Necronomicon: Book of Dead Names
If there's one thing I've learned through the years it's that one shouldn't mess with dark forces that they don't understand. One example of this is when I sneaked onto Jay's editing console here at JayIsGames. Suffice to say we're still getting emails from people who had seizures from my horrific site redesigns that included fluffy pink ponies and cherubs. Another example is when I played Necronomicon: Book of Dead Names, the card strategy sequel to the original Necronomicon by Games of Cthulhu.
Much like the original, your goal in Book of Dead Names is to deplete your opponent's Life points while preventing them from doing the same to you. You'll accomplish this by unleashing the power of the Cthulhu Mythos in the form of creatures, spells and mystical artifacts. You need to beware, though; more powerful abilities and items come at a cost of your Sanity! If your Sanity runs too low, you run the risk of losing the game instantly. You'll need to keep track of several other stats as well. Your Taint level acts as a sort of poison; you'll take damage equal to your Taint every turn. You can defend against your foe's attacks by boosting your Elder Sign level and you can power up your own attacks by boosting your Arcane level. There are a number of roads to victory; I found that I did best when I focused on boosting my Arcane and using attack spells to deal damage.
Creatures are the primary way that you'll deal damage to your opponent, and one of the main changes from the original game is the ability to have more than one creature summoned at a time. Instead, you can have two creatures on offense and two on defense. This goes a long way toward adding more strategy to the game and helps add variety to creatures by making some better at attack and some at defense. Another change deals with the game's upgrade system. You'll grow more powerful between duels depending on the rankings you earn. Each time you achieve an S rank in a duel, you'll gain two points of Life and one point of Sanity; later you also gain one point of Arcane. Your foes will also grow more powerful as you play so it becomes necessary to get S ranks to keep up - this also means that the game in general is much more difficult than the original since you can become more powerful with practice.
While it's fairly similar to the original, particularly because a lot of the art assets are recycled, Book of Dead Names helps update the Necronomicon formula and add a lot of much-needed depth. The difficulty might turn some players off, especially since as a card game it's possible to lose matches by simply not getting the cards you need, but it's still worth a look for card game and Lovecraft fans alike. Just try not to unleash any dark powers. It's a pain to clean up after that kind of thing.
Thanks to Jeremy for sending this one in!