John Nephew and I hatched the idea for Cthulhu 500, the card game of Lovecraftian car racing, on a flight back from Gen Con, in one of the early Indianapolis years. That improbable mash-up of Cthulhu, race cars, and car culture went on to win an Origins Award the next year. Years later, when I left Fantasy Flight Games to do freelance design full-time, I approached John and Michelle Nephew with the concept for a sequel to Cthulhu 500 that eventually became Fast & Fhtagn.
The idea was to do a standalone sequel. Not just an expansion, but a game that could be played on its own, with no additional purchases. Not only would a standalone Fast & Fhtagn be accessible to more buyers, since it wouldn't require ownership of Cthulhu 500, it could feature new core gameplay, giving players a chance to try something new. As an added bonus, the cards from each could expand the other. This, it turned out, was an ambitious plan, and was a large part of the reason it took five years and four reboots to come to a design that was workable, marketable, and fun.
Where Cthulhu 500 is about the pack order of a single file of cars, and asks how many you can pass and lap, Fast & Fhtagn is about negotiating both opponents and obstacles, and in addition to being concerned with order from front to back, offers a second dimension of both different lanes — including oncoming lanes, for the bold and foolhardy — and sidewalks to drive on.
Fast & Fhtagn shipped to distributors this week, and will start making its way to retail stores as early as Friday. Just make sure you look both ways before you head inside to pick up your copy!