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C7 dropping Cthulhu licence

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#1 nclarke

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:51 PM

I've just seen an announcement from Cubicle 7 that the are not renewing their licence with Chaosium for their line of game supplements and settings that use the Chaosium D100 system. They are planning a sale on their Cthulhu Britannica, World War Cthulhu and Laundry lines in December.


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#2 PoC

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 02:04 PM

Here’s a link to Cubicle 7’s announcement:

http://cubicle7.co.u...all-of-cthulhu/

#3 ragr

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 02:31 PM

No doubt this is a good business decision for one or both parties. Personally, I'm hugely disappointed; the Cubicle products were uniformly excellent and will no doubt continue to be so. I just cannot stomach another new game system, however, and I think I've reached saturation point. Good luck to them though.



#4 yockenthwaite

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 02:41 PM

I'm really shocked by this. I've made a lot of criticisms of how they've run some of their recent Cthulhu Kickstarters, but that's nothing to do with the product, or the system, but just bad management for me. But the core items are strong, and I would much prefer them to keep with Call of Cthulhu. I too have no wish to learn a new game system, so I'm out too.



#5 willmize

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 03:37 PM

I'm really shocked by this. I've made a lot of criticisms of how they've run some of their recent Cthulhu Kickstarters, but that's nothing to do with the product, or the system, but just bad management for me. But the core items are strong, and I would much prefer them to keep with Call of Cthulhu. I too have no wish to learn a new game system, so I'm out too.


Your last sentence really wraps it up for me as well; I'm perfectly happy with 7th Edition CoC/BRP and will make products that support that system my focal point.

Cubicle 7 really has some outstanding properties; I'll pick them up in hardcover when the fire sale happens.

- Bill

#6 Mograg

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 03:53 PM

Call of Cthulhu 7th presents the first significant modifications to Call of Cthulhu's classic game system.  Just after that, Arc Dream goes its own way with its own vision of d100 gaming with the new Delta Green rpg.  Now Cubicle 7 is cutting ties with Chaosium to develop its own engine for Cthulhu gaming.  In significantly modifying their classic game engine for CoC7th ed. instead of simply reorganizing its existing rules for better presentation and clarity, has Chaosium set off an unintended domino effect?  Or am I seeing the start of a trend that is an illusory correlation?  Maybe it's more of a licensing/money thing instead of a game system thing?  There are a lot of independent Lovecraftian games on  the market now, so maybe I'm seeing a nascent pattern that just isn't there.  Or is it?  


Edited by Mograg, 01 December 2017 - 03:58 PM.


#7 KnygathinZhaum

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:16 PM

Honestly, the only thing that matters to me is that Chaosium is back on its feet and consistently putting quality material out. If it took a company and rules overhaul to do it, all the better. I think 7e is the bees knees anyway.



#8 Mograg

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:49 PM

Agreed, KnygathinZhaum! Chaosium is putting out amazing stuff these days, and it is wonderful to see them so successful (a high tide raises all ships). I'm having fun with CoC7E right now (Horror on the Orient Express). I'm looking at some of these other companies going their own way and wondering about it..is it system, or licensing, or ??? I suppose it does not matter, as it's a big tent and everyone - companies and fans alike - can go their own way with whatever floats their boat. Viva Call of Cthulhu/Chaosium! Viva Delta Green! Viva Cubicle 7! It's interesting to follow these industry developments and chat about them here.

#9 KnygathinZhaum

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 05:02 PM

Licensing would be my first guess. If Chaosium are doing well (which they obviously are right now) I'd imagine they can afford to ask for larger pieces of peoples' pies. I know I'm a cynic at heart...but I'm also a realist.



#10 nclarke

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 05:14 PM

I suspect that as a small company and having both the licence to produce a Tolkien game (which can't be cheap) and the new edition of WHFRP (which isn't going to be cheap either) I suspect that C7 may be finding the new licencing costs from Chaosium too high for the volume of business they do. They must have known that with the Chaosium licence running out at the end of this year they really needed to either put out more Cthulhu based stuff in 2017 to fund the licence fee or drop it and licence something else hence the tie in to GW's IP..

 

My best guess is that the World War Cthulhu lines were not necessarily that successful in the US (their biggest market plus they have been slow getting the last pieces out for their Kickstarters (Cards of the Smoke and the Postcards from Cthulhu London, the last sections of the Cold War kickstarter), Cthulhu Tales took a long time to arrive as well (about 12 months late IIRC) which hasn't left their backers with a great feeling). The Lone Wolf series has been quite slow with releases and took a hit with the loss of Joe Dever this time last year so there may not be a lot of material to come out there either making it important to find another source of revenue.



#11 yockenthwaite

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 05:24 PM

I'm surprised at how sudden it looks as though this decision might have been. Cubicle 7 have been promoting "Our American Cousins" in the World War Cthulhu range in the last couple of days, to go into print in early 2018, with a preorder link promoted on their website. That book is still happening, but it's going to have to be sold in print before end of 2017, and won't be going to retail distribution. It does look like it was a very late decision.

 

I intend to pick up some of the World War Cthulhu range in the fire sale. I'd rather not have had to buy it in this way, and would rather have bought later. But it's going to be now or never for me.


Edited by yockenthwaite, 01 December 2017 - 05:24 PM.


#12 numtini

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 05:42 PM

I'm cynical. Rules can't be copyrighted--anyone can take the basic d100 system and put their own spin on it. Lovecraft's works are out of copyright. So there's no legal reason you need to pay licensing fees to Chaosium to have a Cthulhu RPG. Or go through the hassle of getting your work approved by them, which even with a friendly licensor is still an irritation in the posterior.



#13 nclarke

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 06:37 PM

I don't think the decision has been especially quick. They will have known the licence was up for renewal at the end of 2017 and presumably they had some discussions with Mike Mason and the Chaosium crew about the cost of  a new licence (presumably at Essen in October). Looking at sales numbers and the chance to replace one licence with another might have been the choice. WHFRP is a much loved UK IP and based on the buzz surrounding the announcement of the licence earlier in the year will be a decent seller for them.

 

Also note the possibilities opened up by the change in management of the Tolkien Estate. The current TOR/AiME licence only covers what M-e E had from the Professor now there's the possibility of a direct deal with the Tolkien Estate for work set outside the years between the Hobbit and LotR.

 

Another thing is that D101's Openquest is OGL and although based on MRQ is pretty close to 6e CoC in terms of system. An OGL version of their CoC licenced games that doesn't use any of Chaosium's IP might be Cubicle 7's future route.

 

I suspect that the delays in getting the WWC material published (it was originally due in April 2016) might have been a contributory factor in not having the revenue stream to justify a new Licence

 

Note that a lot of the monsters in CoC are copyright various living authors and/or Chaosium rather than being out of copyright and determining which is copyright and which is not in copyright is the province of people paid to do the work and not someone on an Internet forum  who has an opinion.



#14 Travern

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 08:37 PM

Cubicle 7 really has some outstanding properties; I'll pick them up in hardcover when the fire sale happens.


Meanwhile, they'll be taking orders for Our American Cousins until the end of the year at their online store.  This was recently released in PDF to Kickstarter backers, and it's going to be the last in the World War Cthulhu: Cold War series under the Chaosium license.
 

Another thing is that D101's Openquest is OGL and although based on MRQ is pretty close to 6e CoC in terms of system. An OGL version of their CoC licenced games that doesn't use any of Chaosium's IP might be Cubicle 7's future route.


This seems like the best hope, rules-wise. Unfortunately, it will definitely mean sticking to Lovecraftian monsters that are in the public domain, and I was rather impressed with what they did with Ramsey Campbell's Daoloth in one of their World War Cthulhu: Cold War scenarios.  The campaign in that series, Yesterdays Men, is still in development and will have to be revised with a different rules system and IP.
 

The silver lining to this is that they indicate they'll come up with their own game system for The Laundry.  While I've very much enjoyed their work adapting Stross's novels, the down-to-earth simulationist BRP system has never felt like a good fit for it.  A new one that emphasizes more narrative elements, especially its black humor, might be a better fit.



#15 crazy_cat

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 08:52 PM

The campaign in that series, Yesterdays Men, is still in development and will have to be revised with a different rules system and IP.

 

According to the KS updates they cancelled the campaign as the writers and the next set of writers failed to deliver.

 

 https://www.kickstar.../posts/2047731 


Edited by crazy_cat, 01 December 2017 - 08:52 PM.

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#16 Travern

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 01:14 AM

Thanks, crazy_cat, I overlooked that update from a couple of weeks ago about Yesterday's Men's cancellation, more's the pity. I suppose I'll apply my refund to Cubicle 7 store credit when they have their CoC material on sale.

#17 MOB

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 02:03 AM

As Dom announced, by mutual agreement Cubicle 7's Call of Cthulhu license is winding up at the end of the year. Over the period of the license C7 produced top-notch Call of Cthulhu material, bringing the Mythos to the British Isles and WW2, winning a well-deserved slew of awards and critical acclaim. No doubt C7 will continue to delight fans in the new directions they are taking, and we wish the C7 team well!

 

MOB - Chaosium Inc.



#18 carpocratian

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 02:43 AM

Though I usually go to CoC rulesets when playing Lovecraftian games, I buy Lovecraftian game materials without any regard to the system for which they were designed.  In fact, in the past year or two I have bought many more products designed for Trail of Cthulhu than for Call of Cthulhu.  I just adapt them to the CoC ruleset.  I'm more interested in the general content and presentation than anything else.  If Cubicle 7 continues to put out Lovecraftian game materials, chances are that I'll buy anything that looks interesting, though I will end up using it in a CoC game.



#19 tjgreenway

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 03:06 AM

Real shame that they're pulling the plug, their Cthulhu Britannica line has been fantastic and has provided a backdrop for my first CoC group. I'll continue to purchase anything Lovecraftian from them and adapt, but it's a shame these things tend to happen with so little warning-I'll have to pick up the WWC books on ebay now as I've far exceeded my hobby spends for the year already, if I'd known a month or two ago I could have diverted some money!

Still, Chaosium are putting out amazing product at the moment and CoC seems to be thriving, so long may that continue! I do hope somebody else will pop up at some point to provide British based gaming material that is as well written as C7's!

#20 rsanford

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 03:41 AM

Yeah I picked up all the Cold War books today. I have been admiring them for a while but I finally bit the bullet. These represent my first C7 purchases.





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