I would like to tell you that I was fourteen when I purchased my first copy of Call of Cthulhu in a dingy games shop on the outskirts of the mining town where I grew up. But it would be a lie. Call of Cthulhu was a well established game long before I came to it in my early twenties, I was a well established roleplayer but it had always been elves, dwarves, mages, clerics and paladins for me. In fact the first game of Cthulhu I ever played was run by a good friend Cameron, (who is still the best GM, regardless of game system, that I have ever played with) and I think my insistence on understanding every rule and skill whilst taking the best part of a day to generate my first character nearly had him wishing I’d stuck with MERP or D&D.
To think that I have been playing Call of Cthulhu for over twenty years is quite a sobering thought, but to realise that the game is now celebrating its 30th anniversary is really something else. It is after all not everyones favorite game, but does have (if you will pardon the in joke) a true cult following. It has seen other horror genre games come and go and whilst there are many diverse source and guide books available it has remained true to its core. The system hasn’t changed much and it is fair to say that scenarios which I bought twenty years ago can be picked up and played without worrying about a myriad of rule and system changes or with a need to reach for conversion charts or tables.
So it was with great excitement that I read the promotional mailer announcing the (limited) publication of the 30th anniversary printing of the rules (6th Edition). This 320-page book features thick (3 mm) leatherette hard-covers with the front cover and spine stamped with luxurious gold foil. The interior pages are printed in black ink, on 90 gsm matte art paper, and each book is individually numbered on the title page (as illustrated). The binding is thread sewn, square backed. Each book is individually shrink-wrapped, with the barcode stickered onto the wrapping so as to not mar the book cover. Most significantly Chaosium is offering a one-time printing of this Collector’s Edition. It will not be reprinted.
Orders are being taken now (I’ve placed mine) and the books are scheduled for delivery to Chaosium on or around 15 July 2011 (the end of next week). Orders containing this title will ship once the books arrive in the warehouse; after that they will then fill orders on a first come first served basis. As they are sealed upon receipt neither you (nor in fact Chaosium) will know what number edition you will receive until you peel away that shrink wrap…
The book is priced at $64.95 and it will cost you about another $30 to ship it to the UK so its not a small investment, but then I am a sucker for a collectible! I have no doubt that there will be some stocks available through UK games shops, but that might be a bit of a gamble and frankly I feel its probably worth the shipping if you really want a copy.
I’ll post a review proper when it lands gently through my letter-box and let you know just how it compares with my 20th Anniversary Edition (5th Ed. corrected).