Strategy Games

The Library at Celaeno – a Cthulhu Wars Alternate Game Map Expansion Guide


Hey everyone, today we’re going back to our roots and covering some Cthulhu Wars material, in this episode, we’re covering the Library At Celano, Cele-ano, Celeano, however its pronounced, this one!

If you don’t know what this is, this is an alternate game map for Cthulhu Wars, instead of fighting to destroy Earth, you’re fighting to…that’s sort of the question, are you destroying the Library when doom reaches the max, or are you getting the resources you need to destroy Earth? I want to think they’re destroying Earth because the Librarian probably wouldn’t put up with crap.
Who is the librarian, this monstrous being who helps maintain order in the library, and in this game mode, the players have some influence on two greater beings, the caretaker and the Librarian. You can’t attack either, and they have great influence so I want to think that suggests that these beings are very powerful, if only inside their domain.
The game mode puts you on this very different looking map, which operates the same way as Earth in that you can flip each side to reveal a different number of players. If you have more than 5 players, you’ll need to acquire the larger 6 to 8 player map.
Inside the Library, movement is different. Cthulhu players take note, there is no Rylea, and the ocean’s don’t connect, instead there are these tiles that indicate the word “sea” meaning they’re submerged and count as oceans. Also, you have these two special types of areas, gates and stairs.
Stairs allow you to connect to the other set of stairs with the same letter. This allows you to travel between floors.
Gates allow you to travel to any other gate, which if you look, is quite a few of them.
This brings up my first bit of advice, in general, I’m not a fan of Crawling Chaos on this map, their advantage of flight is less advantageous when there are so many different ways of travelling great distances within the map. It might be a small thing, but if the factions are balanced on Earth (which is questionable depending on which set of optional rules you’re using), then CC is less so.
What else? Well you have these four special rooms, each of which contains a special tome, and at the start of the game, a gate spawns in each gate with no player necessary. These tomes are very powerful, and anyone can get them by taking control of the tome’s corresponding gate, they do not take the spot of any of your faction spellbooks.
Each of the tomes occupy a different role, and each tome except Barrier can be reset by releasing a captured cultist, discarding an elder sign, or discarding a Silence token.
• Guardian Under the Lake – For 1 power, You can force an entire faction occupying an area next to a gate, to any other area with a gate.
• Yr and the Nhhngr – For 1 power, If anyone has more doom than you, either place a monster at no additional cost or gain 2 power.
• Larvae of the Outer Gods – Gain 1 elder sign if anyone has more Power than you.
• Barrier of Naach Tith – this book is a bit different, no other player may declare an attack against you unless they release a captured cultist, discard an elder sign, or discard a silence token.
You gain the tomes by being the first person to control a gate with a Tome in it, and if you lose control of the gate, you don’t immediately lose control of the tome, instead the tome becomes OverDue.
What are Silence Tokens? Well you get one of these things each doom phase, and if you don’t spend it, you won’t get another, so use it or lose it!
Silence Tokens are primarily how you interact with the two iGOOs, the Custodian and the Librarian, as well as activate or cancel certain Tomes.
By spending a Silence Token, you can move the custodian to any area and roll the Agony die, if you don’t move the custodian, it gets +1 to the Agony die. Bump as many units as you roll into the oubliette, possibly including your own units as you must spend as many Agony points as possible.
Alternatively, if any player has any Overdue Tomes, you can sick the library on them! Spend a silence token, move the librarian to any area, and roll the Agony die, likewise, the Librarian gets +1 to its agony if it doesn’t have to roll.
You can target any player who has a unit in the area who also has an overdue Tome. That player must satisfy all Agony, however they choose based on the following list.
• Eliminate a unit in the area satisfies one agony.
• Losing a doom point satisfies one agony.
• Returning an overdue Tome satisfies one agony.
This is the only way a player may lose a Tome, is by being targeted by the Librarian.
Who wants this map?
Anyone who enjoys battles will enjoy the close confines of this map, everyone is close and the consequences of letting a player hold onto a tome can be severe, while losing control of a Tome area can likewise be severe.
The map is really crazy, and causes some severe shifts based on what happens with the agony dice, I really don’t think anyone who isn’t very comfortable with the rules should play this map, but if you are, you might enjoy this very differently played game.
What about Faction tips?
Barrier can be interesting for Black Goat, because often BG has to put themselves at risk to occupy so many areas to get their spellbooks. Suddenly with Barrier, they’re a bit safer. You should have more doom than other players and often more power, so the only other Tome that is useful to you is Guardian Under the Lake which can help you afford all of your dark young.
Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of playing Crawling Chaos on this map, but if I do, I really try to get Yr and the Nhhngr, I always struggle with power as Crawling Chaos, and extra power or monsters can really help to secure the Harbinger.

Great Cthulhu can really enjoy using Guardian under the Lake as often Cthulhu will have a large powerful submerged force, and instead of emerging on dry land, you can first move an enemy to one of the seas that has a gate.
For Opener of the Way, try and get Yr and the Nhhngr as soon as possible, the free monsters can help you get your Great Old One out faster.
Oh wow, I think this map is really great for Sleeper. Yr and the Nhhngr allows Sleeper to unleash their specialty units faster. Guardian under the lake can allow you to move monsters closer for your GOO to capture. Barrier of Naach Tith can help give you time to build up your retinue of monsters.
The Tcho Tcho can really struggle with this map, you can’t hide far away from everyone else, instead you must become more aggressive knowing you’ll be attacked early and often. Barrier can help with this, but personally I like Larvae or Yr and the Nhhngr, either of which works well with your goals.
Windwalker is very interesting. Start at the square that isn’t the oubliette, then use your silence token to have your custodian sweep your units into the oubliette. Tada! Create a gate and you’re now got one of the hardest spellbooks for you to gain.
I often feel like playing this map is like playing 3 dimensional chess, you have to constantly visualize and count how far away every other unit is from each of your units, it definitely can add to the stress level of the game.
Having said that, I really love how suddenly with just a few tweaks, you’re able to experience this very different game.

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 the Tcho Tcho in Cthulhu Wars

“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.

 

 

Your Opener

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?