still 13 cards short of a complete set, because they were going for more than I could justify paying then, and are probably impossible to find now.)


If the CCG is based on the RPG, is it possible to use them together somehow? For example, could the CCG cards be used to generate random encounters for a solo-play game?

timemrick wrote:This has finally prompted me to build some new decks for the first time in years. I was never happy with any of the Europe decks that I built back in the day (that region was never as interesting as the Middle East set), so I decided to try tackling that again--and ended up with three new decks to test sometime in the near future.


How many different sets were there? How does that compare to the RPG line?

timemrick wrote:I've also typed up card lists for our older decks that have stood up well to continued play. That way I'll have a record of what was in them in case we ever retire them to cannibalize the cards for new decks.


You said this on your Mythos Deck's page:
Thastygliax's Vault‎ wrote:(Sadly, Chaosium seems to have removed all pages about the game from their website.)


Have you seen the copy of the Mythos CCG Homepage at the Wayback Machine? Is that any use to you?

timemrick wrote:And if the kids stay interested in the game, I'll have less incentive to donate my spare cards to Gen Con's Cardhalla. I had some mixed feelings about seeing a big pile of Mythos cards there the one year I made it to the con (2011), but that didn't stop me from building a Yellow Sign to leave behind for the unwary. ;)


What is Cardhalla? I've heard about something where people destroy cards. It's not that, is it?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardhalla

The article does not say what happens to the cards afterwards.
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby timemrick » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am

Big Mac wrote:If the CCG is based on the RPG, is it possible to use them together somehow? For example, could the CCG cards be used to generate random encounters for a solo-play game?

I suppose you could. The mechanics of the two games have nothing in common, so it would probably work better as a way to generate ideas for encounters or events rather than any details for them. For example, the CCG includes Adventure cards, which determine some of the game's victory conditions; these have a brief adventure summary, with highlighted card names or keywords that show which cards you need to play to complete them. Those could be used as a starting point for RPG scanarios.

I have found that many of the CCG cards make handy visual aids for the RPG, if you need to show your players a picture of a character, monster, etc. (The quality and relevance of the art varies widely, so some cards are much more useful for this than others.)
Big Mac wrote:How many different sets were there? How does that compare to the RPG line?

The original release is known as the Limited Edition, and is set in "Lovecraft Country"--essentially the 1920s-1930s New England in which most of HPL's fiction was set. This set had Starter Decks as well as additional boosters that introduced new regions: Europe in Expeditions of Miskatonic University, the South Pacific in Cthulhu Rising, and the Middle East in Legends of the Necronomicon. This last booster also included the idea of Allies from the Past (like Abdul Alhazred and Keziah Mason), who could be played through the use of certain Artifact and/or Spell cards.

There is also a Standard Game set, which included two pre-made decks that could be played against each other. All of the included cards are unique to this set, though some merely reproduce L.E. cards with new art. (My wife and I own multiple copies of this set in order to use the cards in our own decks, but we always keep one set intact for when we're teaching people the game for the first time.)

There were two compatible but standalone sets released over the next year or two. The Dreamlands provided adventures set in that dimension, and introduced rules for traveling between it and the "Waking World" (the world and time of the L.E. game). It included enough new Waking World content to allow you to play adventures than span both realms without needing the L.E. game (though it certainly gives you more deck-building options).

The last release was New Aeon, set in the modern day (1990s). Like the previous set, it included means for dimensional travel, with enough Waking World-related cards to support those adventures, but it made no direct references to the Dreamlands. It simply referenced "other dimensions" in some card text.
Big Mac wrote:You said this on your Mythos Deck's page:
Thastygliax's Vault‎ wrote:(Sadly, Chaosium seems to have removed all pages about the game from their website.)

Have you seen the copy of the Mythos CCG Homepage at the Wayback Machine? Is that any use to you?

Thanks for the link! I've added that to my deck page.
Big Mac wrote:What is Cardhalla? I've heard about something where people destroy cards. It's not that, is it?

The link that BlackBat provided says as much about it as I know.
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby Big Mac » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:40 pm

Thanks both!
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby timemrick » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:37 am

I've turned my posts above into this week's blog post.
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby willpell » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:06 pm

I may have learned Mythos even before I learned MTG. I haven't played it in at least 5 years (having the card pool remain stagnant for a decade will make the shine wear off pretty bad), but it's still a fond memory of mine. If anybody were to Kickstart it back into existence, and I happened to have money at the time, I'd definitely be there.
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby timemrick » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:11 am

I learned Magic first, but not by much. My then-new girlfriend [now wife] and her friends taught me Magic using a box of spare commons and uncommons acquired from her roommate, who bought cards by the case in order to resell the rares she didn't want. I eventually bought quite a few cards on my own, but I could never afford the time or money to keep up with the frequent releases of new sets. And I was never into it enough to remotely consider entering any tournaments. (The recent Plane Shift articles were the first time in over a decade that I'd touched anything involving Magic, and that was solely out of curiosity about the D&D 5E content.)

Mythos, on the other hand, tapped into my fondness for all things Lovecraftian. Plus it tells adventure stories that are far more compelling than "I hurl spells and monsters at my foe until one of us is dead." (You can play Mythos that way, but it's much less fun.) Also, I still game regularly with one of my other friends who collected Mythos with us back in the day, so theoretically, at least, I can still find players outside my immediate family. (I might have to loan her a deck, though.)

I know that there has been at least one more Call of Cthulhu-based CCG produced since Mythos ended, but the price tag for investing in a new CCG after so many years has kept me from trying it out.
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby willpell » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:33 pm

Yeah, MTG is a gigantic cash-grab, cleverly disguised as a dynamic and resonant fantasy universe. It's really sickening how good of a job they've done making something so soullessly corporate look so seductive to us artsy types (known as "vorthoses" in the community, a term coined by one of the many artists whom they employ...the fact they give these people work is pretty much the only redeeming excuse for their mercenarism IMO).

I am familiar with the Call of Cthulhu CCG, which like all other Fantasy Flight CCGs from the early 2000s, was later reinvented as a "living card game" sold in non-randomized expansion packs. This model seems to be working well for them, but it involved changing the card backs so that the CCG version was incompatible, so I never made the jump. My CCG cards have been gathering dust for a while, but I still remember it fondly. It was very akin to the same company's Arkham Horror boardgame, in that it was rooted less in the actual Lovecraft stories (as Mythos is) than in the pulp-adventure atmosphere which serves as a backdrop to most Call of Cthulhu adventures. To give you an idea, of the three human factions you can play (alongside four Mythos groups, which correspond to four of the six most famous Great Old Ones, and can also be extremely loosely equated to the "elemental" interpretation of these beings which August Derleth favored), besides Miskatonic University and a generically good-guy faction of cops and G-men, there's also "The Syndicate", which is a bunch of '20s-era mobsters and Hollywood contacts and so forth, trying to keep the Deep Ones and the various cultists from muscling in on their racket. I can go into more detail about the game if you'd like (although at that point we should perhaps change the thread title, from "Mythos CCG" to "Lovecraftian Card Games: Compare and Contrast" or somesuch).
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby timemrick » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:28 am

Naw, I'm good. I still need to find time to try out the copy of Arkham Horror that my wife and I recently found at Half Price Books. The sheer number of parts is a bit daunting...
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Re: Mythos CCG

Postby Falconer » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:09 am

My wife and I were introduced to Mythos by Lester W. Smith in 2007 or 2008. Les had a great way of narrating the emerging story as he played. We built up a pretty good collection and played it for a few years, until I built an unbeatable deck. I pulled it out and looked at it a week or two back. I would love to try it out against another opponent someday.
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