Great Cthulhu
Painted

Great Cthulhu is one of the four original factions for the Cthulhu Wars boardgame. It focuses on combat and ocean control.


Components

Faction

Setup
8 Power, 6 Acolytes, and a Controlled Gate in the Area with this Glyph: Sigil - Great Cthulhu.png
Unique Ability
Immortal (Ongoing): Once Cthulhu has Awakened, he costs only 4 Power each subsequent time he is Awakened. Whenever you Awaken any Great Old One, gain 1 Elder Sign.
Spellbook Requirements
Receive this Spellbook in the first Doom Phase.
Receive 1 Elder Sign.
This must be the last Faction Spellbook you receive. It must be taken during the Doom Phase.
Receive 1 Elder Sign.
Kill and/or Devour an enemy Unit in a Battle.* Kill and/or Devour 2 enemy Units in a Battle.*
*You may earn both these Spellbooks in a single Battle, if you Kill and/or Devour 3 or more Units.
Control 3 Gates in ocean/sea Areas
OR
4 Gates exist in ocean/sea Areas.
Awaken Cthulhu.
Spellbooks
Spellbook - Great Cthulhu.pngSpellbook - Great Cthulhu (Absorb).png Absorb (Pre-Battle): If a Shoggoth is present, Eliminate one or more of your Monsters or Cultists in the Battle. For each Unit so removed, add 3 dice to the Shoggoth's Combat for that Battle.
Spellbook - Great Cthulhu.pngSpellbook - Great Cthulhu (Devolve).png Devolve (Ongoing): After any player's Action, you may replace any number of your Acolyte Cultists on the Map with the same number of Deep Ones from your Pool.
Spellbook - Great Cthulhu.pngSpellbook - Great Cthulhu (Dreams).png Dreams (Action: Cost 2): Choose an Area containing an enemy's Acolyte Cultist. Your enemy must Eliminate one of his Acolyte Cultists from that Area and replace it with one from your Pool.
Spellbook - Great Cthulhu.pngSpellbook - Great Cthulhu (Regenerate).png Regenerate (Post-Battle): Assign up to 2 Kill or Pain Battle results to the same Starspawn. If 2 Kills are applied, the Starpspawn is Killed. On any other combination of Kill or Pain results, the Starspawn is only Pained.

Spellbook - Great Cthulhu.pngSpellbook - Great Cthulhu (Submerge).png Submerge (Action: Cost 1): If Cthulhu is in an ocean or sea Area, remove him from the Map and place him on your Faction Card, along with any or all of your Units in the Area. Later, as a 0-cost Action, you may place Cthulhu, plus all accompanying Units, into any Area.
Spellbook - Great Cthulhu.pngSpellbook - Great Cthulhu (Y'ha Nthlei).png Y'ha Nthlei (Ongoing): During the Gather Power Phase, if Cthulhu is in play, gain 1 Power for each enemy-controlled Gate in an ocean or sea Area.

Units

Cultists
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Spellbooks
Acolyte (Classic) - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px

Acolyte (Alternate) - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px
Acolyte 6 1 0 Dreams
Availability: [Classic] Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x6), Acolyte Blister Pack {RPG-CG-A} (x2)
[Alternate] Alternate Faction Acolytes {CW-U12} (x6), Cultic Set 2 {EHP-5} (x6)
From his ancient tome he intones the words of power. Beware, sane world. The realm of madness awakens at his command.
The alternate sculpt units replace the classic sculpt Acolytes, and were originally developed for Evil High Priest.
Monsters
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Spellbooks
Deep One.png 100x100px
Deep One 4 1 1 Devolve
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x3), Deep One Blister Pack {RPG-CG-G1} (x3)
From the oceanic abyss rises a representative of a race superior to mankind. One day, they will replace us.
Shoggoth.png Shoggoth (Painted).png
Shoggoth 2 2 2 Absorb
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x3), Shoggoth Blister Pack {RPG-CG-G2} (x2)
The ultimate in blob-monsters, the amorphous shoggoth can instantly form any organ or combination thereof and is almost impossible to destroy.
Starspawn.png Starspawn (Painted).png
Starspawn 2 3 3 Regenerate
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x2), Starspawn Blister Pack {RPG-CG-G3} (x1)
Plunging from star to star, and now reaching earth, the starspawn is the same species as Great Cthulhu himself, and as such has the same abilities as Cthulhu, though to a slightly less degree.
Great Old Ones
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Spellbooks
Cthulhu.png 100x100px
Cthulhu 1 10/4 6

How to Awaken Cthulhu:
  1. There must be a gate in Great Cthulhu's starting Area (can be abandoned or enemy-controlled).
  2. If this is first Awakening, pay 10 Power. Otherwise, pay 4 Power.
  3. Cthulhu appears in its starting Area. (Remember to gain 1 Elder Sign).
Devour (Pre-Battle): The enemy player chooses and Eliminates one of his Monsters or Cultists in the Battle.
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x1), Cthulhu Blister Pack {RPG-CG-G4} (x1)
The mightiest of his race, the starspawn. Great Cthulhu is their ruler and high priest. But high priest of what?

Expansion Units

Cultists
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Spellbooks
Acolyte (Handicap) - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px
Acolyte 1 1 0
Availability: CW Onslaught 3 Stretch Goal Box {CW-E20} (x1)
This unit is used as a Handicap Acolyte.
High Priest (Classic) - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px
100x100px 100x100px
High Priest 1 3 0

Loyalty Card - High Priest.png Unspeakable Oath (Ongoing): At the end of any player's Action (even if it is not your turn), Sacrifice your High Priest (return him to your Pool) and gain 2 Power. This may also be done during the Gather Power and Doom Phases.
Notes: The High Priest is a new type of Cultist, it is Recruited like an Acolyte. Each High Priest generates 1 Power during the Gather Power Phase, can Create and Control a Gate, and can be Captured. Each Faction has only a single High Priest available.
This unit may also be used as one of the Unique High Priests.
Availability: [Classic] High Priests {CW-U3} (x1), High Priests {CW-U3-O3} (x1), High Priest Blister Pack {RPG-U3-HP} (x2)
[Alternate] High Priests {CW-U3-O4} (x1), Cultic Set 2 {EHP-5} (x1), Cultic Set 3 {EHP-6} (x1)
He leads the rites of old. It is time to awaken the great old ones! Iä! Iä!
The alternate sculpt unit replaces the classic sculpt High Priest, and was originally developed for Evil High Priest.
Brain Cylinder Token - Great Cthulhu.png

Brain Cylinder Figure - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px
Brain Cylinder 4 0 0
Availability: [Token] Yuggoth Map {CW-M3} (x4)
[Figure] Shining Trapezohedron {CW-E15} (x4), Shining Trapezohedron {CW-E15-O3} (x4), Shining Trapezohedron {CW-E15-O4} (x4), Brain Cylinder Blister Pack {RPG-E15-10} (x1)
This helpless human, reduced to a mere living brain by the surgical and mechanical skill of the aliens, can now only communicate through electronic devices. What wisdom or warning can he relate?
See Brain Cylinders for rules. The Brain Cylinder figures replace the Brain Cylinder Tokens.
The Dark Demon - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px
The Dark Demon 1 1 0

Loyalty Card - The Dark Demon.png

How to Obtain the The Dark Demon Loyalty Card: In the Doom Phase, when it is your turn to perform a Ritual of Annihilation, you may obtain this Loyalty Card and then place the Dark Demon matching your Faction's color anywhere on the Map. If you wish, you may also perform a Ritual of Annihilation. Each of the other Factions permanently loses an Acolyte from their Pools (or from the Map, if all are in play), gains 1 Elder Sign, and then adds to their Pools a Dark Demon of their Faction's color.
The Summons (Ongoing): Any Faction with a Dark Demon in its Pool cannot take any Action other than Recruiting the Dark Demon. (You can still choose to drop your Power to 0 and take no more Actions this Action Phase instead).
Metamorph (Ongoing): Dark Demons are a new type of Cultist and are treated as Cultists in every way, but they produce 0 Power during the Gather Power Phase. They are Recruited rather than Summoned, so a Controlled Gate is not needed to bring them into play. Dark Demons may Create and Control Gates, and they are worth 1 Power when Captured. They can be targeted by any Spellbooks or abilities that reference Cultists, but not Acolytes.
Availability: Masks of Nyarlathotep {CW-U10} (x1)
Great Old Ones
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Spellbooks
Buffthulhu.png 100x100px
Buffthulhu 1 10/4 9

How to Awaken Buffthulhu:
  1. There must be a gate in Great Cthulhu's starting Area (can be abandoned or enemy-controlled).
  2. If this is first Awakening, pay 10 Power. Otherwise, pay 4 Power.
  3. Cthulhu appears in its starting Area. (Remember to gain 1 Elder Sign).
Availability: Cthulhu - The Art of Richard Luong
This unit can be awakened instead of the standard Cthulhu unit whenever Cthulhu is awakened, and was originally developed for Cthulhu - The Art of Richard Luong.

Buildings

Buildings
Image Unit Quantity Cost Combat Spellbooks
Gate - Great Cthulhu.png 100x100px
Gate 1 3 N/A
Notes: Used for Colour Out of Space
Availability: Colour Out of Space {CW-U7} (x1), Eldritch Gate Pack {CW-U9} (x1), Eldritch Gate Pack {CW-U9-O3} (x1)

Other components

Other components
Image Component Quantity Notes
Faction Card - Great Cthulhu.png
Faction Card 1
Availability: [Cardstock] Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x1), Upgraded Cardstock Items {CW-E11} (x1), Ultimate Errata Pack {CW-E?} (x1)
[3mm] 3mm Die Cut Faction Card Pack {CW-E10} (x1), 3mm Die Cut Faction Card Pack {CW-E10-O3} (x1), Cthulhu Wars – Core Game {CW-O3} (x1)
Faction Token - Great Cthulhu.png
Faction Token 1
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x1)
Power Marker - Great Cthulhu.png 100x50px
Power Marker 1
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x1)
Doom Marker - Great Cthulhu.png 100x50px
Doom Marker 1
Availability: Cthulhu Wars – Core Game (x1), Upgraded Cardstock Items {CW-E11} (x1)
Battle Dice - Great Cthulhu.png
Battle Dice 20
Availability: Battle Dice - Cthulhu {CW-U14} (x20), All 200 Battle Dice! {CW-U24} (x20), ALL 240 BATTLE DICE {CW-U??} (x20), 20 extra Battle Dice! {CW-E13} (x20)
Neutral Unit Identifier - Great Cthulhu.png
Neutral Unit Identifier 6 (25mm)
3 (40mm)
3 (50mm)
1 (80mm)
Availability: Neutral Unit Identifier {CW-U26} (x13), Neutral Unit Identifier {CW-U26-O4} (x13)

General Tips

Elder Sign Acquisition - Cthulhu gains Elder Signs each time his faction awakens ANY Great Old One. In the early game, it is best to avoid Cthulhu's death. If such an event occurs, the blow is softened by the bonus Elder Sign. However, gaining this ES is often more expensive than performing a Ritual during the Doom Phase (1 power to submerge / unsubmerge, 1 power to declare combat, 4 power to resummon. 6 total power required). In the later rounds when the Ritual of Annihilation is expensive (7+), and especially if you sense the final action round is upon you, sending Cthulhu to his death once or twice an action phase is a valid strategy. Also, if there arises a situation where you have to kill either a 3 cost Star Spawn or a 4 cost Cthulhu, then it may likely be a better choice to kill Great Cthulhu instead and bring him back with that Elder Sign.

If Neutral Great Old Ones are involved in the game, Cthulhu receives a fantastic bonus of one Elder Sign each time a Neutral GOO is summoned. Often times this costs a mere 4 power which is almost always worthwhile.

Other Notes - Cthulhu has the strongest orientation towards combat of the base game factions. His monsters bring incredible combat abilities to bear cheaper than his opponents. Perhaps more than any other Great Old One, Cthulhu's spell book choices can easily affect the emergent nature of the game, specifically with Dreams and Y'ha Nthlei. Cthulhu can only be awakened in the South Pacific, so he can be the faction that is most tied down to a particular area. While Cthulhu does have strong combat abilities, do not ignore his powerful non-combat spell books like "Dreams." Unlike other factions, Cthulhu generally is not building towards one big turn, but instead is building for a constant, steady stream of points from both Gates and Elder Signs from awakening Cthulhu.

Spellbook Strategies

  • Devolve
    • Using this spellbook puts a cultist back in your pool to be recruited later somewhere else.
    • As long as a Deep One is in your pool, your cultists are virtually immune to capture. Simply Devolve a threatened cultist the moment the enemy moves into the area.
    • Cultists can Devolve in response to a battle initiated in the same area to add additional combat dice to your offense or defense.
    • Move your monster into a Gated area containing just one Cultist. It's okay if it's guarded by a monster. Dream away the Cultist. Your own monster will guard him on the newly-stolen gate.
    • Expansion Synergies Below.
  • Absorb
    • A single Shoggoth can absorb as many units as you would like. At 3 dice per absorbed unit, this can add up quickly!
    • While absorbing that extra Deep One may seem like a good idea, remember that you need units to assign your enemy's pains and kills to!
    • Expansion Synergies Below.
  • Regenerate
    • A Starspawn with Regenerate makes an excellent "meat shield" for your enemy's pains and kills! Just a single Starspawn with Cthulhu can be a big headache for your enemy.
    • Having this spellbook means that your Starspawn cannot be killed with less than 2 kill results.
  • Submerge
    • Use Submerge to make Cthulhu and any/all units in the same area immune to your enemies' foul intentions until they re-emerge.
    • If you re-emerge in an ocean area, you can Submerge once again the very next turn.
    • A submerged Cthulhu creates uncertainty in your opponents' plans. The prospect of Cthulhu appearing in any area on the board can affect your enemies' decisions.
    • Once Cthulhu has all 6 of his spellbooks, battle becomes unlimited. Use this opportunity to re-emerge on your enemy and battle on the same turn. This can be devastating to your opponents.
  • Y'ha Nthlei
    • Having this spellbook (or the prospect of Cthulhu obtaining this spellbook) creates forced behaviors in your opponents' actions. They will be reluctant to build gates in the ocean areas.
    • Use this spellbook as a bargaining chip with your opponents. "I will do X if you build your gate in the ocean."
    • The longer the game lasts, the more power this spellbook will generate. Not only will you see the power return round after round, ocean areas will begin to fill with gates as real estate becomes more limited.
  • Dreams
    • Having this spellbook (or the prospect of Cthulhu obtaining this spellbook) creates forced behaviors by your opponents. They will be reluctant to leave a single cultist in an area with a gate even if you never take the action.
    • While the power cost for this spellbook action is high (2 power), the addition of your cultist to an area where they can potentially control a gate while simultaneously removing your enemy's cultist and controlled gate is a big power swing.
    • Remember that this spellbook can't be used if you don't have any cultists in your pool. Devolve one sometime before you want to use Dreams to return the cultist to your pool.

Opening Strategies

Cthulhu always begins play as the first player. This is a double-edged sword, as you get first pick for control of any adjacent areas, but other players have the opportunity to react to you. An common trap is to go for immediately building 2 Ocean gates; while you do get your "Control 3 Ocean Gates" requirement (maybe taking Devolve), you're left without any power, and other players can safely take your gates. Having Devolve can make them even more appetizing, since it makes your gates cheaper, freeing your enemy up to do other things. However, if you can pull it off, you'll be in a strong position for Turn 2.

Playing as Cthulhu also generally depends upon awakening him fairly soon. His combat power is formidable in the beginning of the game, but the static value means that he loses some of his combat relevance as the other players' Great Old Ones are becoming much more powerful. Because Cthulhu is largely hoping for a slow-burn victory, he'll need to act as an enforcer to keep the other players from having too big of a turn in the early game. Summoning Cthulhu really aids in this, especially if you've chosen "Submerge" as your spell book.

Playing with High Priests gives Cthulhu a lot of flexibility at the start of the game. You can bring it out, and then either a 2nd gate, or some monsters, and enter the 2nd turn with enough power to both Awaken Cthulhu and either move/attack, bring out more monsters, or Submerge off the board for an explosive Turn 3.

Opening 1: Turn 2 Awaken-Rush.

It may take this form:

A. Fast power, turn 2 awaken strategy (high risk)

1. 8 Power

  1. Move 1 cultist to South Atlantic (-1): 7 Power
  2. Build Gate in South Atlantic (-3), occupy w/ Cultist: 4 Power
  3. Move 1 cultist to North Atlantic/North Pacific/Indian Ocean (-1): 3 power
  4. Build Gate in North Atlantic/North Pacific/Indian Ocean (-3) Take Devolve: 0 power

2. 12 Power

  1. Awaken Cthulhu (-10), Take Submerge: 2 Power (Devolve 1 cultist)
  2. Recruit Cultist (-1), Devolve 1 cultist: 1 Power
  3. Recruit Cultist (-1), 0 Power

3. 12 Power

  1. Summon Shoggoth (-2): 10 Power
  2. Summon Starspawn (-3): 7 Power
  3. Summon Starspawn (-3): 4 Power
  4. Submerge (-1): 3 Power
  5. Reemerge (0): 3 Power

Battle! (-1):2 Power;

2 Deep Ones, 1 Shoggoth, 2 Starspawn, 1 Cthulhu = 16 dice, absorb 1 Deep One = 18, absorb 2 Deep Ones = 20 dice.

Opening 2: Slow and steady growth.

When the other people at the table know better then to leave you alone. Sometimes its best to shoot for a solid foundation and go for summoning Cthulhu on turn 3. If doing this look out for opportunities if people greedily expand close to you early. Focus on holding your starting area and adjacent territory to maximize the later cthulhu summon.

  1. 8 Power
    1. Move 1 cultist to an adjacent ocean territory (Usually South Atlantic) (-1): 7 Power
    2. Build Gate in ocean (-3), occupy w/ Cultist: 4 Power
    3. Summon one Shoggoth at starting area or new ocean gate (-2): 2 Power
    4. Summon Second Shoggoth at the are you haven't summoned a shoggoth yet (-2): 0 Power
    5. In first doom phase take Devolve as first spell
  2. 10 Power (6 Cultists, 2 Gates)
    1. Move 1 Cultist from start area to either North Atlantic/North Pacific/Indian Ocean if available (-1): 9 Power
    2. Build Gate in North Atlantic/North Pacific/Indian Ocean (-3): 6 Power , Take Dreams spell
    3. Summon a Starspawn at new gate (-3): 3 Power
    4. Remaining power should be spent to devolve to protect cultists from abilities/capture and recruit them again, spent to devolve and and dreams to steal a 4th gate or capturing vulnerable cultists. Whatever you do ensure 12 power or more into 3rd turn.
  3. 12 power or more
    1. Awaken Cthulhu, gain submerge (-10): 2 power or more
    2. submerge Cthulhu, with shoggoth, and 1-2 Cultist or deep ones. (-1) 1 power or more.
    3. With remaining power seek out an opportune space to reemerge (0 cost action)
    4. Battle (-1) and try to unlock remaining spell books and disrupt foes as much as possible. Sacrifice cultists or deep ones to kills.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Expansion Synergies: Ghasts cost 2 power for 4 units. Mother Hydra's spellbook re-summons all your cultists for 1 power. Combined with Devolve, converting 4 Cultists into Deep Ones will only cost 1 power overall. However, combined with Absorb...

4 Ghasts + 4 Deep Ones + 6 Cultists = 14 units x 3 dice per Absorb = 42 + 2 from Shoggoth = 44 + 6 from Great Cthulhu = 50 dice! (50)! 50 / 6 = ~8 kills + 1 from devour = ~9 kills.

Power Cost: 2 for Ghasts. 2 + 1 for re-summoning 4 cultists after converting to Deep Ones = 3 + 1 for re-summoning 6 cultists = 4 + 2 for Shoggoth = 6 + 4 for Cthulhu = 10 + 2 for Submerge = 12 power.

Combined with Submerge, you have a Cthulhu Nuke.

Opening 3: Cthulhu Nuke, (Fast).

Note: Requires several expensive expansions.

  1. 8 Power: Take Mao Ceremony as 1st spellbook.
    1. Move Cultist to South America, (-1).
    2. Move Cultist to Australia, (-1).
    3. Build Gate in South America, (-3).
    4. Build Gate in Australia, (-3).
  2. 12 Power: Sacrifice 4 cultists with Mao Ceremony, (+4) = 16 Power.
    1. Summon Great Cthulhu in South Pacific, (-10).
    2. Move Great Cthulhu to South America, (-1).
    3. Summon Mother Hydra in South America, (-4). Gain Zygote spellbook.
    4. Zygote 4 cultists back into South Pacific, (-1).

Strategy

Faction strategy

Spellbook strategies

Recommended openers

Other notes

Story

These Great Old Ones, Castro continued, were not composed altogether of flesh and blood. They had shape - for did not this star-fashioned image prove it? - but that shape was not made of matter. When the stars were right, They could plunge from world to world through the sky; but when the stars were wrong, They could not live. But although They no longer lived, They would never really die. They all lay in stone houses in Their great city of R’lyeh, preserved by the spells of mighty Cthulhu for a glorious resurrection when the stars and the earth might once more be ready for Them. But at that time some force from outside must serve to liberate Their bodies. The spells that preserved Them intact likewise prevented Them from making an initial move, and They could only lie awake in the dark and think whilst uncounted millions of years rolled by. They knew all that was occurring in the universe, for Their mode of speech was transmitted thought. Even now They talked in Their tombs. When, after infinities of chaos, the first men came, the Great Old Ones spoke to the sensitive among them by moulding their dreams; for only thus could Their language reach the fleshly minds of mammals."
—H.P. Lovecraft

<<<Begin Transcription>>>
First Voice: Okay, let's take a look at what the boys from Geology sent up.
Second Voice: This is a weird one. Seriously, this could make our careers. It's a ... glob is all I can think of... that shares qualities of both the mineral and biological.
First Voice: What? That's not even possible. It's a little early for April Fool's Day, you know.
Second Voice: Just look at this, and then make up your own mind. This sample was just thawed out, but there's more in the freezer. Look ...
<<<sound of something opening, a slithering sound, and then the sound of something heavy and soft landing in presumably a metal dish>>>
...this oily iridescence? A thin, silicon-based secretion. But, the jelly substance underneath it? It's solid muscle tissue. And here's where it gets neat: the silica gel is being secreted by the muscle.
First Voice: Are you sure? That doesn't sound possible.
Second Voice: Okay, I'm going to cut this bugger open. See this?
First voice: It's self-healing? The incision's sealing up as you cut it.
Second Voice: Indeed. It doesn't really react to fire, but goes dormant in cold. However, the slime doesn't freeze.
First Voice: Wait, did you see that?
Second Voice: What? See what?
First Voice: I swear I just saw it ... twitch? Flex? Move in any case.
Second Voice: It did! Look! It's... rippling?
First Voice: Look how it moves, like a worm. Flexing internal musculature to slide across the dish. It almost looks like it's going to... GAAAAAAAAH!
Second Voice: Mother of God!
First Voice: Get it off me get it off me! It's burning! Burning my face!
Second Voice: I'm trying! I'm ... Ahh! its eating through my gloves!
First Voice: Get it oh god oh god oh god my eyes my throa...
<<<voice degenerates into bubbling chokes here.>>>
Second Voice: I don't know what to do! It's getting bigger! It's growing... oh, god, eyes, and tendrils... is that a mouth?
<<<Sound of tendrils(?) whipping through the air.>>>
First Voice: Kkkkill mee...
<<<A crash, a scream, and a slithering, slobbering cacophony...>>>
<<<End Transcription>>>
Ben Monroe

Epilogue

"It was gargantuan. A mountainous form rising from the sea, surrounded by lesser monstrosities that oozed and dragged themselves toward us with distorted limbs, tentacles, and pseudopods. When we heard that the Pacific Islands were empty, we didn't understand. We still thought in human terms. We hadn't considered that the colossal Thing had been eating, scouring the islands of life. And now it was here, hungry again."
—David Mendiola

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