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Item - Alone Against the Wendigo

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Series: Call of Cthulhu
Translated Into: Allein gegen den Wendigo (German)
Seul face au Wendigo (French)
Solo contra el Wendigo (Spanish)
Adapted Into: Alone Against the Frost (Solitaire Adventure)
Author: Rahman, Glenn (Arthur)
Illustrators: Day, Dan
Day, David
Sullivan, Tom (silhouette on last page)
Date: 1985
ISBN: 0933635257 / 9780933635258
Product Code: 2311
Length: 654 sections
Florik's Thoughts:

In 1986, Glenn Rahman had already published board games like Divine Right (TSR) and Down with the King (Avalon Hill) as well as a solo adventure for Tunnels and Trolls. And perhaps all of this shows in his first (and, I believe, only) work for Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu line.

In Alone Against the Wendigo, you play a university professor, heading into Canada's wilds, accompanied only by three students and a native guide. There is no set ending. Instead, you play for high score - collecting Hanninah Mythos points, named after the river whose course you're following. The more, the better - but only if you survive. If your academic credentials suffer for any reason, you'll have to halve your Hanninah Mythos, and you'll lose 80% in case you go mad.

And that may well happen. At least your university career will probably terminate after your return. Perhaps you bring back wild, irrational theories with little or no proof. It's also very likely that several of your students have gone missing. It's a bleak, play-to-lose scenario, and that's part of the fun. You'll be setting yourself goals like trying to collect proof and hang on to it, just once.

Supporting this kind of sandbox style play is a high degree of randomness. You never decide whether to go right or left. Instead, roll for random encounters. As a next step, you'll often have to make a skill check. Skill points are allocated before play, so you'll be optimising your predefined character between sessions.

In-game decisions are scarce, but important: Will you greet the strangers, hide or fight? The main one, however, is when to give up and try to return to civilization.

I find this solo as compelling nowadays as I did in the Eighties. I've recently logged a dozen plays, and it seems I need at least one more attempt to make the world understand what's really going on.

More reviews by Florik

Errata:Introduction, Section "Indefinite Insanity": "324" > 364.
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