Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is a turn-based strategy game based on the mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft. Inspired by the author's short story, Herbert West-Reanimator, the game puts the player in control of a squad of British soldiers facing unspeakable horrors in the trenches of World War I, following the system of Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu pen-and-paper role-playing game. The game is set in 1915. Professor Brightmeer of the Miskatonic University has been sent to the front lines by British intelligence to counter the actions of the Cult of the Awakened, a German secret society trying to win the war by summoning the creatures of the Cthulhu Mythos. It's up to Brightmeer and the British soldiers to risk their lives and sanity in order to stop the Cult from unleashing these evil forces.
The surviving soldiers gain experience points during missions, that they can use to improve their abilities and skills. Skills are also improved by simply using them: a soldier using a rifle several times will become better with this particular weapon. Between missions, it is also possible to purchase better gear for the soldiers, such as gas masks, armor, weapons, first aid kits and even esoteric spells. Every time the characters interact with a monster (for example attacking it or being damaged by it) they lose a bit of their sanity, and if that gets depleted they enter either in a state of paralysis or mania for one turn. The latter makes the character as if on steroids, able to perform more actions than normally possible before dropping unconscious in the next turn.
A character that is unconscious after losing all health or sanity points will survive a number of turns before dying permanently. In the meantime, another member of the party can heal him or her by using a first aid kit or a healing spell. There are other useful items which the player can buy. For example, the Book of Hysteria, and later the book Interpretation of Dreams can restore a limited number of sanity points. When in open space, the player can call in an artillery strike using a carrier pigeon, as a way to deal damage to multiple targets at the same time.
The Windows version of the game already includes the DLC, Kaul's Diary.