Action Phase

The Action Phase is when most of the game takes place. During this Phase, each player can, in turn, move Units, cast spells, engage in Battle, and otherwise interact with opponents. The Action Phase is where the Great Old Ones destroy the world as they fight for supremacy.

The Action Phase always starts with the current First Player, who takes a single Action. When this player has finished, the next player in turn then takes an Action. This continues around until every player has taken an Action, at wh point the First Player will begin a new round of Actions.

Each Action costs a certain amount of Power, which must be spent before the Action can be performed. To take an Action, simply adjust your Power Marker by the appropriate amount and then perform that Action. If you do not have enough Power to perform an Action, you must select an Action that you can afford.

You may never take more than a single Action on your turn, and you cannot decline to take an Action if you still have Power remaining. You must choose an available Action and spend the appropriate amount of Power to perform that Action. If you still have Power and do not wish to take any further Actions, you may voluntarily drop your Power to 0.

If you have no Power left when it is your turn to take an Action, you are skipped. You may not even perform Actions costing 0 Power. However, if you are at 0 Power and you are granted Power by an ability or a Spellbook, you must take an Action as normal on your turn.

The Action Phase continues with each player who still has Power, until all players are finally out of Power and no more Actions can be taken. At this point, the Action Phase ends and play continues on to the Gather Power Phase.


Think of the Action Phase as multi-sided chess: you have many options, but may only take a single Action each time. After taking that Action, the other players have a chance to respond!

Being the last player to have any Power remaining during the Action Phase is one of the best things that can happen to you! As you are the only one who can take Actions, you can do what you like as the o layers helplessly watch you mess with their stuff!

The Four Types of Actions

There are four categories of Actions in Cthulhu Wars: Common, Unique, Spellbook Requirement, and Unlimited.

Common Actions

Common Actions are available to all Factions. On his or her turn, a player may choose to perform one of the seven Common Actions, as detailed here.

Unique Actions

A Unique Action is one that is only available to your particular Faction. Some Unique Actions have requirements that must be met before they can be performed. For example, Great Cthulhu’s Faction cannot perform the Submerge Action unless Great Cthulhu himself is in play. Likewise, you cannot execute a Unique Action unless you are able to perform it completely. For example, Yellow Sign cannot use Zingaya to Eliminate an enemy Acolyte if there are no Undead in its Pool.

Spellbook Requirement Actions

These can be found on your Faction Card’s Spellbook requirement slots. Most Spellbook requirements are not Actions; those that are will begin with the words, “As an Action,” or “As your Action.” Spellbook requirement Actions only cost Power if indicated; they otherwise have a cost of 0 Power. A Spellbook requirement Action is always a discrete Action, and you cannot double it up with a Common or Unique Action. For example, Crawling Chaos has the Spellbook requirement of “As your Action, pay 4 Power.” This means that you would simply pay 4 Power to fulfill this requirement and gain a Spellbook; this cannot be combined with a Common or Unique Action, not can it be triggered by performing one of those actions. Because earned Spellbooks are never lost, any Spellbook requirement Action may only be performed once per game (certain expansion products may offer exceptions to this rule).

When it is your turn to take an Action, you must choose to perform a single Common, Unique, or Spellbook requirement Action. You cannot take one of each; you may only take one Action on your turn!

Unlimited Actions

The fourth category, Unlimited Actions, allow you to break the “one Action on your turn” rule. Unlimited Actions are special, as you can perform them in addition to your turn Action. Unlimited Actions are not unique to any Faction and are available to all players. Unlimited Actions may sometimes have requir e met in order for them to be performed.


Once Cthulhu has the Dreams Spellbook, you should never leave an Acolyte Cultist alone on a Gate in a critical area! Placing a second Cultist in the area won’t prevent Dreams, but it will make it very expensive for Great Cthulhu to steal the Gate. You might also consider guarding your Cultist with a Monster; if Great Cthulhu Dreams him away, you can Capture his replacement!

If you are not sure what to do on your turn, look at your Spellbook requirements. You cannot go far wrong so long as you strive to gain new Spellbooks, or try to set yoursel the next Gather Power Phase.

The Seven Common Actions


Recruit Cultist

Cost: 1 Power (Requires any of your Units)

The Recruit Cultist Action allows you to place a Cultist from your Pool onto the Map. One of your Units must be in the Area into which you Recruit the Cultist. This Unit can be of any type (another Cultist, a Monster, or even a Great Old One). If you have no Units on the Map, you do not need to have a Unit in the Area into which your Cultist will be Recruited. This allows you to return to play even if you have been wiped off the Map.

You may only Recruit 1 Cultist per Recruit Cultist Action.


Summon Monster

Cost: varies (Requires a Controlled Gate)

The Summon Monster Action allows you to place a Monster from your Pool onto the Map. You must Control a Gate in the Area into which the Monster is Summoned. Pay the Monster’s Cost (found on your Faction Card), and place it on the map.

You may only Summon 1 Monster per Summon Monster Action.

Sometimes an ability will allow you to place a Monster on the Map (such as Yellow Sign’s Desecrate Action, or Great Cthulhu’s Devolve Spellbook). These do not count as Summon Monster Actions not necessarily require a Gate in the Area.


Awaken Great Old One

Cost: varies (Specific requirements apply)

The Awaken Great Old One Action allows you to bring your Great Old One into play. Just as each Great Old One itself is unique, so is the way in which each is placed on the Map. Your Faction Card has a series of steps (always at least two), that must be done to Awaken your Great Old One. All of these steps combined comprise the Awaken Great Old One Action.

You may only Awaken a single Great Old One per Awaken Action. Of course, most Factions only have a single Great Old One.

Once your Great Old One is in play, its Special Ability is now available to use. If your Great Old One leaves play, its ability will not be available to Old One has been Awakened once again.

Since a Great Old One can be “Killed” (after which it must be re-Awakened), do not bring it out before you can protect it with other Units. Two exceptions are the King in Yellow and Cthulhu (comparatively) inexpensive to replace.


Create Gate

Cost: 3 Power (Requires Cultist)

To Create a Gate in an Area, you must have a Cultist in that Area and a Gate must not already be present there; only one Gate can ever exist in any Area. Pay 3 Power, and place the Gate. You may immediately place your Cultist atop the Gate to indicate that it is Controlled by you. (Technically, this is a use of the Unlimited Control Gate Action, detailed here).

You may only Create 1 Gate per Create Gate Action.



Cost: 1 Power per Unit Moved

To Move Units, spend 1 Power for each Unit you wish to Move. A Unit may move from its current Area into anadjacent one. Movement is very flexible: you can Move Units from several different Areas into a single Area, or from a single Area into several different ones, or any combination you please.

Great Cthulhu’s Units Before Move.

Great Cthulhu Moves 3 Units at once in a single Move Action, costing him 3 Power.



Cost: 1 Power (Requires Unit with at least 1 Combat)

To Battle another Faction, choose any Area in which you and an enemy Faction both have at least one Unit. If more than one enemy Faction has Units present, you may only choose a single Faction to fight; all other Factions in the Area are merely idle bystanders.

In Battle, each side will roll dice equal to their Combat totals and inflict results upon each other. Combat totals are determined by totaling the Combat ratings (found on your Faction Card) of your Units in the Battle. You must have at least 1 Combat on your side in order to declare a Battle. You may Battle an enemy who has 0 Combat.

You may only Battle once, and in one Area, per Battle Action. Battle has several other rules ristics, all of which are detailed here.


Capture Cultist

Cost: 1 Power

The Capture Cultist Action is a means of removing enemy Cultists from the Map and then later sacrificing them to your Great Old One to gain Power. A Captured Cultist is Eliminated, and is therefore no longer in play. However, unlike a normal Elimination, it does not immediately return to its Faction’s Pool until the next Gather Power Phase (providing the Faction who Captured it with 1 Power). To signify that a Captured Cultist is not in play nor in its Faction’s Pool, place it on your own Faction Card.

To Capture an enemy Cultist, you must have a Monster or Great Old One in the same Area as that Cultist. However, the enemy Cultist you wish to Capture cannot have a protector in the same Area. Cthulhu Wars has a pecking order of protectors. Great Old Ones outrank Monsters, which in turn outrank Cultists. A Great Old One can Capture an enemy Cultist, unless the target is protected by its own Great Old One in the Area. A Monster can capture an enemy Cultist, unless the target is protected by its own Monster (or Great Old One). Cultists cannot capture Cultists. Note that even a single Monster protects a Cultist against any number of enemy Monsters that may wish to Capture it.

You may only Capture 1 enemy Cultist per Capture Cultist Action.

If there is more than one Cultist in the Area, the player whose Cultist is being Captured chooses which one is Captured. (Thus, you do not have to allow a Gate-Controlling Cultist to be Captured, unless it is the last remaining Cultist in the Area.) Your Monster or Great Old One will never protect another Faction’s Cultist from Capture by a third party. Only Monsters a Cultist’s Faction can protect it.

Even if even if a Cultist has a Combat rating, or a Capturing Monster has a Combat of 0, the Cultist can still be Captured. Capture is not Battle, and Battle abilities do not apply.

Avoiding Capture by Monsters

Frank has a Cultist Controlling a Gate in South America.

Guy Moves two Deep Ones and a Cultist into the Area.

Frank, on his next turn, simply Summons a single Monster (a Nightgaunt) at his Gate, which is enough to protect his lone Cultist from being Captured by Guy’s Monsters.

Avoiding Capture by a Great Old One

Rich has three Undead and a Cultist in Europe.

Angela Moves Cthulhu into Europe.

On his next turn, Rich must Move his Cultist out of the Area, Move his own Great Old One into the Area, or drive away or Kill Cthulhu in a Battle. Otherwise, Cthulhu could Capture his Cultist.

Monsters with Combat 0 are surprisingly useful. They can protect Cultists from being Captured by other Monsters, they can Capture Cultists themselves, and they can be assigned as casualties in Battle, sparing more expensive Units.

Unlimited Actions

Unlimited Actions are special in that they are the only type of Action you may perform beyond the one Action allowed on your turn. They can be performed either before or after your Action, so that a turn in the Action Phase can be expressed in three chronological steps, like this:

  1. Take any number of Unlimited Actions (including 0).
  2. Take a single Common, Unique, or Spellbook Requirement Action (must be exactly 1).
  3. Take any number of Unlimited Actions (including 0).

Special Note:
The Yellow Sign Faction has 2 Spellbooks, named “The Screaming Dead” and “He Who is Not to be Named.” Each of these Spellbooks reads, in part, “...Immediately after, you may take a second, different Action.” These Spellbooks allow you to take two (non-Unlimited) Actions in a row. However, you may not perform an Unlimited Action between the two Actions from these Spellbooks, as it says “Immediately.” The use of one of these Spellbooks would make up the entirety of Step 2, above.

There are two Unlimited Actions available to players: Control or Abandon Gate, and Unlimited Battle.

Control or Abandon Gate

Cost: 0 Power

If you have a Cultist in an Area with an Abandoned Gate (no enemy Cultist on top of it), this Unlimited Action moves your Cultist onto the Gate to claim Control of it. When you Create a Gate, you can immediately Control it. Also, if on your turn you have a Cultist in an Area with an Abandoned Gate, then you can Control it as part of your turn, no matter what other Action you may be taking.

You can also use this Unlimited Action to take a Cultist off a Gate, thus Abandoning it, while placing the Cultist in the same Area. Normally, you would not Abandon a Gate. However, if your turn Action was to Move a Cultist on a Gate to another Area, you would be Abandoning the Gate first as an Unlimited Action, then performing the Move as your turn Action. Another common use of Abandon Gate would be when Black Goat has the Red Sign Spellbook in play. They might Summon a Dark Young, Abandon the Gate in the Area with their Cultist, and then Control the Gate with the newly-Summoned Dark Young, all in the same turn (they took the Summon Action as their Action, followed up by the Unlimited Actions of Abandon and then Control Gate).

You can perform the Control or Abandon Gate Action on your turn as many times as you like. However, it cannot be the only Action you perform. You still must perform a single Common, Unique or Spellbook Requirement Action.

Note that Unlimited Actions must occur on your turn. You cannot Control an Abandoned Gate with a Cultist except when it is your turn to take an Action. If two players both have Cultists in an Area with an Abandoned Gate, the fi t player to take an Action will be able to Control the Gate.


Unlimited Battle

Cost: 1 Power (Requires 6 Spellbooks)

If you have 6 Spellbooks on your Faction Card, you can perform Unlimited Battle. Each Unlimited Battle you perform still costs 1 Power, allowing you to initiate as many Battles as you wish before and/or after your mmon, Unique, or Spellbook Requirement Action.

You may still Battle as a Common Action, if that is all you want to do on your turn. Unlimited Battle is simply an option once you have 6 Spellbooks.

Since Battle can be either Common or Unlimited once you have all of your Spellbooks, you can execute a Battle and then decide whether it was Common or Unlimited. (You might do this so that after seeing the results of the Battle you can then choose to do a sing ion or another Unlimited Battle elsewhere.)

There is an important restriction on Unlimited Battles, however: you can still initiate only one Battle per Area. You cannot declare a Battle as a Common Action and then do Unlimited Battle in the same Area. If, as a result of a Battle, your Units are retreated to another Area, you can do Unlimited Battle in that new Area, and so forth. However, if they are then retreated back into the original Area, they can’t initiate a Battle there because of the “one Battle per Area” rule.

Ongoing Special Abilities

A few Ongoing abilities use the words, “After any player’s Action...” or “At the end of any player’s Action...” You can choose to use these abilities, as written, after another player’s Action but before the next Action takes place!

These can even be used in the middle of another player’s turn, if they are performing Unlimited Actions.

If more than one player wants to use such an ability after a player’s Action, and there is a dispute over who will use their ability first, resolve it by starting with the active player and then going in turn order.

Yellow Sign’s The Screaming Dead and He Who is Not to be Named Spellbooks, which give that Faction two Actions in a row, do not prevent an Ongoing special ability from being used in between those two Actions.

Ongoing Ability During a Player’s Turn

Before Zoran’s Turn.

Ben has the Devolve Spellbook. Fearing that Zoran will declare an Unlimited Battle after Moving into the Area, Ben uses Devolve immediately after Zoran’s Move Action, to replace one of his Cultists with a Deep One.

Zoran has 6 Spellbooks and it is his turn. First, he performs the Move Action and Moves several of his Monsters into an Area containing 2 of Ben’s Units, both of which are Cultists.

Zoran can still choose to Battle Ben, since it is his turn and he has the option to perform Unlimited Actions. But he may no longer want to do so now that Ben has a Monster of his own!