Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: The Opener of the Way (Cthulhu Wars)



Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, LAVINIA AND YOG-SOTHOTH.  Okay, so maybe that’s kinda horrible.  The Dunwich Horror has always been one of my favorite H. P. Lovecraft stories even though S. T. Joshi dislikes its “basic” good-vs-evil style.  It’s one of the best sources on the Necronomicon and Yog-Sothoth, and provides a few fantastic setpieces as well as touches of genuine humor in the horror.  The titular Horror, one of the two spawns of Yog-Sothoth and a human, also gained a surprisingly detailed description, one that would influence Lovecraftian art for decades.

So of course, Cthulhu Wars has a Yog-Sothoth expansion – The Opener of the Way.  Now that the sets are readily available at Petersen Games, you can pick up this expansion for $50 – welcome to board game prices!  Ahahaha!  As a faction, the Opener of the Way is very strange, but really effective with the right strategy – you can mutate or “promote” monsters up through the ranks, ultimately resulting in Yog-Sothoth himself, and you can spawn in any gate, so with the right tactics, you can overwhelm your opponents without giving them a chance to defend.  But considering the nature of this site… well, what are the figures like?

Yog-Sothoth is a very surreal being, often described as orbs of light, or ropy tentacles, or a combination of the above.  In Cthulhu Wars, he looks like cancer – notably with “orbs” visible, but Yog-Sothoth is not remotely anthropomorphic in the least.  Parts of him resemble things – like an almost-face – but this design is utterly alien in every way.  I love the surrealistic work on the sculpt, and its minor asymmetry even adds to that factor.  I won’t spoil it, but you need to read the two pieces of short fiction that came with the expansion.  Imagine seeing this thing over the horizon from anywhere on earth, at all times.  Yog-Sothoth is the Gate.  Yog-Sothoth is the Key.  The Way Has Been Opened.

The Spawn of Yog-Sothoth is obviously the Dunwich Horror, and is the second figural representation of such. As the creature was described in a surreal manner, this design fits quite well. It’s in a surprisingly action-oriented pose, and I’d love to see one painted.

The Abomination seems to be Wilbur Whateley at the moment of reveal – or perhaps something between Wilbur and the Horror. It has a few human pieces, but its humanity ends below the head. The hooves, tendrils (intestines?) and other appendages certainly match the description Lovecraft gave – and the agonized expression and pose just sell it more.

The Mutant is similar to Wilbur, though lacking the horrific details of the Abomination – Petersen Games managed to split one character into two figures, andeven though the Mutant is easily forgotten next to the larger, more detailed monsters, it’s quite well-made.

And the Cultists are the same as always. Anyway, this set really is fantastic – and although I would love the figures painted, it scratches my Yog-SOthoth itch, and is useful in the game, as well! Iplan on accumulating all of Cthulhu Wars… as budget and time allows, so keep your eye open for more!

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