“There was a mind from the planet we know as Venus, which would live incalculable epochs to come, and one from an outer moon of Jupiter six million years in the past. Of earthly minds there were some from the winged, star-headed, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica; one from the reptile people of fabled Valusia; three from the furry pre-human Hyperborean worshippers of Tsathoggua; one from the wholly abominable Tcho-Tchos; two from the arachnid denizens of earth’s last age; five from the hardy coleopterous species immediately following mankind, to which the Great Race was some day to transfer its keenest minds en masse in the face of horrible peril; and several from different branches of humanity.”
That was an excerpt from HP Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time, not the first mention of the Tcho Tcho, but one of the first mentions of the Tcho Tcho by Lovecraft.
Who are those those Tcho Tchos and what role do they have in Cthulhu Wars? Lets find out!
Hey everyone, so I’ve been working on understanding the Tcho Tcho for a few months now and here we go.
The Tcho-Tcho are supposed to be near human worshippers of the Great Old Ones. They weren’t created by HP Lovecraft but were instead by August Derleth then expanded upon and interconnected in Lovecraft’s works the way he often did. They’re shorter than humans, or at least their warrior caste is, with angry red skin, and live in Burma. They’re supposed to have been genetically manipulated by the Great Old Ones so are not-quite-human.
So how does that translate into Cthulhu Wars? First of all, this faction is more about the cultists than the monsters, specifically, they have 3 high priests of their own regardless of whether you’re playing with the High Priest Expansion (you Should play with the High Priest Expansion), and most of their abilities center around these high priests. Second, their Great Old One Ubbo Satha is monstrously powerful but appears shackled, it’s pretty obvious that for this faction, they’re channeling the power of the Mythos rather than mere puppets of their faction.
They only have one type of monster but they have a lot of them. They’re called proto-shoggoths, we’ll talk about them more when we get to the spellbooks.
So that’s a quick summary of what units they have, let’s talk about their faction ability. Its called Sycophancy and the way it works is that when an enemy player performs a Ritual of Annihilation they choose to either get 1 less doom or to allow you to get 1 doom. If the Tcho player wins narrowly, there is a good chance his enemies chose poorly.
The thought process should be like so. If a player performs a ritual and is ahead of the Tcho Player, they should normally choose to let the Tcho player get 1 doom. If the player is behind the Tcho player, they should choose to get 1 less doom. The thought process here is that if you let a Tcho who is already ahead of you get more doom, he might end the game before you can catch up, otherwise, if you’re already ahead, you might be able to end the game before the Tcho player can catch up. Keep in mind that the doom score can’t be assumed to just be the visible score, try and calculate 1.5 doom points per elder sign they have.
Ok, as the Tcho, you put your faction in an empty area with a faction glyph, this typically means you’re going to start in North America if you’re playing with a lot of other core factions. That’s fine, it’s a good place and often makes it feel like you’re more isolated from the other factions. Even if they’re scared of you (and they WILL be scared of you at least after the first game) they’ll often end up squabbling and be wasting resources against each other.
Ok, first turn, what do you do? You’re going to want to immediately move into another zone and build a second gate, this is a good idea in general, but crucial for you, why? Because of your third action. It’s pretty nuts, but one of your spellbook requirements is to as an action, remove your controlled gate in your start area. Do this as your third action and take the Hierophants spellbook.
What this spellbook says is that when you earn any spellbook (including this one), immediately place a free High Priest at One of your Gates. If you have no High Priest in your Pool, instead you advance Ubbo-Sathla’s Growth counter by 1.
So now you have two High Priests and 1 gate. As your fourth action, build another gate.
In your first doom phase, you’re going to start with 12 power, sacrifice one high priest to get Ubbo Sathla, which is going to give you a spellbook and another high priest.
Take Tablets of the Gods, this says “when you perform a Ritual of Annihilation, you also receive 1 additional Elder Sign for each of your High Priests in play. Then Eliminate those High Priests. This is not optional”
At this point, you could then perform a Ritual of Annihilation, giving you 3 elder signs and 2 doom points. 3 Elder signs is enough to get another two spellbooks, I recommend Soulless and Terror. This will, of course, give you back two high priests.
Soulless says “When Captured and Sacrificed, your cultists provide 0 power (instead of the normal 1 Power). This is going to be good persuasion to other players to take advantage of other cultists first, and going into round 2 is typically when cultists start getting captured.
Terror says “Choose one: 1) Your enemy’s Combat total is reduced by 1 per Proto-Shoggoth in the Battle. 2) Your combat total is increased bv 1 per Proto-Shoggoth in the Battle.”
So let’s do a recap. At this point, if everything has gone perfectly, you have your Great Old One out, you have 6 cultists, 2 high priests, and 2 gates. You’re down a little on power, but you’re up quite a bit on doom points. IF this puts too big of a target on you, and only you know if it does or not, you could choose to forgo the Ritual of Annihilation, but I’m going to go forward with this as unless the other factions, you aren’t marauding around picking on accessible gates.
You have 2 remaining spellbooks to get, one could happen right away, when any Great Old One is Killed in Battle and the other which will be harder, when another player performs a Ritual of Annihilation or has 15 Doom.
Try to be discreet about your spellbooks, you don’t want people to realize you’re going to have your sixth spellbook probably by 3rd turn. Also, you’re going to want to pay CLOSE attention to when other people perform rituals of Annihilation. Not only do they activate your sycophancy but its also a spellbook, so when it happens, you need to take advantage of it.
Now how do you get a Great Old One killed in battle? Ubbo Satha is pretty fragile in the beginning before he bloats into the giant Godzilla GOO that he becomes. Throw him in battle, make it very known that anyone who gets close is welcome to slaughter your GOO, you won’t hold it against anyone. This will do two things, one, it will throw them off, sometimes for the rest of the game. I call it the “twitch”, its when people don’t actively think about something they respond off of what they know, and what they “know”, is that killing your GOO only helps you. Sometimes it helps further encourage your isolation, which for the Tcho is a good thing. You may get Ubbo out there and have him get killed, you may not, either way, a GOO will die soon enough whether it’s yours or someone else’s.
So at this point, you’re mostly playing the slow build game. You want to be ignored long enough for you to build out another gate or two (keep in mind, you have 9 units that can hold gates, similar to the Dark Young of the Black Goat) and try to get off at least one more ritual. You want to be left alone long enough for Ubbo to get big.
I didn’t go into detail how Ubbo works. Every round after you summon him, he gets 1d6 bigger. For me, that means he’s probably an 8 by the sixth round. For everyone else, he’s probably a 14 or 15. 😉 You also keep resummoning him for the cost of a high priest, so that’s another good thing. Whether he’s dead or not, resummoned or not, he will continue to get bigger, so definitely don’t forget that.
Ok, let’s talk about your proto shoggoths. You have a lot of them, and because of that, your Terror spellbook is pretty powerful. You have the ability to reduce your combat total by 1 per proto-shoggoth or increase your combat total by 1 per proto-shoggoth. Which should you do?
To answer that question, you need to know how many kills your enemy is likely to make and you are likely to make. If you have 2 proto shoggoths and your enemy is one unit with 8 dice, they’re likely to kill 1 unit and you’re most likely going to pain them. In that scenario, you could increase your attack dice by 2, still be almost guaranteed to lose 1 and maybe both proto-shoggoths, but now you’re pretty likely to eliminate your one enemy target. This could allow you to retain a gate or to drive someone out of a zone. Alternatively, they’re attacking with 3 units with the same 8 combat dice. Increasing your attack is unlikely to drive them off, they’ll still have 1-2 units left, so you may be better off reducing your enemy’s combat dice to try and save at least one of your proto-shoggoths.
To summarize, if it’s harder for your enemy to replace units than you, increase your attack dice if it’s more important for you to survive even if you lose the battle, decrease their attack dice.
Now everything I’ve described will give you a best-case scenario, whats nice is that often it might happen just because the other players either don’t know how many doom points you’re going to get or are too distracted with whoever else is even more of a threat. After all, while you’re a threat just sitting around doing Rituals of Annihilation, the other players are a threat because to get their spellbooks they usually need to attack each other.
But what is your next spellbook and how do you finish the game?
Martyrdom. This spellbook says “if your high priest is assigned a Killed, all other Killed inflicted to your other units become Pains instead”. This is going to allow you to survive battles you shouldn’t, protect Ubbo once he gets big, and defend your gates.
Your final spellbook is going to be Idolatry, which makes sense as this is your most combative portion of the game. This is what it says
Idolatry: Select an Area containing another Faction’s starting Glyph (even if that Faction is not in play). Move any or all of your Units in adjacent Areas into the selected Area.
It is for that reason that you may want to make sure your gates and units are near some of the other Faction Glyphs so that you can more easily take advantage of this movement ability towards the end of the game. Ubbo will die multiple times, but for the price of a High Priest, he’s the cheapest of the GOOs so take advantage of that. Also with Martyr, he may not die very often at all.
And that’s the Tcho Tcho basics. It will probably only work once, but like the other factions once you have the way the faction plays down you can start working on counters to respond to the other players trying to stop you from executing on these strategies.
What do you need to look out for?
In the beginning, Crawling Chaos should be trying to get some easy kills off of your GOO with Nyarlathotep. When Ubbo Satha gets bigger this probably won’t be a problem but in the beginning it’s just begging to activate his Harbinger ability.
General vulnerabilities. You may not be giving them power, but often times factions that need to get some easy wins like Cthulhu will look at your faction as the one to help fuel their spellbooks.
Travel. I’ve never seen the Tcho Tcho travel very far from their home base, it’s just too difficult for them to do that. For this reason, Crawling Chaos is again a real threat as their flight allows them to attack with relatively little ability to counter.
Also unlike Black Goat with their ability to waste turns to keep their power towards the end of the round, the Tcho Tcho will likely spend a lot of their power up front and have to watch the other players have free reign of the map.
The Tcho Tcho have a lot of vulnerabilities, they are definitely more passive and are a good reminder that in Cthulhu Wars, it isn’t who controls the world that wins, but rather who brings the most Doom.
I have a question for you all, I won’t have Sleepers or Windwalkers until my shipment comes from the most recent Kickstarter. I’ve been thinking about playing them with some stand-ins so I can finish this series of the core factions. What does everyone think? Should I move on to the independent monsters until I get the real units, or are you all ok with me doing these videos with stand-ins?