Meet the Ancients!
Once more let’s talk about the Ancients.
First, the basics. They have six acolytes, like everyone else. They also have two types of monsters – the Un-Men and the Reanimated, and get three of each. They also get three Yothans. Uniquely among all factions, the Yothans are Terrors, and they are the ONLY Terror that appears in groups (all the rest are loners). Finally, they have four Cathedrals, their new special building.
FUNDAMENTALS OF BEING ANCIENT
The Ancients have to be extremely sensitive to the other players, and must engage in diplomacy and negotations to an extent previously unknown in Cthulhu Wars.
Like Yellow Sign, you need to travel across the world. In your case, this is to build Cathedrals in the same areas marked with Symbols as Yellow Sign (though you also have to build one Cathedral in an unmarked area). Fortunately, you have an ace up your sleeve – other factions often rather like to share their areas with a Cathedral. But you can’t always rely on this, and you lack the punch of Yellow Sign’s undead army.
Like most factions, each of your creatures has a spellbook dedicated to it. Unlike every other faction, these spellbooks actually make your creature inferior in some way! However, they’re still worth getting for two reasons. First, they make the creature MUCH less expensive, and thus let you have a good combat punch (which you’ll need). Second, you can’t win the game without all six spellbooks!
Your special faction ability is Dematerialization, and is useful in movement. Each Doom phase, select one area in which you have units. Move any or all of those units to one other selected area, anywhere on the map. In play, you’ll find this useful not only for planned attacks, but also for building your Cathedrals.
The Un-Men have a Combat of 0. Once you get their Festival spellbook, you can summon them for Cost 0 as well, which is a great deal. Unfortunately, when you do this, you must choose an enemy to gain 1 Power. So you may not want to do this too much in the early game.
The Reanimated have a Combat of 2, and when you get their Mindless spellbook, their cost drops to 1 apiece, which is a real bargain. Their only weakness is that they cannot Move, Battle, or Capture unless non-Reanimated unit of yours is in the area, to give them commands. This is not often a problem, because you’ll want to accompany them with Un-Men or cultists most of the time.
The Yothans are your most powerful units. Not only are they resistant to many spellbooks since they are Terrors, but they have a Combat of 7! (That’s more than Cthulhu! And you have three of them!) Their spellbook of Extinction means they only cost you 3 Power, but gives them the serious drawback that when they are killed, they go back into the box, and can never be re-summoned again.
Naturally enough, some players freak out over these weaknesses and try to work around them. But the far cheaper price of getting the spellbooks far outweighs their disadvantages. Even the Yothan’s dire Extinction is not so terrible – usually you won’t need to use them in combat until the last turn or two, and if you are able to pace out your losses over time, all is well. To be frank, if you lose your last Yothan near the end of the final turn, who cares? You won’t need him again, and really, if he died in battle, his 7 dice may well have done the job you summoned him for.
Cathedrals must be constructed by your Cultist. Unlike Gates or Desecrations, you don’t have to keep a unit in the Area to continue to gain a Cathedral’s benefit, and they can be abandoned upon completion.
Cathedrals cost either 3 or 1 Power to complete, depending on whether they are adjacent to another Cathedral (they’re cheaper when NOT adjacent). So your first Cathedral only costs 1, but then you’re often better off moving a unit two areas away before building the next. Fortunately, your Dematerialization ability lets you move multiple units for free. Take advantage of it.
The Cathedrals serve two important purposes. First, no less than FOUR of your spellbooks’ requirements are tied to building Cathedrals! So you need to hop on this right away. Second, three of your spellbooks are specifically tied to your Cathedrals. These are:
Worship Services – in Gather Power, you earn 1 Power for each Cathedral that shares an area with an enemy Gate. That enemy also gains 1 Power. This is not only a source for extra Power for you, but serves as a tool to help you “get in the door” when trying to build a Cathedral in an enemy’s area. It’s best if you don’t build all your Cathedrals so as to benefit a single enemy, though, because it’s best for you to split up this power boost among multiple foes. This spellbook does also make your Cathedral areas into targets for battle, which is entertaining and instructive.
Consecration – this lets you get Elder Signs when you do a Ritual of Annihilation. I nakedly admit this is here for balance purposes, so the Ancients won’t fall behind in the Elder Sign sweepstakes. But it works, and gives the Ancients interesting choices. If they have 1-3 Cathedrals in play, they get 1 Elder Sign. If they have all 4 Cathedrals, they get 2 Elder Signs. This means that an early-Cathedral strategy is viable, but costly in terms of Power.
Unholy Ground – this is your terror weapon. If a Cathedral is in the battle area, you can choose to remove ANY of your Cathedrals after the battle. This eliminates one enemy Great Old One from the battle. The general effect in-game is that enemy Great Old Ones try to stay away from your Cathedrals, except for Cthulhu of course (nothing fazes him).
But there is another, subtler effect. When you remove a Cathedral, typically this denies another player his free point of Doom phase Power. This also lets you re-build that Cathedral in an area controlled by a more amenable player, as well as punish (if only slightly) an enemy.