How To Play: Cthulhu Wars – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Conquer chaos in Cthulhu Wars by mastering factions, managing resources, and controlling the map. This guide explains how to leverage each faction's unique strengths and strategize your path to victory. Remember, every move counts in your quest for domination!


Welcome to the eldritch universe of Cthulhu Wars, where ancient gods battle for dominance in a world teetering on the brink of madness. You’re about to dive headfirst into an abyss that’s as strategic as it is fantastical. It’s clear you’re not just here to summon monstrous creatures and chant in unspeakable tongues; you want to master this game, to drive your opponents before you and hear the lamentations of their Great Old Ones! Truly understanding ‘How To Play Cthulhu Wars’ means wrapped up in the chaos there lies a chalkboard of strategies jotted with notes on how to claim victory amidst the turmoil.

In this guide, you won’t just find a rundown of the rules—though that’s essential for setting your tentacled feet on the right path. No, what we’re really delving into are the strategies that the best players use to gain an edge. We’re looking into understanding faction strengths and weaknesses, mastering the crucial aspects of resource management and efficient action planning, controlling the map, and embracing dynamic play. Grab your grimoire and ready your cultists; by the end of this guide, you’ll not only be a savvy player but potentially an unstoppable force in the cosmic showdown that is Cthulhu Wars. Let’s awaken your dark potential!

What’s in the box?

  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Game Board
  • 4 Faction Sheets
  • 64 Power Markers
  • 24 Spell Books
  • 24 Desecration Markers
  • 24 Uncontrolled Gate Markers
  • 30 Six-sided Dice
  • 1 Doom Track
  • 1 Ritual of Annihilation Track
  • 1 First Player Marker
  • 24 Six-point Elder Sign Chips
  • 24 Three-point Elder Sign Chips
  • 24 One-point Elder Sign Chips
  • 1 Cthulhu Statue
  • 4 Unique Faction Markers
  • 1 Glow-in-the-Dark Dice Set (Kickstarter Exclusive)
  • Cultist Miniatures:

    • 6 for each of the 4 Factions (24 total)
  • Monster Miniatures:

    • Varies per Faction, typically 3 types with varying quantities
  • Great Old One Miniatures:

    • 1 for Cthulhu Faction
    • Varies for other Factions

How To Play Cthulhu Wars: Rules Summary

Let’s Set Up the Battlefield

Gather your fellow Great Old Ones, it’s time to leap into the cryptic universe of Cthulhu Wars! First up, let’s unbox the game and follow along to get the setup just right for your impending clash for supremacy. Here’s what needs to happen before the rising of the ancient ones:

  1. Place the game board at the center where everyone can access it easily.
  2. Select factions, each player takes their chosen faction’s figures, spell books, and control markers.
  3. Distribute power points as determined by your faction’s reference card.
  4. Summon your starting units onto the designated locations on the board.
  5. Place gates and desecration markers, if any, as per faction abilities or setup instructions.
  6. Shuffle Mythos cards if using expansions and place them nearby.

Gameplay Mechanics: The Dance of Darkness

After the ancient ground has been laid out as per the protocols of ritualistic setup, it is now time to gesture, chant, and cunningly maneuver to bend the cosmos to your dark will.

  1. Determine First Player – randomly at the start, then clockwise.
  2. Perform Actions – spend power points to take actions, one at a time.
  3. Recruit Cultists, summon Monsters, create Gates, move units, or cast spells.
  4. Keep track of spent power points – they are precious and scarce.
  5. Resolve battles when conflicting forces meet on the same map area.
  6. Repeat the Action phase until all players pass, typically when out of power.
  7. Reckoning phase where players can earn victory points and potentially unlock spellbooks.

Decisive Victory: Ruling the World

Each turn wraps with elder influence spreading or receding, and measuring close to ultimate victory can be tantalizing.

  1. Gather victory points through controlled Gates, banished enemies, and fulfilling objectives.
  2. Rack up to 30 victory points as per the standard rules and claim the shroud of the overlord.
  3. Ending the game lies not just in brutal dominance but strategic spellbook unlocking.

Twists of Fate and Forbidden Knowledge: Special Rules & Conditions

Cthulhu Wars isn’t just a straight march to power; there are arcane variables and bolt from the blue that shift fates endlessly.

  1. Faction differentiations lead to unique paths of playstyle and power fluctuation.
  2. Interplay between possible betrayals and alliances pivot tipping points.
  3. Unique spell books for each faction are triggered by individual conditions.
  4. Combat is a manic turmoil of dice, probabilities, modifiers, and shattered confidence.
  5. Compendium of rule intricacies bolted into expansions yield ceaseless variety.

Best Cthulhu Wars Strategies

Master the Eldritch Arts: Harnessing Your Faction’s Power in Cthulhu Wars

Understanding your faction’s unique strengths and weaknesses is the cornerstone to dominating in ‘How To Play Cthulhu Wars’. Each faction offers a distinct playstyle and strategic prerogatives that can turn the tide of the otherworldly war we dive into. So let’s unpack these eldritch puzzles:

Know Your Great Old One

Firstly, acquaint yourself with the Great Old One leading your faction. These titanic figures bestow special abilities that chart the course of your strategy. For instance, Cthulhu’s terrifying presence devastates coastlines, allowing for devastating offensive plays.

Capitalize on Unique Abilities

Next, tailor your strategy to your faction’s abilities. Take advantage of the Crawling Chaos’s air supremacy to surprise your foes, or harness the Yellow Sign’s control over Desecration to spread corruption rapidly. Understand them well, and you’ll set the stage for your ascendance.

Adapting To Inherent Weaknesses

Lastly, no power is without flaw. Perhaps the Great Cthulhu’s might is hampered by a reliance on water territories, or maybe the Black Goat’s strength is curtailed by scarce spellbooks. Anticipating and countering these vulnerabilities is as vital as exploiting your strengths.

  1. Study your faction’s Great Old One and exploit its unique game-changing powers.
  2. Utilize your faction’s abilities strategically, each action should be a step towards mythical dominance.
  3. Counterbalance your faction’s weaknesses with careful planning and timely alliances.

Mastering the Art of Resource and Action Economics in Cthulhu Wars

In Cthulhu Wars, managing your resources wisely and plotting your steps can make the difference between asserting dominance or succumbing to madness. Crystallize a game plan that capitalizes on each turn’s potential for growth and conflict.

Evaluating Power Allocation

Initially, assess the Power pool you have each turn. Remember, Power fuels your actions, so distribute it judiciously.

  1. Chart out mandatory expenses such as summoning and movement before the round starts.
  2. Prioritize actions that will increase your future Power income.
  3. Balance aggressive tactics with resource generation for sustained growth.

Effective Spellbook Planning

Analyzing when to acquire new Spellbooks can turbocharge your strategy.

  1. Time your Spellbook placements to optimize their immediate benefits.
  2. Consider the synergy between your chosen Spellbooks and long-term goals.

Anticipatory Action Sequences

Strike a balance between offensive maneuvers and strategic development.

  1. Forecast enemy factions’ potential moves due to anticipating and thwarting their strategies.
  2. Execute actions in a sequence that keeps opponents guessing and reactive.
  3. Weave unexpected tactics into your strategy to seize control of key map areas.

Mastering the Art of Map Control: A Cthulhu Wars Strategy

In the thrilling game of Cthulhu Wars, map control isn’t just about presence; it’s about strategic domination and dynamic play. By maneuvering your units thoughtfully, you can influence your opponents’ options and control the flow of the game. Let’s delve into these crucial strategies to tighten your grip on the world:

Establishing Territory

  1. Secure key locations early to gather resources and enable strategic plays.
  2. Balance aggressive expansion with defending your home base.
  3. Use monsters and cultists effectively to block enemy movements.

Adapting to Opponents’ Moves

  1. Monitor your rivals’ strategies and adjust your positioning to counteract.
  2. Don’t overcommit to one area; stay flexible and ready to pivot.
  3. Creatively use your faction’s abilities to surprise and outmaneuver others.

Forcing Conflict When Beneficial

  1. Challenge key regions when it impairs opponents’ strategies and benefits your goals.
  2. Engage in battles that can dwindle enemy forces and conserve yours.
  3. Recognize when to retreat and regroup for a stronger offense later on.

Ultimately, in How To Play Cthulhu Wars, control and adaptability are paramount. Imposing your will on the map requires foresight and flexibility. Being proactive, adaptable, and sometimes, unpredictable, are your surest paths to victory.

Mastering The Chaos: Your Path To Cthulhu Wars Victory

As we reach the cataclysmic end of our journey through strategy and understanding, remember that the essence of Cthulhu Wars doesn’t solely lie in mastering the rules. It’s a game of adaptability, cunning, and occasional bold gambles. You’ve been armed with core knowledge — from grasping your faction’s unique strengths to finessing your map control tactics. Optimizing your power economy and action plan should give that critical edge needed to outmatch your opponents, summoning victory from the clutches of defeat.

Whether you’re commanding the eldritch horrors for the first time or you’re a seasoned sorcerer of the ancient ways, this guide is your grimoire of gambits. Apply these teachings, weave flexible strategies, and soon, you’ll witness the fruits of your newfound wisdom — as rivals bow before your cosmic might. Dive back in, oh Grand Cultist, and may the stars align for your dominion in Cthulhu Wars!

Want to know what we think of Cthulhu Wars? Read our detailed review of Cthulhu Wars here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.