Press [Chaosium] The Curse of the Cthulhu Completists... : 'Out of the Suitcase' with Chaosium president Rick Meints

Michael O'Brien


Chaosium President Rick Meints shares stories from a life-time as a collector of all things Chaosium.

As I was preparing for our 40th Anniversary reprinting of the Call of Cthulhu Classic boxed set I started to notice something.

Between 1981 and 1989 Chaosium printed the Call of Cthulhu Core rules as a boxed set. The first and second editions went through seven printings, totalling 24,000 copies. While three boxed editions were published, some of the printings had variations as well. Some you can tell easily from the back of the box.The 1st edition is in a box labelled 2009-X. The second edition is in a thinner box with either the product code 2009-X or 2301-X. The third edition is in the thin box too, with the product code 2301-X - it's very easy to identify on the back box cover.

Boxed versions ended with the 4th edition published in 1989, which came out as softcover book.


Call of Cthulhu first edition had three printings. The first printing had brown text for the rulebook with blank inside covers. The second printing had brown text, HPL's picture on the inside front cover, and errata on the inside back cover. The third printing had black text, HPL's picture on the inside front cover, and errata on the inside back cover. These all had product number 2009-X.

Finally, the Designer's Edition (2009-DX) has the first edition rulebook, but I personally don't know if it has the printed inside covers with HPL's picture and the errata – the reason why I don't? I'm a collector, and my DX copy is still "Mint in the Shrink".

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Available in several editions, this weaves some smattering of eldritch knowledge into an entertaining role-playing game. Usually known as the alternative to the similarly written Dungeons & Dragons (itself implicated in some incursions from other pocket dimensions). Probably more responsible for the ongoing reputation of the Old Gent and some low level of Mythos knowledge in the general public than any other single factor. Some have described nightmares and/or strange visions after reading the book, but this is due more to suggestibility than any actual contact with the unspeakable. Probably.

Sanity loss 1/1D2; Cthulhu Mythos +1 percentile; average 2 weeks to study and comprehend/2 hours to skim. Spells: Play Call of Cthulhu Game (Entertainingly Waste Time), Look Down Nose at D&D Players (Hipster Arrogance), Make Lovecraft References (Speak Language-Geek).

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