Cthulhu Edition Wars

I don’t think it’s particularly a radical statement to say that among some people, 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu is controversial. I don’t quite get it myself because I love 7th and think it’s the best edition ever, but the vicious anger that some people have towards “crap-thulhu” seems to be as sincere as it is forceful.

This weekend, I developed a theory. I’m playing in a Call game and we had a rules dispute with the GM and he wrote off something as “7th edition crap” and overruled something that would have given a couple of us an escape from insanity.

Here’s the thing. I wondered how it played out in 6th so I pulled it out and read the rule. It was the same! I have 1st, 5th, and 5.61 and I poked at them as well. I found that the “new 7th edition rule” actually goes back to first edition. I’ve played from first edition. I didn’t remember it. In fact, I remember reading it in the 7th edition rulebook and thinking “oh that’s clever.” I started to look at some of the other rules that I had been surprised by in 7th, even some I’ve had online discussions about, and discovered that they too had been part of the game for several editions.


I did notice that some of these weren’t really highlighted in earlier editions. They were in text boxes or things like that. Easy to overlook and far better integrated in the new edition–even though in my opinion there are plenty of issues with the new edition. And most everyone selectively reads when they first pick up a new set of rules and often there’s a sort of free floating general consensus about what rules everyone was going to ignore.

So after all this, what I wonder is how much of the animosity towards 7th edition comes from the actual differences and how much comes from people actually reading the rules (because they know it’s not just a new layout) and the book being organized well enough to actually notice the rules they never knew were there?