In a game with as epic a sprawl as Cthulhu Wars, it is no surprise that many gaming groups have formed opinions as to which Factions are the best. Although I have striven to ensure balance among the Factions, it is possible that I have overlooked something that someone in your play group has managed to exploit.
Play imbalance can also come from player experience. With Cthulhu Wars, as in any skill-based game, the edge goes to the person who has played the game more and has seen more of the strategy. If your kid sister wants to play with you and your friends, and she has less experience than the rest of you, it can upset the game’s dynamic. For that matter, if she’s MORE experienced, this can also upset your game. It’s less fun when everyone has to focus on a single player.
The gray Cultists were designed to address these issues and allow you to handicap your games. Of course, first you have to identify which player or faction is being handicapped. (Or both: in our group, we handicap Jonathan when he plays Opener.) We have two ways to do this:
Take one Acolyte Cultist from the handicapped Faction and put it back in the box; it will not be used in this game. Replace it with that Faction’s gray Acolyte, placing it with the remaining five Cultists at that Faction’s starting Gate.
If the gray Cultist is ever sent to the unit pool for any reason, instead immediately discard it into the game box. In other words, that player is now restricted to a maximum of 5 Cultists for the remainder of the game. Thus, he now has an interesting weak spot for his enemies to target.
Of course, there are ways he can try to avoid his fate. Two obvious ones are Sleeper’s Cursed Slumber, which he can use to keep his gray Cultist safe, and Father Dagon’s ability to permanently sacrifice cultists – sack the gray one first! However, each requires planning and foresight, making it all part and parcel of this correctional method. Have fun with it!
If a player is new to the game or otherwise needs a bump up, simply add the gray acolyte to his pool. He now has a pool of 7 acolytes from which to recruit. This extra potential should help him a lot.