Playing as Black Goat
The most common mistake novice Black Goat players make in the early game is to initiate diasporas of Cultists in hopes of immediately achieving the “Have Units in X Areas” Spellbooks; this leads enemies to move in once you are helpless from lack of Power. Build up at a sedate rate; ensure that when you move Units into an Area they have support and protection, and in general use cheap Monsters, rather than Cultists, to occupy Areas for Spellbook purposes. The Thousand Young is best when used defensively; for instance, when an enemy moves on one of your Gates, reactively Summon a heap of trouble for him. Create a stronghold where you can safely Summon Shub-Niggurath.
In the late game, you can annoy other players. Ghroth slows and cripples rivals. Battle becomes common, so Necrophagy can occur multiple times in a single Action Phase. Avatar steals weak enemy bases with prejudice—teleport to the spot, and they must send someone to your homeland. You can then Capture their Cultist or, if the Gate is Abandoned, Recruit your own Cultist to take it over.
The enemy often comes to you in an attempt to stop the hurting, so sit tight. If you do need to strike at a distance, you have Avatar. You may not have as many Gates as other, more mobile, Factions, but you can make up for this: even with just two Gates and Shub-Niggurath, Blood Sacrifice nets you two Elder Signs and four Doom every time you perform a Ritual during the Doom Phase.
As befits a fertility cult, Black Goat’s emphasis is on occupation and expansion, sort of like a fungal infection. Unlike other Factions, you tend to be geographically restricted. You are not deadly in Battle (in fact, you have no battle Spellbooks except Frenzy), but you have plenty of cheap, throwaway Units, so you are resilient. As you hole up in your homeland, your abilities let you target enemies by remote control. This is your true strength.
Excellent both defensively and offensively. If a foe moves a Monster into an area hoping for a cheap Capture, declare Battle and Pain him right back out.
Use with impunity, as Ghouls are cheap (free, after Thousand Young). In a small battle it can clean out an entire Area, allowing your Ghoul to Recruit a Cultist and take the Gate. Teleporting Ghouls around the world also helps meet Spellbook requirements.
This lets you earn an Elder Sign in every Doom Phase. As a bonus, it puts Cultists back into your Pool, so that you can Recruit them for use with Avatar or Necrophagy Gate- stealing.
A complex Action requiring timing and preparation, but worth the trouble. Some players focus on Ghroth as a central strategy, while others keep it as an occasional treat. Both techniques are effective.
Gives you potentially more baseline Power than any other Faction, plus Gate-Controlling Units that can’t be Captured. Remember, when you Summon a Dark Young under Red Sign, you can place it right on the Gate (replacing the Cultist who Summoned it).
The Thousand Young
Its utility is obvious, but it contains subtle touches. For instance, Summon a single Ghoul for 0 Power, in effect marking time while seeing what the other players do. It is also demoralizing for a foe to launch a mighty attack on you, destroying three or four of your Units only to see you Summon those Units back at a trivial cost.
Thwarting Black Goat
Once settled in, Black Goat is hard to dig out. However, they are easy to fend off in the first place, as their offensive Actions are limited. Their Monsters are feeble, and they have other tasks to perform besides fighting. This means that their main tools for conquest are Avatar and Necrophagy, and both involve starting out weak in the target Area. React vigorously to drive them back.
They are hard to stop once established, because they get extra Power from Red Sign and extra Elder Signs from Blood Sacrifice. At some point you may need to go take out one of their citadels; luckily, all three of the other Factions can pull this off with proper use of their Great Old Ones. Don’t make the mistake of trying to eradicate Black Goat entirely—you will fail, and if you keep focusing on them other enemies may surge ahead. Remember: Don’t try to cure the Black Goat infection, just keep it contained.