Thursday, July 3, 2014
The latest creation from game connoisseur and inventor Kris Wheaton, J.D., - Cthulhu vs. The Vikings (CVTV), a locally produced game and comic series – has been chosen as a semi-finalist in the InnovationErie: Design Competition.
Wheaton, associate professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurst University, submitted the game through his business, Sources & Methods Games. The tabletop game and comic series, which depicts an epic struggle between H.P. Lovecraft’s modern monsters and Viking raiders, will be featured in the InnovationErie exhibit at the Erie Art Museum July 11-Aug. 31.
InnovationErie: Design Competition allows people to show off their product ideas, with the possibility of taking them to the next level—the marketplace. The competition seeks ideas for products that can be manufactured in the Erie region.
In his Mercyhurst classroom, Wheaton has successfully used games to teach intelligence concepts. He also hosts Game Night on Thursday evenings during the academic year, engaging his students in a variety of thought-provoking games, including several of his own design, among them Widget, a card game that asks players to make unusual or outlandish widgets out of the words they have in their hands; and a tabletop game, The Mind’s Lie, that helps students identify cognitive biases and ways to mitigate them.
Cthulhu vs. The Vikings conveys lessons for the intelligence professional, among them insights into asymmetric warfare, strategy and cultural intelligence, but it is intended for many different audiences.
Each edition of CVTV begins with a comic book that tells part of a continuing tale and presents the reader with a crisis that he has to resolve as a player of the game. While the game and comic are designed to work together, each can be enjoyed separately.
The original game was financed through a successful Facebook/Kickstarter campaign, which raised $13,000 toward local production. Chris Adelhardt, a local sculptor, created the original sculptures of the playing pieces, which were then digitized and printed on Sources and Methods Games’ 3D printers. Melissa Tackett, a local artist specializing in chainmail jewelry, created the pouch clasps while Wheaton created the game board, which was printed in Erie at Silkscreen Unlimited.
Meanwhile, the first issue of the comic was written by Erie resident Sean McGrath and printed locally at Printing Concepts. It is currently being shipped to the backers of the CVTV Kickstarter campaign.
By winning the InnovationErie: Design Competition, Wheaton would also net more funds for CVTV. He called the product a winner because “it combines fun games with great stories to create an immersive experience that has already proved its marketability and is already in production in northwest Pennsylvania. It combines the best of the region – its artists and its small businesses – with entrepreneurial innovation into a single already successful project that is ready to scale.”