The Cthulhu Wars factions are, obviously, extremely asymmetrical. But they have some features in common. All of them have some way of earning extra Elder Signs, and all of them have some kind of interesting Power bonus. Let’s talk about the latter.
Let’s take Great Cthulhu for example – he has two Power bonuses – one obvious and one less-so. The first is, of course his spellbook Y’ha Nthlei, which gives him 1 Power for each enemy-controlled Gate in an Ocean Area. This of course is more than a Power boost – it also discourages enemy players from capturing Gates in the Ocean – after all, if you have a choice, wouldn’t you rather seize a Gate that doesn’t give Cthulhu a bonus? His other Power bonus is his Immortal faction ability – which means his Great Old One is incredibly cheap to resurrect (plus you get an Elder Sign, making it even cheaper, in a sense). This latter bonus plays strongly into his tendency to get up-front and brutal in combat, and mitigates his losses. Of course all the factions have something like this.
Now let’s talk about the Tcho-Tcho Power bonus. Their faction has 6 acolyte cultists, 3 high priests, 6 proto-shoggoths, and Ubbo-Sathla, their “Great Old One”. Please note that in some sources, it’s listed as only 4 proto-shoggoths. But you get 6, trust me. The Tcho-Tchos have one obvious Power boost – the extra High Priests. This isn’t much of a boost, since recruiting one only turns a profit if you keep him in play for at least two turns, though it does give you a lot of flexibility and an emergency reserve. Plus some of your spellbooks encourage you to sack your High Priests for immediate gains.
Their other Power boost lies in the nature of Ubbo-Sathla. He spawns, for free, during the Doom phase. This means the Tcho-Tchos Great Old One requires no preparation, no expenditure, no awkward requirements. Every other faction has, typically, to spend at least one turn starved of Power because they just awakened their Great Old One. Not the Tcho-Tchos – they are always ready for action.
“But,” you say, “Isn’t this grossly unbalancing, getting a free Great Old One in the second turn?” Well, not really. You see Ubbo-Sathla’s other power is that his Combat rating starts at 0. Then, each subsequent Doom phase it goes up by 1d6. Thus, it typically works like this:
- Turn One – no Ubbo-Sathla (because no Doom phase on turn one)
- Turn Two – Ubbo-Sathla appears. His combat is 0, so you can’t go too crazy with him.
- Turn Three – Combat is 1-6. Not particularly terrifying, but potentially useful.
- Turn Four – Combat is 2-12. Now he is a contender at least.
- Turn Five – Combat is 3-18. Ubbo-Sathla becomes a holy terror.
- Turn Six – most games end during the Doom phase of turn 6, before any action exists, so it’s rare to see Ubbo-Sathla running around with Combat 4-24.
Now you know.