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GenCon Report: Petersen Games Summons New Horrors To The Tabletop

Petersen Games, created and run by legendary game designer Sandy Petersen (a designer of the original Call of Cthulhu and more games than I have time to cover), has always made Sandy’s beloved Cthulhu mythos a big part of their creative designs. But after a little while, everyone likes to stretch their legs a bit. This year, Petersen has expanded their scope into new frontiers (including children’s games). You can read a bit about the company and Sandy himself in my coverage from last year.

I got a tour of their booth at GenCon from Sandy’s son Arthur, a designer himself, who gave me the scoop on all their latest games.

Planet Apocalypse

Release: Late 2019/Early 2020

The newest addition to Petersen’s stable of epic strategy games draws clear influence from another big game Sandy helped design: a little known shooter called Doom. This game pits players against hordes of demons in a post-apocalyptic world gone mad. The demons are everywhere, and you’ll have to find your way through the fog of war to find them. Your player advances as the game goes on, getting stronger and learning new abilities as time goes on. The problem is that the demons do this too, and the horde that is attacking can change as you go. If demons find their way out into the world, and as the Demon Lord advances, the despair of the world increases and the field of play shrinks. You have to destroy the demons and thwart the Lord’s plan before the Despair hits 13, or else the world will be permanently lost.

The Demon Lord has his own rules and special fight rules where you enter “Hell Time”

The art and character design of the game is as grotesque, mad, and impressive as you’d expect from a game about demons, all thanks to artist Keith Thompson, who’s done concept work for Skyrim and Borderlands and worked with Guillermo del Toro. It features the extremely cool, high quality miniatures that show up in other games like Cthulhu Wars. The rapidly changing shape of the battlefield, and the huge array of demons featured, means that there is A LOT of replayability to the game. The basic tier on Kickstarter was $99, but the amount of work and production value that went into the game justify that easily.

Of course, you can’t go too far in Petersen Games without running into the Big Green Cheese himself, Cthulhu, and they’ve included his great and terrible visage in Planet Apocalypse as a fearsome enemy to face down alongside the other demons. The figure for him is truly massive, dwarfing even the 104mm figures of the most powerful demons (your heroes only come up to a measley 32 mm). The response to this “mini” was so great that Petersen actually Kickstarted another round of production for it, with new rules included that make it compatible with every single Petersen Game (including Glorantha: The GodsWar). 

The game recently ended its pre-order period, and Petersen appears to be a bout a month out from Kickstarter fulfillment. You can get a sneak peek at the game with the free to download Print and Play. There’s also expansions you can look for like the Dragon and Void Packs as well as the Pack of the Pit. Keep an eye out here for more updates on the game, as well as an in depth look and review in the near future.

Glorantha: Gods War

Retail: $129.99

 

 

If you’re not familiar with the fantasy world of Glorantha, it’s a setting developed by Greg Stafford for a variety of games, most prominently the classic RPG Runequest. It draws heavily on classical mythology and has a very “sword and sorcery” feel that makes it stand out among the European high fantasy worlds of other games. Godswar puts you in control of the powerful elemental forces of the world, each with their own set of powers and goals. You’ll have heroes complete quests, collect runes of power, and construct buildings to help summon your forces.

The different factions all have their own powers, goals, and units that differ wildly from each other but are all tightly balanced so all factions are on a level playing field. It features massive and highly detailed plastic figures (as usual for Petersen) to represent each faction and their temples. New expansions add new factions to the game (The Empires of the Earth, Moon, Sea, and Invisible God), new monsters (dragons, chaos monsters, and cosmic monsters), and a huge array of Elder Races (Dwarves, Elves, etc.) you can add to your faction.

The game and all expansions can be found on the Petersen Games store, but the base game is currently out of stock (though I’m assured that it will be back in stock soon).

 

Startropolis

Release: Late 2019

Startropolis is a brand new IP for Petersen Games that stands in stark contrast to most of their other games in that it’s actually pretty simple to play. Players all are working as contractors helping build a new space station around the Nexus, a massively important hub for interstellar travel. Your goal as an alien CEO is to construct new modules and trying to maximise their revenue. Because everyone is working on the same station, they have to be aware of what they’re building and where lest they unintentionally give their opponents a massive boost. The coolest part is probably the way that the station itself is constructed: it’s a 3D model you build in real time, meaning you get to actually see your work in action as the station grows and changes. There’s multiple paths to victory in the game, and the quick to understand rules belie the amount of depth the game has.

The modules are made of the same chunky, colorful plastic that Petersen uses for their wargame minis

Startroplis will retail for $59.99, with planned expansions adding all sorts of new modules to deepen the game.

Larva Games

This year, Petersen Games is going where they’ve never gone before: the children’s market. Their newest line, Larva Games, aims to take the innovative designs Petersen is known for and aim it at the youths. Their first game in this line (not counting the Rock-A-Bye Cthulhu book of eldritch nursery rhymes and its companion coloring book) is The Tooth Fairy Game.

The game isn’t really one game, it’s FOUR: the “That’s My Tooth!” game for super young kids, “Pulling Teeth” for more experienced “adult teeth” players, the “Lying Through Your Teeth” game for older players, and finally the bidding war of “Treasure Teeth.” Each one has a different mechanic that makes it a bit harder than the last, from the fast paced tooth grabbing of “That’s My Tooth” to the Liar’s Dice-esque bluffing of “Lying Through Your Teeth.” It’s not as outright terrifying as most other Petersen Games (depending on how you view the tooth fairy), but is still a little unsettling thanks to its inclusion of several sets of plastic teeth that are kept in bags. The rattling alone is dangerously close the real thing.

You can pick up The Tooth Fairy Game on the Petersen Games store, where it retails for $39.99.

There’s always something new coming from Petersen Games, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on everything! And keep an eye out for our reviews of many of these games as well as some of the RPG work Petersen Games has released!

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All Images via Petersen Games

 

Dan Arndt
Written By

Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM Currently working towards an MFA. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Wichita and Indianapolis.

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