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Cthulhudude

Atomic Age Cthulhu - Call of Cthulhu in the 1950s - coming soon

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Tigger_MK4

I think i'd echo the "mixed bag" sentiments.

 

Firstly, if you're looking for a sourcebook to run 1950s games , THIS IS NOT IT.

 

The 1950s sourcebook section is small, lightweight, US centric, not particularly well researched, and frankly anyone who knows even a smidgen of history will find it next to useless. If you dont know who Joe MCarthy is, then you'll get some use out of it, but even so, not much.

 

what this IS, is a scenario book.

The scenarios are generally decent to quite good, and many are homages to horror flicks of the 1950s, especially Oscar Rios' previously mentioned scenario.

 

So, if you're looking for a 1950s version of the supplement "blood brothers", this could well ve what you're after...but as a book to help you write your own stories in the 1950s, no, its not that.

 

On top of which , the layout is clean but not very professional. The fonts are clear but some look lvery pixilated - and not in a good "arty" way. In many ways this layout would be passable/acceptable in a monograph, but really not up to scratch in a proper book.

 

Finally, many of the maps and artwork are printed waaay too dark.

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The_Tatterdemalion_King
Firstly, if you're looking for a sourcebook to run 1950s games , THIS IS NOT IT.

 

Well, we already have GURPS Atomic Horror, so it would be kind of redundant.

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Yossarian

Mixed bag here as well.

 

There is no doubt that Adair, Courtemanche et al have done a splendid job with the text. Kudos to you guys! It just makes it all the more frustrating when the rest of this project (barring some of the art) obviously has been treated in such a disrespectful manner. The layout, for instance, can only be described as bad. It was as if no thought at all went into making this book.

 

I received this book together with Tales of the Sleepless City and the first two Achtung! Cthulhu adventures. Opening Atomic-Age Cthulhu after browsing through those books was like jumping thirty years into the past. Such a shame.

 

This does not bode well for Horror on the Orient Express. I will give Chaosium that chance, and only that, to get their act together. There are so many companies out there deserving my money more than Chaosium at the moment. The origin company of this fantastic game has been outperformed by Pagan Publishing, Cubicle 7, Miskatonic River Press, Modiphius, hell all of the licencees.

 

In the respects that Atomic-Age Cthulhu is a good book, don't get me wrong; the text part is really really good, none of that can be attributed to Chaosium, but rather the souls they hired to write the book for them who obviously were passionate about this project.

 

Sorry about the rant, but something finally burst.

 

PS: Why have they hyphened "Atomic-Age"? I'm pretty sure it is incorrect to do so.

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Cthulhudude
PS: Why have they hyphened "Atomic-Age"? I'm pretty sure it is incorrect to do so.

I had the same question when I saw the official title. I never used a hyphen. And I'm happy you like the book, at least what was written. I still have yet to get my copies to see if the layout, art, and such is truly as horrible as everyone says.

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Pookie

Oh dear. The last thing I wanted to do with this book was write another "Curse of Chaosium" review, but the tentacles are pointing in that direction.

 

Not that I want to prejudice myself yet as I have not got the book out of the bag yet to read it and I have another new anthology to read and review beforehand.

 

[i did note that myself and DaveL are both thanked in the front of the book. Not sure what we did to warrant that, but thank you. Very kind.]

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Tigger_MK4
Well, we already have GURPS Atomic Horror, so it would be kind of redundant.

 

Only if you buy gurps

 

Which, as a rule, i dont.

 

Nothing particularly against gurps as a system -just that i dont use it and their supplements contain too much "crunch" for a random purchase.

 

Besides which, each book should stand or fall on its own merits, unless its specifically designed to work with another book, which atomic-age cthulhu is not.

 

Dont get me wrong, the scenarios are decent, but i do feel its a book with several flaws.

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Chad Out of Space

I'm going to put in a vote for: "simmer down, guys. It's not so bad."

 

Yes, there are layout elements that could be better. Not crazy about the fuzzy-edged title font that's used throughout. Graphic elements like underlines and boxes could have drawn on more historical references. The 1950s has a gold mine of design styles to draw from, and there's a missed opportunity here. I like much of the artwork, but agree the contrast in some cases is all a bit murky mid-range grey. I love the old CoC-style penned headshots. There's some really exceptional full-page artwork in there as well. I'd love to see the originals on display (are you listening, NecronimiCon?).

 

However, I find all the design criticisms are taking too much away from what I find to be the overall take-away impression: this is an excellent book of scenarios. I can't give a cover-to-cover review, but I know I really want to test these adventures out as soon as possible. The writing is top-shelf, with fleshy NPCs and unique monstrosities and well-researched background. The sourcebook section is good stuff. Could there have been more? Yes. But that would mean fewer scenarios. I think going light on history background is a good move these days, because such research is so readily available. Better to provide good topics for further searching and drop a few lesser-known seeds than to rewrite the Encyclopedia Galactica known as Wikipedia.

 

There's a lot to be proud of in this book.

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Cthulhudude
[i did note that myself and DaveL are both thanked in the front of the book. Not sure what we did to warrant that, but thank you. Very kind.][/font]

Yeah, Badger asked me the same thing and honestly, I forgot what he or you did to warrant thanks. :) But I took notes to thank people, and I always try to give credit where credit is due. So you must have helped out in some way.

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Shrike

I have to say, I just couldn't bring myself to buy this book on first inspection at my FLGS: I hated the layout that much. Which is a shame, because for all I know I could be missing out on some great scenarios. But it's reached the point for me that (HOTE kickstarter excepted) I'm not going to buy books from Chaosium until they improve on their layout and design. I guess I have to echo Yossarian above in just about every respect.

 

There is a world of difference between this product and what Pagan, Arc Dream, MRP et al put out: these small press publishers have a track record of success putting out great-looking books due to their superior quality control; they don't achieve this by throwing money at the problem with a huge art budget or what-have-you; they do it through smarts and better judgment. I can't wait until my copy of Tales of the Sleepless City arrives, which is supposed to be quite beautiful according to the testimony of many here.

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Tigger_MK4
I: this is an excellent book of scenarios. .

.

 

Thats one of my points. The scenarios are good.

 

But the sourcebook/era essay section isn't. It is, imo, NOT useful ; I dont know whether a longer essay has been edited down to something very superficial, or whether the original work was this way, but its lackluster (and in places lazy : the "English" army ? In the 1950s? Thats NOT good research).

 

That doesnt make it a"bad" book just, as I said, a mixed bag. And a big disappointment for me as I was expecting something better or more useful on the sourcebook front.

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Chad Out of Space
Thats one of my points. The scenarios are good.

 

But the sourcebook/era essay section isn't. It is, imo, NOT useful ; I dont know whether a longer essay has been edited down to something very superficial, or whether the original work was this way, but its lackluster (and in places lazy : the "English" army ? In the 1950s? Thats NOT good research).

 

That doesnt make it a"bad" book just, as I said, a mixed bag. And a big disappointment for me as I was expecting something better or more useful on the sourcebook front.

 

Fair enough. I'm responding to some general disenchantment. I just think the writing speaks for itself beyond the layout, which players shouldn't encounter much (handouts are a notable exception). As far as the sourcebook stuff, I'd personally love to see something that's specific to a setting. Boston in the 50s, for example would make a really great stand-alone book. Or Lovecraft Country, or Goatswood, or Texas in the 50s. Trying to capture a whole decade and its supernatural possibilities in one book is a pretty tall order. In My Humble Opinion. Covering it all in the back 25% of a book was perhaps not the best choice.

 

Me, I can't wait to throw a Cthulhu Tiki party. That will be gnarly.

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Zed Lopez
Well, we already have GURPS Atomic Horror, so it would be kind of redundant.
Only if you buy gurps

 

Which, as a rule, i dont.

 

Nothing particularly against gurps as a system -just that i dont use it and their supplements contain too much "crunch" for a random purchase.

 

Most of GURPS' setting books are low in crunch, some of them very low. The 14-page Characters chapter of GURPS Atomic Horror is high-crunch; everything else is very low. It gives stats for NPCs where they're mentioned, but otherwise it's all setting discussion about '50's U.S. B-movie-inspired stories. I'll definitely be going through it alongside the Atomic Age Cthulhu book at such time as I get around to planning a '50's game.

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Tigger_MK4
Most of GURPS' setting books are low in crunch, some of them very low. .

 

Thats definiyely not been my experience with the gurps books i have (i was gifted quite a few by a friend) but most of them are 3rd or earlier editions of Gurps so its entirely possible the balance has changed...

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Zed Lopez
Thats definiyely not been my experience with the gurps books i have (i was gifted quite a few by a friend) but most of them are 3rd or earlier editions of Gurps so its entirely possible the balance has changed...

 

There aren't that many setting/genre books for 4e -- it's true for the ones there are, like Horror, Mysteries, and Infinite Worlds. But I had been talking about 3e, for which there are lots of setting/genre books, like Atomic Horror.

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Thomas Phinney
I had the same question when I saw the official title. I never used a hyphen. And I'm happy you like the book, at least what was written. I still have yet to get my copies to see if the layout, art, and such is truly as horrible as everyone says.

 

Technically, yes, it should have a hyphen added when stuck in front of “Cthulhu.†Atomic Age becomes essentially a single adjective modifying Crhulhu, and therefore gets hyphenated. Not that I would be much bothered if it weren’t.

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Cthulhudude

First reply that comes to mind: Well there you go. Thanks for the explanation.

 

Second reply that comes to mind: You mean Chaosium got something right? Shhh, careful where you say that around here.

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WinstonP
But the sourcebook/era essay section isn't. It is, imo, NOT useful ; I dont know whether a longer essay has been edited down to something very superficial, or whether the original work was this way, but its lackluster (and in places lazy : the "English" army ? In the 1950s? Thats NOT good research).

 

As I understand it, the author was tasked with covering the whole decade in 10k words, which probably explains the lack of scope and broad-brush coverage and well as the US only focus. Having taught at a university, I fear that more often than not my students would give you a blank stare if you asked who Joseph McCarthy was (unless they guessed he was in the Beatles). Speaking of the Beatles... '

' was certainly good enough for them, no? :)

 

I will agree that the layout isn't the prettiest thing I have ever seen, and the header font does look like a place-holder. I still prefer a readable text to the weirdly popular "this page is covered in post-its and coffee stains" that has been in vogue of late. I'll take boring Chaosium layout over "bugs and burn marks" any day... Still Tales of the Sleepless City is a far prettier book. Hopefully some day I'll have the time to finish reading these two and actually post more in-depth thoughts... and for Folklore... and Unspeakable Oath 22...

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Chad Out of Space
Technically, yes, it should have a hyphen added when stuck in front of “Cthulhu.” Atomic Age becomes essentially a single adjective modifying Crhulhu, and therefore gets hyphenated. Not that I would be much bothered if it weren’t.

 

It depends of your style guide, but in the Chicago Manual of Style, the standard for non-news publishing in the U.S., adjective + noun used as a compound modifier would indeed take the hyphen.

 

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/images/ch07_tab01.pdf

 

In UPI style, the most important test for hyphenating compound adjectives before a noun is whether there is any chance for ambiguity. In this case "Age Cthulhu" doesn't stand very well on its own, so Atomic Age Cthulhu need not take the hyphen. Communist-Leaning Cthulhu would need the hyphen. UPI refers to Webster's New World Dictionary for established adjective pairs that need hyphens before or after a noun.

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Yossarian
...Communist-Leaning Cthulhu...

 

I'd buy that.

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rylehNC
Speaking of the Beatles... '
' was certainly good enough for them, no? :)

 

This came to mind for me as well.

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csmithadair
In this case "Age Cthulhu" doesn't stand very well on its own, so Atomic Age Cthulhu need not take the hyphen.

 

Age, Cthulhu, age!

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christian

Got it from Orcsnest.com in the uk ( very good service). I was quite surprised at how hefty the book is, and I'm very glad it's packed with scenarios. I skimmed through it: the layout is as bad as people have said, and the hodge podge mix of art-styles doesn't work at all, imho. Some excellent art ( Ingersoll, for example) is miexed with..... less excellent art, if you get my meaning. And the layout is really really poor

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JonHook
It depends of your style guide, but in the Chicago Manual of Style, the standard for non-news publishing in the U.S., adjective + noun used as a compound modifier would indeed take the hyphen.

 

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/images/ch07_tab01.pdf

 

In UPI style, the most important test for hyphenating compound adjectives before a noun is whether there is any chance for ambiguity. In this case "Age Cthulhu" doesn't stand very well on its own, so Atomic Age Cthulhu need not take the hyphen. Communist-Leaning Cthulhu would need the hyphen. UPI refers to Webster's New World Dictionary for established adjective pairs that need hyphens before or after a noun.

 

Nerd. :)

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PaulFricker

Were the maps originally drawn in colour then printed in black and white? I just wondered if this might account for the darkness of tone?

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Chad Out of Space

And then the pot says to the kettle:

Nerd. :)

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