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Subject: Ancients + Azathoth Shenanigans rss

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Ryan Schroeder
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Okay, so here's a fun concept for an Ancients opening (assuming the information for their requirements on the Compendium is accurate) when the Azathoth expansion is in play.

Setup somewhere adjacent to as few enemy players as possible, preferring adjacency to Goat or Cthulhu for reasons that should become fairly obvious.
Action Phase 1: 8 Power
Action 1: Place Cathedral, take Recriminations [7 Power remains]
Action 2: Take one of your two "other players summon their stuff" spellbooks. For argument's sake, let's say it's least-expensive for now. Take Extinction. [7 Power remains]
Action 3: Summon Yothan [4 Power remains]
Action 4: Summon Yothan [1 Power remains]
Action 5: Recriminations. Exchange Extinction for Unholy Ground.

Gather Power: 8 Power
Doom Phase 1: 1 Doom
And this is where it gets fun. Use Dematerialization to drop on top of someone else's starting Gate, leaving behind a lone Cultist on your starting Gate. This is especially fun to do to Chaos, Sleeper, Windwalker, and the Tcho-Tchos.
Action Phase 2: 8 Power
Action 1: Place Cathedral in new area, taking any spellbook of your choice. I quite like Shriveling here, but other fun options include Worship Services (if you're using this primarily to browbeat/extort your enemies), Festival or Mindless (for cheaper protection for that lonely Cultist back in your starting area, can be Recriminated later) [7 Power remains]
Action 2: Battle with 14 Dice. If you took Shriveling, kill either the free monster they got from your spellbook or a defender they summoned up in response. Consecrated Ground should be a sufficient deterrent for them trying to Awaken in response to this.

And of course, since the Azathoth Expansion is in play, let's not forget that Azathoth is gonna be hard pressed to get Nuclear Chaos when the Ancients don't have a GOO in the first place.

What do you guys think? Cool? Busted? Evil? Downright silly?

EDIT: Previously said "Consecrated Ground," which is actually two spellbook names mashed together. I meant "Unholy Ground," which allows you to destroy one of your Cathedrals to eliminate a GOO.
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Niko
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Not sure about the details as I haven't been following the Ancient rule reveals all that closely, but Recriminations seemed like a really great book for Ancients as soon as I heard that the spellbound will have drawbacks.
 
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Graham Robinson
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The downside to this strategy is that future Yothians are very expensive to summon. The difference between a unit you can't resummon and one you need to find 7 power to resummon may not be that large in practice...

This does raise the question of what happens to the spellbook that gets swapped out by Recriminations. Can I have two spellbooks that I just keep swapping back and forth depending on which one I want to be active at that point? Or when I remove a spellbook from the card is out of the game?

Cheers,
Graham
 
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Adam Starks
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A spellbook removed by Recriminations returns to the appropriate pool (The Ancients' in the case of Extinction, Azathoth's in the case of Recriminations).

I've also wondered if it's worth swapping Mindless or Extinction in/out, but you have to pay 1 Power each time, and are basically wasting a slot that might be used for another Spellbook.
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Adam Starks
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As for whether this specific strategy is effective or not, I'm not sure it is. You're not actually gaining a bunch of gates of Doom or Power or anything from this, just kicking another faction in the teeth in the 2nd turn (when there's no leader) and changing it from a 5 player game to a 4 player game with a fifth faction that hates your guts.

My experience is that devastating another faction like that inevitably backfires, since you've expended enough effort on someone that wasn't in the lead that a third party can rocket ahead. In that case, the faction you stomped has neither the position nor the desire to team up with you to stop the third party, who ends up winning.

More broadly, that's the mistake I've seen a lot of new players make: committing themselves wholly to destroying another faction, rather than using smaller, more strategic and efficient strikes.
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Graham Robinson
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I can see the more general strategy of grab Recriminations, use it to turn your spellbooks on and off being about worth it. The cost for a Yothian becomes 5 not 7, but with a two action window for other players to try and hit them while they're "Extinctable". Seems useful, but not notably over-powered.

Cheers,
Graham
 
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Ryan Schroeder
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(Power's out, so formatting will be weird due to using mobile).

Adam, I absolutely agree that kicking a player in the teeth turn 2 is... let's call it rude. However, slight alterations to this move (e.g. hitting constructed gate instead of a home gate or not actually declaring battle but using your combat as "insurance" against retaliation) can make for interesting gameplay. And besides, isn't a move like this the perfect solution to people's problems with the Tcho-Tchos right now?

Graham, the efficiency increases drastically if you can get 2 or more Yotgans each time Extinction is up.
 
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Adam Starks
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If you just want to take a lightly defended gate on Turn 2, you can do a similar but cheaper maneuver with Mindless + Reanimated + Dematerialization. A multi-Yothan invasion makes sense only if you're looking to substantially set another faction back, which could be the Tcho-Tcho on Turn 2, but in other cases generally won't happen until Turn 3 or 4.

That being said, I don't think there's any harm in swapping Extinction out after you've got all 3 Yothans out, since at that point it's totally useless. I just doubt you'll actually want to swap it back in, since you've already spent almost a Turn's worth of power bringing them out the first time, and by the time they're dead might have better things to do with that 1 + 3-9 Power. But, I mean, who knows
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Ryan Schroeder
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I dunno, the psychological factor of having those 14 dice is a pretty big difference over 4-6 with Reanimated. Either will almost certainly clear out a fringe gate, but Yothans are a lot more likely to result in your opponent "willingly" abdicating the gate avoiding Battle entirely. Plus, the Yothans give you the option to choose to go after a player whose put themselves heavily in the lead if someone manages it.

Another big part of this tactic, though, was the huge disincentive to Awaken. That's part of why it's a Turn 2 move. In my home meta (which currently features one player who practically always plays Chaos and another who will almost always play either Sleeper or Goat), Awakening is a HUGE priority. If Goat's in play, Awaken turn 1 is SOP, Nyarlathotep frequently hits the board turn 2, even though Chaos typically has exactly 10 Power that turn (no Thousand Forms). When Sign sees play, Hastur is regularly on the board on the second turn, and almost always before the second Desecration. The point is, we could stand to see a few fewer GOOs hit the board that early.

While Reanimated certainly pose a threat to a player who's not planning on Awakening, a GOO is a pretty solid defense in that situation, often bringing the defending player's Combat up to or beyond that of the Ancients in the Area. You'd hard pressed, however, to find a Great Old One capable of putting out 14 dice at the start of the second turn.

Look, I'm not saying it's perfect. As a matter of fact, I don't think I'd use a move like this often. But that doesn't mean that a particularly ruthless player or a particularly green one wouldn't try it, nor does it mean it's without merit.
 
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Adam Starks
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Oh yeah, put it in your toolbox for sure. I was just making a case for it being somewhat situational

The Ancients are probably most able out of all factions to have or make crazy openings. One of them is getting all 6 Spellbooks in Turn 1, another is comboing with Sleeper to give them a Turn 1 Tsathoggua and 3 Power in return for 3 Power of their own (also potentially with a Turn 1 Yog-Sothoth), and yet another is to simply boost Crawling Chaos in Turn 2 to create an early frontrunner which they can then shadow. We'll just add slapping another faction in the face with 14 dice worth of Yothan in Turn 2 to that list shake
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Ryan Schroeder
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AdamStarks wrote:
getting all 6 Spellbooks in Turn 1

Wait, what? I know they can get a lot of em real quick, but all six turn one? I count 5 without Sleeper's assistance. Correct me if I'm wrong, but:
Action 1: Monster book [8 power, 1 spell]
Action 2: Monster book [8 power, 2 spells]
Action 3: Cathedral [7 power, 3 spells]
Action 4: Move [6 power, 3 spells]
Action 5: Move [5 power, 3 spells]
Action 6: Cathedral [4 power, 4 spells]
Action 7: Move [3 power, 4 spells]
Action 8: Move [2 power, 4 spells]
Action 9: Cathedral [1 power, 5 spells]

is about as efficient as it gets, right? Am I missing something? Certainly, if Sleeper decides to grant the three power, they can do it, but that relies on a specific enemy faction doing something really, really stupid.
 
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Adam Starks
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Some areas (such as the North Atlantic in 4+ player games) have enough adjacent areas that you can move 4 Cultists out of your starting area such that non are adjacent to eachother. Then, you spend 4 Power Building Cathedrals in those areas (since each now only costs 1).
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Ryan Schroeder
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Oh. Well okay then. Hadn't thought of that.
 
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Geoff Vogel
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I don't have access to my map, but is there any place where you are 1 space away from 4 non-adjacent places with all three symbols and a blank?

IIRC, the North Atlantic is good for 3 symbols, or 2 symbols and a blank.

Unless, the Ancients no longer need a cathedral setup like that.
 
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Adam Starks
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As long as you aren't on 3-player configuration, you can achieve that from the North Atlantic. For instance, in 5-player, you can move 1 Cultist to Arctic Ocean, another to Central America, another to West Africa, and another to Europe. That'll be 3 Glyph areas and 1 non-Glyph area, non adjacent to any other.
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