Saturday, March 03, 2007

No Call of Cthulhu at GenCon?

According to a message on, there will be no Call of Cthulhu games —; or any other Chaosium games, for that matter — at this year's GenCon gaming convention, at least not unless some sort of agreement is made between GenCon and Chaosium.

No one is saying why there will be no games. Speculation is rife. The leading contender in the rumour department is that Chaosium owes GenCon money, and will not get to participate unless they pay up. This is only speculation however. No one is saying anything official. It could be that Chaosium was moved to a different area of the dealer's room and has decided to fight that. Or it could be any of a number of reasons.

Here's the announcement:

It sounds suspiciously like GenCon is locking out Chaosium. Not only won't they be in the dealer's room, no one — including fans — will be allowed to run games based on Chaosium's products.

Presumably Delta Green could still be played using Arc Dream's relatively new NEMESIS game system.

If GenCon is doing this, it could only mean that they're trying to force Chaosium into doing something. For a company like Chaosium, GenCon could be the equivalent to the Christmas buying season. This is a big deal...

Chaosium's not the best run business in the gaming world. They've been slow to publish stuff in the last few years. They are notorious for the way they treat their freelance writers. At least one game designer on speculated that it wouldn't be surprising to learn that Chaosium owed GenCon money.

But, again, that's speculation and rumour only.

If, instead, it's Chaosium deciding that they won't be at GenCon unless some sort of concession is made, they do have some bargaining power. Chaosium and Call of Cthulhu in particular are not the huge sellers they used to be. But, as the thread pointed out, they are iconic. The Cthulhu for President rallies have always been at GenCon during presidential election years. The Call of Cthulhu Masters Tournament has always been held at GenCon. Not having them there is a big deal.

Origins (which at least used to be owned by Wizards of the Coast, the same company that owns GenCon and Dungeons and Dragons) is still running Cthulhuthon, a large Call of Cthulhu convention within the Origins convention itself.

It's unlikely that we'll get to Origins or GenCon this year, much as I'd like to go to one of them. If we were leaning toward GenCon, this would cancel it. Without Call of Cthulhu I'd much prefer to go to Origins. Origins is smaller than GenCon, but still pretty big. It's also at a more reasonable time of the year. (GenCon used to be the first week in August. When it moved to Indianapolis it had to move the date to later in August, which now conflicts with Logan going back to school).

It's still possible that things will be sorted out. It needs to be sorted soon, before people start cancelling their plans.

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