Central Theme: As befits a fertility cult, Black Goat’s emphasis is on occupation and expansion – sort of like a fungus infection. Unlike other Factions, you tend to be geographically restricted. You are not deadly in battle (in fact, you have no battle Spell Books except Frenzy), but you have plenty of cheap throwaway Units, so you are resilient. As you hole up in your homeland, your abilities let you target enemies by remote Control. This is your true strength.
Early Game: In the early game, the most common mistake a novice Black Goat player makes is to initiate a diaspora of Cultists to immediately achieve the “Have Units in X Area” Spell Books. But your enemies will move in once you are helpless from lack of Power. Build up at a sedate rate. Ensure that when you move Units into an Area they have support and protection, and in general use cheap Monsters to occupy Areas for Spell Book purposes, rather than Cultists. Thousand Young is best used defensively, for instance when an enemy moves on one of your Gates, reactively Summon a heap of trouble for him. Create a stronghold where you can Summon Shub-Niggurath safely.
Late Game: In the late game, you can sadly annoy other players. Ghroth slows and cripples rivals. Battle becomes common, so Necrophagy can occur multiple times in a single turn. Avatar steals weak enemy bases with prejudice –- teleport to the spot, and they must send someone to your homeland. You can then Capture their Cultist or, if the Gate is abandoned, Recruit your own Cultist to take it over. The enemy often comes to you, in an attempt to stop the hurting, so sit tight. If you do need to strike at a distance, you have Avatar. You may not have as many Gates as other, more mobile, Factions, but you can make up for this – even with just two Gates plus Shub-Niggurath, Blood Sacrifice nets you two Elder Signs and four Doom Points per Doom phase if you Ritual.
- Frenzy: Excellent both defensive and offensively. If a foe moves a Monster into an area, hoping for a cheap Capture, declare combat, and Pain him right back out.
- Necrophagy: Use with impunity, as Ghouls are cheap (free, after Thousand Young). In a small battle, it can clean out an entire area, allowing your Ghoul to Recruit a Cultist and take the Gate. Teleporting Ghouls around the world also helps meet Spell Book requirements.
- Ghroth: A complex action, requiring timing and preparation, but worth the trouble. Some players focus on Ghroth as a central strategy. Others keep it as an occasional treat. Both techniques are effective.
- Red Sign: Gives you potentially more baseline Power than any other Faction, plus Gate-Controlling Units that can’t be Captured. Remember, when you Summon a Dark Young under Red Sign, you can place it right on the Gate (replacing the Cultist who Summoned it.)
- The Thousand Young: Its utility is obvious, but it contains subtle touches. For instance, Summon a single Ghoul for zero Power, in effect marking time while seeing what the other players do. It is also demoralizing for a foe to launch a mighty attack on you, destroying three or four of your Units, only to have you Summon your lost Units right back at trivial cost.
- Blood Sacrifice: Lets you earn an Elder Sign every Doom Phase. As a bonus, it puts Cultists back in your Pool, so you can Recruit them for use with Avatar or Necrophagy Gate-stealing.
Thwarting Black Goat: Black Goat is hard to dig out once settled in. However, she is easy to fend off in the first place, as her offensive action is limited. Her Monsters are feeble, and have other tasks to perform besides fighting. This means that her main tool for conquest are Avatar and Necrophagy, and both involve starting out weak in the target Area. React vigorously to drive her back. Once she is established, she is hard to stop, because she gets extra Power from Red Sign, and extra Elder Signs from Blood Sacrifice. At some point, you may need to go take out one of her citadels. Luckily, all three of the other Factions can pull this off with their Great Old Ones, properly used. Don’t make the mistake of trying to extirpate Black Goat entirely –- you will fail, and if you keep focusing on her, other enemies may surge ahead. Remember: Don’t try to cure the Black Goat infection, just keep it contained.