Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game

Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game
Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game
Designer(s) Eric M. Lang
Publisher(s) Fantasy Flight Games
Players 2 or more
Age range 14+
Setup time < 2 minutes
Playing time ~ 20 minutes1
Random chance Some
Skill(s) required

Card playing

1 Games may take much longer or shorter depending on a deck's play style and the number of players.

The Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game or Call of Cthulhu Living Card Game is a collectible card game (CCG) 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. The Call of Cthulhu CCG is the successor to an earlier CCG, Chaosium's Mythos, also based on the Cthulhu Mythos.

It shares art and characters with FFG's other Cthulhu Mythos product Arkham Horror.



Chaosium had previously been involved in the collectible card game (CCG) business in the mid-1990s, printing Mythos, its Cthulhu mythos CCG. However, Chaosium discontinued the game in 1997 after poor sales. In 2004, Chaosium instead licensed the property to Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), allowing FFG to produce the official Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game. It was designed by Eric M. 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.

FFG staffer Darrell Hardy developed the storyline background for the game. Most of the storyline text (including card names and flavor text) is written by creative developer Pat Harrigan. In the Living Card Game format, the story line is penned by Nate French, with the help of Dan Clark.

The games current developer is Nate French.

The game

Players attach resources (taken from the cards in their hand) onto domains (similar to the lands of Magic: The Gathering), later draining them by putting a "drain counter" on them to play various cards. Both players compete to complete "stories" by winning success tokens. Five success tokens wins a story; three stories wins the game. Players typically assign character cards to stories, to win struggles and gain these success tokens. Additionally, the first player to run out of cards to draw from loses the game, making "deck destruction" another potentially effective strategy.

The cards

Five types of card exist in Call of Cthulhu: Story Cards, Character cards, Event cards, Support cards and Conspiracy cards. All cards (except story cards) have a cost and belong to a faction (described below). Various cards have subtypes (such as investigator, tome, or location).

  • Story cards come from a shared deck, and are the object of the game. Players compete by placing "success tokens" on these story cards. Once a player has placed 5 success tokens they win the story, get the option to execute (or ignore) the effect written on it. Once a player has 3 story cards they win the game. Standard players use the 10 latest story cards, of which 3 randomly chosen are in play at any time. The Nameless City is a special promotional Story card that requires 10 success tokens but allows a player to win the game instantly. Another promotional Story card is named "The Challenge From Beyond" (after a story written in collaboration by H.P. Lovecraft and four of his correspondents), and has the opposite effect: it cannot be won like a normal story, but players may draw extra cards by scoring "successes" at it.
  • 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.
  • Conspiracies are introduced in "Conspiracies of Chaos." These function similar as Story cards but are played from the players' decks.

The factions

There are eight factions in Call of Cthulhu, as well as "neutral" cards (light grey in color) 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: This "investigator" faction comprises 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: This "investigator" 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 gold.
  • The Syndicate: This "investigator" faction represents the underworld element of human society, including mobsters, killers, and journalists. It mainly focuses on Danny O'Bannion's gang and its contacts. Its symbol is a dollar sign in a triangle, and its color is dark brown.
  • The Order of the Silver Twilight : This "Investigator" faction is a later addition to the game and centers a secret cabal of leading politicians, charismatic socialites, persuasive civic leaders, and successful businessmen who must pass through successive ranks of occult initiation and ritual to emerge into the inner sanctum of the Order, there to pursue their quest for ultimate earthly - and unearthly - power. Its symbol is a trident in a cross, and its color is silver grey. Their name may be a joke off of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
  • Cthulhu: This "mythos" faction includes Cthulhu himself, as well as his associated cultists and monsters (such as deep ones and shoggoths). Its symbol is a squid, and its color is green.
  • Hastur: This "mythos" faction centers on Hastur, especially his King in Yellow aspect, as well as his worshippers and minions, largely human psychopaths and monstrous Byakhees, as well as werewolves. Its symbol is the Yellow Sign, and its color is yellow.
  • Yog-Sothoth: This "mythos" faction centers on Yog-Sothoth, and the scholars who worship it, as well as various trans-dimensional beings including Nightgaunts and Star vampires; it also hosts several undead monsters. Its symbol is a key, and its color is purple.
  • Shub-Niggurath: This "mythos" faction centers on Shub-Niggurath and the many, many monsters she is responsible for creating (notably Dark Young, ghouls, and Dholes). Its symbol is a goat's head, and its color is red.


The Call of Cthulhu card game is currently produced in the form of a core set, featuring cards from all 7 factions, neutral cards, story cards, success/wound tokens, a full-colour manual, a game board, and Cthulhu-shaped domain markers. The game is ready to play straight out of the box, and decks can be made quickly by combining cards from two of the factions along with several neutral cards.

Every month, FFG releases "Asylum Packs", which are small expansions with fixed contents, designed to increase the users card pool in a balanced and affordable way. 20 new cards are introduced in each pack, supplied in playsets of 3 cards for a total of 60 cards (originally the Asylum Packs were 10 cards appearing once in the pack and 10 cards as a playset of 3, for 40 cards total). Casual gamers can play using a single core set and have the option of using supplemental packs if they want to.

Here are the Asylum Packs fitting the LCG format (white bordered):

Madness and Horror: (stand alone asylum packs which do not fit into a cycle)

  • At the Mountains of Madness
  • Ancient Horrors

Summons of the Deep:

  • The Spawn of the Sleeper
  • The Horror Beneath the Surface
  • The Antediluvian Dreams
  • The Terror of the Tides
  • The Thing from the Shore
  • The Path to Y'ha-nthlei


  • Twilight Horror
  • In Memory of Day
  • In the Dread of Night
  • The Search for the Silver Key
  • Sleep of the Dead
  • Journey to Unknown Kadath

The Yuggoth Contract:

  • Whispers in the Dark
  • Murmurs of Evil
  • The Spoken Covenant
  • The Wailer Below
  • Screams from Within
  • The Cacophony

The Rituals of the Order:

  • The Twilight Beckons
  • Perilous Trials
  • Initiations of the Favored
  • Aspirations of Ascension
  • The Gleaming Spiral (not yet released)
  • That Which Consumes (not yet released)

Deluxe Expansions:

  • Secrets of Arkham (110-card expansion)
  • The Order of the Silver Twilight (155 card expansion)

Older products may still be available from Fantasy Flight Games and other retailers, though these cards have black borders and different backs. Official tournaments so far have been "white border only", so it is not necessary to chase down the older cards. The only reasons to do so are for fun or to complete a collection, though if intended for play, sleeves are required to disguise the different backs.

Here is a list of the older CCG-format products:

  • 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 addition, the Arkham and Eldritch base sets offered starter sets with fixed contents, designed to introduce players to the game.

The decision to cease producing the game in a collectible format came in May 2006. Newer products were released in the current Asylum Pack form, though the first four are not part of the new LCG format and contain black-bordered cards.

These are the original four Asylum Packs:

  • Spawn of Madness (first pack)
    Asylum Pack III - Conspiracies of Chaos cover.
  • Kingsport Dreams (second pack)
  • Conspiracies of Chaos (third pack)
  • Dunwich Denizens (fourth pack)

The Asylum Packs were very successful and are the reason for the conversion of the game to the LCG format. The announcement came on February 5, 2008, that the LCG would be launched in October 2008 with a brand new core set. To bridge the gap, two more Asylum Decks were announced. These were The Mountains of Madness and Ancient Horrors (see above).

Gaming Milestones


Around May, 2006 as a special promotion, copies of the Yithian deck where handed out to tournament organisers. The Yithian deck was a purposely unbalanced deck, ignoring normal deck-building rules and featuring overpowered cards representing Yithians. Since these cards are so overpowered, they are illegal in normal tournament play. This Yithian Tournament had the following special rules:

  • The first-place finisher challenges the Yithian deck, as played by the tournament organizer.
  • If the first-place finisher is defeated, the second-place finisher takes his spot, and so on.
  • All challengers must use the same deck they played in the tourney.
  • The first player to defeat the Yithian deck takes a copy of the deck home.

The Yithian Deck consists out of the following promo cards:

  • Y1 Pnakotic Elder x6
  • Y2 Great Race Scientist x6
  • Y3 Yithian Soldier x6
  • Y4 Master of Time and Space x8
  • Y5 Displaced x4
  • Y6 Library at Pnakotus x8
  • Y7 Traveller of Aeons x2

Player Designed Cards

The winners of the Call of Cthulhu World Championship are invited to design a card that is released within the other products. These cards usually have a high power level, and the art features the likeness of the person that designed it.

World Championship Winner Designed Cards
2005 World Champion Greg Gan designed the card "Assistant to Dr. West" which bears his likeness, as drawn by Patrick McEvoy. It appears in the Forgotten Cities expansion.
2006 World Champion Chris Long designed the card "Mentor to Vaughn" which bears his likeness, as drawn by Patrick McEvoy. It appears in Kingsport Dreams: Asylum Pack II.
2007 World Champion Jim Black designed the card "Descendant of Eibon" which bears his likeness. It was shown at Gen Con 2008 and will be released in a later Asylum Pack.
  • At Gen Con 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. The card art bears his likeness as drawn by Patrick McEvoy.
  • At Gen Con Indianapolis 2006, Christopher Long of State College, PA became the second Call of Cthulhu CCG World Champion. Mr. Long has designed his card, and it is featured in the second Asylum deck that has been released January 2007. The card art bears his likeness as drawn by Patrick McEvoy. It also features Long's name in the text box.
  • At Gen Con Indianapolis 2007 James 'Jim' Black of Pittsburgh, PA became the third Call of Cthulhu CCG World Champion. In the winning match he had both Assistant to Dr West and Mentor to Vaughn in play.


Servitor Program

Fantasy Flight Games have set up the Servitor program to help tournament organizers by giving tournament support, like promo cards, Sanity Certificates and access to special promotional items like the Yithian Deck, to give away as prizes.

Sanity Redemption

Older products in the line come with Sanity Points on the packaging, which range from 1 Sanity Point on boosters, to 5 on Asylum packs. Servitors are given Sanity Certificates to hand out to tournament winners. These Sanity Points could be redeemed until June 30, 2008[1] for items like promo cards or T-shirts.


  • In 2005 Flagship magazine awarded the Call of Cthulhu CCG the title "Best Card Game of 2005."
  • In 2008 InQuest Gamer magazine voted the Call of Cthulhu CCG the number 57 ranking Game of All Time saying "We ♥ Cthulhu. Cthulhu games are seldom crap, and this baby broke new ground with domain-based resource mechanics and great integration of the requisite horror and madness themes."

See also


External links

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