Interview with Thomas Eliot of Sixpence Games

Thomas Eliot is CEO of Sixpence Games. Their latest game is Cultists of Cthulhu: Miskatonic University.

To start off, tell us about yourself and your history in gaming.

I’ve been gaming since before I can remember. I started out with only the classic American games like Clue, Scrabble, and Risk, but very early discovered better ones, like Catan, Puerto Rico, D&D, and all of the Cheapass Games. I’ve been gaming non-stop ever since. Strangely enough, I play no videogames.

Describe Cultists of Cthulhu for us in the form of an elevator pitch.

Cultists of Cthulhu is a game of mystery and intrigue, investigation, cooperation, and betrayal. Players are students and professors at Miskatonic University, investigating strange phenomena. It’s cooperative, except that one of the players is secretly a Cultist trying to kill the rest.

Which Cthulhu Mythos stories were a particular influence in creating Cultists of Cthulhu?

At the Mountains of Madness, The Fungi from Yuggoth, Call of Cthulhu (of course), and The King in Yellow and Other Stories, to name just a few. Lesser inspirations came from The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

What aspects of Cultists of Cthulhu do you believe cause it to stand out from other Lovecraft-themed games on the tabletop game market?

A lot of Mythos games go for a comedy angle – that’s not what I’m doing at all. Cultists focuses on secrets and betrayal, creating a genuine feeling of paranoia and distrust. The mechanics are just really good and fun and evocative of the theme. The art and music enhance the mood. Cultists is semi-cooperative, that is, cooperative but with a traitor, and I don’t know of any other Lovecraft themed games that do that.

If Cultists of Cthulhu proves to be successful, are there any expansions you would like to publish?

Yes! In particular I want to do a stand alone game using many of the same rules and set in the same universe, but with a few significant twists, called Cultists of Cthulhu at the Mountains of Madness. It would start with a drafting minigame about the voyage to Antarctica, and then would be about exploring that frozen wasteland and forgotten cities of the Elder Things using mechanics from Miskatonic University. The games would be compatible (you could take a character or item from one and use it in the other) and also standalone, and in addition to the scenarios it would come with, I want to make a mega scenario that starts with a game of Miskatonic University and then afterwards transitions into a game of Mountains of Madness, telling a single, enormous story.