What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?

By Modiphius Entertainment


Chris Birch, co-founder of Modiphius, creator of Cohors Cthulhu, and designer of the Cohors Cthulhu: Tactics wargame talks about the origins of the universe and just what the Romans have done for… well, him at least!

I first experienced the might of Rome around the age of 6 with a box of Airfix (a UK toy soldiers and model kit-making company) plastic Romans and Britons, fighting over a second-hand Roman fort of the same make. When I then added some Atlantic (Italian version, now long defunct) Romans, Greeks, and Trojans to the mix, I think this made a mental connection with the classic Ray Harryhausen films that saw Greek heroes facing off against all manner of mythical creatures. It wasn’t long before some small plastic monsters were introduced to my games, and my living room floor became the site of epic battles that saw the Romans and Greeks uniting to fight off terrible fantastical foes.

So you can see that while that first, scrappy set of rules that I wrote as a boy might not do the trick today, I began walking this exciting pathway in my imagination many years ago. After the launch of Modiphius and the Achtung! Cthulhu universe, I started getting interested in what other ages the Outer Gods may have corrupted. A lifetime of TV and films like Rome, Centurion, Last Legion, Gladiator and more has done plenty to inspire tales of heroism in a Roman age, and I saw the potential for something amazing!

The great thing that the Romans have done for us (besides the aqueducts, sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine, education, and, yes, the wine…) is to fire our imaginations. In this day and age, it’s so easy to get inspiration for your games from all the blockbuster films out there. There are so many action-adventure book series set in the Roman empire, hack-and-slash video games, and more importantly, an enormous variety of 28mm scale Roman-era miniatures from the likes of Victrix, Warlord, Wargames Foundry, Sally 4th and others. 

With Cohors Cthulhu: Tactics, we’ve specifically kept the scale of our heroes and creatures to the same scale as other historical lines, so that you’ll find it easy to get your hands on a suitable box of Roman soldiers, Germanic tribesfolk, or other useful additions, along with a wealth of immersive scenery. Cohors Cthulhu is set in the 2nd Century CE and the art features Imperial Roman legionaries, but nothing is stopping you from using late Roman figures if that’s what you have or you prefer that look. 

We’ve become well known for supporting the growing solo and co-operative wargames hobby, with a line of what we call Adventure Wargames. These aim to focus on the storytelling elements of the battlefield rather than just the win condition. Games like Rangers of Shadow Deep, Five Leagues From The Borderlands, Five Parsecs From Home, The Elder Scrolls: Call To Arms, Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, Battlespace, Country Road Z and more all fall into this category of narrative-driven miniatures games.

I love being able to play a miniatures game where I’m working together with my friends, so when making Cohors Cthulhu: Tactics I wanted to focus on making this a game you could play easily on your own or allied to your friends. The complexity is found within the depth of storytelling rather than in the turn-by-turn mechanics. We’ll talk more about how those work in some blogs due out soon, and you’ll be able to try the new system with a free quickstart before the Kickstarter launches. 

Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking about the forces, the factions, and the rules themselves. We’ll be showing the actual models being built, discussing the terrain we’ve created, and talking about what will be on offer during the Kickstarter. 

Until then, Ave Victoria!

Cohors cthulhuCohors cthulhu: tactics