Cthulhu Wars review

Cthulhu Wars

Cthulhu Wars – is a strategy board game published by «Green Eye Games» where players have an opportunity to become the alien race and god taken from the Top 10 Lovecraft board games here.”>Cthulhu mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft. This game is quite large and includes 64 miniatures of cultists, monsters, aliens and Great Old Ones that differs in height from 20 mm to almost 180 mm. Main designer of this piece of horror is Sandy Petersen. The artworks have been created by Richard Luong.

Cthulhu Wars - Colors

This game has been successfully backed on kickstarter and it pledged 1, 403, 981$! If you want this game to be shipped follow this link and do it! Also, Onslaught and Onslaught 2 expansions are available now and you can purchase them all.

Game Contents

  • Rulebook
  • Player Hints & Tips
  • Mapboard of Earth
  • Four Faction Cards
  • Four Power markers
  • Four Doom track markers
  • Ritual of Annihilation Marker
  • Starting player tile
  • Twenty four Spellbooks
  • Twelve Desecration markers
  • Twenty two Gates
  • Thirty six Elder Sign chits

Figures of monsters

  • Twenty four cultists
  • Five Great Old Ones: Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Shub-Niggurath, Hastur, The King in Yellow
  • Four Deep Ones
  • Two Shoggoths
  • Two Starspawn
  • Three Nightgaunts
  • Three Flying Polyps
  • Two Hunting Horror
  • Two Ghouls
  • Four Fungi
  • Three Dark Young
  • Six Undead
  • Four Byakhee

Cthulhu Wars - Base Game

Gameplay

The game takes place on the Earth map. Each player chooses one out of four factions. At the turn start, players gather Power, then, during a series of Action Rounds they use this Power to complete different tasks, such as hiring Cultists, moving units on the map, engaging them battle, summoning creatures, building Gates, performing spells and their Great Old One awakening. When all have no Power, the Action phase ends and the next turn starts. Victory is determined by collecting points on the Doom Track.

Cthulhu Wars - Gameplay

Game Setup

The Map Board

The map is in two pieces, and is printed on both sides. The two sides have identical continental shapes, but the five-player side of the map is divided into far more Land Areas than the three player side.

3 Player Game:

Place the game board so both three-player sides are face-up. The map will display thirteen total Areas.

2 player and 4 player game:

Place the game board so that one three player side is face-up, and one five player side is face up. For your first games, we recommend that you use a setup in which the Eastern Hemisphere is five-player, and the Western Hemisphere is three-player. In either case, the map will display seventeen total Areas.

Cthulhu Wars - 2 Player Setup

5 player game:

Do NOT place both five-player sides face-up unless you are playing a five player game (only possible if you have one of the Faction expansions). The five-player game displays twenty-one total Areas.

Dice and Gates

Take the dice and Gates and place them within easy reach of the players.

Also, here is this link to learn how to play this game in solo variant!

Cthulhu Wars - Solo Setup

Ritual and Doom Tracks

The game box has three Ritual of Annihilation Tracks (henceforth usually termed a Ritual Track). Each is labeled for use in a three-, four-, or five-player game. Set up the appropriate Ritual Track board next to the Doom Track. Place the two unused Ritual Tracks back in the game box. These Tracks will not be needed.

Place the Doom Track at a map board end. Place the Ritual of Annihilation Marker on the lowest spot on the Ritual of Annihilation Track. (The spot labeled five.) Once all players have chosen their Faction, place their Faction Marker on the zero space on the Doom Track.

Turn all the Elder Sign chits face down (with the Elder Sign on top), and mix them up. Place them near the Doom Track, within reach of all players.

Rules

The Game is played out in 4 distinct Phases. Let’s see how to play it:

1. Gather Power Phase

During this step, the players earn the Power which they will later expend. To record Power earned, move the Power Token to the right on your Faction card’s

  1. Power Track, up one point for each Power. If you have eight Power, place the Power Token on the spot marked “8”. How to Earn Power
  • Earn one Power for each Cultist you have on the map.
  • Earn two Power for each Gate you Control.
  • Earn one Power for each abandoned Gate on the map –- each player gains one Power per Gate.
  • Return all Captured Cultists to their owner’s Pools, and earn one Power for each Cultist you return. You may not choose to keep a Cultist prisoner –- they must be returned. In addition, each Faction has some special way to gain Power. This differs per Faction and might require a particular Spellbook.

Cthulhu Wars - Miniatures

2. Determine First Player Phase

On the first turn of the game, Cthulhu is the First Player. If you are in a game without the Cthulhu Faction, choose the first player by any means you wish. (We recommend either selecting the fattest player or just going by alphabetic order per Faction name – i.e., Black Goat is before Yellow Sign.) On all subsequent turns after the first, the First Player Marker is given to the player who has the most Power after the Gather Power Phase. If two (or more) players are tied for most Power, then the player who had the First Player Token last round decides which of the tied players receives the First Player Marker. (He can choose himself, if he is involved in the tie.) After the First Player is determined, he takes the First Player Token and sets it in front of him. He chooses whether to have the Clockwise side face-up, or the Counterclockwise side. Whichever side he selects determines the order of play for the rest of that turn, including all Action Rounds.

Cthulhu Wars - Watcher of the Green Pyramid

3. Doom Phase

The Doom Phase has four steps.

  1. Doom Track advancement
  2. Rituals of Annihilation
  3. Special Events
  4. Victory/Defeat determination

Cthulhu Wars - Cthulhu

4. Action Phase

During the Action Phase, each player in turn moves Units, casts spells, engages in battle, and otherwise interacts. All Actions have a Power cost (sometimes zero) which must be spent before the Action occurs. The first player takes one Action. When he finishes, the next player in turn takes an Action. This continues until all players are run out of Power and they can’t take any more Actions. At this point the Action Phase ends. In other words, the Action Phase keeps circling around until everyone is out of Power. Remember you get ONE Action each time it is your turn to have a go. If you run out of Power, you must sit helplessly while the other players complete their turns, skipping you. If you have zero Power when it is time for you to take an Action, you are skipped. You cannot even perform Actions which cost zero Power.

Play passes through each phase (beginning with Phase 1) and returning to Phase 1 after Phase 4 each time. This continues until the game ends (see Section X. Victory: Ending and Winning the Game for more details).

Cthulhu Wars Plus Expansions

Expansions

Cthulhu Wars: 6-8 Player Map

Cthulhu Wars - 6 - 8 Player Map

This 6-8 player double sided map enables you to play with more than 5 friends at once. It plays just like the normal 3-5 player map but one side is the 6-player side and the other one is the 8-player. When you flip one half face-up and the other one face-down you will get two different combinations of the 7-player map.

Cthulhu Wars: Abhoth

Cthulhu Wars - Abhoth

Abhoth is the horrible thing which is the source of all evil. When you awaken Abhoth you get the power to place Filth tokens on the map. The Filth tokens damage both sides of the Battle. Also, it makes the world more and more polluted.

Cthulhu Wars: Azathoth Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Azathoth

The Azathoth expansion is a unique expansion pack. When you awake the Azathoth or of the player who summons one of the four Monster types connected with this faction you will get the unit’s Loyal Card. This lists the Monster’s stats, gives his special ability and so on. Since then, only YOU can awake that Monster type.

Cthulhu Wars: Bokrug

Cthulhu Wars - Bokrug

Bokrug changes the game completely. You see, he is sort of a dying god, he’s only a shade but he’s still capable to wreck the world.

His special ability is: «Ghosts of Ib (ongoing) if Bokrug is destroyed you do not lose his Loyalty card».

Cthulhu Wars: Chaugnar Faugn

Cthulhu Wars - Chaugnar Faugn

Chaugnar Faugn gives the ability to alter the way the Elder Signs work. In addition, he provides you with action:

Miri Nigri (Action: Cost 1) select an Area where you have units and battle immediately begins there. All your Cultists in the Area have +2 to their Combat.

Cthulhu Wars: Cthugha

Cthulhu Wars - Cthugha

Cthugha is not easy to get (you will have to sacrifice a Great Old One!). Since some Great Old Ones are not for you, even if you control them all (Bokrug, for example), this can be good decision.

Cthulhu Wars: Dreamlands Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Dreamlands Map Expansion

The Dreamlands expansion contains two maps. One map is the Surface World and the other one is the Underworld. These maps have Portals between the two maps so you can travel back and forth between the maps.

Cthulhu Wars: Dreamlands Surfaceworld Monster Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Dreamlands Surfaceworld Monster Expansion

This expansion has two Shantaks, three Gnorri and four Moonbeasts. Both Dreamlands Monster expansions can be used with any map.

Cthulhu Wars: Dreamlands Underworld Monster Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Dreamlands Underworld Monster Expansion

This expansion consists of three monster types. It has four Ghasts, three Leng Spiders and two Gugs. You can use them on any map and not just on the Dreamlands. You can use them on Yuggoth if you like and they work fine.

Cthulhu Wars: Father Dagon & Mother Hydra

Cthulhu Wars - Father Dagon Mother Hydra

Father Dagon and Mother Hydra are two of the most famous creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos. While there might be another tale by a contributer which does mention them, we don’t recall one in 49 years of reading horror tales.

Cthulhu Wars: Ghatanothoa

Cthulhu Wars - Ghatanothoa

Ghatanothoa is still in final testing mode so his abilities and spellbook are not totally finished. Developers are pretty sure what it is going to be and they absolutely like what they have but they want to wait till it is for sure finished.

Cthulhu Wars: Great Old One Pack 3

Cthulhu Wars - Great Old One Pack 3

Gobogeg is the embodiment of the Moon-Ladder and the final destruction of all Earth life. When a new moon bursts forth from our surface the continents and seas turn into magma.

Cthulhu Wars: High Priest Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - High Priest Expansion

The High Priest expansion has 7 High Priest figurines. They all are the same shape, cast from the same mold but they have 7 different colors – one for each faction (Great Cthulhu, Crawling Chaos, Black Goat, Yellow Sign, Opener of the Way, Sleeper, Windwalker).

Cthulhu Wars: Hounds of Tindalos

Cthulhu Wars - Hounds of Tindalos

The single print run Kickstarter gameplay exclusive expansion, Hounds of Tindalos, was offered in Richard Luongs art book Kickstarter as an addon.

Cthulhu Wars: Primeval Map Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Primeval Map Expansion

The Primeval Map expansion has a map of the ancient earth. Like the normal game map, it is double-sided and it can be gathered into four different maps.

It changes play dramatically. Each turn, a Glacier piece appears in one of the polar areas, and moves south (or north).

Cthulhu Wars: Opener of the Way Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Opener of the Way

Opener of the Way adds the terrible horror of Yog-Sothoth. He destroys the fundamental laws of the real world. With his ability of the Million Favored Ones, his units are able to move for free after combat.

Cthulhu Wars: The Sleeper Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - The Sleeper Expansion

The Sleeper can force enemy factions to sacrifice themselves for him and he is able to catch and sacrifice enemy monsters.

Cthulhu Wars: The Windwalker Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Windwalker Expansion

The Windwalker provides a new and unusual faction with Ithaqua who is the god of Outer Space. His faction is the most powerful and his powerful army taking over the game.

Cthulhu Wars: Yig

Cthulhu Wars - Yig

Yig is a new Great Old One who comes with very detailed figure, loyalty card and his own spellbook. The loyalty card has his Awakening procedure, special Ability, picture and his Spellbook.

Cthulhu Wars: Yuggoth Map Expansion

Cthulhu Wars - Yuggoth Map Expansion

The Yuggoth map is unusual. It adds three new Areas with special powers.

The Slime Sea

The faction which controls the Slime Sea is able summon the useful Slime Mold monsters. The problem is that they obey any player who controls the Slime Sea.

The Laboratory

The faction which has the Laboratory under control is able to use it to transform the Cultists into Brain Cylinders.

The Green Pyramid

The Green Pyramid has the mighty Brain of Yuggoth which boosts your faction in many ways.

Errata

Use this link to download the list of erratas and rules manual.

Similar Games

Cthulhu Wars vs Chaos in the Old World

Chaos in the Old World

The biggest gameplay difference is that CitOW has a deck of game-swinging cards that are shuffled at the beginning of the game. You draw a hand and can play a card each turn if you want. In CW, you have access to 6 cards (spell books) for the entire game and you can use each one once you’ve unlocked them by achieving certain things in the game. But you choose the order of unlocking spellbooks. There’s no randomization of the cards so after repeated plays (I’m talking 10+) with the same group, games can start to feel samey in terms of strategy.

Also CW is way, way more expensive so if you’re not into the minis, I would just get CitOW.

Cthulhu wars vs Arkham Horror

Arkham Horror

If you have the time and inclination, Arkham Horror is that humongous epic hours-long slog beloved of many players. Let’s face it. Not everyone has the patience (and table-space) to face up to an evening of Arkham Horror. Eldritch Horror is much easier to set-up and the rules are easier to figure out, due largely to their superior organization. And it won’t take the whole evening, letting you finish off the night with another short game.

Cthulhu Wars vs Eldritch Horror

Eldritch Horror

The graphics of Eldritch Horror are pleasing and straightforward. The map’s graphics are so clear that I was able to deduce much of how the game’s movement and exploration worked without even reading the rules. (When I DID read the rules, my guesses were confirmed.) The art is the usual high quality FFG work, and is not intrusive in any way.

In contrast to Cthulhu Wars, Eldritch Horror is, like Arkham Horror, a cooperative game in which players take on the roles of investigators trying to stop the loathsome interdimensional abominations of the Cthulhu Mythos from infecting the world. Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror make good companion games. The first is fast-moving and world-spanning. The second is focused and intense.

Cthulhu Wars vs. Elder Sign

Elder Sign

Elder Sign was designed by Fantasy Flight Game. This game is much fast paced than Cthulhu Wars and it has a possibility to involve more players though Cthulhu Wars is more atmospheric and hardcore.

FAQ

Q: On the map, why does the North Atlantic have a little section seeping over to the Pacific side of Central America?

A: It is our way of indicating that the North Atlantic and the North Pacific are considered adjacent Areas.

Q: If players dispute over who wishes to reveal his Elder Sign totals first, what happens?

A: It occurs simultaneously. If this brings both players to 20+ Doom Points at once, they share victory.

Q: If I have 6 spellbooks (so Battle is unlimited), can I Battle and then do another action (such as Moving out of the Battle Area)?

A: Yes. Unlimited Actions can be done in any order, unless they are from a spellbook and their description says otherwise. You may still only engage in one Battle per Area, however.

Q: What if we run out of Elder Sign chits?

A: In the unlikely event of this occurring, from then on, each time an Elder Sign should be earned, just take a Doom point instead.

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Conclusion

Cthulhu Wars is a great game for dark evenings and people who like the H. P. Lovecraft universe. It will scare you to death by all the monsters you summon with your friends! Maybe they will get in the real world, who knows… You can buy it on Amazon following this link!