Ah, GenCon, one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world. This year I was fortunate enough to go all four days and managed to attend some pretty cool events; one of which was the Future of Chaosium panel. For those who are unaware Chaosium is the company responsible for the d100 system Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG. They are one of my favorite companies, and since Call of Cthulhu is one of my favorite RPGs to play I was pretty excited to go to the panel.
GenCon events are held all over downtown Indianapolis. Some are held at the convention center while others take place at the surrounding hotels. The Chaosium Panel was located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel just a short walk away from the convention center. The room the event was held in was a tad small, but the room was packed, possibly even overflowing with people.
When the event started we were greeted by Greg Stafford, who first created Chaosium in 1975 with Sandy Peterson. He gave us all a brief history of the company. Since their start Chaosium has gone bankrupt twice. This is something of which I was completely unaware. That being said, they’re just now starting to get back on their feet. For me that is a good sign. Once Stafford was finished giving us the history lesson he brought attendees back to present day with his first announcement. Chaosium has some new faces and they are: Rick Meints, President and Secretary, Jeff Richards, Vice President and Creative Director, Michael O’Brien, Vice President Product Development and Community Outreach, and Neil Robinson, Chief Financial Advisor. These wonderful new people brought with them even more good news. Moon Design Publications has merged with Chaosium and brought with them more RPGs such as RuneQuest, HeroQuest, and other products set in the Gloranthan Universe.
This is some huge news for fans of all these games. The heads of Chaosium also shared their goals for the new company while opening it up to questions. First and foremost their biggest goal is to create a better reputation with the general public. These guys were the first to admit that their actions in the past probably weren’t the best and were very thankful for the supporters that had stuck with them through the Kickstarter for Call of Cthulhu’s latest edition. The company hopes to be releasing the 7th edition physical copies of Call of Cthulhu rule-books by Halloween of this year. This is exciting news for players who, like me, have the PDFs of the rules, but would prefer the physical copies. There’s just something about having a book in your hand that makes things feel so much more awesome. They also plan on concentrating on releasing only a few game supplements per year that are amazing rather than releasing a bunch of different things that could be seen as mediocre. They didn’t mention exactly what those supplements were or which might be discontinued but mentioned that it would all depend on the licenses available and the popularity of content.
Something they did promote a bit heavily were their board games. At GenCon they were selling a game called Cthulhu Wars at multiple booths through the exhibit hall. Cthulhu Wars is a strategy board game in which the players take the part of alien races and gods taken from the Cthulhu mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft. This game is huge and includes sixty-four figurines of the cultists, monsters, aliens, and Great Old Ones that range in height from approximately 20 mm to nearly 180 mm. It was pretty impressive and I regret being unable to take a photo of the game when it was being displayed. They also teased a new game called Gods of Glorantha that’s supposed to be released at the earliest 2016.
All in all, with the news of physical books being printed, better quality materials being released, and the new faces at Chaosium, I would say the panel went well and I look forward to the new products that have been teased, announced, or are soon to come out. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out what Chaosium has planned for the future.