Yesterday at the breakfast table (after breakfast; I’m not a barbarian), I finally beat Ithaqua with a random team of investigators. I mean beat him. This crew was so well prepared they could have walked out his cave right into the Nyarlathotep scenario, beat him, and so on down the line of Elder Gods to the original Yig.
(I’m speaking, of course, of my years-long obsession with the Elder Sign: Omens app.)
The success was part luck, of course, but also careful strategy.
The luck came into play first in the random selection of investigators: Mark Harrigan (completes tasks in any order); Luke Robinson (can spend 4 trophies to open an other world); Diana Stanley (gets a Clue for defeating a monster); Jenny Barnes (can turn anything but a Unique Item into both a red die and yellow die). Jenny’s arguably my favorite character, packing a wallop at low cost. Mark’s ability to tackle numbered tasks out of order is great for knocking off those adventures. In a scenario like this one, where monsters pop up often, Diana can easily end up with a dozen Clue tokens or more. And saving Luke to unlock numerous Other World adventures once the Alaskan wilderness part turned out to be very effective, guaranteeing multiple ways of gaining Elder Signs to quickly reach Ithaqua’s cave.
The second bit of luck was that not much Doom piled up in the Museum portion, and enough adventures allowed Doom reduction that the team managed to hang out there until nearly 30 supplies had been amassed—without spending any of Luke’s Trophy points, and without using much in terms of equipment. That meant they could tackle the Alaska part in a leisurely fashion. Between time at the Museum and buying at the Alaskan trading post, all the characters were loaded with plenty of Clues and Spells to back up their Common and Unique items.
And the third element of luck was that instead of stampeding the horses and destroying all supplies, forcing the team into the typical panicked starvation mode, the ravine actually gave them more supplies. They had literally two dozen left upon entering Ithaqua’s cave.
The good strategies started with using Mark and Diana to tackle the toughest Museum events, with Jenny acting as backup, while Luke cherry picked the easiest just to rack up trophy points. The group spent a last few nights in the Museum just so Jenny could buy Clues as a stockpile of cheap tokens to convert later to those powerful yellow and red dice.
When the Doom track finally reached about 4, they headed to Alaska. With the Doom track that low and supplies so high, their time in Alaska remained leisurely. They could even afford time to heal at the Trading Post as needed.
Once in Alaska, Luke began opening Other Worlds left and right. (Note that tackling an Other World adventure just before midnight arrives means no risk of solving a real world adventure only to have a random adventure with a midnight penalty pop up unexpectedly.) Careful choice of which adventure with an Elder Sign to tackle in what order meant the crew accumulated 8 (placing them just before the ravine), and then that massive 3 from R’lyeh, putting them an easy one Elder Sign away from Ithaqua’s cave.
And this is where the final bit of strategy paid off. I used Jenny (who’s tokens were nearly depleted) to score that last Elder Sign, which meant the next three investigators would tackle the three rounds of Ithaqua battle without needing her help—and they were all loaded down with Spells and Clues to back up one Common and one Unique item apiece.
Ithaqua never stood a chance. The overall battle was ridiculously easy at this point.
If I’d put the team together myself, Mark should have gone into the second or third slot instead of first in the lineup, because his ability to choose task order would have been even more effective. But I was most surprised at how effective Luke was in preparing the path to victory. Against some Elder Gods, his special ability might be less effective, but it worked surprisingly well here.
But enough effusing. Time to load up another team of investigators and squeeze the last bits of life out of this game app. Like Cthulhu squeezing the life out of a hapless sailor.