I have a confession to make. I’m not a fan of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft. There. I said it, and now that I’ve said it I’m going to point out that I’m not a fan of his WRITING. I am, however, a huge fan of the sandbox he created and allowed so many of his contemporaries to play in. The Cthulhu mythos spans generations of creators and every imaginable medium. In the tabletop gaming world, Cthulhu is almost his own genre. Sometimes those games are incredibly effective at bringing the feeling, if not the visage, of the Great Old Ones to life, while others could have any other theme and you’d never notice. Still more games do nothing short of beg for the pulp horror of Lovecraft’s pen. The Shuffling Horror series of games fall into that last category.
The one place that has had a surprisingly small amount of Lovecraft love has been the silver screen. There was a time, when moving pictures were in their infancy and youth, that Cthulhu could have potentially thrived alongside the likes of King Kong and Frankenstein, or even further back with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu. But as the desire for more and more realistic effects entered the collective film-going culture, it became nearly impossible to bring Cthulhu to the screen is a respectable, never mind respectful, way.
That is part of why a game like Innsmouth 32 has so much to offer. The Shuffling Horror system exists to bring the most outrageous elements of cult classic cinema to the game table. Previously, Pittsburgh 68 covered zombie movies and Roswell 51 hit the b-movie sci-fi scene (along with a North Pole nod). These are genres that almost everyone has seen. Even if you aren’t a fan, you probably know several iterations of pop culture zombies, and even if you are too young to remember ray guns and rocket ships on strings, you likely have an idea of what it was like. Because the Cthulhu Mythos has been so rarely faithfully adapted on film, Innsmouth 32 has the chance to break new ground that feels like it’s not actually breaking new ground.
One of the things I appreciate the most about Gamewick Games, as a company, is that they have never settled for what they have in front of them. With each new entry in their Shuffling Horror series they have taken their time to improve the coming games over the previous games, and then go back and improve on those previous games as well.
Pledge levels start at $35 (USD) for a single copy of Innsmouth 32. $55 or $70 adds on either Pittsburg 68 or Roswell 51, respectively, while all three games comes in at only $90. Finally, for the true fans, $111 gets all three games and a bunch of cool fan-club bonuses.