Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu announced
February 04, 2016
I'm very excited to announce a project I have been working on for many years, in conjunction with designer Matt Leacock and publisher Z-Man Games, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. It’s a cooperative game for up to 4 players and is patterned loosely around the award winning game Pandemic released in 2007.
When I started out designing this game, it was not intended to be part of the Pandemic family. In fact, it was just code named Reign of Cthulhu while I was working on it back in 2010. I had just finished designing my first card game, Zombies vs Werewolves, and I decided I wanted to try something very different – a cooperative board game.
I love co-op games: the concept of working with others against the challenges of the game has always appealed to me. I spent a little over a year working on the design until I got a rough prototype I was happy with. And then I playtested it again and again for another 6 months. I made sure things that were important to me (like lots of replayability, shorter game lengths and tactical decision making) were all present.
Shortly after, I pitched Zev at Z-man Games the product, then called Reign of Cthulhu. It took a few tries of connecting, but after he checked out the game he liked what he saw and wanted to pursue picking up the rights. It was a very happy time for me. Here was my first experience of working with an established publisher in the board gaming world.
Box Comp for Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
The game then went into a bit of stagnation as contracts were drawn and signed and Z-Man games changed hands a little bit later to F2Z Entertainment. However, I kept some light focus testing going to further strengthen the mechanics.
Then in 2014 things really picked up again as Z-Man decided what they really wanted was to put Reign of Cthulhu under the Pandemic brand, as the game design was evocative of that style of play and utilized some of the same types of mechanics (hand management, a set of limited player actions on the board, trying to close gates was similar to getting cures, etc).
Of course I was THRILLED by the announcement. I was (and still am) a HUGE Pandemic fan. And as if that was not enough, I would also get the privilege of working with designer Matt Leacock (Pandemic’s creator) to review and refine the final game’s polish. It was a dream come true moment for me.
As we worked in 2015 on the final touches, I was a little nervous about how much might be open to changing, but I was also pleased by having other sets of design eyes on the title. In the end, I am proud to say that only about 20% of the game really shifted from the original pitch, and all the changes were for the better in my opinion.
And now, it’s 2016, the game is complete, the art is done, the announcement has been made, and the manufacturing has begun. Pre-orders launched and within a few weeks topped out at 85,000 units! And that’s just pre-orders! For an independent like myself, such things are the holy grail you dream about at night. I can’t express how thrilled and excited I am to have this game coming out and get it into all of your hands.
It’s been a long time in the making, but it’s finally here. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu will launch at GenCon on August 4, 2016 and will be in your local gaming store shortly after that. So if you love Cthulhu inspired games, cooperative games, Pandemic, or all of the above, check it out. It’s bound to be an experience like no other…that is if it doesn’t drive you insane first!