Review: Modiphius Entertainment – Player’s Guide (Achtung! Cthulhu)

Player’s Guide
Player’s Guide is a core rulebook for the historical action horror RPG Achtung! Cthulhu, written by Richard August, Brad Bell, Richard L Gale, Benn Graybeaton, Bill Heron, John Houlihan, Mari Tokuda, and Sam Webb and published by Modiphius Entertainment.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Achtung! Cthulhu: Player’s Guide continues the launch of Achtung! Cthulhu using the 2d20 system. It is the ultimate player’s handbook for creating characters set within the weird World War II presented therein along with the ins and outs of the setting and of course all the mechanics you need to play the game. This iteration of 2d20 is similar to Fallout where there are only Attributes and Skills with focuses, but no skill trees like some of the more complex versions of 2d20. This keeps the action focused on the cinematic-styled action horror placed against the backdrop of World War II. Achtung! Cthulhu is first and foremost a Cthulhu Mythos game and not a World War II game; the characters within cover the gambit of possible backgrounds helpful in an investigation where the stakes are high and the opposition has a lot of resources at hand – grease monkey, infiltrator, occultist, and soldier to name a few.

I like Achtung! Cthulhu, but I never thought it felt right with the design of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The latter is designed for investigative horror where the situations are intense and dangerous, but the opposition is either otherworldly or not-over-the-top and the action level of the game is relatively low. The former is action horror where the action level is more like a pulp game and the opposition could have massive amounts of resources to call upon. Moving the game to 2d20 feels right as the characters seem more cinematic to fit with the setting. With that in mind, I really like the character mechanics in the Player’s Guide and how the characters come together. The archetypes, backgrounds, characteristics, and talents mix and match to create an array of characters that fit perfectly into the setting. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to overcome the antagonists with ease simply because of character design; oh no, you still need to be smart and a frontal assault may not be the best idea.

So what about the World War II aspects of the game? Oh yeah… you get LOTS of era-based weapons and equipment! All fitting to the backdrop of the setting. Oh, I almost forgot… you also get tanks and armed vehicles! Have fun with that one!! Magic is definitely amped up in the 2d20 version versus Call of Cthulhu, but it’s still not up to fantasy levels (rightfully so). It’s still dangerous and you should still think twice about dabbling. After all that great character content you get a historical look at the setting and a host of allies you can call upon!

If you’re a fan of Achtung! Cthulhu, I highly recommend making the switch to the 2d20 version! The game feels more cinematic and the mechanics really match the design of the setting!

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