Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land General Strategy and Tactics Guide

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land info pageHaving trouble vanquishing the dark forces of the Mythos? If so here are a few hints and tips to help tip the balance of play in your favour. First off here are a few basic pointers of strategies that apply throughout the game:

  • Concentrate your attacks: It can help to focus several of your attacks onto a single enemy unit to kill it rather than damaging several units. Each enemy unit you remove is one less who can attack you during the enemy turn.
  • Upgrade to survive: At the end of each mission you will have a chance to upgrade your team’s stats, skills (via the Investigator Upgrade) and weapons, equipment and armour (via the Quartermaster). Carefully use these options to spend the XP (experience) and money ($) earned to improve your team.
  • Protect wounded investigators: When you use a First Aid Kit on an unconscious investigator and revive them, they can’t move that same turn so are vulnerable to attacks. It may be best sometimes to kill off some of the enemy before you restore an investigator. Another tactic is to give a newly conscious unit a dose of Syringe so they have some Action Points that turn to move or fight.
  • Use cover: Any unit in cover (a trench or crater, the little green shield next to a unit indicates it is in cover) is harder to hit. So wherever possible, position your investigators in cover and try to force enemies out of cover. For example if you are in a crater and the enemy is closing in, move so they have to engage you where you are in cover and they are out of cover, rather than you both end up in the crater.
  • Medical Stations as strong points: Each turn an investigator is on a valid square next to a medical station, it will be healed some damage. This makes them great positions to defend against waves of attacks as you can heal damage each turn. Plus you can then save your First Aid kits to restore unconscious units.
  • Unconscious units are not dead! Once an investigator’s Hit Points (HP) reach 0 it becomes unconscious. From here you will have 1 to 4 turns to get medical attention to it although if you complete a level and a unit is unconscious, you won’t lose that unit.
  • Use Overwatch: Any Action Points (AP) left over can be used to deliver a single normal attack during the enemy turn. So if you know where the enemy may spawn in from, or don’t have enough action points to move and attack, then take advantage of this and let them come to you! Another example is to shoot at an enemy but saving enough Action Points for a close combat attack, then switch weapons to a blade or club at the end of the turn so when the enemy closes in during their turn, they get attacked.
  • Cost the enemy Action Points (AP) to attack! Many enemy units that come in close to get you, can do 2 or more attacks if they don’t have to move. So, you can often stop them from maximising their assault by forcing it to move just 1 square to attack you and if you’ve completed your attack and you have a few AP left, then step away!

Character interface showing the Action Point cost of movement.


Next, here are a few more advanced techniques for improving your gameplay:

  • Use Psychoanalysis: This is a vital skill in the game and while initially only Emma Gold is ready to use it, it is recommended that you train and equip others to also. It can help to bolster Sanity (SAN) before a unit goes insane but even once an investigator goes insane, you can still use the skill on that unit to restore them. This can cancel out the lost turn of paralysis and stop the slide into unconsciousness of mania.
  • It’s magic! Magic is a powerful tool in the game. However casting spells costs Sanity (SAN) as well as Action Points but the benefits can be huge. For example the spell Health of R’Lyeh is really powerful because it allows you to heal units at any distance away.
  • Make gas your friend: The enemy units are overconfident of their Chemical Protection, unaware of gas or psychopaths who will blunder through gas to get at you. Turn this to your advantage by putting an investigator closer to them, but in such a way that they will travel though gas to get to to them. That way you can trick them into moving through gas and taking damage. Note that not all enemy units are vulnerable to gas.
  • Note the terrain: Some surfaces (mud) are slower to walk over and so cost more AP to traverse. Other surfaces (trenches) are a little easier. Be careful about your route as you can take advantage of the terrain to maximise your movement cost. You can also position yourself so the enemy has to move through mud to get to you, so costing them lots of AP and giving you more time to attack them before they can attack you.
  • Don’t exit investigators from a level till ready: Any unit who is named as having to complete a level will be unavailable for use once they reach the marked objective square. So sometimes it is best to not enter this square until you are ready, so keeping that unit available to attack.
  • Swap it! You can swap items between investigators who are next to each together, even if they are unconscious. The button next to the end-turn button is the one to use for this. So if the conscious unit has no First Aid kit and yet the unconscious investigator does, simply swap it to the conscious unit and then use to heal. You can also get creative with swapping as it costs no Action Points, for example if 2 units need to move through gas and you only have 1 gas mask, then move through the gas in such a way that you can swap the mask between the two and yet still progress.
  • Mix your tactics: The different types of weapon and action have different uses. So for example, the heavy machine guns are not very accurate, but you can fire several times in one turn (depending on your Action Points) whereas close combat gets a huge bonus to the HIT% when you spend additional Action Points, making it a good way to counter units in trenches and craters. Try to use a mix of tactics to take on the enemies of humanity.
  • The ‘human tank’: One approach is to armour up one of your investigators with lots of strong armor and use this unit out front to soak up attacks. It will slow them down as armour costs Action Points in-game. However, using the Investigator Upgrade screen to boost that investigator’s DEX and INT and so improve their total Action Points, can counter this.  Also some levels require quick movement so this is NOT recommended for Hill, Brightmeer, Brown or Gold.
  • Race against time: A couple of the levels have a turn limit to them. Keep an eye on the narrative text at the end of each mission for clues as to what is next and keep some Syringes in your equipment to speed the movement up of key investigators if the combat has slowed you down too much.

There is more help information here and on the game’s main page. There is also a mission guide.  Feel free to share your ideas and tactics in the comments section below – we’re always interested to hear your approach to combating the minions of darkness…

About Tomas

Design & Production Director at Auroch Digital. Designer of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. Writing and blogging things that surprise, entertain and interest me...
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28 Responses to Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land General Strategy and Tactics Guide

  1. Jeff Ensslen says:

    Use your Action Points wisely when choosing to do Aimed Shots. If your first shot, with Aiming, is not going to leave you with enough APs to shoot a second time, make your first shot unAimed, and then use your remaining APs to make an aimed shot. Any APs you had left over from the first will be applied to the Aimed shot on the second. Also, I find that my Investigators with rifles/shotguns/etc cannot ever make a second shot, so I have them all be Aimed. Unless, of course, they need to move or heal or something. And, wow, the Elephant Gun has some very satisfying stopping power, especially against the horrors at the bottom of the church.

  2. Tomas says:

    All good advice Jeff. Elephant Gun is a fav here in the office too!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_gun

  3. Toyn says:

    You’re right about rifles…they use all the HP up to fire just one aimed shot, making the guy a standing gun platform, but positioned well on a map, they can hit some targets pretty far away before they become dangerous. Pistols are my favourite though as they allow you to shoot and run, especially if the character is very proficient with them, he can be very accurate and get around the map quickly, very useful if he has to get to a position to complete the mission.

  4. cantello says:

    Good tacticd, thanks guys!

    One thing, however, that I did not quite get so far is the range stat. How does this affect the damage and accuracy of weapons?

  5. cantello says:

    Good advice, thanks guys!

    One thing, however, that I did not quite get is the range stat. How exactly does this affect damage and accuracy of the respective weapons?

  6. Dworkyll says:

    I’ve just completed the game on Normal difficulty, here are my observations, strategies:

    FOCUS: on character development, train specialists, one or two weapon skill is sufficient
    for every team member. Exceptions are Green (meélé (martial arts) + shotgun) and Brown
    (rifle+artillery). Later you can add more skills, but dont waste XP on several skills on a
    single person.

    XP USAGE: In the first half of the game, concentrate on specific skills, weapons, chemical
    protection mainly. Those are cheap, XP-wise. Later you may concentrate on generic skills,
    DEX (improving critical hits) and POW (good to keep the sanity, you will need it), HP for weaker investigators.

    TEAM CREATION: Green – close combat (shotgun, trench weapons, medium armour), Brown –
    sniper scout. Rifle against solo enemies, artillery again clustered ones. Hill, Brightmeer, Gold, pistol+psychic skills. Two books is sufficient for the three people. Teammate 6
    should be a machine gunner, without additional weapon skill. Gas protection and first aid
    is adviseable. Again, three gas masks for four protected people (Green, Brown, Hill,
    Brightmeer) is sufficient. Swapping is cool, item slots are few.

    FORMATION. Keep the toughest in the front (with good close combat skills/shotgun), the weakest (pistols, rifles) back. Keep in mind the weapon ranges. Shoot the short ones first, the longs later. It is adviseable to keep everyone in the line-of-sight, so no turns are wasted, because someone can’t see its target. Try to keep closed formations, as the enemy does not have area effected weaponry (e.g. artillery, grenades), but closed formation is good for support (see later).

    TARGET SELECTION. Highest priority: ones with paralyzing attacks. Second: dangerous ranged attacks, machine gunners, riflemen. Third: slow moving close combattants. Those are tough, but can be lured into gas, mud or can be outrun. Focus on targets, until they are killed, instead of wound many. Wounded enemies presents danger, dead ones don’t.

    TARGET SELECTION II. If there are hordes of weak enemies (e.g. cultists with knives), it is adviseable to reduce their number significantly first, and concentrate the firepower on tougher ones later, when the light masses are dealt with.

    SUPPORT: is vital. In the first half, the first aid, in the second (when ranged healing with Brightmeer become available) the sanity restoration has utmost importance. The vitality jabs are dealbreakers at certain situations, e.g. when the close combatant, with the sharpened showel can deal with any monster in the game, after a good vitality jab, (and a good sanity check :-)

    I do love the game :-)
    ARMOUR: medium is sufficient, heavy has to big AP penalty. Steel helmets are good, I have purchased only one tankers helmet.

    • Tomas says:

      Hi Dworkyll,

      Thanks for that feedback – lots of good stuff for us to look over. We’ll have a read. Glad you liked the game.

      Tomas

      • Dworkyll says:

        Sorry to mixing up the reply, it was copied from my text editor. Is there a way to fix it? I can re-post it.

        What I would do to improve the experience is to allow the player to reallocate the resources (XP, equipent, weaponry) when restarting a certain level. If there would be a single replay possibility for each level, just like in *****Birds, it would be just splendid. An other thing I would adjust is to skip the refocus on character after an attack. Using a good ranged weapon or spell, that does not use all AP, like MG, is frustrating, because you have to re-select target.

        I did not really understand, what Range Hit and Range Dam do exactly.

        I really appreciate the entire design, the sound effects, the graphic, the quotes especially, and the in-game manuals. Red Wasp did a stunningly great job. I played on iPad 1, and enjoying it :D Hope, you extend this game engine/design into other locations/stories, as Lovecraft wrote about several places in his works: pyramids, under the sea, other planets (steampunk spaceships wouldnt be awesome? ;-) etc. not just Arkham. (Another thumbs up for _not_ setting the location into Arkham)

      • Tomas says:

        Hi Dworkyll. We’ve looking at a save before you spend resources in the Team Management now. I’m writing an article on the combat stats at the moment, so keep an eye on the site. Thanks for other feedback! Tomas

    • Xidus says:

      Re: “I did not really understand, what Range Hit and Range Dam do exactly.”

      This is what I have deduced:
      Range Hit 0 – melee or line of sight (spells, artillery)
      Range Hit 1 – line of sight, not affected by range (some spells)
      Range Hit 2 – (haven’t seen this)
      Range hit 3 – line of sight, range reduces accuracy (ranged weapons)
      Range hit 4 – hits anywhere, range reduces accuracy (some spells)

      Range Dam 0 – range does not reduce damage
      Range Dam # – range reduces damage

      • Tomas says:

        Both are modifiers per square applied to the hit/damage. So a shotgun has a high Range Dam modifiers meaning that the further away you get, the less damage it does. Or the rifle has no Range Dam modifier meaning the damage done is not effected by range. Hope this helps. Thanks

  7. Nick says:

    This is a fantastic game. I just completed it on normal level and it was hugely enjoyable.

    There are so many things about this game I love. Yes there are a few minor niggles that keep it from being perfect but they are trivial.

    I particulalrly liked the way the horror develops slowly at first and then massively towards the end as all hell is unleashed. Monsters that a few missions earlier were the biggest, nastiest thing you’d seen and struggle to kill become the rank and file and even more horrific things emerge.

    I thought the new mage spiders Brightmeer warned me about were represented simply as a different coloured version of the usual kind… I realised my mistake a turn later when a giant one walked onto the map. Later on that mission, when besieged in the ruins I sent a manic Carl Green out fully dosed up with 200+APs to bludgeon the masses to death and laughed out loud when the waiting spider zapped him with a death spell as soon as he poked his head out. Having said that a manic Carl Green with a spade and a few shots of vitality can normally take out everything the cult can throw at him later on and the rest of the team can get somewhat relegated to being his delivery and maintainance system.

    Anway amazing games guys – well done

  8. B.R. says:

    A tactic you should employ is using say, C. Milton as a tank. Just buy him some body armor to go with his helmet and equip him with whatever you’ve given him points for; a machine gun or an elephant gun. Also, remember that you should try to lose zero investigators right up to the last level. The more units you have, the more damage you can inflict, and the more support your essential characters will have. And focus your fire on the biggest, strongest enemies first. First priority are paralyzing foes. When facing Leng Spiders, take out the big bastards first. Likewise with cultists; Adepts and Iron cultists are the most dangerous. When facing Reanimates, go for the deformed zombies wearing gas masks, since they have more HP and usually more AP as well (not to mention giant claws in later levels). The Romero rejects can be safely ignored until they’re close enough for some knife work. ;D

  9. B.R. says:

    And start putting several points into Brightmeer’s Cthulhu Mythos right after the first level, while upgrading his POW every other level. Once spells are made available, he’ll become the most valuable support unit, providing health from afar, and deadly attacks on enemies regardless of distance. Bane of Nygoth will be your best bet against the horrors of later levels. Anyway, this is an awesome game, RW; tahnks for making it. How about a game set in Egypt, with mummies and the Black Pharoah as the main antagonist?

  10. quothmarc says:

    Don’t waste your money! There is a very finite amount of money in the game, and the good items you really want get very expensive towards the end. My first time through, I had some extra money after the first few levels so I outfitted Green, Hill, Brown, and Brightmeer with machine guns…at 340$ a pop. I bought melee weapons for everybody, because rather have it and not need it than vice versa, right? Wrong. Brown and Brightmeer almost never used weapons in the last 3 or 4 levels. Medkits? Just need the smallest one to revive people, otherwise use Health of Ryleh. I personally never used the adrenaline things just because inventory space was too valuable, but I could certainly see how they could be useful.

    My point is this: assign each character a role and then only spend money on them towards improving that role.

  11. PrimeLens says:

    I’ve tested nearly all weapons and find the best two worth leveling up on are handguns and rifles for short range and long range that way your team units can minimize using up AP on moving. Nearly all the AP goes into dealing damage.

    Handguns are fantastic – because you shoot multiple times in one turn it helps you divide the dame you deal across targets more efficiently. Because you loose firepower when you inflict 40 damage on a 20HP monster. Rifles are fantastic because you can take out an enemy at a distance.

    Best combo I found was to level up the rifle skill for Sid with red hair, Elwin with helmet, and the Captain. Level up the handgun skill for Carl, Brightmeer and Emma. Any extra spend on Carls ability with a blade and the Captain with a handgun.

    Use adrenalin shots to boost AP on your main shooter. Use adrenalin shots on Brightmeer so he has enough AP to keep fixing the main shooters sanity. With this combo you are unbeatable.

    OVERWATCH – I used this a lot. On levels that don’t have a time limit there is no rush. Inch forward a square or two at a time and leave enough AP so that each units main weapon can overwatch attack before the enemy can attack you.

    Try not to leave a level until every monster is killed so you have maximum spending power – the generator room is especially good for this.

    Using this technique I completed HARD difficulty without one death and took out the end boss without any team member being hit. Needed 4 adrenalin needles in the team before starting the end level.

    End boss on HARD difficulty has 255 hp. Pics here
    http://imgur.com/a/84bB7

  12. Xidus says:

    Just completed it on normal, here’s my advice.

    Very first thing to put points into is weapon skill, pick 1 weapon skill for each character and pump it up. Weapon skill increases accuracy and damage. Then start increasing dex and int for everyone, more AP is always good in these types of games. Mid game increase POW a little for everyone (for more sanity), and a lot for the casters (usually brightmeer) and tank (usually green). I never bothered to increase str or HP. I also gave everyone max chemical protection since it wasn’t expensive. 3 characters got max Psycho. I didn’t bother to use 2 weapon types for 1 character, except for Brown who kept his artillery bird.

    Equipment. Money is limited so don’t go spending recklessly. But you should have enough for everyone to have good weapons. Remember you can swap items for no AP cost, so you can share sanity books and only really need 1 gas mask per 2 characters to get through gas areas unscathed.

    Usually keep everyone together, nmes don’t have AOE attacks. The AI normally just attacks whomever is closest, so sit the tank out front and casters in the middle in case of suprise nme spawning from behind.

    My party makeup was;
    front- Green (melee tank)
    front- Hill (pistols & sanity support)
    middle- Gold (caster & sanity support)
    middle- Brightmeer (caster & sanity support)
    back- Brown (sniper)
    back- Masse (sniper)

    I think lots of different party configurations would work well. Multiple casters work very well together, as there are 6 spells in the game but only 2 equip slots for them per character. You don’t have to buy multiple of the same spellbook, you can swap spells between them without using any AP. Keep the squishy units in the middle as you never know when/where nmes might spawn if you’ve never played before.

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  14. Sheldon says:

    I found it highly effective to train Green in rifle + melee and Hill and the ‘new’ soldier (not Brown) in heavy weapons. Two rifles plus two machine-guns can usually keep off the most intense swarms; all Brightmeer and Gold need to do is maintain sanity, the machine-gunners lose it at a ridiculous rate. Machine guns are good either close or at medium range; rifles handle long-range.

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