#RPGaDay: Favorite RPG Never Get to Play

6. Favorite RPG Never Get to Play: I’ve been reading this question two ways. In part because of many review copies, and in part because I often buy games just to read them, I have read many RPGs that I’ve never actually played. Instead of one of those, I’m going with the game I have played but would most like to play regularly: Call of Cthulhu. (Check out Chaosium’s much improved website.)

When I was in high school, I walked past some kids playing this game in the community center and overheard them talking about Sanity Points. “Sanity is a stat?” I said. “That’s stupid.”

It took me a few more years to look at the game, and then I came to understand that the SAN mechanic was an elegant way to enforce a feeling of dread.  And the 1920s setting that hadn’t appealed to me before became a huge attraction as I became more interested in history.

I have an overflowing CoC shelf in the library, but I seldom get to dust off a tome and run a session. Every year I make a resolution to change that, and sometimes I manage to run a single game, but the group and the stars are not yet right.

Call of Cthulhu: Things Players Were Not Meant to Know

Along with some version of D&D (lately Pathfinder) and Star Wars (Saga edition), Call of Cthulhu is always one of the top three games I’d like to run, if only I could make the time. Usually my decision depends on available miniatures, the time of year, and whether I’ve seen a terrific fantasy, space opera, or horror film recently. Picking the right game is only half of the battle. You also need to pick the right players.

Is it better for Call of Cthulhu players to be well-versed in the Mythos? Or is it better for them to be ignorant of the familiar tropes? There is of course a middle ground, say those who’ve played the Arkham Horror board game but aren’t otherwise steeped in lore.

Me, I love the idea of players who know a little about the 20s (my preferred CoC era) and are keen on mysteries and the possibility of the supernatural, but who haven’t read much Mythos literature. The idea that they don’t know what to expect appeals to me so much that I’d certainly throw in some non-supernatural mysteries to keep them guessing.

What’s your preference?