Opener of the Way Spellbook Requirements
As promised, I am now going to focus in a some design decisions, so you can all see how my brain works. The Opener of the Way, like every Cthulhu Wars faction, has six spellbook requirements. Let’s look at them in order:
- Eight Gates exist on the map
- Twelve Gates exist on the map
- You have units in at least two Areas containing enemy-controlled Gates
- Lose one of your own Units in Battle
- Your Great Old One is in the same Area with an enemy Great Old One
- Awaken Yog-Sothoth
Eight or Twelve Gates exist on the map
These requirements act as a sort of timer. In a typical four-player game, eight gates are acquired early in the second turn, and most players hit twelve gates before the end of the third turn. In games with more players, obviously these requirements get met earlier, and some players have wondered if this sets up a kind of imbalance (because Opener gets these spellbooks earlier in such games).
The answer is that I actually planned it that way. You see, Opener’s Unique Ability is Beyond-One, which lets him move Gates around the map. While this is a great ability, it has a “use-by” date so to speak, because as the game goes on, and the good Gate Areas get filled in, it becomes tougher and tougher to use it effectively. In a game with more players, the Gates fill in faster, which tends to limit Beyond-One’s more quickly. So, to counteract the ill-effects of Beyond-One’s comparative weakness in these situations, he gets two spellbooks earlier than otherwise, and the great cycle of life continues. All is well in Opener-land.
Lose one of your own Units in Battle
Believe it or not, this is a really fun spellbook to get. It is like a breath of fresh air when, as Opener, you finally get that unit killed and pull the spellbook. Plus other players hate it, because of course you are often attacking them. You can often co-operate with other players to attain this – usually Cthulhu is pretty interested for example. If you send in multiple units, you can level up some of them with Million Favored Ones, while one is killed to fulfill the spellbook.
You have units in at least two Areas containing enemy-controlled Gates AND Your Great Old One is in the same Area with an enemy Great Old One
Both of these have the same function – to force Opener of the Way to mix it up with other factions early on, before he has reached his full power. It forces him to intrude upon their territory, and to potentially prepare for battle. Moving Yog-Sothoth into the same area as an enemy is a pretty big deal, and usually requires preparation – it is often the last spellbook that Opener acquires. It’s particularly interesting because Opener actually has no combat abilities (unless you count Million Favored Ones), so is always torn between whether he should engage in battle or build up forces. These spellbooks add to his quandary and force him to balance activities appropriately.
Of course, every faction has a version of this spellbook requirement. In the case of Yog-Sothoth, he is the only Great Old One that you can buy “on the installment plan” – i.e., purchase a Spawn of Yog-Sothoth on one turn, and then summon Yog-Sothoth on the next. Or you can do it all at once, and then use Dragon Ascending to restore your Power!
A little more about Opener
If you look at Opener’s units you will see that there is a progression. We start out with the Cultist (not displayed here), and then it promotes to the Mutant – who might possibly be able to pass for human under heavy clothing.
The next stage is the Abomination, who moves on beyond the Mutant, and is in the process of shedding much of its human skin. From the Abomination we move on to the Spawn of Yog-Sothoth, in which the human face still remains, though it’s being torn apart on the front of the horror. But, consider – from Yog-Sothoth’s point of view, the Spawn probably seems like a human – it has limbs, and a face – just like a human! I doubt he can tell the difference. Unfortunately, we can.
Finally we end up with the last stage – Yog-Sothoth (which a Spawn promotes into). At this point, all resemblance to earth life is gone – it’s just a mass of spawning bladders and rootlets. Sometimes Yog-Sothoth is described as a mass of spheres, and I wanted to make that horrifying – not just a bunch of soap bubbles. I think you will agree we have succeeded.
Note also that Yog-Sothoth’s special Great Old One ability (The Key and the Gate) means that he is a Gate. And note that Yog-Sothoth’s base is in fact modeled after the normal plastic Gates we sell! So it acts as a little reminder of his ability.
Plus it makes the Gates seem a lot creepier – he’s not just stepping through a magic portal like at Hogwarts – it’s more like he’s toothpaste getting squeezed out of the tube.