Here at Rolling Boxcars, we had the chance to once again, collaborate on a review. This time it’s the new Call of Cthulhu and Mythos infused magazine Bayt Al Azif. We both ordered copies of the magazine with high hopes and probably higher expectations that this would be groundbreaking, even a scene-changing product. We’re suitably impressed with the magazine and hope its future is bright, but it is not without its issues. We’re hopeful that the issues we present below are things that will be addressed in future issues as there is lots of potential here.
Bayt Al Azif is a fan magazine for cosmic horror games that use the Cthulhu Mythos. It’s mostly oriented to Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, but it does provide gaming statistics for Pelgrane Press’s Trail of Cthulhu. Our first impressions of Bayt Al Azif is that it has a great mixture of content. It provides several scenarios encompassing different eras of play, advice columns about improving, modifying or expanding your game, reviews of products in-print and out-of-print, creative illustrations, and engaging interviews.
The magazine has a strong foundation and a sturdy structure to it, though the quality of writing varies from article to article. The four scenarios, though diverse, fall victim to poor organization and writing. The in-print product reviews presented at the beginning of the magazine are fantastic, while the out-of-print reviews found later we thought lacked content. The artwork, starting with the cover, is amazing and continues throughout. The magazine’s layout is simple but its execution is poor and amateurish; we’re confident that the layout issues could be easily addressed in the next issue.
We enjoyed the various elements of Bayt Al Azif. One of them was the solo scenario. Mind you one of us (not saying who) was way too curious as an investigator and got themselves killed in no less than four paragraphs. Others things not yet mentioned which really stood out to us was the interview with Rogue Cthulhu, an organization that has been hosting Call of Cthulhu games at the Origins Games Fair for over 20 years, and optional rules to enhance chase scenes.
Putting together a magazine is no easy feat. We would like to thank the writers, editors, and artists involved with this project. Though we feel there is room for improvement, there is also enough high-quality content to make it worthwhile. For players of Cthulhu Mythos based games, we recommend supporting this magazine and encouraging the staff to get to work on issue #2. The magazine is off to a great start and we look forward to future issues of Mythos goodies.
~ Stephen & Modoc