News for June 2014
The Resourceful Investigator, Part Two
A Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game Strategy Article by Guest Writer David Boeren
Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 05 June 2014

“Warning me that many of the street signs were down, the youth drew for my benefit a rough but ample and painstaking sketch map of the town’s salient features. After a moment’s study I felt sure that it would be of great help, and pocketed it with profuse thanks.”
   
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

In Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, you pay for cards by draining domains. Accordingly, if you’re looking for a map deeper into the game’s dark heart, there’s no better place to start than with the orders and shapes in which your domains are arranged.

In the first part of his guide to resourcing domains, guest writer David Boeren introduced a few fundamental concerns and walked us through a sample game, examining the initial resourcing decisions presented by his opening draw. Now, he walks us even deeper into his game, how he addresses the resourcing decisions that all players face, and how he views the theory behind his decisions.

Guest Writer David Boeren on Building Your Domains

David’s eight opening cards contained six Syndicate cards, one Silver Twilight card, and one neutral card:

He resourced Peter Clover, Intimidate, and On the Lam. However, this meant that his two-faction deck, split between Syndicate and Silver Twilight, would start the game without domains for each faction.


Focused on gaining a strong early board position, David initially resources a character he can't afford to play on his first turn, along with two events.

Before David resumes his game walkthrough, he explains how he approaches resourcing for multi-color decks (decks split between two or more factions).

It’s generally desirable that you quickly build your domains so that some or most of them contain resources for all of your factions. This allows for maximum flexibility in the cards that you play. While it’s okay to put this off temporarily in order to hold onto important cards or to play a two-cost Loyal card early in the game, you’ll want to get around to adding multiple colors to your domains as quickly as you can.

There are, however, some things you can do to reduce your need to add multiple factions to each domain:

  • Run mostly one faction and just a splash of another. This sort of deck may only need a single domain to carry a resource from the secondary faction.
  • Keep most or all of your one-cost cards in one faction. By doing this, you will find yourself under less pressure to build your smallest domain to two resources simply in order to match both factions.

After resourcing, I go first. On my first turn, I draw one card and get Steal the Soul (The Order of the Silver Twilight, 52). This is a great card. It’s also a Silver Twilight card, which was what I had hoped to draw.

Fortunately, there’s also an action window between the Draw Phase and Resource Phase, and I use it to play my Eldritch Nexus immediately, to see what I get before I have to make my resource decision.

Which Domain Should You Build?

Turn one usually presents an easy resourcing decision; you want to build your domains to 2-1-1. But where do you go after that? Do you build your domains to 3-1-1 or 2-2-1?

This will depend on the design of your deck and the cards in your hand. Usually these concerns go together, as your opening hand should reflect the intent of your deck.

Generally, I advise resourcing according to whichever tactic will help you play more of your important cards faster. For a given deck, one path will usually be best the majority of the time, and if you find yourself resourcing to 3-1-1 most of the time in order to play high-cost charaters, then you likely need to think about balancing those with more one-cost characters, event,s and supports to play from your second and third domains.

When Eldritch Nexus resolves, the top card of my deck goes facedown as a new domain. This is another Intimidate. The second card of my deck goes underneath this new domain as a resource… and it’s another Eldritch Nexus!

This is a small problem. I’m not really concerned about losing the card since four domains is probably enough, but seeding a neutral card as a one-resource domain is less than ideal. I can still use it to pay for abilities that require me to “pay 1,” but I’m better off in the long run to put another resource there to convert it into something more useful. The problem is, I no longer have any spare Syndicate cards in hand.

This forces me to make a difficult decision:

  • Resource a Silver Twilight card on a Syndicate domain. This will let me play either Meticulous Scribe and Lena Di Boerio, or Johnny V’s Dame plus another Syndicate character. It will also give me a two-color domain.
  • Resource a Silver Twilight card on my neutral domain. This will let me play Meticulous Scribe and Lena Di Boerio, and it will fix my neutral domain, making it more useful in future turns.
  • Resource a Syndicate card on the neutral domain. This will let me play Johnny V’s Dame plus another Syndicate character, and it will fix my neutral domain.

Of the choices, the two-color domain seems best as I’ll be able to build it up so that I can play a three-cost character of either faction on my next turn if I need one, so I decide to give up Steal the Soul, resourcing it on a Syndicate domain.


By resourcing a Silver Twilight card to the same domain as a Syndicate resource, David ensures that his first two-resource domain can be used for either faction.

Here, even the decision where to resource it matters: In case I should win Chaos Unleashed (The Shifting Sands, 8), I want to resource Steal the Soul with the Syndicate card I expect I’d most like to get back later in the game. The resources in my open domains are Peter Clover and Intimidate, and I decide to add Steal the Soul to the domain with Peter Clover.

Chaos Unleashed

Some of the story cards from the Asylum Pack The Shifting Sands allow you to exchange cards from your hand with the cards in one of your domains. The most important of these stories is Chaos Unleashed, which lets you add an entire domain's worth of cards to your hand and then replace them from the top of your deck.

Chaos Unleashed won't appear every game, but when you see it, you should resource all your best cards to one domain, which will typically also be your biggest domain. This way, if you win one of these stories, you will maximize the benefit your receive from winning the story by giving yourself the best selection of cards to retrieve.

Keep in mind that you won't win one of these stories for at least a couple of turns, so you should resource cards that will be useful in the mid-game rather than the early game. Still, this isn't hard because you should already want to keep your good early game cards in your hand in order to play them.

After resourcing, I drain my domain of two to play Johnny V’s Dame, and then I use my other Syndicate domain to play my Clover Club Torch Singer at one-cost. My neutral domain remains open to pay for her ability if I need it, and I’m holding two characters that I can play on my next turn.

I wish I didn’t have to give up Steal the Soul, but I really want the Meticulous Scribe on the table for his Arcane icon, and without a Silver Twilight domain of one, I’d have had to build and hold onto a domain of two just to play my event. If I’d had a Silver Twilight domain of one resource, I’d have probably gone the other way and resourced Meticulous Scribe, trusting that I’d soon draw into another character with Arcane or Investigation icons.

Fortunately, in this case Lena Di Boerio is a reasonable substitute. Although her ability is very domain-hungry, she can mess with icons. In fact, she would have been a very reasonable substitute for the Clover Club Torch Singer, but because my deck is full of Criminal characters, I wanted to take advantage of Johnny V’s Dame’s discount as early as possible.

Subsequent Turns

My opponent appears to be playing a Serpent-themed deck. On his turn, he plays Naaginn (Touched by the Abyss, 105) and two Degenerate Serpent Cultists (The Wailer Below, 63). All three have Terror icons but no other icons. During his story phase, my opponent opts not to commit to stories since he sees that I could kill one Serpent and use my Clover Club Torch Singer to reduce another to skill zero, preventing it from gaining success tokens.

On my second turn, then, I draw another Johnny V’s Dame and Josef Meiger (Denizens of the Underworld, 52). The second Dame does little for me since they can only discount the first Criminal I play each turn. Fortunately, though, Josef is a Criminal himself, despite being a member of the Silver Twilight. This presents me a good opportunity to fix my neutral domain.

I resource the Dame on my neutral domain, then play Josef and Lena Di Boerio. At this point, the only card in my hand is the Meticulous Scribe. However, I have two domains left open. This allows me to threaten to remove my opponent’s Terror icons, so that I can commit to two or even three stories.


David doesn't require a three-resource domain for any of the cards in his hand, and by resourcing a Silver Twilight card to his neutral domain, he not only gains the ability to play two two-cost cards on his turn, but he makes transforms his neutral domain into one that's more useful to his deck.

I commit Josef, the Clover Club Torch Singer, and the Dame. If my opponent opposes all three, I can easily afford to let the Dame go insane, as her ability will work even if she is exhausted, and I’ll be able to kill some Serpents in return…

The Game So Far

When Should You Stop Resourcing?

At some point, you want to stop resourcing. After all, every card you don't resource is one extra card in your hand, and the sooner you stop letting go of those options, the sooner you’ve got a card advantage on your opponent.

This doesn't mean that every deck should be a rush deck, nor is it a good idea to stop resourcing too soon. If you do, you may have trouble playing your higher cost cards when you draw them.

Simply, you want to maintain the flow of cards from your deck to your hand and into play. If you can afford to play two to three cards every turn, then you may be ready to stop resourcing, or at least skip a turn. If you don't immediately need an extra resource and resourcing would cost you a valuable card, it's well worth skipping as long as your deck doesn't have too many high-cost cards that would leave you feeling off-pace later in the game.

At this point, I’ve had a fairly successful opening, and on my next turn, I’ll draw two more cards to add to my Meticulous Scribe. Also, since I know my deck’s composition, I expect that I’ll be able to play at least two of the cards I’ll have in my hand. At this point, there’s a good chance that I will only need to resource once more; if I add another Silver Twilight card to the domain that has one neutral and one Syndicate card, I’ll have two two-color domains, and one of them will be able to pay for three-cost cards.

Finally, now that I’ve established a fairly strong board presence, the time to favor characters over other card types has passed, and I can pay more attention to holding onto useful events and supports.

Hopefully, this has been a useful glimpse into the sort of choices that come up with resourcing, particularly early in the game when these choices are most critical. I think this particular example also helps to illustrate the sort of problems that occur even with a finely tuned deck and how you often need to be able to reroute your plans if you find yourself off of your ideal path.

Thanks, David!

The resourcing mechanic of Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is one of its most central and defining characteristics… and mastering the art of resourcing intelligently is essential to your efforts to save humanity or hurl it headlong toward the abyss!

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.

    
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