Fantasy Flight posted a new For the Greater Good preview Monday afternoon for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. In addition to new cards revealed — Overworked Bureaucrat with a Khopesh of the Abyss? Let’s do it! — the preview includes two sample deck lists. One is all Agency, all the time. The other is based on the concept of a hidden cabal within the Agency turning its work toward their own benefit, with the aid of cultists of Shub-Niggurath.
I love when these sets include deck lists. It helps new and inexperienced players, among whom I count myself, get an idea of deckbuilding without having to track down strategy articles and podcasts like Elder Things. I especially like the trend of previous sets’ sample lists drawing on that box and one core set. The Sleeper Below shook that trend in two ways: the sample deck list was online — which is fine, if there had been more communication in the product that people could find information like that on Fantasy Flight’s website — and it called for a non-core, non-Sleeper Below card, the Temple of R’lyeh.
Now, the Temple is an amazingly helpful card for the Cthulhu faction and a new player building this sample deck only needs one additional pack of cards, so that’s not terribly far from the original premise of sample deck lists drawing on the relevant faction box and one copy of the core set. In contrast, the two sample lists for the Agency in this For the Greater Good preview draw on a much wider card pool. Just glancing, I can pick out cards from the core set, Terror in Venice, the Rituals of the Order cycle and Summons of the Deep cycle.
The implication here seems to be that the deck-builders feel they need a wider variety of cards to choose among in order to build useful sample decks. In doing so, however, they lose the selling point to new players that it’s easy to build a fun deck from a core set and a faction expansion. To further complicate matters, some cards, like the Descendent of Eibon and Marshall Greene, come from asylum packs that are hard to find at the moment. Fortunately, they don’t look to be critical to success in those lists, but availability is a consideration for someone trying to figure the game out. Availability is improving already, too, as Fantasy Flight shifts toward offering the older card packs as print-on-demand products, which they began last week with the Dreamlands cycle.
I dig that For the Greater Good‘s previews are coming more frequently, and expanding beyond showing sample cards and already-published cards they have interesting interactions with. Here’s to more deck lists, though preferably with an eye toward keeping the game accessible to new players.