|Exploiting Resources, Continued
A Call of Cthulhu strategy article by guest writer Francesco Zappon
|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 24 June 2011|
Welcome back to the second part of my two-part strategy article for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. In the first part, I talked about the resource system and the basic decisions you have to face during a game. In this second part, I will focus on what I call non-linear aspects of resourcing. When I say “non-linear,” I refer to a game situation in which the number of resources in my domains is changing, usually because of a card effect. Notice that I said “changing” and not “increasing.” Ideally you want to increase the resources available, but game effects can cause a reduction or a different arrangement of the cards you have in your domains.
While in the first part it was possible to discuss resourcing in a theoretical way, I will make use of specific cards here. This is because, as I said, the basic rules of the game allow only a linear growth of your domains. If you want to break this growth, you need some card effects that will break those rules. Like what, you ask? Read on:
Gain a new domain
A few cards in the game allow you to gain a new domain, such as Eldritch Nexus (Core Set, F154) and Overzealous Initiate (Core Set, F145). What’s relevant is not really the resource development, but the fact that the new domain gives you the possibility to break the cap on the number of actions you can take per turn!
Nevertheless, even though at first glance this seems really powerful, I don’t generally consider this option a good choice. First of all, it takes a lot of cards (Eldritch Nexus itself plus two cards from your deck). Second, it is very likely that in order to play most of the cards in your deck, you are going to need domains with two and three resources on them (notice, however, that you are not losing an action that turn if you play Eldritch Nexus using a domain with one resource).
The development of four domains, in this case, is going to cost you a lot of rounds and a lot of cards if you want to be able to play what you draw. And the question is this: while you are doing this, can you stay alive? Your opponent isn’t sitting there watching you, after all. He is playing too, and while you’re resourcing, the characters on the other side of the table will be running for stories.
A fourth domain is useful in a deck that requires cheap domains to trigger card abilities, rather than to play cards themselves. An extra domain to activate The Yuggoth Contract, Nefarious Pact (Whispers in the Dark, F12), or the Brood of Yig (Whispers in the Dark, F4), for example, could be quite helpful. So, if you are planning to use cards like Eldritch Nexus, make sure that you have a strategy to fully support the new domain and take advantage of it. In short, don’t risk spreading yourself too thin without carefully weighing the potential benefits.
Increase the number of resources available
When it comes to increasing your resources, Shub is the master faction: Eat the Dead (The Antediluvian Dreams, F56), Feeding Time (Screams from Within, F95), and Harvesting Mi-Go (The Twilight Beckons, F11) are all cards that let you accelerate the growth of your domains. Of course, they all require some condition, but you’ll have big domains at your disposal faster than usual, and this can be exploited in easy ways. And if you are afraid that useful cards might end up as wasted resources, don’t worry; Slime Covered Dhole (Initiations of the Favored, F50) is there to help you.
Decrease the number of resources available
There are two main types of cards that decrease available resources: Transient and Zoog.
Transient cards, while providing a huge boost to play expensive cards one round earlier, leave you behind in the overall development of your resource curve. So Transient cards are strong if the advantage you gain when using them is good enough to overcome the loss (a statement that is obviously deck dependent). Suppose you are facing a rush deck with a lot of cheap characters with skill one. Resourcing a Descendant of Eibon (The Terror of the Tides, F75) to play a Y'ha-nthlei Statue (Aspirations of Ascension, F66) on turn two is probably going to be a good choice, since you are reducing the options available to your opponent.
Zoog cards have similar concerns, but Furtive Zoog (Twilight Horror, F15) deserves a special mention since in a rush deck it can give you a quick board advantage, and subsequently a successful story phase. But be careful, as this can also compromise your timing! Try to think what you are going to do in the next couple of turns, and if you foresee a dangerous delay in playing important cards, do not use his ability.
Another nice card that falls into this category is Obsessive Insomniac (In Memory of Day, F24). With it, you trade your linear resource development for cards in hand. To use Insomniac at its full potential you need the right deck, but the possibility of acquiring cards that are usually lost is obviously powerful. An example could be a Spell that you can use with Yog-Sothoth, Lord of Time and Space (Screams from Within, F99).
Sometimes it’s helpful to reorganize your distribution of resources, and Twilight Gate (Twilight Horror, F12) is the classic example. On your very first turn you can resource then play this card, taking out a resource from one of your one-card domains and putting it back so as to have a three-card domain. Next turn, you have the possibility to have a four resources domain (and in this example, we are in turn two). What are you going to do with this possibility? Well, playing a Ravager from the Deep (Core Set, F46) seems nice, but even an Elder Thing (Spawn of Madness, F11) is a good option (maybe putting Twilight Gate on top of the deck again).
Non-Linear aspects of resourcing are an underestimated side of the game, so far. With the second part of the article I hope I have provided some hints about this feature, bringing to your attention some interactions and some cards that are not usually considered good enough to make it into competitive decks. As always, any comments, critiques or questions are welcome!
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.
I love cards that allow you to put resourced cards back into play!
Regarding Eldritch Nexus: This is one card I consider for inclusion very often. It doesn't cause you to lose tempo, and I very often have characters with abilities that cost 1 (or two). Getting it out early can make a big difference.
Very interesting. Event hough I only occasionnally play the game, and my friend makes the decks, it gives me some insight in how he makes them. Good stuff!
Thanks guys, I'm happy that you enjoy the articles!
Great stuff, keep it coming, I enjoy your articles very much konx.
I'm really digging these articles, I always find something thought-provoking in them.