How to Lose at Cthulhu Wars

Novice Mistakes to Avoid – don’t DO these!

Everyone starts as a novice. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Heck, in MY first game of Cthulhu Wars I was technically a novice (though an informed one). In an effort to help you take the first step up the ladder of skill (or help your friends), I’m going to list some beginner actions I see all the time, which set you back.


Unless you are certain that no one can capture one of your cultists and cost you the Gate. Usually only Crawling Chaos can be assured of this – and even he can’t if the other players are on the ball. Here is what will happen if you build three gates:

  • First Action – move Cultist to adjacent Area;
  • Second Action – build Gate;
  • Third Action – move second Cultist to another Area;
  • Fourth Action – build Gate. You are now out of Power.

If all the other factions mimicked your actions up to that point, any faction following you in turn order still has 3 Power left. Instead of building a Gate, he can summon a 1-pt monster, move to your Gate, and capture your butt. If he didn’t move a cultist for his third action, but summoned the monster instead, he can even move the Cultist now, and take over your Gate. At a minimum he gets a +1 boost for the captured cultist (and you get 1 less).


I wince visibly when I see a player move a Deep One or Nightgaunt to guard an threatened Gate. For the same exact cost, he could have just Summoned an identical monster AT the gate, and left the original one where he was. Then he’d have two monsters instead of one, for the same cost in Power.

Mistake Three – TURTLE UP!

I’ve discussed this before, but Cthulhu Wars is an aggressive, interactive game. If you sit back and meditate on the cosmos you will lose. You need to be in the other players’ house, going through their bathroom cabinet, emptying their sock drawer onto the floor, and leaving the fridge door open.

This does not mean you need to engage in battle at every opportunity. Every faction has its own ways to mess with their neighbors. Yellow Sign rarely declares Battle – but with Zingaya and the King capturing cultists willy-nilly, he is lethally obnoxious. Black Goat has Avatar, Ghroth, and Necrophagy which have no function beyond pestering others. A Crawling Chaos who sits safe at home watching TV never gets his Harbinger reward – remember every time Nyarlathotep shakes the King in Yellow tree, two Elder Signs drop out!


Some spellbooks and abilities are better in the early game. Use them then! Many times I’ve seen someone play Black Goat (for example) and only realize in the last turn that he could have been Avataring around the map. In the last turn, Avatar is risky as heck – it leaves Shub-Niggurath exposed, and an enemy with 6 spellbooks can attack her before she can escape. In the early game, by contrast, Avatar is powerful – enemy attacks are telegraphed, and the Gates are less well-defended, so Avatar is better at conquering them.

That’s just one example. If you wait on getting Yellow Sign’s Desecrations till you have a mighty undead army, then you’ll be blundering into briar patches, thick with monsters, when you go on your walkabout for spellbooks. Do it early, before they can oppose you. Similiarly, Cthulhu’s Dreams, Black Goat’s Blood Sacrifice, and Crawling Chaos’ Emissary spellbooks are all much more useful in the early game than later. Be aware.