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Cthulhu Britannica: London - Interview with Cubicle 7

For several years, there has been talk and rumour of a new Call of Cthulhu boxed set to be produced by Cubicle 7. This looks to become a reality via the use of crowd funding.

Here YSDC talks to Cubicle 7's Line Developer (Stuart Boon) and owner (Dominic McDowall-Thomas) about Cthulhu Britannica: London.
YSDC: How did the concept for a London boxed set come about?

Dom: It was one of the products on the list from the earliest planning sessions at Cubicle 7. Like many people, I have a huge fondness for boxed sets—it’s nostalgia for some of the best gaming products of my youth combined with the opportunity to make loads of cool bits and pieces. With Cthulhu Britannica as our Call of Cthulhu line, London was the obvious setting to give the boxed set treatment.

Stuart: When I started as line developer, London was the second legacy project we talked about after Folklore and I was incredibly excited about the chance to do a box set. For me, London just begs to be a box set: a big city with loads of history and iconic locations, populated with so many interesting people, offering incredible opportunities for Keepers and players alike. So, yeah, I was and am thrilled to be working on it.

YSDC: The idea of a London set from Cubicle 7 has been mooted for a few years, what has the development process been like?

Dom: We’ve had so much to do since the company properly started in 2009, so it has taken a while to get to the point where we can tackle the project. One of the main barriers was the cost of making a boxed set in small numbers—it just didn’t work economically and we would have been taking a huge risk with little chance of breaking even. So, with Kickstarter coming along it has given us a way to try to make the set without betting the farm.

YSDC: There hasn't been a new English language Call of Cthulhu boxed set since 1991, what is the appeal of the format?

Dom: For me, it’s the ability to provide a load of extra cool content that you just wouldn’t be able to deliver the same way in a book—big maps, handouts, etc.

Stuart: Like Dom, I am drawn to the box set format because it gives us the opportunity to do something special, to go beyond the common sourcebook or campaign format—you can really make something extraordinary with a boxed set. There’s room for books, maps, hand-outs, paraphernalia and ephemera, dice, and… who knows!

The box set was the medium that introduced me to roleplaying, so the nostalgia factor is definitely there, and there’s something special about a box set: for me, it’s like an artefact as opposed to a tome. It’s attractive for its inclusiveness and comprehensiveness.

YSDC: Over the years there have been a number of London-based supplements for Cthulhu games (e.g. Chaosium's London Guidebook, Pelgrane's Bookhounds of London). What does Cubicle 7's offering bring to the table?

Stuart: Cthulhu Britannica: London differs in a number of ways. Probably the most significant is scope. Chaosium’s London Guidebook, for example, did an admirable job of coverage, but it is 80-odd pages of descriptive content and then the Vile Bodies scenario attached at the end. Our London guide is literally double that in size—and that’s just one of the books in the box. Pelgrane’s Bookhounds is also a brilliant sourcebook, but the focus is intentionally narrower and very different from Cthulhu Britannica: London.

The Cubicle 7 boxed set intends to be ultimate London resource, containing a wealth of useful information on London in the 1920s, an in-depth guide to the Mythos and its role in the city, and a collection of spine-chilling scenarios. Another important difference is the level of art and production design going into this boxed set. Cthulhu Britannica: London will be an artefact worth treasuring.