Cthulhu Wars Strategy Wiki

Darkness Empire is one of the four empires from Glorantha: The Gods War board game. It focuses on exploiting weakness and attacks of opportunity.



4 Trolls in Outer Hell. Start with 6 Power.
Unique Ability
Hellborn (Ongoing): Your units may exit Hell without permission. When doing so, they may emerge in any area on the surface map. They enter Hell in the usual way. Hellborn may not be used until after the first Council Phase (starting with the second Action Phase).

Unique Weakness
Nocturnal (Ongoing): You cannot build or conquer buildings in the Heavens, the Moon, or on the Spike. You may still destroy buildings in these areas.
First Fragment
Have a Minion, Hero, Lesser God, and Greater God in play. Summon Hellmother, Kyger Litor.
Second Fragment
Part A: The first time you kill a unit or destroy a building from each empire in battle, take 1 such unit or building and place it here. See part B. Lose a unit in battle.
Third Fragment
Part B: Once Part A contains a unit or building from each other empire, return those items to their owners' pools and take 2 gifts. Receive power equal to the number of enemy players. Place your Ziggurat.
Gift - Darkness.pngFile:Gift - Darkness (Ancestor Worship).png Ancestor Worship (Ongoing): You may now build the Castle of Lead. You earn 1 Rune each time you build it. (Remember to gain 1 Rune during each Power Phase if the Castle of Lead is in play.)
Gift - Darkness.pngFile:Gift - Darkness (Black Market).png Black Market (Council Phase): Draw 1 Rune from the deck. You may read it aloud if you like. You may choose to keep this Rune, paying 2 Power or 1 VP, OR you may give it to another player, who decides whether you earn 2 Power or 1 VP.
Gift - Darkness.pngFile:Gift - Darkness (Fear).png Fear (Post-Battle): When you rout enemy units, you may send them (as a group) to any area you choose, anywhere on the map.
Gift - Darkness.pngFile:Gift - Darkness (Hunger).png Hunger (Battle): Instead of rolling her die in combat, The Mistress may instead contribute your choice of +1 Kill OR +2 Routs to your rolled battle results.
Gift - Darkness.pngFile:Gift - Darkness (Psychopomp).png Psychopomp (Ongoing): Whenever one or more enemy units enter Hell from outside it, regardless of method, you earn 1 VP or 1 Power, chosen by that enemy. If units from more than one enemy empire enter Hell at the same time (e.g. via Storm's Teleport), you get to choose whether to earn 1 VP or 1 Power.
Gift - Darkness.pngFile:Gift - Darkness (Spectral Form).png Spectral Form (Post-Battle): You may assign up to 2 Kills and/or Routs to each of your Shades involved in the battle. If a Shade receives at least 1 Kill, it is killed. If a Shade suffers any Routs (and no Kills), it is routed.


Mortal Minions
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
Troll.png File:Troll (Painted).png
Troll 4 1 1
Availability: Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x4)
Mortal Heros
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
The Mistress.png File:The Mistress (Painted).png
The Mistress 1 2 1 Hunger
Availability: Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x1)
Lesser Gods
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
Shade.png File:Shade (Painted).png
Shade 3 2 1 Spectral Form
Availability: Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x3)
Greater Gods
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
Hellmother, Kyger Litor.png File:Hellmother, Kyger Litor (Painted).png
Hellmother, Kyger Litor 1 4 (You must have a Temple, Ziggurat, or Castle of Lead in play.) 8, minus the number of Darkness empire units in your pool.
Nocturnal Raids (Power Phase): Place all Trolls from your pool into any Hell area.
Availability: Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x1)


Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
Shrine Token - Darkness.png

Shrine Figure - Darkness.png File:Shrine Figure - Darkness (Painted).png
Shrine 6 1 0
Availability: [Token] Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x6)
[Figure] The Buildings {TGW-4} (x6)
The Shrine figure replaces the Shrine token.
Temple Token - Darkness.png

Temple Figure - Darkness.png File:Temple Figure - Darkness (Painted).png
Temple 3 2+Shrine +1 Rout
Dark Walk (Ongoing): Your units may enter Hell from any area in which you have a Temple.
Availability: [Token] Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x3)
[Figure] The Buildings {TGW-4} (x3)
The Temple figure replaces the Temple token.
Ziggurat Token - Darkness.png

Ziggurat Figure - Darkness.png File:Ziggurat Figure - Darkness (Painted).png
Ziggurat 1 3+Temple +1 Kill
Dark Walk (Ongoing): Your units may enter Hell from the area in which your Ziggurat is located.
Availability: [Token] Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x1)
[Figure] The Buildings {TGW-4} (x1)
The Ziggurat figure replaces the Ziggurat token.
Castle of Lead Token.png
Castle of Lead Figure.png File:Castle of Lead Figure (Painted).png
Castle of Lead 1 3+any building (requires Ancestor Worship gift) +1 Kill
Darksee (Power Phase & Ongoing): Gain 1 rune during the Power Phase. Your units may enter Hell from the area in which the Castle of Lead is located.
Availability: [Token] Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x1)
[Figure] The Buildings {TGW-4} (x1)
The Castle of Lead figure replaces the Castle of Lead token.

Expansion Units[]

Mortal Minions
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
Zombie.png File:Zombie (Painted).png
Zombie 6 N/A 0
Availability: War Gods {TGW-5} (x6)
Lesser Gods
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
Earth Queen - Darkness.png File:Earth Queen - Darkness (Painted).png
Earth Queen 1 2 1, OR 0 vs. Earth Empire

Loyalty Card - Earth Queen.png

How to Obtain the Earth Queen Loyalty Card: Give to a new Spouse.
The Earth Queen is now married to you for the rest of the game. She is your unit to control, and if she is killed or eliminated she returns to your unit pool rather than Earth's unit pool. You may summon her in the same manner as any of your other units.
Earth may also re-summon her from your pool when placing a Temple or Ziggurat. When this happens you do not decide the area to which she is summoned, but you still control her after she is placed.
During the Council Phase, earn 1 Power if this Queen is in play.
Be aware that the Earth has the Injunction gift, which may eliminate an Earth Queen during the Council Phase in order to gain a rune. Injunction occurs in the council Phase before you would gain 1 power for this unit.
Availability: The Empires {TGW-1} (x1)
Greater Gods
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Gifts
File:Mindless Destruction, Zorak Zoran.png File:Mindless Destruction, Zorak Zoran (Painted).png
Mindless Destruction, Zorak Zoran 1 0/3 2

To Summon: When the Spike shatters, immediately place Zorak Zoran at any of your buildings. You may also summon him by paying 3 Power.
Zombies (Post-Battle): If Zorak Zoran is in play and any non-Zombie units are killed in any battle, after Conquest, place one Zombie in the area.
File:Gift - Mindless Destruction, Zorak Zoran.png Heroquest: Zorak Zoran is in a battle in which 2+ units are killed.
Afterlife (Post-Battle: Cost 1): If Zoran Zoran is in play and you engage in a battle which sends an enemy Greater God to Hell; gain 1 VP and 1 Rune.
Availability: War Gods {TGW-5} (x1)
Mindless destruction. He is the troll's rage and never ceases in that purpose even in death. His ways continue through into the afterlife and if you're unlucky you too will serve him in undeath. He creates zombies of those slain whether friend or foe.
Comforting Shadow, Xiola Umbar.png File:Comforting Shadow, Xiola Umbar (Painted).png
Comforting Shadow, Xiola Umbar 1 2 1

To Summon: A Darkness Greater God must be in the Sky Dome; place Xiola Umbar in Inner Hell.
Distract Attention (Ongoing): If Xiola Umbar is not in Hell, nor at the Gates of Dawn, enemy players cannot move units into Xiola Umbar's area by any means unless you allow it.
File:Gift - Comforting Shadow, Xiola Umbar.png Heroquest: Xiola Umbar is in play; two or more Darkness units are eliminated in a single battle or by the same event.
Deep Healing (Ongoing): If Xiola Umbar is in play when you summon a unit, you may summon an additional unit of equal or lesser cost for free at the same or a different building.
Availability: Magic Gods {TGW-6} (x1)
Xiola Umbar the magic goddess of Darkness is one of nurturing the troll wives. She is the reason that trolls are so plentiful and helps them spread across the land and protects the troll matriarchs.
The realm of darkness is harsh but she is the protector of weaker creatures in the troll empire.
The All-Devourer, Black Eater.png File:The All-Devourer, Black Eater (Painted).png
The All-Devourer, Black Eater 1 0/3 *

To Summon: When you earn your 3rd empire gift, immediately place Black Eater at any of your buildings. You may also summon him by paying 3 Power.
Combat: Equals the number of enemy units in the area.
Gobbling (One-time): When the Black Eater first enters play, the other players have 1 minute to decide how to divvy up a VP loss equal to the total number of players. If they cannot agree, you gain that number of VP instead.
File:Gift - The All-Devourer, Black Eater.png Heroquest: While Black Eater is in play, as your action for a turn, select another player. From your total, transfer 2 VPs to them.
Gorge (Council Phase): If the Black Eater is in play, roll 1d6-2. The other players have 1 minute to decide how to divide up the result as a VP loss among them. (A negative result penalizes Darkness). If they cannot agree, you get the result as VP.
Availability: Secret Gods {TGW-7} (x1)
The true secret of the trolls is that they are all devouring. They want to and their end goal is to eat everything.
The black eater is the pure embodiment of this aspect. Other empires no[
sic] next to nothing about the black eater as those who encounter it are destroyed, via mastication most likely!

Other components[]

Other components
Image Component Quantity Notes
Empire Sheet - Darkness.png
Empire Sheet 1
Availability: Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x1), Errata Pack {TGW-ERRATA} (x1)
Victory-Power Marker - Darkness.png File:Victory-Power Marker - Darkness (Painted).png
Victory/Power Marker 2
Availability: Glorantha: The Gods War - Core Game (x2)
Chaos Rift Die - Darkness.png
Chaos Rift Die 1
Notes: Used for the Chaos Rift Struggle.
Availability: Chaos Rift Dice {TGW-DICE-3} (x1)


Faction Strategy[]

Darkness is a predator as well as a scavenger. Rather than assault a stronghold, you prefer to detect weakness and exploit it. With four type of building you have the most latent Power and VP of any empire, but it is expensive to realize that potential. Your ability to strike from Hell is fantastic, and your ability to hide there avoids retribution. Early on, collect trophies from other empires for your big Heroquest. The Mistress's Hunger is extremely helpful in this regard. While it might seem fun to take out enemy Temples with your second-turn attack (and you can certainly do this), it is probably better to target their Shrines. The Temples usually have at least one defender, and they (Sky, in particular) will scatter your forces with routs. This will force you to have to regroup and attack again. Simple, surgical strikes are preferable.

Remember when you finally achieve your big Heroquest (the one in two parts), you get a one-time infusion of Power. You can use this to establish board presence, summon your greater goddess, or build a Ziggurat, all of which set you up for the following turn. Do not waste it on petty revenge.

In the late game, the combo of Fear and Psychopomp rewards you for seeking out little fights; Spectral Form and Hellmother's Nocturnal Raids will help you survive these battles.

A common beginner's mistake is to build a Temple or even a Ziggurat in Hell. This deprives you of that buildings special power. Keep your eyes on the surface world! Hell is a refuge, not a base of operations. Sky may try to talk you into letting Sun God out of Hell. But...the truth is that Hellmother is Darkness' only unit capable of releasing him, and she has better things to do. Let him rot.

Gift Strategies[]

  • Ancestor Worship
    • Best in the mid-to-late game. In the long run, the Castle of Lead is cheaper than a Ziggurat, and it gives you just as much Power. Still, you should usually place your Ziggurat before the Castle of Lead, for the gift the Ziggurat provides.
  • Black Market
    • You must be sly to maximize this gift's value. Do not always "buy" the runes yourself - instead choose players who are unlikely to use the rune to hurt you.
  • Fear
    • While you victims are normally sent to Hell, sometimes it ca be better to move them somewhere else.
  • Hunger
    • Often your first gift, because it plays so well with your need to eliminate other empires' units and buildings.
  • Psychopomp
    • An entertaining gift which irritates foes and encourages late-game raids.
  • Spectral Form
    • Gives your Shades the capacity to protect other units in your army.

Recommended Openers[]

Other Notes[]



"We could hear her voice echoing from inside the great castle, but we understood not what it said. When she clambered out, we were aghast. Cragspider the Firewitch was both beautiful and hideous. Her hair and hands blazed with magical potency, and she commanded us to turn over our now-screaming prisoners as tribute. Too fearful to disobey, and to our shame, we did as she decreed."
—Sandy Petersen