My last adventure with Auroch Digital was the blast I had playing their Last Days of Old Earth. Now, for something completely different (said in an infomercial voice), I get to haunt around in their creepy Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics. Set in the ‘Achtung! Cthulhu’ universe, I’ll have to fight immortal evil, my own gang’s sanity, plus Nazi terrors — some known as Nachtwölfe troopers.
During the non-combat part, my squad of four slowly moves through various eerie locations (the Forest of Fear being one), heading toward a somewhat-known point where I’ll eventually be attacked. My crew moves all together in a tight box formation, regardless of who I have chosen to lead. It’s real-time as they move until running across some sort of unknown enemy when it then automatically switches to turn-based strategy.
Right here I’ll take a break and note that the turn-based part plays a lot like modern XCOM, so I’ll probably reference it more than once. Having said that, I do not like the way my guys move during the non-combat portion of the game — and have stated so in their forums. Unlike XCOM, again, they move around in a close box. Even in real-time, I’d prefer to move my guys individually — to keep the more melee/shotgun types in the front, with the sniper in the rear. Once combat begins, I’m stuck with whatever position my squad is at within the tiny square.
Combat and Momentum
Once the turn-based combat starts, the basics of AP usage, movement and firing are pretty close to XCOM’s — thankfully. Including the ability to overwatch. One of the important and unique features of Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, however, is Momentum.
When the turn starts, your crewman with the highest leadership value is technically ‘in command’ and will generate as many Momentum Points as their leadership score. Momentum can be used in a wide variety of ways, including overwatch, fire secondary weapon, throw Mills bomb, life drain, etc. Most kills will also generate Momentum, as well as scoring critical hits.
Not only do you have to pay attention to momentum levels, but you also have to be very careful about how you move. Every action, even firing, costs AP. Generally limited to only twelve AP for a turn, you’ll need to see if you have enough left over to shoot, melee attack, etc. At the bottom of each character, it shows what each particular action costs. Since this is also an RPG, each character has different skills to keep track of. Too many times I’ve moved and forgotten it costs six to shoot ‘that’ particular gun — leaving me in cover (of course I always try to do that), but unable to shoot that round. If that person doesn’t have two Momentum, that means I can’t even place them in overwatch either — basically leaving me only the ability to reload… if I can even afford that.
The other unique and very important aspect of Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is known as The Shroud. This dark cloudiness of sighted enemies is what adds to the eeriness level of the game. Not only that, it can wreak major havoc with your team. Units shooting from The Shroud have an advantage with their hit probabilities. Likewise, trying to shoot them while Shrouded hurts your chances to hit them. These alone cause a major effect on gameplay…
Even though you may see five or six (or more, trust me) shrouded enemies, you still must move forward to get rid of their concealment if you want any kind of chance to hit them. This adds even more tension to the tightrope you’re already attempting to cross. Do you move your crew forward enough to uncloak the bad guys, but not be able to shoot them? Or, do you hold back while keeping the ability to return fire, knowing they’ll get to shoot first from the shadows? The easiest, but most dangerous way to uncover a lot of enemies at once is to send in one of your knife-wielders to melee one of their guys. It’s high damage to them, but high risk for you. Whomever it was that you sent in to stick ‘em generally is not left with any cover. If you don’t have enough AP to return to some kind of obstacle, you’re left there like a sitting duck.
Finally, there is a psychological system in Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics. There’s a little stress meter beside each person that increases when they’re taking fire… and sometimes when their comrades are hit or under the gun as well. Too much stress causes them to panic — get the shakes, stagger, etc. which lowers their APs on their next turn.
The ‘Lovecraft-meets-WWII universe of Achtung! Cthulhu’ is a dangerous and strange place. As your characters level up, hopefully you can enable them to better handle the horrors they are going to run across — using a combination of skills and enhanced weaponry. Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is a mythos-inspired, story-driven campaign in which your job is to defeat the Cult of the Black Sun. It took me a little bit to get used to, but I had a lot of fun with it. My last screenshot will show you what I’m currently up against — it’s only the enemies I can see though, as I heard a couple others lurking around in two other directions as well.
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics was released Oct 4, 2018 and is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.