Immortal (Ongoing): Once Cthulhu has Awakened, he costs only 4 Power each additional time he is Awakened. Whenever you Awaken any Great Old One, gain 1 Elder Sign.
6 Acolytes and a controlled Gate in the Area marked with the Glyph (South Pacific, on the Earth Map)
Acolyte: Count 6, Cost 1, Combat 0
Deep One: Count 4, Cost 1, Combat 1
Shoggoth: Count 2, Cost 2, Combat 2
Starspawn: Count 2, Cost 3, Combat 3
Great Old One
Cthulhu: Cost 10/4, Combat 6
How to Awaken Cthulhu:
- There must be a gate in Great Cthulhu's starting Area (Can be abandoned or enemy-controlled)
- If this is the first Awakening: pay 10 Power. Otherwise pay 4 Power.
- Cthulhu appears in the starting Area. (Remember to gain 1 Elder Sign).
Devour: (Pre-Battle) The enemy player eliminates one of his Monsters or Cultists in the area, his choice.
- In the 1st Doom phase, receive this Spellbook. Also receive 1 Elder Sign.
- In any Doom phase in which you have 5 faction Spellbooks, receive this Spellbook. Also receive 1 Elder Sign.
- Kill and/or Devour 1 enemy Unit in a battle *
- Kill and/or Devour 2 enemy Units in a battle *
- Control 3 Gates in Ocean Areas OR 4 Gates exist in Ocean Areas
- Awaken Cthulhu
* You may earn both these Spellbooks in a single Battle, if you Kill and/or Devour 3 or more Units
- Devolve (Ongoing) At the end of any player's Action (even if it's not your turn), transform one or more of your Acolyte Cultists anywhere on the map into Deep Ones.
- Absorb (Pre-Battle) If a Shoggoth is present, eliminate one or more of your Monsters or Cultists from the Area. For each Unit so removed, add 3 dice to the Shoggoth's Combat for that Battle.
- Regenerate (Post-Battle) Apply up to 2 Battle results to the same Starspawn when taking losses. If both results are Kills, the Starspawn dies. On any other combination of Kill or Pain results, the Starspawn retreats.
- Dreams (Action: Cost 2) Choose an area with one or more enemy Acolyte Cultists. Your enemy must eliminate one and replace it with one from your Pool.
- Y'ha Nthlei (Ongoing) During Gather Power, if Cthulhu is in play, you gain 1 Power for each enemy-controlled Gate in an ocean Area.
- Submerge (Action: Cost 1) If Cthulhu is in an ocean area, remove him from the map and place him on your Faction Card, along with any or all Friendly Units in the same Area (still considered to be in play). As a later Action, pay 0 power to place Cthulhu and all accompanying Units in any area.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (3 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.
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
- Move 1 cultist to South Atlantic (-1): 7 Power
- Build Gate in South Atlantic (-3), occupy w/ Cultist: 4 Power
- Move 1 cultist to North Atlantic/North Pacific/Indian Ocean (-1): 3 power
- Build Gate in North Atlantic/North Pacific/Indian Ocean (-3) Take Devolve: 0 power
2. 12 Power
- Awaken Cthulhu (-10), Take Submerge: 2 Power (Devolve 1 cultist)
- Recruit Cultist (-1), Devolve 1 cultist: 1 Power
- Recruit Cultist (-1), 0 Power
3. 12 Power
- Summon Shoggoth (-2): 10 Power
- Summon Starspawn (-3): 7 Power
- Summon Starspawn (-3): 4 Power
- Submerge (-1): 3 Power
- Reemerge (-1): 2 Power
Battle! (-1): 1 Power;
2 Deep Ones, 1 Shoggoth, 2 Starspawn, 1 Cthulhu = 16 dice, absorb 1 Deep One = 18, absorb 2 Deep Ones = 20 dice.
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 2: Cthulhu Nuke, (Fast).
Note: Requires several expensive expansions.
- 8 Power: Take Mao Ceremony as 1st spellbook.
- Move Cultist to South America, (-1).
- Move Cultist to Australia, (-1).
- Build Gate in South America, (-3).
- Build Gate in Australia, (-3).
- 12 Power: Sacrifice 4 cultists with Mao Ceremony, (+4) = 16 Power.
- Summon Great Cthulhu in South Pacific, (-10).
- Move Great Cthulhu to South America, (-1).
- Summon Mother Hydra in South America, (-4). Gain Zygote spellbook.
- Zygote 4 cultists back into South Pacific, (-1).