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In memory of Tara, my beloved Wolfhound-Deerhound cross. Flew away Feb 2016, still missed.
Another of my favourite games is Race for the Galaxy. On the surface not a very similar game, but I've been thinking about how much the strategies of one have lessons for the other.
Since Race has no direct player interaction (*), there's no possibility of "gang up on the leader". Instead, advice tends to focus on two tips :
(Obviously, I'm over-simplifying enormously...)
1. The game is a Race. Your opponent's consumption engine can't win if you get out your high-scoring developments and end the game first. ("Rush" or "Race".)
2. Figure out what your opponent's strategy is, and how you can benefit from his actions ("Leeching"), and the converse - don't let your opponent benefit too much from your actions.
Now, the first of these is also true of Cthulhu Wars. Sleeper's Gobogeg-Indy-Goo-Ancient-Sorcery Elder Point Machine might win the game at the end of round four, but not if your Opener-Shrivel-Million-Favoured-Ones power engine gets there first. Cthulhu Wars is very much a race, with the added tactic of being able to trip your opponent.
Lots of the advice I've seen for dealing with these (overly-)powerful combos involves denial, stomping them early, and other "trip" tactic. Sometimes, I think tripping just enough to keep them with the field while building your engine will be more effective. (This also feeds into a thought on Indy GOOs which I'll come back to in a moment.)
The second point has less opportunity to apply in Cthulhu Wars. There's a few ways to benefit from an opponent's moves, and spellbooks like Necrophagy and Madness help, but Leeching is generally less available in CW than in Race. The player interaction comes from a different direction.
However, the converse very much applies. Why help your opponents? If you're going to build a gate in the Arctic, make sure you are getting way more benefit from it than WindWalker gets from his spellbook. Or just be mean - if Black Goat is all over Africa, stick a small army in (or around) Australia, ready to dish out pain when the King in Yellow comes visiting.
To go back to Indy GOOs for a moment, there's been a couple of recent PBF games which have ended with very powerful combos by players involving Indy GOOs, neutral spellbooks, etc. Part of the problem I think is that these games have limited the number of GOOs and monsters available. I can't get my factions powerful engine up and running if that GOO isn't in the game. I wonder if having all units of a given class available is more balanced, purely because everyone has access to the over-powered combos for their faction. Now, that requires a level of experience to spot these combos, and I fully intend to leave the neutrals on one side until we've fully explored the factions themselves. But I suspect that "all or nothing" is the way to go here.
(*) - Race's expansions do add a little direct interaction, but the rule is still generally true.