Spectrum Games?

Hi Guys!

I need some advice… Does anyone of you know, or have any experience, with the RPGs from spectrum games?
I stumbled across “Macabre Tales” a few months back, and finally decided to order it.

Judging by their website, they seem to have a few other RPGs that sound interesting as well:

Cartoon Action Hour – The 1980s Action Cartoon RPG (doesn’t that sound awesome?)
Slasher Flick
Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul


never heard of them myself, but…

…they do sound awesome!

Did you notice that Macabre Tales is one-on-one only? (1 GM, 1 Player!)
How unusual :slight_smile:

Slasher Flick also sounds very intriguing, I think…

here are a few reviews I’ve looked at:

Macabre Tales

Slasher Flick

If you get any of them and are looking for people to try them out with, let me know :smiley: I’d be up for it for sure!

Thank you so much for your reply! I was afraid nobody reads/ cares for this thread…

Yeah, I saw that Macabre Tales is intended for 1vs1 games.
If a 1on1 can work, Cthulhu is the way to go! CoC really suffer from D&D sized groups imo.
Another interesting aspect is, that the timeframe is the 1930s (not the 20s as usual) and it is only based on Lovecrafts own works (so no influences by Chambers, Derleth, etc.), which is exactly my cup of tea! ^^ I’m not sure how I will like the use of dominoes, but we will see.

And ofc… if I decide to give it a try (or to order another game from spectrum), I will post it in this forum. My regular group isn’t fond of experiments and it is always great to meet new gamers… :wink:

i love the “genre emulation” approach they are propagating, let’s see how well it works in practice!

And I think you’re right, CoC groups by their very existence somehow deter from the indended experience, I’ve felt that way myself… and 1on1 does work, I’ve even played D&D in 1on1 mode for a couple of months (man, was it hard to find players in the early 90ies! :wink: )

To be honest, I’ve never read Chambers, Derleth and the like… so I kinda don’t know what the big divide is all about, here. Apparently CoC does incorporate these “apocrypha”, while newer games like not to include them? (Tremulus, an ApocWorld hack that is being kickstarted right now, for example, also stated that they would restrict themselves to “Lovecraft only” iirc)
Care to enlighten me about the key points of difference between the original HPL universe, and the additions made later on by others?

oh, I know that song all too well ^^

[quote=“Auburney”]Care to enlighten me about the key points of difference between the original HPL universe, and the additions made later on by others?

Wow, I never tried to talk about this in english, so please excuse that i borrowed some quotes from the Lovecraft and Derleth wikipedia articles.

First of all, Lovecraft never meant to create a canonical Mythos. This goes all back to Derleth.
The principal difference between Lovecraft and Derleth (and most of the contributors for that matter) being the latter’s use of hope and that the Cthulhu mythos essentially represented a struggle between good and evil (which contrasts with Lovecraft’s depiction of an amoral universe).

Derleth was more optimistic than Lovecraft in his conception of the Mythos. An ongoing theme in Lovecraft’s work is the complete irrelevance of mankind in the face of the cosmic horrors that apparently exist in the universe, contrary to most of Derleths work.
Derleth also attempted to connect the deities of the Mythos to the four elements (air, earth, fire, and water), which (I’m pretty sure) would make Lovecraft turn in his grave.
So basically, Lovecraft had a way more pessimistic and nihilistic point of view than most of the writers that followed him.

I think the best summary I’ve read is that whereas Lovecraft world was gray, Derleth’s was black and white.

I’m sure that’s oversimplifying things a bit (and I don’t claim to be an expert), but it’s probably not a bad place to start.

As to Spectrum games, I can really only speak about Macabre Tales, but it seems like a fine, solidly produced game to me. You’re right, the whole business with the dominoes is probably a matter of taste that everybody has to try for themselves, but it seems like it actually has a meaningful purpose rather than just being a gimmick.

That said, if you’re looking for possible points of criticism, I’m a bit less enthusiastic about the decision to make this a Lovecraft game. There are already plenty of Cthulhu-themed games out there, and releasing a Lovecraftian resource management game set in the '30s just a couple years after trail, a Lovecraftian resource management game set in the '30s, probably isn’t the best way to shine a spotlight on your game. I wish they had gone the extra mile and created an interesting new setting for this one.

But that’s just my feelings, and I’m probably in the minority there. Do let us know what you think of it when it arrives. I’d love to get in a session with you sometime!

(And just saw your PM, Nutz. Thanks - I’ll get back to you shortly…)

Thanks for clyrifying the HPL vs. Chambers, Derleth etc. thing for me!

In the light of this, I’m falling frimly on the HPL side of things, myself. That was always one of the major drawing points of the Cthulhu mythos for me - an uncaring, morally blank universe full of nameless horrors surrounding a puny, meaningless and inevitably soon to be wiped out humanity! :slight_smile:

Making a battle between good and evil out of it sounds like a real perversion of the original spirit, there!

As for the domino pieces, I think it’s probably an ingenious mechanic that has a lot of promise for the intended playstayle. It’s like using cards instead of dice (so you know the result before you play your move, and choosing from the results available in your hand is much more tactical than the randomness of a dice), only they behave like cards with variable results on them (depending on whether you are using them for a weak, average or strong skill)…

Just imagine having drawn a 5/1 piece and a 6/3 one… now, you’ll want to reserve the 6/3 for a “strong” move, where it counts for 9. Of course. But what if a situation comes along where you are “forced” to use a weak skill? Are going with the 3 from the 6/3 piece, thereby sacrificing the valuable high result… or are you going to use the 1 from the 5/1?
And what if the next situation instead demands use of an “average” skill (counting only the higher number on a piece) - will you use the 5, because losing the 1 does not hurt as much? Or will you use the 6 to improve your chances for success by a tiny little bit… but sacrificing the 3 in the process?

Tactics! Terror! Nervewracking Tension!!!

I believe this might work very well, indeed, even if just going from what’s in the review…

As for setting it in a Cthulhu mythos world, I’m not sure… but perhaps the game works equally as well for other settings with a similar genre/flavor/premise, but they stuck with Cthulhu because that potentially lets it sell better?
Also, of course, it has to be less work for the author(s), who just have to come up with the rules, instead of also having to write an entire setting background to go with them. And Lovecraft being immensely popular and well-known as he is, whoop, insta setting, atmosphere and all right there! :slight_smile:

(“genre emulation” is their main shtick after all, it would seem. Just look at their other games, they appear to excel at doing just that :smiley: )

Sadly, Harry can’t order the book… It’s only available at rpgdrivethru (print on demand), so I settled for a pdf Version for the moment. Looks promising, but I had no time to read it yet.
If anyone is interested, I can hook you up with the pdf, and/or write some kind of review as soon as i had the chance to test it.

I’d love to read it, and wold even more love to try it out by actually playing it!

Let me know if you need another player, I’ll be up for it :slight_smile:

Also, I’m looking to get Slasher Flick from that same company. Dosn’t sound too rosy though from what you’re saying about Harry… :frowning: Perhaps sometime in the future we could pool resources to make a bigger order together? (If it works that way on rpgdrivethru, no idea?)
Ah heck, if Macabre Tales is even half as good as it sounds to be, I’d add CCVF to the list as well, why not? :smiley:

Just give me your mail, and I can send you the pdf.
I also would love to try it out, so maybe we can make an arrangement. :wink:

As far as I remember, -H- and Siobhan also showed some interest in a game or two (at least in “regular” Cthulhu, dunno about Macabre Tales). Maybe we all can have some quality game time together.

Well, Harry told me he asked all his European and American connections, but no one seems to distribute Macabre Tales (maybe other games from spectrum, but I doubt it).
I never ordered at rpgdrivethru, so I don’t know how it works in detail, but I would take part if some of you guys decide to order! The print on demand is cheap (26 $ for the hardcover in full color), but the shipping costs are a bit too much for my taste (for just one book).

got pm! :wink:

and yeah, we’d have to look at the shipping costs, and whether they go down for larger orders (or, if they’re by weight of package, if they go up!) - and then determine whether it’s worth it to order the books materially…

but either way, I really need to play this game! We are currently looking for dates to get together in that other thread (the one about the indie gamers), and I’m not sure yet what my November timetable will look like exactly (new job potentially coming up soon!)… but for a 1:1 it should be relatively easy to find a date^^

I think we’ve been too busy actually playing to show interest… :wink:

Seems like I misinterpreted one of your earlier posts then (or I didn’t get the irony). Either way, sorry 'bout that.