“I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness.”H.P. Lovecraft
Hotel Lovecraft by Oliver McNeil is an interactive horror storytelling game based on H.P. Lovecraft’s weird and macabre tales. I love horror so I was really looking forward to playing this and the soundscapes sounded interesting. The book contains cards you can cut out and fold to use for the rooms but if you are like me and don’t want to do that you can find a printable file of the cards as well as the story log/character sheet and map on the Storymaster’s Tales website.
The rules, character creation and setup are easy. To play you just need the book, envelopes with the floor numbers written on them, the room cards or small pieces of papers with the room numbers on them, a token to keep track of your location, the map if you’d like to use it, the story log/character sheet, paper to take notes, something to write with, four & six-sided dice or dice app and a phone or computer if you wish to listen to the soundscapes.
You start out the game not knowing who you are, how you got to the hotel or who your host is. All you know is you are on the top floor of a hotel in Massachusetts and if you wish to leave you must play your host’s game. Your host tells you that all you need to do is reach the ground floor and then you could leave but we all know in horror nothing is that easy. He also tells you that he will allow the lift to take you to the next floor but only after you visit at least a certain number of rooms. The number of rooms needed depends on how many players. The hotel is eerie and creepy as the rooms are anything but ordinary since they are based on Lovecraft’s stories. In Act Two you have to roll a six-sided die to determine your objective for leaving. Which adds a challenge to the game. My character’s objective was to find someway to die as the only way for her to leave the hotel was to have zero health. Unfortunately as my character progressed through the hotel she started losing her grip on reality and shortly after reaching the 2nd floor she became insane.
I really enjoyed the game despite failing to leave the hotel. The story and atmosphere kept me engaged. The only thing I had a slight issue with was the soundscapes. Not the soundscapes themselves but how to get them. The qr code in the book sends you to a soundcloud playlist. So when you need a particular soundscape you have to scroll through the list to find it; which can take you out of the game for a few seconds. I think if there was an app where you could just enter the number to get the soundscape you needed it would make it quicker and better or even qr codes on each room page that takes you to the soundscape. But as I said its just a slight issue and won’t stop me from playing the game again.
One thing I noticed when getting the links for this game is that there is now a new version. Both versions are available for purchase and currently the newer version is cheaper. The one I purchased was released in July of last year and can be purchased here. The new version came out in January of this year and can be purchased here. Per the creator, Oliver McNeil, the new version has a new cover, doesn’t have cards only maps and is in black and white.
I definitely plan on playing this game again in the future as well as trying out some of the other games in the Storymaster’s Tales series.
[Updated, 11:46pm, 02/23/2022] – With Information given by the creator on the new version of Hotel Lovecraft.