Month: June 2018

CharterStone Overview + 5 Tips BEFORE you play the game! (light spoilers)

 

SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

So my gaming group has been playing Charterstone every game night for the last 5 game nights.  We’ve been having a great time, and I wanted to give some explanations of how the game is played, and some tips on what you should expect and how to have a better gameplay experience.

Just a heads up, while my normal strategy videos might give you some things to think about that might give “you” advantage, I recommend that you share these tips. They’re mild spoilers and the intent is for everyone to get the most out of the game.  They might give you a slight advantage too, though that is merely a side effect.

What is Charterstone?

Charterstone is an economic city building game.  A bit more precisely, it’s a legacy game, which effectively just means that there are permanent consequences for future games based on previous games.  In fact, in this particular legacy game, the rulebook itself starts mostly blank, with the rules getting unlocked as you play the game.

 

Charterstone has some like RPG elements, including an interesting somewhat dark-fantasy storyline that you reveal over the course of the twelve games that consist of the core game.  Your king has decided to expand and granted you a charter to help grow the shared village.

Over 12 games, you’ll unlock a storyline, new rules, new buildings, and new strategies.  In addition, you have a box that you permanently unlock different advantages and upgrades for your charter, all of which combine to make your charter somewhat unique and when combined with the entire village and all of the various upgrades, a unique gameplay experience custom to your gaming group.

At this point, I’m going to talk a bit about the first game, this is very mild spoilers as I’m not revealing anything that you wouldn’t discover on your first play, but again, you’ve been warned.

When you first start the game, you have just your persona, a box, a couple buildings,  a meeple for you and your assistant, and some influence tokens.  The board has six empty charters, then some core buildings in the center of your village.  Each player controls one of the charters and each player can only build in their charter.

You build by peeling stickers off of the cards you get first, and putting the sticker into your charter.  The remaining card often has whats called a crate, and you can “open” the crate to pull more cards out of the box and add to the game.  This action is called the charterstone action and is the primary way that more cards get added to the game.

Each turn, you either place a worker onto the board to activate a building action, or take all of your workers off the board, that’s it, which makes the turns fairly quick.

Some actions require you to spend influence, often triggering the progress track to move as well.  When the progress track ends, the game finishes after the next complete turn.

Influence is often used for victory points, there is a quota track, a reputation track, and there are objective cards, all of which require influence and can give you victory points either immediately or at the end of the game.

In case it isn’t obvious yet, at this point you’ll have put stickers onto your board, so right from the get go you’re making permanent changes that you can’t quite undo.

If you want to play the game again, you can buy one refresh pack and turn the board over, in fact, that’s how I’m showing you this, as the other side of this board has our game on it with lots of spoilers.

There are more boxes, more cards, more tokens, more every thing inside the box, but you’ll need to play a few games before you get to see those.

Tip #1

My first tip, now that you know a bit about how the game works, is to avoid winning the first couple games.  Yup, you heard me right, I highly recommend you avoid winning the first couple games.  There is a catch up mechanic which gives an advantage to the ones who don’t win.  Not only should you not win, but if everyone chooses not to try to win, you may find that your group has built up its village more early on, which means that later games will have more options.

Tip #2

Build as much as you can build the first two games.  Later buildings in the game dramatically change the game, the more you build and then charterstone those buildings, the more quickly you’ll get to the advanced strategies that really allow you to define your strategy.

Tip #3

Don’t ignore the quota track.  Like all games, you want to constantly think about action efficiency.  In this case, you can measure action efficiency by how many victory points you gain per resource spent  For example, the quota track says you get 3 victory points for 1 resource.  If you’re the first person to do a quota for 2 or then the first for 3, you get a bonus victory point.  In the beginning of the game, it takes 1 action to gain 1 resource.  Effectively, that means you get 3 victory points for 2 actions., at least to start.  What I really like, as someone who explores a lot of games, is that every game, this calculation becomes slightly different as new buildings unlock different options to gain and spend resources.  However, when you’re calculating the value of an action, make sure that in general, each action gives you at least 1.5 victory points.

Tip #4

Who has what building matters.  In the beginning of the game, you and your assistant meeples can go anywhere in the village to get what they want from a building, even if its already taken.  Later in the game…you’ll have advantages at using the buildings in your own charter versus the buildings in someone else’s charter.  I can’t say much more than that without causing the spoiler gods to come crashing down on me.  However, the important bits here, is that IF you can get a building for someone else’s charter and place it into your charter, you may be able to pull off a combo more readily than someone else.

To elaborate “just” a tiny bit, each charter begins the game with the ability to produce one particular type of resource, say wood or brick.  Later in the game, you unlock buildings that require brick to do things it makes sense for brick to do, or buildings that require wood to do…well things wood would be required for.  Sometimes buildings get into the general available pool, if you grab one of them, now while you may produce the brick, you might have a powerful building that lets you use wood.  This will do two things for you, the wood player might be tempted to use your building more often, but also, you might be good at two different components of the game instead of one, because your buildings blend both brick and wood.

Tip #5

Your Charter box has a few different tracks that you permanently mark as you play each game.  One side is capacity, one side is generally what you start each game with.  These seem similar but in effect are very different.  Capacity eventually restricts how much of a resource you can hold.  That’s a little spoilery about game 3+, but its on the box, so just go with me here.  Glory on the other hand, lets you start each game with the thing that you unlocked.  For example, if you unlock the resource glory , that means that each game you can choose a resource and add it to your supply.

Just to reiterate, that means if you end a game with only 1 resource capacity, at some point you will only be able to retain 1 resource, but if you spent all of your resources you’ll have 0 resources.  On the other hand, if you’ve unlocked the resource glory, then even if you ended the previous game with 0 resources, you’d add 1 of any resource to your pool.

This means that in general, glory  is more powerful than capacity.

Bonus Tip #6

Out of all of the glory tracks, I think the advancement track is one of the most powerful, being able to take an advancement at the beginning of each game can be VERY powerful.

 

How to win with Eihort, and what is that pointy appendage for?

Today I’m experimenting with just pasting the video text, let me know if its helpful being able to read the script, or if I should rewrite it!

Today, as we meet with Eihort, he has given us an impossible choice.   Do we allow him to implant a brood in us and eventually be eaten from within?  If that doesn’t sound like a good option, the alternative is to be viciously and violently slaughtered immediately.  Dang Eihort, at least take us to dinner first!

 

Hey everyone, today we continue exploring the Ramsey Campbell Horrors Pack 1, this time with Eihort.  Eihort is another Great Old One that was introduced by Ramsey Campbell in Cold Print.  This book is actually a bit difficult to get a hold of, and the story that introduced Eihort, Before the Storm, hasn’t been reprinted.  If you’ve read it, post your comments down below!

The fiction for Eihort says that those who encounter him in the cave tunnels underneath Severn Valley are given the choice of being killed or having his young implanted in them.  Of course, the young will eventually kill their host, and in the Revelations of Gla’aki, Campbell says that Eihort’s young will inherit the Earth.

This is a cool sculpt, and they give you these six brood tokens.  I’ll go over what you do with them in a moment.

This is what Eihort says, just like other Independent Great Old Ones, you must have a controlled gate in an area with your Great Old One.  You pay 4 power, and place Eihort in the Area containing the gate.

What’s significant about Eihort, is that when you awaken him, you take these brood tokens, and you replace all of your cultists with the brood tokens.  The brood tokens are cultists with a combat value of 1.  They cannot take the Move action or otherwise be moved by  your powers, though they can be moved enemy actions like Pains.

Ok, so there you go, you’ve summoned Eihort and now you have a bunch of unmovable brood tokens.  What next? Well, you start recruiting more cultists.  In this way, you can have 12 cultists with just Eihort and your base faction.  I am going to warn you, if you want to get the entire table to gang up on you, having 12 cultists is a good way to do that, so don’t be greedy.

What happens if your brood tokens get killed? Well, nothing much, at least not at first.  Eihort doesn’t give you a way to recruit or summon more brood tokens by default, and since Eihort has 0 combat, he himself isn’t useful for much other than capturing cultists.

Once you’ve recruited 3 acolytes, now you can unlock Eihort’s spellbooks, this is what it says.

Unclean Bargain. This happens during your doom phase.  If you have any brood tokens in your Pool, replace your Acolyte Cultists with brood tokens on a one for one basis until either you run out of acolyte cultists on the map or brood tokens in your pool.  This is not optional.

Ok, so once you’ve unlocked Eihort’s spellbook, for as long as you continue to control him, you’ll continue to pop out more brood tokens, forcing you to be a little cautious where you let your acolytes end their turn, as once they turn into brood they’ll be unable to move.

Ok, this is straightforward at first..but what happens when Eihort dies?  Well, if he dies, you lose control of Eihort, and his brood cease to serve you too.   Yup, that’s right, they become neutral cultists, serving no one.  Even worse, whoever takes control of Eihort, regains control of those brood.  A worse case scenario is for you to replace your cultists with brood, then immediately lose Eihort and all of the gates  your cultists had controlled.  Eihort is not an iGoo you want to summon when you aren’t in a position to protect him.

Ok, so how does he fit into each faction’s strategy?

Black Goat

Black Goat is a natural pairing with Eihort, as the brood are very similar to frenzied black goat cultists anyways and can allow Black Goat to neglect choosing Frenzy for a little longer while still getting the benefit of the additional combat dice.  However, do you do have to be careful as I like to expand with Black Goat, get my spellbooks, then contract my forces a bit to better defend my Areas.  With the brood, you can be stuck defending areas or allowing them to be captured.  For that reason, I like to expand with acolytes and maintain a strong base of power for my brood.  When choosing which cultists to sacrifice using Blood Sacrifice, I recommend brood tokens, since if you loose control of Eihort you’ll lose control of the brood anyways, so the more acolytes you can maintain the more protected you’ll be.

Great Cthulhu

Great Cthulhu, like most of the independent Great Old Ones, loves to get all cuddly with Eihort.  Cthulhu is one of those Great Old Ones that just likes to stay in bed and cuddle for a millennia or two, I don’t know if you knew that, there you go.     To maintain Dreams being a threat, you need acolytes in your pool, Eihort puts ALL of your acolytes in your pool, so there you go.  You do suddenly lose the ability to use Devolve, so it’s a bit of a double edged sword, you’ll want to recruit more acolytes ASAP both for the additional power but also the ability to respond to the threat of capture by devolving them into deep ones.  Given the choice of what unit to remove for Absorb, you’ll want to choose the brood over other units.

Crawling Chaos

One of the major advantages for Black Goat is their ability to have 9 units generating power, with Eihort, CC suddenly can compete on power once you’ve recruited more than 6.  This is good with the major power problems CC can have mid-game due to trying to unlock spellbooks.  My concern here, is that in order to leverage Harbinger, sometimes you have to take some risks with Nyarlathotep.  If you lose Nyarlathotep, Eihort might not be far behind.  If you lose gates and cultists mid-game due to losing control of your brood, that’s probably game, I don’t think you’re going to be able to recover from it.

Opener of the Way

Here’s the thing about Opener.  In my experience, he’s the most fluid of the factions.  This is the diametric opposite of the Tcho Tcho, where as the Tcho might spend the entire game never moving more than an Area or two away from where they start, Opener of the Way might win the game without any of the same Areas they started the game with.  Consequentially, the idea of a bunch of Brood who can’t be moved seems like a recipe for failure with Opener.  Don’t do it, everything with Eihort is forced, so you can’t even choose to just prevent someone else from taking him without paying the consequences of awakening him.

Sleeper

Sleeper needs quite a bit of power, and even just one extra cultist controlling a gate is 3 power.  The problem I have is that Sleeper is in a precarious position where it wants to be able to hunt monsters towards the end of the round, and Eihort can draw unwanted early attention.  Still, if you can get 2 extra gates above what you might normally have, for just a few turns, you can pay for most of your spellbook tax.

The Tcho Tcho

You know what I’m going to say…the Tcho Tcho don’t want to move, just sit there and win…the brood just want to sit there…wait a gosh darn c’thulhu minute!  Could it be, an iGOO that just wants to turtle and win? This is it, the iGOO get immediately 6 more combat dice, they can continue to recruit more cultists without much desire to spread out.  Not only that, but later in the game, Ubbo Sathla is really going to discourage anyone who wants to try and come in and kill Eihort.  This is a really good combination, and while I’m not a huge fan of the Tcho turtling strategy, if this is your thing, Eihort is your man!

Windwalker

What I like about Eihort, is that as you sweep around using Arctic Wind destroying things, your free acolytes you cannibalize are turning into 1 combat die brood tokens.  Where other factions have to consciously choose to recruit more acolytes, for you, you can focus on combat and very very quickly get out possibly all 12 cultists.  I suspect you’ll likely win before you even get all 12 out.

Yellow Sign

There isn’t a lot here to justify Eihort, as usual, Yellow Sign wants to avoid becoming a target, and the 1 combat dice of the brood isn’t going to dissuade much since you already have Passion.

Ok, and that’s Eihort.  When I first looked at this iGOO, I kinda ignored him.  He can’t fight, he doesn’t really add any crazy rules.  But honestly, extra power can really change the game.  How often are your strategies changed or cancelled because of the difference of just 1 or 2 power? Cthulhu Wars is very very tightly balanced, so moving a number here or there can really shift things.  With that, I don’t know if you always want Eihort in your game, but it can be fun to see the map shifting as one  player then another takes control of Eihort.

Ok everyone, that’s it for this week, please click like, subscribe, the whole deal, until next time, game on!

 

Wait, why do we call Eihort a He or him? Its putting its babies in people, isn’t it female? Then again, it doesn’t have a rather disturbing appendage that it injects its seed in people…ok, I guess I’ll go with it.

 

 

 

Then came pale movement in the well, and something clambered up from the dark, a bloated blanched oval supported on myriad fleshless legs. Eyes formed in the gelatinous oval and stared at him.

 

Living in a vast network of caverns and tunnels situated beneath the Severn Valley in England, Eihort appears as an enormous gelatinous blob supported on a plethora of bony, almost-skeletal legs. It’s whole body is covered in a shifting, writhing coating of eyes which constantly disperse and reform at random.