Day Seven – Most Intellectual Game Owned
I’ve been really struggling with this one and done a more thorough search of other people’s responses (this one is my favourite, but I’m really intrigued by the game described here) for inspiration.
As discussed before, I don’t own many games so am again going to cheat and go with a game I’ve played/own by proxy (I figure it’s still in keeping with the ethos of #RPGaDAY to do it this way when my answer-pool is otherwise a bit limited and I’d probably have to go with ShadowRun again – cyberpunk settings are as capable of being about intrigue and subterfuge as strength and cyberwear).
Numenara looks like a clever game but I haven’t played it (yet – very, very much want to!) so can’t include it.
Vampire: The Masquerade is definitely a contender here. I’ve played a few different campaigns and mini-campaigns and there is definitely a lot to this game. Personally, I prefer Werewolf; the Werewolf campaign I was in was more intellectual than I understand Werewolf normally is because Werewolf is about that barely-controlled inner rage, which is not particularly intellectual. So back to Vampire. Because it is (usually) about intrigue and deceit and power struggles, it has the scope to be very intellectual, enough to make my head spin in at least one campaign. But vampires are inherently physically powerful, too, which is why I haven’t gone with it as my final choice.
I’ve chosen Call of Cthulu.
I’ve only played the game once and didn’t enjoy it. I don’t like the mythos on which it is based, either, and think H P Lovecraft is probably the most overrated author I’ve ever had the misfortune to read (most of arguments I’ve been given to this can be quenched by reading M R James, a ghost story writer who slightly pre-dates Lovecraft and whose control of the story is much, much tighter). I do love the Arkham Horror board game, though, and have come to the conclusion that the roleplay game is probably very good; I was just a bit unfortunate with the circumstances of the game I was in (little things, like a character who was an experienced war veteran having to make sanity roles when a gun went off and a failed sanity role on a boat leading to a fear of horses because the GM was running to the letter of the rules).
This game is a game of horror and the best horror is that which plays out primarily in the mind. Ambrose Bierce’s The Man and the Snake is a wonderful example of this. For that reason, Call of Cthulu is probably the most intellectual game I (sort-of) own.