Call of Cthulhu (6th Ed) - Board Game Box Shot

Call of Cthulhu (6th Ed)

| Published: 2005
48 10 11

The Great Old Ones ruled the earth aeons before the rise of humankind. Originally they came from the gulfs of space and were cast down by even greater beings. Remains of their cyclopean cities and forbidden knowledge can still be found on remote islands in the Pacific, buried amid the shifting sands of vast deserts, and in the frigid recesses of the polar extremes. Now they sleep -- some deep within the enveloping earth and others beneath the eternal sea, in the drowned city of R'lyeh, preserved in the waters by the spells of mighty Cthulhu. When the stars are right they will rise, and once again walk this Earth.

Call of Cthulhu is Chaosium’s classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. Call of Cthulhu uses Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Design Hall of Fame. In 2011 Call of Cthulhu celebrated its 30th anniversary. In 2003 Call of Cthulhu was voted the #1 Gothic/Horror RPG of all time by the Gaming community. Call of Cthulhu is well-supported by an ever-growing line of high quality game supplements.

This is the softcover 6th edition of this classic horror game, completely compatible with all of previous editions and supplements for Call of Cthulhu. This is a complete roleplaying game in one volume. All you need to play is this book, some dice, imagination, and your friends.

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I'm Completely Obsessed
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95 of 103 gamers found this helpful
“One of the top RPGs available”

I first started playing Call of Cthulhu with the 3rd edition and am now among those awaiting the arrival of the long anticipated 7th edition. That being said, this 6th edition of the game has been gracing my shelves for many a year. It’s without question my favorite RPG, and in my humble opinion one of the best RPGs and *the* best horror RPG out there.


Call of Cthulhu uses a customized version of Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying System. The rules are simple and easy for players to pick up (there’s also usually a free Quick Start available on the Chaosium website for people to try out before they buy the game).

Creating a character (“investigator,” in the terminology of the game) is relatively easy and quick, especially once you’ve done it a few times. Attributes are generated using six-sided dice, so that will be familiar to the majority of players already familiar with systems such as D&D, and skills and attribute-based checks are done using a percentile system. Degrees of success and failure relative to those percentages can result in extremely good or bad results, depending on the roll.

Investigators earn experience “checks” for using their skills, and then between games they get a chance to improve their skills by rolling against the checked skills. Rolling over the current skill value lets the player improve their investigators rating in that skill, so the better an investigator gets at a skill the less likelihood that they will be able to learn from their experiences.

As a horror game, what makes Call of Cthulhu stand out for me is that investigators’ health and sanity are genuinely in jeopardy. These are normal people facing horrors beyond the comprehension of humanity. While some of the lesser horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos can be faced with physical combat, many cannot and all of them threaten the sanity of the investigators. The games includes detailed rules for temporary and permanent madness that results from exposure to the horrors of the Mythos, and combat can be quick and lethal. As one might expect, as investigators the player characters best approach is research and study in order to find a way to foil the dark forces that they are confronting.

Magic exists in Call of Cthulhu, but it is the kind of forbidden occult lore that is described in the stories of H. P. Lovecraft and those who came after him. Dabbling in magic is dangerous and even studying many of the tomes of ancient lore can weaken an investigators sanity, forcing them to walk a fine line between the benefits and perils of mystic knowledge.


Call of Cthulhu is, of course, rooted in the stories of H. P. Lovecraft and others who have added to what has come to be known as the Cthulhu Mythos, or sometimes the Lovecraft Mythos. It has some components for using it to tell “conventional” horror stories, but it’s true strength comes in telling tales of the unspeakable eldritch horrors of the Mythos. The rules even suggest that if you are going to throw in a zombie, mummy, or vampire that the game master (referred to as the Keeper) add a Mythos twist to the monsters. The sheer volume of material (creatures, tomes, arcane mysteries) to be explored gives this RPG massive replay value–players will be able to come back to the table and never know just what it is they are confronting.

The game has a strong horror aspect to it. Many of the horror games out there (Beyond the Supernatural, Chill, etc.) have characters with special abilities such as psychic powers or membership to an organization of paranormal investigators to aid them in their struggles with the supernatural. Not so in Call of Cthulhu–investigators are regular people, and their lives and minds are fragile compared to the horrors they will face. Players will often have to make difficult decisions about whether or not their investigators can bear the strain of continuing to delve into things humanity was not meant to know. In the end, even successful investigators will rarely emerge from their experiences unscathed.


I consider this one of the best RPGs on the market. The system is easy to learn and play, letting the players focus on story and role-playing, and the thematic and atmospheric elements are excellent. It can be used to run ongoing campaigns or shorter stories that can be told in just a session or two.

This is my personal favorite RPG. It was one of the first ones I ever purchased, and it’s been on my shelves ever since in one edition or another. Horror fans, and particularly Lovecraft fans, will enjoy this game. That being said, if you have a play group that likes to have epic battles and face the monsters head on, they probably won’t like this one as much–I had one player who refused to play the game because “you can’t fight the monsters.” But if you’re looking for a great horror game, this is the one for you.

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Gamer - Level 8
Gold Supporter
95 of 104 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Awesome Alternative to 'Maps & Miniatures' RPGs”


I’ve had the core rulebook for Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition by Chaosium for a while now, and due to scheduling conflicts I only recently got to play through a game of it. Most of my roleplaying experience thus far has been with Pathfinder RPG and various versions of Dungeons & Dragons, so it’s refreshing to play something that’s not high fantasy or concentrated almost entirely on moving miniature game pieces around a gridded mat.


There are many different flavors of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, each corresponding to a particular time period. All of them deal with monsters and cultists of the Call of Cthulhu Mythos, originally created by H.P. Lovecraft and then expanded upon by many other authors over the years. Lovecraft actively encouraged this, and the mythos has benefitted from it greatly.

The most popular flavor is set in 1920s America, usually somewhere in or around Arkham, Massachusetts. There are adventures that happen everywhere on the globe, but this time period seems and setting seems to be the one most people like to go to because it’s both familiar enough and exotic enough from our time to be interesting.

There are also flavors of Cthulhu set in the 1990s (Cthulhu Now, Delta Green) and the future (CthulhuTech), but they all use the same basic rule set (Basic Role Play or BRP) you get with the core rulebook from Chaosium. This consists of creating an investigator with a set of stats for particular skills, investigating mysteries presented by the Keeper (GameMaster/DungeonMaster) and rolling primarily 10-sided percentile dice to see what happens.

Unlike Pathfinder RPG or modern versions of D&D – there are no miniatures, and whether you use a physical map to explore a location is entirely up to the person running the game. Sometimes the whole game is done entirely in the players’ minds. This can be great if you’re into “theater of the mind” games, and it allows each player to come up with their own vivid and horrifying interpretation of the scene the Keeper presents.

Also different from PFRPG or D&D – dice rolls aren’t a matter of just “success/fail.” You roll dice against your skill level and try to roll under (1 being an automatic success, 100 being an automatic fail), but these don’t come up nine times out of ten. Usually you’re rolling to see how well you succeed or how badly you fail at doing what you want. Consequences can range from “You discover a vital piece of arcana in the trash that lets you control that Shoggoth down the hall!” to “You broke your leg trying to jump to the next building’s roof. You’re now moving much slower and the Star Vampire looks hungry.”

The main focus of the game is investigation rather than combat. You’re presented with a mystery and given a setting in which you can search for clues. Sometimes it’s an old mansion, sometimes it’s a creepy town, or in my case our entire party woke up with amnesia in a hospital with an eerie feeling that something was off.

The monsters and cultists you run into in Call of Cthulhu are often extremely powerful, much more so than your character, so avoiding combat all together is usually the preferred tactic. Also, even looking at some creatures or horrifying events will reduce your sanity points. Lose too many of those and you start to hallucinate, lose more and you go insane (effectively making your character unplayable for the rest of the scenario). Insane characters can get psychiatric help between games, or you can just roll up a new one.

It’s worth noting that Call of Cthulhu can be played with as few as two people – a Keeper and an Investigator. Some RPGs have minimum player requirements that prevent this, but think about it logically – there are lots of lone-wolf investigators out there in the real world. Why not?

Also, the buy-in for playing Call of Cthulhu is extremely cheap compared to some RPGs. Very little is needed other than paper, pencils/pens and a handful of dice. Only one person in your group really needs the Core Rulebook, and the rules are so simple you could probably just borrow one until you have the rules down. There’s not a lot of “let me look that up” in Call of Cthulhu.


There’s a lot of freedom in this game for a creative Keeper to make very interesting scenarios, and since Call of Cthulhu has been out for over thirty years there’s mountains of pre-written scenarios available for it as well. I loved that it was so much about taking on a persona and thinking and acting in the way they would in the situation.

We had one tense moment in my game where one of our players was holding the elevator door open so the last of our party could get in while a shambling monster closed in on us. The rest of us essentially ganged up on him and let the elevator door close before a tentacle could shoot our way and yank someone else out – leaving one player alone with the creature to die a horrible, screaming death. The Keeper commented that it was the most interesting way he’d seen players handle that situation, and even the guy who died said, “That was pretty cool.”

If you’re a fan of “roleplaying” rather than “roll playing,” or if you’re just looking for a palette cleanser between your favorite D&D game nights, you could do a lot worse than Call of Cthulhu. The gameplay mechanics are quite simple and easy to learn, and the world is so rich with possible encounters that you’ll never run out of mysteries to investigate.

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Gamer - Level 5
81 of 118 gamers found this helpful
“Favorite RPG”

I have to admit – I am a big HP Lovecraft fan. I have read just about everything he has written. I also am a big horror fan – but lean more toward the less graphic styles, so Cthulhu-style horror intrigues me the most. Have been playing this game since it first came out. Love the fact that you can play with a small number (even just a game master and one player). Also, the themes and stories are very engaging. Best thing, though, is that it takes thinking to “win” more than brute strength. Winning of course is all in the perspective of going crazy as you progress. If you love RPGs and horror and thinking games – THIS IS THE BEST! A must for any serious gamer.

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5 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Hang up phone on the Call ”

I am reading about this game from here, the more I do not understand it. You investigate about monsters but without spells, or weapons, or power. You are just people. I do not read books of P.H. Lorecraft but the are about cults and weird gods who destroy everything. You have some guns and money and books that make you go insane if you make spells, how do you defeat a god monster with a machine gun!!! Even Drizzt would not do that! Haha!

This seems like a game no obe can win so why do you play?


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