Saturday, 26 April 2014

UK Games Expo Awards Sixth Offering - Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide to the Secret War

Sixth offering, and this time it's the Keepers Guide to the secret war for Achtung Cthulhu. Achtung started life as Three Kings, a scenario pack that introduced the two most dreadful things in the world, the world war and Cthulhu, to each other.  The popularity of this product was such that sequels were inevitable, leading to the production of an entire game to allow people to explore these dark times.  This game approaches the matter in the manner of the war films of the time, such as Where Eagles Dare and Kellys heroes, where the heroes were bold and decisive and courage combined with a stiff upper lip could win the day.  Nazi's are painted blacker than their uniforms and there is no misunderstanding in the manner of which this game is intended to be played.

The book itself is well laid out in a distinctive style, looking very much like briefing documents, complete with the artwork being attached by clips and shown as photos upon the page.  The production values are excellent, the artwork is both abundant and appropriate to the subject matter and the layout is exceptional, making everything feel as if it came from that time.  The book is all meaningful content, from the details of how regiments are made up to the vehicles and weapons that were used in the time, but make no mistake, you cannot play the game with this book alone.  This book would allow you to run a campaign in the era and have the details with which to run it, but it does not encompass the generation of characters and playing within the world listed herein.  That requires the Investigators Guide to the Secret War, a completely separate book that would have been submitted for consideration had Expo rules allowed for two submissions from the same publisher.

That said, on base merits, this book is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to play a game in this time, with or without the Cthulhu element. It has statistics for both Savage Worlds and 6th Edition Call of Cthulhu/BRP within it and there is a new version of the book that has the FATE conversion within its pages as well (Which we haven't seen yet, but we want to know the FATE stats and feats for Cthulhu...).

And that brings us to the Judges comments

It's an engaging product, the strong visual imagery is the sort of thing that you leave out to get peoples attention when you're trying to sort out what to play next.

Given the darkness of the subject matter, there's a light touch to the way its been handled, which puts the players more in the mindset of Indiana Jones than Saving Private Ryan.

An excellent resource for World War 2 in general and a good addition to the Achtung line.

Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide to the Secret War is available from Modiphius

and from RPGnow