I had a pretty good weekend. I was able to beat the Azaroth campaign, and was able to beat the Call of Cthulhu campaign (that puffed my chest with pride). I know that every monster can be beaten if you have the right people giving you the right advice.
Who has won Ithaqua and what are the best winning strategies?
Black Dynamite: I'm declaring war on anyone who sells drugs to the community.
Chocolate Giddy-Up: But Black Dynamite! *I* sell drugs to the community!
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Argg… frustrating as all get out.
I figure if I have about 15 or so supplies, then with luck I should be able to collect the 12 elder signs needed before running out. That's been working fairly reliably for me. Unfortunately, it seems that every time I get to the 9 elder sign checkpoint, I lose all of my remaining supplies. I mean, really, 8 supplies in one shot? That really sucks since I was doing so well up until that one point and then basically there's no way to win after that.
I've been trying to go it alone with Marie, but they've upped her trophy cost to buy a glyph of your choice to 4 instead of 3, so it's a bit harder.
One of the biggest complaints my friends have given for this and for the tabletop game is that you can't trade items among investigators like you can in Arkham Horror. Thematically, that doesn't really make sense.
Oh well… need to keep trying.
My wife and I have been playing this game together and her strategy (it would be untrue to call it our strategy) is as follows. First some general advice: Unlike Azathoth and Yig, Ithaqua's doom track fills at a slower pace and like Tsathoggua the threat from Ithaqua is all the areas filling up with locks, monsters and midnight effects. Because of this Tsathoggua is actually good practice for Ithaqua - it helps you realize that the pace you are used to in beating Azathoth and Yig is too fast to reliably beat them - you need to methodically build up inventory and manage the board.
In the museum:
1) Collect around 25 supplies before heading to Alaska.
2) Try to keep the doom track around 7 or lower before heading to Alaska and the doom track should not be an issue for you once there.
3) Your primary objective in the museum should be to build up a big cache of items for each character while maintaining near full stamina and sanity. This means you should be willing to spend turns at the entrance at the lost and found (spinning the wheel) and avoid midnight effects like the curator (which steals trophies) as best as possible. Otherwise you can really let the museum burn down (fill up with monsters and locks) as long as you have enough trophies to buy your supplies.
4) Ithaqua's doom effects become more varied, e.g. -1 stamina, -1 sanity, or -1 random item from each member of your team.
5) In Alaska the goal is to maintain a solid stock of items for each character while you accumulate the 12 elder signs as quickly as possible - because once you gather the last one you have to fight Ithaqua and if you have one poorly stocked character you won't be able to save Ashley, and may not be able to beat Ithaqua. Keep in mind as you go collect your final Elder sign that if you are trying to save Ashley the investigator that gathers the final Elder sign will not get a turn in the final battle (unless you fail to save Ashley), so make sure your other three characters are prepared.
6) Especially early on, just don't tempt fate and enter an icy storm. If there aren't areas worth exploring that aren't stormy, just spin the wheel at the camp. If there is an area you need to take care of, just wait until the storm moves off the area - the random effects can be very bad, and you don't want to get unlucky.
7) As you get closer to Ithaqua you will not be able to manage the board - things will spiral out of control. You cannot keep the midnight effects, locks and monster effects under control while maintaining the items necessary to beat Ithaqua reliably. You should focus on gathering Elder signs and just try to keep things from getting TOO bad. In our most recent game we got the last elder sign while the board was very quickly being overrun by wolves - but we still managed to save Ashley!
8) Occasionally you will enter the last area and lose all your supplies. Good luck with that. It's beatable - but rough. Your best bet is to keep your investigators healthy and well stocked. It seems to happen less often if you are quickly gathering elder signs (but it may be totally random for all I can tell).
One more word of general advice. If you are not devoted to using a random investigator team might I suggest: The Doctor and The Psychiatrist since that will save you trophies and turns otherwise spent at base camp or the museum entrance. The Ithaqua game is going to be a long slog, so you will need to heal and restore stamina. Add in two more investigators of your choice (we like Culver with his Strange Luck ability personally and the gangster for his potential ability to help in the final battle).
Following titmouse advices, I've won finallly yesterday with Kate, Rita and Jacqueline. I begun with Joe Diamond too, a perfect fit for the team but I lost it in the middle of the game. Although I lost it, I realised that 3 (and these girls specially) is the perfect number for this team winning Ithaqua's trials.
I can't recommend enough titmouse advices, thanks a lot!!!!
I am a HUGE fan of Fantasy Flight Games; I own dozens, including every painted miniature they make for Arkham Horror and multiples for Star Wars X-Wing.
And I have loved both the board game and the iPad app versions of Elder Sign….
It saddens me to say that what began as a GREAT game app has really gone downhill.
The latest purchasable adventure, "Trail of Ithaqua" is classified as "Very Hard"; in fact, it is, by any reasonable criteria, impossible.
The adventure is so poorly designed and balanced that, in order to win it, the player must be so incredibly lucky that there is absolutely no skill involved; once the game starts generating monsters that generate monster that generate monsters - and it does, every game - there is simply no point in continuing to endure the ppointless grind of dying,starving, fighting multiple locked glyphs and absurdly aggressive Midnight events, not mention losing all supplies to arnitrate silliness that deletes them for no other reason than to add difficulty to an already insurmountable scenario.
Allowing a team to be comprised of more than four investigators, as with the board game, MIGHT have helped, but it's doubtful.
if the designer's intention was to re-create a Lovecraftian atmosphere of utter hopelessness, well then, bravo!
But if you prefer to spend your money on a challenging game whe you actually have a chance of winning one time in fifty (to date I have played sixty-three games with every variation of teams I could think of, and lost every one), then do not bother with this expansion.
Worse than a waste of money, it is a complete waste of time.
Like I said above; I'm sorry to have to say this, but designers need to learn the difference between "challenging" and "frustrating and annoying".
I can't seem to upload my own custom avatar…
Titmouse's advice is really solid.
Like Cthulhu, you should spend the first half of the game gathering items (and supplies). Before you leave the museum, you should be confident that each investigator has enough items that they could clear any room on the board. Once you are in Alaska, change your strategy and aggressively go after Elder Signs. Here Ithaqua differs radically from Cthulhu; there are no big payoff items to help you out in the second half and you will watch your supplies and items dwindle at a rapid pace. I've beat it starting with as low as 12 supplies going into Alaska, but that cut it razor close and you usually need more. You can lose half that many at once with bad luck.
I use some different investigators than Titmouse: Jenny Barnes and Joe Diamond are my go to characters and I usually round it out with an investigator who gets you extra items (like Monterey Jack) and someone who manipulates glyphs or tasks (Wilson Richards from the Cthulhu DLC, Amanda Sharpe and Mandy Thompson are all good choices). Since I use Jenny, clearing out the locked glyphs is more critical to my style of play than Titmouse's, but being able to use a red and a yellow glyph every turn is worth it.
The Wolves are annoying and they multiply at midnight; get rid of them early if you can, but more importantly, go after the tasks with the most Elder signs. With excruciating Frost effects (you may get lucky and have nothing happen, but usually these really suck), dwindling supplies, and random events at checkpoints (sometimes helpful, but usually bad), you are on a time limit very similar to the Azathoth campaign. I don't like to heal or restore stamina at the base camp (though it is a good strategy while at the museum), since you are tempting an exponentially increasing disaster if you get behind.
You only need skull glyphs to beat Ithaqua (or at least that is how the tasks were set up each time I got to it), but you need a lot. If you find any items that turn glyphs into skull glyphs, you may want to keep them. You may want to use Michael McGlen as an investigator for this reason alone. The three investigators who did not find the last Elder Sign battle Ithaqua in sequence and each of them has to win or Dr. Lott is killed, so all of your characters should be ready to immediately fight before you grab that last sign. I haven't seen the ending where Dr. Lott is killed yet, so far I either beat Ithaqua completely or I fail and die earlier in the game.
The character you unlock has a cool power, but enough drawbacks that I only use her when playing Yig or Tsathoggua.
I used Wendy vs. Azatoth with a team that consisted of her, Jenny, Monterrey Jack and Lola Hayes… the only that is not convincing me is Lola but Wendy with the others is smashing.
I won Yig using only Wendy. You have to micromanage her stats but is extremely useful.
I agree with Dasher that Ithaqua is extremely hard but it's not impossible to win. I agree that maybe it have to be more balanced. Dasher, try titmouse advices, they helped me a lot.
I finally beat Cthulu after a large number of tries fairly easily once I switched to only using one investigator - I have found that the advantages of having only one investigator (being able to use all items and trophies you receive on the very next turn, hyperspecializing by getting to use one character's advantage constantly, not having items spread out among four people who can't share them, and having events that cause everyone to lose trophies/items only affect you once rather than four times) offset the disadvantages (not being able to assist, losing the ability to use more than one specialty, having to heal more often).
I've tried doing this with Ithaqua, but that event keeps happening at the end that gets rid of all my supplies. Is the frequency of that event tied to the number of investigators you're using? It always seems to happen when I only have one investigator, and it never happens when I have four? By the way - that's a really obnoxious event - it serves no purpose other than to aggravate and frustrate.
My strategy is to play against the other Ancient Ones. As mentioned above, this one is a waste of money and time. What is more difficult than than the final battle with Cthulhu? A mountain pass.
I beat this adventure by following most of the excellent advice upthread and by using a duo of Jenny and the guy who turns terror into skulls. The latter investigator is the key. He has 7 stamina, which makes all the difference if/when you get the out of supply event.
It seems that in addition to playing flawlessly with the right team, almost everything has to go your way. You have to maintain a good inventory of items for all investigators! My 2c… If things start to go badly early on, cut your losses and start over.
Imo, this expansion is more frustrating than it is worth. Ymmv
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