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Subject: My Expireances rss

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Peter O'Connor
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So, I've had this game for most of a year by now, and the 2 faction expansions I have (Windwalker and Sleeper) have seen plenty of use. Even with a steady gaming group, I'm winning a large percentage of our games. More often than not, we've been teaching one or two new players, whom tend to come in last. The most recent one that I lost was the first game using Sleeper ever, and we actually all lost the game recently because the person in last became really petty and activated Instant Death when none of us had all 6 spell books. Here's a few things I've been wondering, so I may as well ask/tell of them, as well as a few observations.

Yellow Sign: This was my first faction ever, and I've played it several more times, but we've stopped playing with this faction because none of us can figure out how to stop it. What happens is that the King of Yellow pops up, then Hastur not soon after. The king in Yellow starts a giant conga chain with his undead, going around and around the globe and getting all the Elder Signs, while Hastur sits his bum down with 4 or 5 cultists. And of course, there's the 4 Byakhee flitting about.

The problem here is multi-faceted: No-one can catch the King in Yellow. He runs the moment he can, so you can't fight him using a GOO. That means you have to chew your way through his undead, about 5 of them, with regular units, and then he runs using a pain result. If you try to fight Hastur, you run into a similar problem of having to go through bodies, and you'll get your best stuff killed off. Furthermore, Yellow Sign can always call upon more bodies by using Shriek of the Byakhee. Trying to bring in a GOO against Hastur is tantamount to suicide. Given the faction's movement abilities, you can't pin them down, and fighting them is damned hard. Trying to wear them down is almost impossible as the King in Yellow just desecrates for free units, and waiting for them to run out of steam will let them win the game by an embarrassing margin.

How the heck do you do it? How do you knock the Yellow Sign's block off?

Windwalker: I've played 3 games as them, they've rapidly become my favorite faction. Saying that they're a one-turn wonder is a lie. I've seen Crawling Chaos have a good turn, and we stomped them into the ground after that happened. Same thing with Cthulhu. Moment they got to 20 doom on turn 3, they had plenty of visitors. That's not happened with Windwalker. The first 2 games, I had 2 turns in a row with 6 gates in my grasp. This last game, I had 3 turns with 5 gates each.

Here's what's happened: I've figured out a good opening move for Windwalker, and will get the first spellbook on turn 2, and the others follow quickly. My second turn is Rhan-Tegoth and a Gnoph-Keh. My powerbase is limited to start with, but when I get Ithiqua out and have enough Gnoph-Keh to feel comfortable with my horde, I move out. From there on, I visit spaces free of GOOs and capture any and all cultists there with Ithiqua. I ended one turn with enough cultists captured to start another faction once. I typically replace the nabbed cultist with one of my own, or leave the gate abandoned if it's too dangerous or if I'm out of cultists, and I keep on doing this through the turn, leaving gates abandoned for next turn. I can have turns with, on average, 23 power with this, and everybody else is at a maximum of 16.

Stomping on Windwalker the next turn isn't cutting it. This last game, the other players were doing everything they could think of to try and stomp on me. I lost around 5 cultists over the turn to Groth, and I still finished the turn with 5 gates. I'm even using the errata of Hibernate, and it barely seems to matter!

Like with Yellow Sign above: What Do? How do you stop such an avalanche?

And Finally, an Observation: I understand that uniting to face a common enemy is a good idea. However, that makes so many opportunities, and if you unit with the player(s) who go after you, then you're giving them plenty of opportunities to nab gates you fought hard over. Working Together barely works. Last game, Sleeper fed me, Windwalker, 3 power early in the turn to go and beat up Cthulhu, and I won that game. Crawling Chaos may make it easier to beat up on the guys in the lead, because then they can control the destination of fleeing units, but they're such a giant vulture every combat, no matter the sides, is a victory for them.

So: I deeply love this game, and play it every chance I can, but how do I start losing? Or rather, how do the other players beat me?
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David E
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More than any other faction, Yellow Sign needs to be actively opposed. He wants you to just leave him alone all game to do his thing, and if you do, he will win.

In the early turns, the King in Yellow is weak. He doesn't have his full retinue, and he will likely run out of power as he does Screaming Dead+Desecrations. Someone will have more Power than him, and then you can go after him. It's also likely that someone will get to 6 Spellbooks before Yellow Sign does. That's also when you go after the King.

And sooner or later, the King has to enter enemy territory to get his last Spellbooks. Often he does this early in the game - "Let me Desecrate here, I'm just passing through, I won't mess with you." Don't let him. But especially don't let him do it in the late game.

Once Hastur is out, it's Cthulhu's time to shine. Mass your big army and Submerge. Have Crawling Chaos ready to use Madness and Black Goat ready to use Necrophagy. Jump Hastur and/or the King, depending on who's more vulnerable.


As for Windwalker, he's just plain tough. If the other players have let WW accumulate a huge army and lots of gates without a fight, then they have only themselves to blame for the slaughter that follows. The best way to beat WW is usually not by taking him on head-to-head (though Cthulhu usually won't mind doing that), but outmaneuvering him. Everyone has powers to screw with other factions outside of combat - if WW is becoming overwhelming, you need to start doing that, and it should be a team effort. The Curse of Azathoth, Avatar, Dreams, Zingaya... Windwalker is powerful, but you can take anyone down with tactics and teamwork. But the best strategy is not to let him become that powerful to begin with. I think you really need to emphasize to new players that certain factions - particularly Yellow Sign and Windwalker - become very hard to beat if not opposed early.

This also goes for anyone who's managed to pick up 5 or 6 Gates, or who has a massive lead in Doom Points/Elder Signs - if you are not all conspiring to wreck him, take his Gates away, and assassinate his GOO, why the hell not?
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Dave Dierks
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One of the most important things to do to beat Yellow Sign is delay Hastur's appearance. Don't let Hastur appear in the 2nd round. Remember that every round Hastur is delayed keeps 3-5 Elder Signs away from YS.

A couple of suggestions:

If Sleeper is in the game, in the 1st round go for the everyone loses 1 power spellbook. This will delay Hastur until the 3rd round and really slow the Elder Sign train.

Crawling Chaos is good for going after YS cultists in the 1st round. CC is close, and it gets a spellbook.

Windwalker & Opener can both be close to YS and go after cultists. It all depends on where they put their beginning gates.

Remember that you need to threaten YS's cultists. If YS spends power to defend his cultists, that delays Hastur.
 
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Peter O'Connor
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Well, here's the thing with these suggestions. All of them require taking time out of your set-up to try and delay somebody else, therefore giving the third party a chance to get ahead. I'll try the Sleeper spellbook, but for the large part, I've been playing Sleeper by having the 'Summon Tsathaggua' spellbook be my very first one. Besides, in my gaming group, we've never really done GOO's on Turn 2.
 
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Jeffrey Secrest
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Yellow Sign doesn't get played much anymore because our regular group has learned to collectively put the YS player in check early. Hence we consider our chances to win with the faction minuscule.
 
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Adam Starks
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As others have said, the best way to stop Yellow Sign and Windwalker is before they're a problem: don't let YS get Hastur on turn 2, and start actively picking on WW as soon as you can.

If the Yellow Sign train is already rolling, as others have said, work together. For instance, Crawling Chaos can send in a lone Flying Polyp, then declare combat (either against the King + Undead or Hastur + Entourage), turn itself Invisible, and Black Goat can send in 2 Ghouls with Necrophagy (remember, they can come in from the same area, as long as they aren't actually in the battle), and use Madness to spread out the Yellow forces. That can be done multiple times, and it makes them vulnerable to attack from a 3rd party (either Great Cthulhu, who is MUCH cheaper than Hastur to replace, or Nyarlathotep, who can at least get 5 power back from Killing/Paining Hastur). Remember, if you can kill Hastur, then Yellow Sign has to get the King to a controlled gate and spend 10 power, which can be pretty tough is the King is on the other side of the map.

You can apply the same kinds of tactics above against Windwalker once they get rolling, since if Ithaqua's units get scattered, it's very costly to re-group them.

It sounds like you don't have Opener of the Way, but if you ever pick him up, his Dread Curse of Azathoth lets him roll up to 5 dice against an opponent in any area (doesn't count as a battle), which can be used to scatter forces, or even assassinate an exposed Great Old One (and because it isn't a battle, Rhan-Tegoth's Eternal doesn't apply).

Regardless of all this, if the people you play with aren't good at teaming up, then you're going to have the problem of runaway leaders. Yes, there's an opportunity for backstabbing and/or a third party taking advantage, but it's better to risk that kind of stuff than to just let whoever is in the lead remain in the lead.
 
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Aaron K
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Early game CC capturing a cultist round one from YS, even with passion, prevents Hastur on turn two. Even just that minor thing can make a big change in the long run. It even gives CC a spellbook.
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Jason Farris
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MY experience with Yellow Sign mirrors what others are recommending. It can be a beast if nobody intervenes early. However, it seems to be a very binary faction. If you screw yellow sign early, the game is probably over for it. Once Yellow sign is behind the curve, it stays there. Because of how the Yellow sign faction works and where its power comes from (desecrated ground vs. gates) it is very vulnerable to being messed with.

So I usually see yellow sign get its engine going and powering through to win or flaming out early and spending the rest of the game watching the others play. Because of this, I don't tend to play that faction as much. One could argue that every faction is vulnerable early game, but stymieing the King in Yellow out of the gate really hurts yellow sign over the long term, and it's something you generally need to do and usually will benefit your faction early (e.g. crawling chaos and the capture spellbook).

As for windwalker, my experience is that it is hard to hold as many gates as you report holding. If windwalker is powering around the map, then someone is going to pick off a gate or 2 out of your five unless they are just really passive. That being aid, I don't want to devolve this into a positional argument over exactly how your games play vs. mine. Strangely enough, Hastur and Yellow sign can be real bastards to Ithaqua. Ithaqua is hard to resummon and makes you sack a gate to do it.

I see the real "problem" with windwalker being that it is an intentionally mid-game powerhouse. So other players will not see it as an immediate threat, and they can be lulled into complacency. I always tell people about factions like this before starting the game, however they have to believe me.

The easiest solution to your problem is just to stop playing Windwalker and Yellow Sign. Play the faction you are worst at until you stop winning all the time. If you continue to win all the time, then it may just be you have a mismatch in players.
 
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Blue Prophet
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Unbelievably, I've only gotten to play CW twice with a group of 4 players (the other 3 were new) as opposed to a handful of 2 player games. During those games I played Yellow Sign, since it might be the trickiest to understand immediately. But I handicapped myself by starting with 5 cultists in play, so I had to recruit that last one.

If you are a superior player, that is what some here suggested. Maybe even start with only 4 cultists.

Boy I'm itching to play this game more.
 
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Aaron K
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coolguitar7 wrote:
Unbelievably, I've only gotten to play CW twice with a group of 4 players (the other 3 were new) as opposed to a handful of 2 player games. During those games I played Yellow Sign, since it might be the trickiest to understand immediately. But I handicapped myself by starting with 5 cultists in play, so I had to recruit that last one.

If you are a superior player, that is what some here suggested. Maybe even start with only 4 cultists.

Boy I'm itching to play this game more.
The PBF games are always looking for more. Post your interest in that forum section.

I can definitely sympathize with wanting more games IRL, though. Some people in my group aren't big fans (just not their style of game), but I am fortunate enough to get it to the table occasionally.
 
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I don't have enough experience with Windwalker to comment, so I'll just approach Yellow Sign.

For Yellow Sign to get its spellbooks/elder signs (if Hastur's around), it has to desecrate NEW areas. This gives a relatively easy way to oppose it, imo. Move your bases towards the King. If he is moving into empty spaces and desecrating, you're not opposing him well. If he has to move into spaces with a decent defense, you're doing it right.

Communicate with another player to actively prevent leaving any area with a specific glyph defenseless. If the King does bring his undead into that area, and desecrates, be prepared to make him pay for it (and that new unit he got when he desecrated).

If anyone ever has 2+ gates than the rest of the players and you aren't actively opposing that player, that player is going to win. Thats honestly how I approach every game- not just Cthulhu Wars. Don't stomp on the kid who's in second or third or last place, go after the person who is going to win if you don't. It's something the group needs to buy into.

Oh and on the "person in last became really petty and activated Instant Death"- that is a smart gamer. Why would I knowingly keep the game going if I can end it and prevent the others from winning? I've done that before and was glad to be able to. Games should only go on as long as their fun, and if they were out of the race, at least they did that instead of scooping. I have no interest in a game lasting an extra 20 minutes when I feel I have no investment in it. We've called games early when it was clear what the outcome was. When I am playing games if it takes an unrecoverable turn early for a player, we'll start over just so they aren't doing nothing for the rest of the game.

On a separate note, the fb group recently had a discussion about making CW accessible to kids- so much of that can apply to any new players to the game. I hardly ever win games with new players because when they ask for options and consequences I let them know what I expect I will do. There is a lot to keep track of so if you are letting them make objectively bad moves, try to point out some of those consequences.
 
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Graham Robinson
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One general comment to remind everyone playing - Cthulhu Wars is a race. If you build your perfect army before starting to act, the game will be over before you get to influence it. Instead, it is important to track who is doing well (in board state not purely VP terms) and trip those ahead of you.

Yellow Sign

My rule of thumb is that Hastur in turn 2 means Yellow Sign will win. Delay Hastur till turn three, and you can generally win before he can. Never let Yellow Sign start turn 2 with 10 power.

WindWalker

I've not noticed WindWalker being particularly an issue. He tends to do well, but not actually win more than anyone else. He is a Faction where you don't want to give him an inch, especially for his "gate in second start area" spellbook. Attacking early is helpful if you are scared. Once Iqatha is out, his uber-army is largely unstoppable, but also can only attack one location at a time. Sniping at lighter defended areas can pay dividends. Another spellbook to note is Cannibalism. If the WW player routinely uses this at every chance, use small fights to scatter his forces.

But generally I find WW is only really an issue when one or two other players are close to winning anyway.

Sleeper

Not on your list, but another easy rule of thumb. If Sleeper is using Lethargy and has more than about 4 power, someone should wake him up...

Generic Handicaps

Another thought is to handicap yourself. Two have been suggested - start with one or two cultists (and therefore power) less than the other players, and random spellbooks (but that makes little difference to some factions, and is a huge handicap to others (YS without Screaming Dead...)).

Cheers,
Graham
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Peter O'Connor
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Generally, Sleeper hasn't been an issue yet. We're still learning on how he do. But Lethargy hasn't been an issue for fighting him, as I played Windwalker. I first convinced him to give me the 3 power on that spellbook requirement so I could beat up a thinly-spread Cthulhu, and then when I got Ice Age, I literally put the plastic marker on top of the Tsathoggua Mini's head.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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diversionArchitect wrote:
Oh and on the "person in last became really petty and activated Instant Death"- that is a smart gamer. Why would I knowingly keep the game going if I can end it and prevent the others from winning? I've done that before and was glad to be able to. Games should only go on as long as their fun, and if they were out of the race, at least they did that instead of scooping. I have no interest in a game lasting an extra 20 minutes when I feel I have no investment in it.


I've done that before too, though my rationale was different. I'm fine playing a game out even though I know I'm going to lose. But in a competitive game, if I cannot win, why should I allow anyone else to if that's an option? In a case like this, I count it as a moral victory!
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Erik Lox
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I would say that YS and WW are the factions withthe best chance of winning when people either don't mess with you or take too long to mess with you. You specifically mentioned your group doesn't get GOO's on turn 2 which leads me to believe maybe you are waiting too many turns before aggression starts.

YS: People have already suggested to make sure and keep YS from getting Hastur on turn 2 which is essential to slow them down. You also mentioned you can't catch him, but GC, WW, and even CC should be capable of scattering YS. WW is probably the best since WW usually has the most power with Hibernate and all you need to do is catch The king and his entourage without Hastur which is easiest when YS runs out of power. Also never let YS have more than one gate after turn 1 and clear out straggler units leeching power on desecrated areas so YS has the least amount of power to run around and desecrate. CC can use madness to scatter when the king is caught and also could do it himself and benefit greatly from harbinger.

WW: I feel that WW's greatest weaknesses are the fact that it needs to get two GOO's out and find a way to get a gate on the other side of the map. This is the period of time that WW needs to be stopped. I've seen CC ambush WW in the Atlantic when trying to get across after making his gate and I've seen factions steal WW's gates early on when they are getting out Ithaqua because WW ran out of power before anyone else on that turn. If WW gets 3+ gates after all his GOO's are out then their opponents waited too long and didn't take adantage of the opportunities to slow them down when they could have.
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Adam Starks
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Most factions should be getting their GOOs out on Turn 2, particularly if you're using High Priests, since unless another player is particularly vicious on Turn 1, you can get 11 Power on Turn 2 (with an emergency extra 2). That's enough for Nyarly to pull off 1K Forms, for Cthulhu to Submerge/Emerge/Battle somewhere. Even if you don't do much else on Turn 2, *someone* should be in a position to get all of their requirements out of the way by the end of Turn 3 or beginning of Turn 4, which is just in time to stop Yellow Sign.
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