Has Sandy Lost His Mind?
Well … perhaps. But the reason Cthulhu has made his appearance is for the following reasons: first, some folks had been asking for a Keith Thompson Lovecraftian image. Second, yes I know that Cthulhu is a different genre universe from the monotheistic revelation of Planet Apocalypse. But consider – we have placed entities named Humbaba, Geryon, and Pulgasaur in the game, the idea being that these names all reflect an actual demon somewhere behind (or below) reality. The concept here is really that Lovecraft also had “a glimpse behind the curtain” and based Cthulhu – the Doom That Cannot Be Stayed – on what he understood.
So this is the reality behind Lovecraft’s story, at least in Planet Apocalypse.
So how does Cthulhu work?
First off, he has possibly the most challenging menace in the game. When you enter Hell Time with Cthulhu, each player chooses how many Sanity tokens he wants. For each such token, he also gets 1 courage and 1 luck. (Yes, a player can choose to accept 0 Sanity tokens).
When it’s the players turn to attack, he MUST retreat if he has no Sanity tokens left. If he has at least 1 Sanity token however, he MUST discard 1 Sanity token, and then stay and attack – he CANNOT retreat, no matter how much he may wish to. So you have to figure out ahead of time just how long you plan to stay under Cthulhu’s shadow. The first few times you play against him, it will be a challenge to get it anywhere near right.
Next, when it is Cthulhu’s turn to attack, he first rolls 1d4. This is how many times he gets to attack. Each attack can be against a different target though, if the team captain so desires.
Oh yes, he has 6 toughness, 6d12 attack, and 25 health vs. 4 players, which is all strong, but what do you expect. The real problem is the multiple attacks which are semi-randomized so you don’t know how many you have in store, and the menace in which you have to decide how long to stay ahead of time.
You think you’ve solved his riddle?
I can see people thinking, “Wait, I know. I’ll ONLY ever stay 1 round in Cthulhu’s shadow. That way he won’t be able to wipe us out, and we can return on the next turn or so.” The problem with this decision is that when you enter Hell Time, an invasion token spawns. When you assault Cthulhu, the token is resolved. Then after you retreat, the minions who popped out of the token (less whatever minions you managed to kill) will march forward, and a new invasion token will spawn in Cthulhu’s area. You really can’t afford to keep popping all of these invasion tokens turn after turn without trying to clean them up, or you’ll lose based just on Doom lost by inability to spawn new demons.
You see, normally you want to stay 2-4 rounds in a Lord’s area – the first round and part of the second are spent mopping up the invasion token, so it can’t interfere. Then the rest of the second round, and all of the remainder are spent pounding on the Lord. If you never stay more than 1 round in Cthulhu’s area, you’ll either have to ignore the minions, or not hit Cthulhu at all.
Don’t take my word for it. You’ll be able to try it out soon! Because we are STILL on track for everything being done in a timely and effective manner.