This post has been a long time coming! After more than six months, I feel like I finally know enough to write a guide. Buckle up, this is going to be a long one. I’m going to be using English names for the wand and artifact abilities. Please refer to my artifact/wand guides for rules explanations.
The current top score on the leaderboard is 2506 points, by nobodyweknow. Since the max number of games in a run is 50, this means he averaged above 50 points per game. This guide is aimed at listing everything I know to help you beat that score! If your goal is to merely survive 50 games, some of this guide will apply, but some of the more aggressive optimizations won’t.
II. General Tactics
These are some general rules of thumb. They can and should be broken occasionally, but following them should help you more often than not.
Parity is important
When planning your route through a room, keep parity (whether you or the enemy gets to attack first) in mind. It can be worth firing a wand at nothing just to get a monster one step closer to you.
Treasure is important
New players sometimes think they should focus on treasure after they’ve mastered survival, but treasure helps with survival too by healing and revealing abilities. Cinco Paus runs on treasure, whether your goal is to get a high score or simply survive 50 levels.
Don’t fire unscouted wands point blank
In the first zone, it can be tempting to fire a wand point blank at a lizard to try to kill it. This often works out, but it’s too risky and will hurt your longterm winrate. It’s a disaster if the wand passes harmlessly through the lizard without doing anything, or worse, duplicates it! Barring desperate circumstances, attack monsters down and take some guaranteed damage instead of risking a disaster.
A common exception is for ghosts. Since you can’t attack ghosts, sometimes you have to blindfire and hope. It’s also okay to play a bit riskier in the first few games of a run, since dying costs less at that point.
Don’t forget about Explode
Everyone has probably died at least once to an unscouted explode. If possible, try to ensure if a wand has explode, you won’t get hurt by it. If a wand already has explode, try to play around it having an unscouted Continuing Ray, Short Ray or Refracting Ray. Firing across the stage at a monster with your back to an edge is usually safe.
Line up monsters
Efficiency demands for your wand beams to pass through as many different enemies as possible. To get this to happen, you should sometimes “waste” moves in hopes that enemies line up.
Enemy movement is random, however (and order is random too!), so this is easier done in theory than practice. Try to look for spots where several monsters have a chance to move into your line of sight, and if you decide it’s worth the risk, go for it! This can involve “dancing” in place several turns in a row to try to get monsters to line up.
Be careful, though. Delaying moves can work against you, since you might end up surrounded! Many a run on my end has been lost because I was indecisive, tried to get a good angle and got overrun.
When attacking a ghost, the ghost will move away instead of taking damage. As a result, there’s a strange technique with a ghost that’s next to you; if you push a ghost next to another monster in a corridor, you can often force the other monster to move away from you. You also preserve your current parity. This can help you escape from an otherwise dangerous situation or get monsters to line up.
Have an exit plan after you clear the level
The frogs are coming, and they’re mad. The pace that new frogs come out accelerates at a surprising rate: the first frog comes out after 25 turns, the second comes out after 20, and so on to a minimum of one frog every 5 turns (yikes!). If you are going for some greedy exploitation (say, duplicating multiple times), have a plan for getting to the exit when there are possibly multiple frogs in play. If nothing you have kills frogs, then you should be pretty scared.
Some obscure rules for monster movement
- If several monsters are adjacent to a friend (or scarecrow), even if the friend dies from the first hit, the other monsters won’t move this turn (they can still attack you if you’re nearby).
- Enemy monsters move first, before friends. This means that friends usually lose one on one fights.
- An enemy ghost can kill an adjacent friend ghost (no clue why).
- Since enemies move first, an enemy ghost will die if it moves into range of a friend’s attack.
- A poisoned monster will be stunned when the poison damages it. It also won’t wake up from sleep if you walk next to it on that turn. Poison is an effective way to take down Frogs and Chickens!
Monster contents: All Zones contain exactly 5 monsters (barring Time Warp shenanigans) and two possible layouts:
3 Shrimp, 2 Lizards OR 2 Shrimp, 1 Ghost, 2 Lizards
- Try to take less than 3 damage.
- Fire your wands at lizards and hope to find kill spells.
- Don’t fire point blank – basic attack the lizard down instead.
- If you’re surrounded, you won’t be able to basic attack and may have to spray and pray. Most of the time you can avoid being surrounded, though.
- Fire excess wands at the Frogs that come out after you’ve cleared.
- If possible, you should prefer firing at the right and top walls.
Monster contents: 2 Shrimp, 2 Lizards, 1 Frog OR 1 Shrimp, 1 Ghost, 3 Lizards
- If you fired a wand at a lizard last zone and it did nothing, don’t fire it at a lizard again.
- Same with frogs – don’t bother test firing a wand at a frog if it did nothing last time. Instead scout for something else – my favorite is usually firing at the right wall into a niche, which lets you scout for Charge Right, Niche Treasure, and Buried Treasure at once.
Monster contents: 1 Shrimp, 2 Ghosts, 2 Frogs OR 1 Shrimp, 1 Ghost, 2 Lizard, 1 Frog
- This is a good level to skip if you’re not doing well. It’s hard (2 frogs!) but you’re not missing out on as much treasure as if you skip Zone 4 or Zone 5.
Monster contents: 2 Lizards, 2 Frogs, 1 Ghost OR 2 Shrimp, 1 Ghost, 1 Lizard, 1 Chicken
- This is your first possible opportunity to scout for Kill Chicken. If a wand hasn’t been doing much so far, it might have this ability on it. Kill Chicken is rarer than the other Kill abilities, so don’t count on it!
Monster contents: 2 Shrimp, 1 Ghost, 2 Chickens OR 1 Shrimp, 1 Lizard, 2 Frogs, 1 Chicken
- Silently curse if you get 1 chicken and 2 frogs.
- If you have Move Door, placing the door at the TOP or RIGHT walls will let you fire at the top and right walls at the beginning of Zone 1 of the next game.
- If you have Time Warp, you can warp potions and books to Zone 1 of the next game, where they’ll be more useful.
Monster contents: 3 Ghosts, 1 Frog, 1 Chicken OR 2 Ghosts, 1 Lizard, 1 Frog, 1 Chicken
- Since this can come at any time after Zone 1, you sometimes find yourself in here before you’ve had a chance to scout much. Be careful, killing a Frog and a Chicken can be tough!
- The door to the secret level can’t be on the same wall as the entrance or where the exit starts. If you move the exit with Move Door, try to remember where it used to be.
- Once you get 5 keys, you are guaranteed to have a secret level appear some time in the next 5 zones you play.
III. Arcs of a campaign
Cinco Paus has some distinct “arcs” in a 50 game campaign (50 games is the max number of games you can play). The borders between the arcs are hazy, but at some point you’ll know you’re in one.
Early game (games 1-4)
You’re gonna die a lot. If you AREN’T dying a lot, you’re probably playing too conservatively. In this phase you should aggressively pursue treasure, particularly keys and gems. Your goal here is to get a statistically anomalous start so that you can snowball into safety and more treasure in the mid game. If you die, hey, that’s life (actually it’s death, but let’s not get bogged down in the details).
Go crazy! Use Polymorph wands on potions to try to get another gem or key. Fire speculative wands at scary monsters to see if you luck out. Scout for treasure aggressively.
It’s quite possible to get an artifact game 1 – usually with the help of Refresh Top, Duplicate, Corpse Treasure or some combo of those. If I don’t get an artifact by game 2, I restart. It’s also good if you can access the secret room once before game 5.
Even though this is only 4 games, you’ll spend a lot of time here as you die over and over to random stuff. Enjoy it! It’s fun to die, especially if it’s in new and interesting ways. 🙂
Mid game (games 5-15)
Tons of promising runs die here – you’re fighting against both the pressing need to ramp your economy and the increased challenge from monster abilities.
You’re going to get your first enemy abilities here. There’s lots of variation in how annoying these are, and the first few can make or break your run. If any of your early upgrades are Sleep, you should consider restarting (you won’t need to, though, since you’ll die soon anyway). In addition, Remove Abilities is added as a possible ability to your wands, which weakens your wands by diluting your ability pool.
To fight this increased challenge, you are hopefully snowballing into a lot of artifact improvements, which should eventually help with safety and make it easier to get even more artifact improvements. Keys and Gems are still the most valuable, but Chests begin to gain a little.
The Golden Age (games 16-39)
Around this time you start completing the major upgrades for most of your artifacts, and you should have full upgrades around game 25. This represents a huge power spike, and (hopefully) the monster abilities aren’t strong enough to check you yet. Your main goal is to play aggressively to max points while somehow avoiding death.
- Chests become the most valuable treasure (5 points!!).
- Keys decline as you near the point where you can’t upgrade anything anymore; you can still squeeze a few points out of the extra rooms, but it stops becoming a priority since artifacts become your main source of points.
- Once you have full upgrades, getting five Gems lets you pick from a Chest, a Book, or a Potion. As a results, Gems are still worth 2 points each, since every 5 can be cashed out for a chest. Abilities that use gems aren’t so bad to use as before, as they only cost you 1 point instead of slowing down artifact progression.
With so many artifacts letting you breeze through previously dangerous early levels, your scouting habits change to max points over safety. Your only real danger is dying to extreme greed, particularly to too many frogs spawning while you are busy milking a room for points. It can be a tough decision of whether to stay and get more treasure or cut your losses and move to the next room.
It only takes 1 death and dying isn’t so fun now that you’ve finally made it through the brutal early and mid game. That being said, this is where you score most of your points, so you still have to make your games count.
The Late Game (games 40-50)
At this point monsters have been steadily scaling in difficulty while you have stayed static. Even if you got lucky with some innocuous abilities to start, it’s virtually guaranteed that monsters have one or two nasty abilities on them now. While you’d love to continue making cash money like you did in the Golden Age, in reality you’ll probably just be focusing on survival. Secret Rooms are sometimes a liability that you’ll choose to avoid, and things could get ugly in this final stretch.
That said, you’re almost there! Try not to die – even if you have a higher score, you’ll need to complete all 50 games for it to properly display at the top.
As mentioned earlier, our goal is a lofty 50 points per game (and MORE than that in the Golden Age, to make up for the low scoring early rounds). It’s useful to break this down a bit.
A random treasure will either be a potion (1 point), book (1 point), chest (5 points!!!), or gem. Gems are a bit tricky, but in the late game after you’ve fully upgraded, you can trade 5 of them for a chest. This means they can be valued as roughly equal to 2 points.
(1 + 1 + 5 + 2)/4 = 2.25 – the average value of a treasure.
Every “jogo” (set of 5 rooms) has:
- 5 keys (5 points)
- Locked treasure in each of the 5 zones (5 x 2.25 = 11.25 points)
- 1 to 3 chickens in each game (3 x 2.25 = 7.75 points)
This totals to 24 points, which is only halfway there! In order to get our score up to 50, we’ll have to scrape together about 12 more treasures from wands, artifacts, and the secret level.
OK, but I don’t care about score, I just want to complete 50 games!
Only 20 people have cleared 50 games on iOS so far, so if you can do it too, you’re in good company! If that’s your goal, take the treasure upgrades lower. Prioritize the good survival artifacts higher: Frog Statue and Swap Spiral increase a lot in value. Gems are still important early, but you don’t have to go quite so crazy for points in the Golden Age.
Scouting is a crucial part of the game. This is done some during combat, but the lion’s share of useful info generally comes after you’ve cleared a level. Frogs will come out in a predictable spot, allowing safe scouting.
Wand selection matters even on the first turn of the game
- If firing at the top ceiling, choose the wand that corresponds to your column first to give yourself a chance of scouting Refresh Top.
- When firing in any other direction, choose the wand that corresponds to your column last in case another wand identifies an ability with Identify.
Most Important Abilities
The most important abilities to scout for are:
- Impactful: it doesn’t matter if you scout a weak ability like “Build Wall”
- Non-trivial to find: Corpse Treasure, Duplicate and Attack are strong abilities, but all fairly trivial to find just by playing normally.
- Possible to find: Obviously you’d love to know about Goliath Kill or Chicken Kill, but it’s hard to find them safely.
The top 10 most important abilities (actually 11, but everyone likes top 10s, right?) to have in mind during scouting are:
- Charge Right. Scouting this makes the later zones much easier. It’s extremely powerful to walk into a new level with your next attack already charged. Because it has no restrictions, it’s the most common wall-touch ability, appearing on 18.5% of wands compared to Heal Bottom (17.5%) or Refresh Top (12.5%).
- Kill Frog. Frogs always come out after you’ve cleared a level, making them the most common enemy. At 3 HP, killing them in one shot is a lot of value. Furthermore, scouting for this is easy – just wait at the end of a level for a frog to show up, and fire wands at it from a safe distance. If you have any spare wands at the end of the first room, make sure you fire them at a frog before you leave.
- Refresh Top. Refresh isn’t great for survival, but it’s amazing for score. It’s great to refresh a treasure wand you’ve found, or even better, refreshing duplicate! During the Golden Age phase of the game mentioned above, survival becomes less important and this becomes the most important ability to scout for. As a note, because Refresh Top cannot occur with Duplicate and treasure abilities, it is less common than Charge Right and Heal Bottom.
- Heal Bottom. The value of this doesn’t scale quite so well into later rooms as the other two wall abilities, but gaining an HP per room still helps with survival.
- Niche Treasure. Gotta get that treasure! Niche treasure is the strongest treasure ability to scout for because it can be done at the same time as scouting for a wall ability AND scouting for Kill Frog. As a result, if there is a 3 wall “niche” and the right layout, you can get a free scout for it in the first room by making sure the wand passes through both the niche and the frog. That said, sometimes the frog will spawn too far away from the niche, or sometimes you won’t get a niche at all.
- Buried Treasure. Buried Treasure is the easiest treasure to scout for – just fire a wand and don’t hit anything! That said, hitting enemies is important to figure out how to clear the later levels, so I usually forgo scouting for Buried Treasure until the end of the second room. At the end of the first room, I aim my spare wands at frogs. At the end of the second room, however, the wands that did nothing the first time should now be tested for Buried Treasure (on a different wall from last time).
- Kill Lizard. Lizards are secretly one of the most threatening monsters, since they appear before you’ve had much chance to scout for abilities. Usually it won’t be a lizard that lands the final blow, but in any run where you die, lizards probably hit you for a lot in the early rounds. Even though you can’t scout for this after you’ve cleared the level, you should track which wands you’ve already tried firing at a lizard.
- Pillar Treasure. This is the worst treasure ability because scouting for it involves not hitting a wall (meaning you can’t scout for this at the same time that you scout for the powerful wall-touch abilities earlier in the list). Later in the level, however, you might have a wand that you’ve already scouted for everything else, and you might as well try Pillar Treasure then.
- Earthquake. This is a crazy ability that can make the early levels a breeze, provided you don’t get too unlucky with walls. It’s somewhat rare (appearing on 9.1% of wands) and you need to shoot exactly through the center, but if you find it, it will make things much easier. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve found a wand with Earthquake and Corpse Treasure and make it rain money. Try to shoot through the center if you can!
- / Corpse Kill/Precise Kill. Anything that kills instantly is immensely helpful in the later areas, where Frogs and Chickens live. These abilities are both a little finicky but are handy if you know about them. If you can, try to hit monsters that are against walls and/or standing on corpses.
Cinco Paus has fairly complicated rules for how abilities are generated on wands:
- A maximum of 1, 2 or 3 copies of each ability can appear across all of your wands at the start of a level:
- Attack appears a max of three times.
- Hidden Attack, Kill Chicken, Duplicate, Remove Abilities, Time Warp, Move Door, Spines, Identify, Forget, and Earthquake can only appear once on all of your wands.
- All other abilities can appear a maximum of twice.
- Many abilities are mutually exclusive from each other on wands. For instance you are only allowed one treasure ability per wand.
- Many abilities can occur together only in a specific order. For instance, Kill Frog appears before Attack.
- Removing an ability with Forget will replace it with a new ability that ignores the first rule, but not the second or third rules.
Here’s a chart that summarizes rules 2 and 3. Blue means the ability on the left never appears above the top ability. Red means it can’t appear at all with that ability.
Using this info can infer a surprising amount about your unrevealed abilities. For instance:
- A wand with Sleep in its first slot cannot have powerful abilities like Kill Lizard, Execute or Assassinate, since all of them must appear above Sleep.
- If you have two wands with Refresh Top, you can know not to scout for more (unless you forget abilities!).
- If you have Teleport Self, you know it can’t appear with any treasure abilities besides Corpse Treasure. A bummer, but at least you won’t waste time scouting!
- Treasure abilities also can’t occur together, with Refresh Top, or with Duplicate.
Tracking all of these abilities by memory is no easy task. It can be tough to remember, for instance, that last round you fired wand 1 at a lizard hitting the top wall, wand 2 at a frog hitting the right wall, and wand 3 into a niche on the bottom wall. You might want to use a memory aid to make things easier. That said, pausing to write stuff down adds cognitive load, so it’s highly dependent on the person how effective it is to track things. Having tried a lot of things, I seem to do best with no memory aids at all!
One approach is to use a simple Google sheet to track things (see above). When I rule out an ability, I mark an X in that spot so I know not to scout for it again. If you’re up for something more complicated, Xom’s new html tool is incredible. Give it a shot! Even if you find it unwieldy for practical use, it’s a great teaching tool.
Early games of Cinco Paus are nasty, brutish and short. But with a particularly strong start you will be able to amass enough artifacts to provide safety for the rest of the game. In general, you want to build for the Golden Age – you want artifacts that provide a lot of points every game, preferably as consistently as possible. As a result, “points per game” provides a good rule of thumb for valuing artifacts. Remember, you want to generate about 12 extra treasures!
In addition, it’s good to have consistency. You’re going to have to survive 50 games, which translates to wanting reliable effects rather than splashy, inconsistent effects. Many artifacts are weak if you get them in the wrong order, and this should be addressed as much as possible through upgrades and artifact selection.
Artifacts are offered somewhat strangely – every 5 gems, you get to pick between 1 of 2 artifacts. Every artifact is only ever offered to you once, so you may want to restart if you get offered two “must have” artifacts together.
The artifacts are ordered from strongest to weakest. Abilities for artifacts are also listed strongest to weakest, and especially important abilities that demand prioritization are marked in red. Focus on getting all of these first.
With the Appears Last upgrade, this is especially potent with Refresh Wand. You’ll be able to wait until the end to see if you have any good abilities this round, and then grab the wand you need after you’ve cleared the last zone. The flexibility this affords makes it an autopick.
- Appears Last. Improves consistency, great with wand refresh and duplicate.
- Charge. Charge and heal are always close in value. Charge gets the nod here because it’s likely to be useful for fighting off strong monsters at the end of zone 5.
- Recycle. This is a bit of a liability, since it costs a gem (worth 1 point) and may bring back a clunky artifact that doesn’t score you anything.
- Door. I don’t value door abilities highly, because I prefer to clear every floor to max points.
On most runs (about 86%), one or more wands will have a treasure ability (of course, scouting for it is another matter!). Combined with a wand that makes treasure and the Extra charge upgrade, you’ll get extra two treasures per run. Pretty good! Things get insane, though, if you get duplicate (Duplicating a chest and then duplicating both AGAIN can generate an absurd number of points very quickly. When you’re lucky enough to scout duplicate early (and not die), it’s not uncommon to score 70 or more points if you have Refresh Wand available. For this reason, in spite of being listed below Refresh Artifact, both are a must have. The crazy duplicate games do a lot to boost your average score.
One neat trick is that this lets you scout for the Chargeable ability on wands for free. If a wand is still active, but is selectable to be “refreshed”, this indicates that there’s a Chargeable ability on the wand somewhere.
- Extra Charge.
- Identify. Wand Refresh is weakest when it appears first in your lineup. Taking Identify shores up this weakness by giving it something useful to do early.
- Instant. Great for safety in tight situations, because you can refresh a kill wand and immediately use it.
- Refresh Random. Can give some nice value, but inconsistent. Can be somewhat planned around if you’re able to clear a level without using most of your wands. If you do, you can make sure to use the two wands you want to refresh first, so you can guarantee resetting one of them.
In the early and midgame, Long Arm gives you a ton of keys to ramp up your economy. In the lategame when keys are less important, the 2x Chest upgrade gives you a clean 5 points per cycle – worth more than 2 treasures!
For now, Long Arm is ranked higher than Mushrooms. Mushrooms scores more points per game if you can hit its treasure ability at least half the time, but the keys from Long Arm give a crucial boost to your economy in the early game. Furthermore, it’s almost trivial to use Long Arm on a chest at some point in your run, making it almost a guaranteed 5 points per run. Mushrooms is fiddly and easier to make mistakes.
- 2x Chest. Not much competes with a free 5 points! Notably this makes the other treasure-specific upgrades less valuable, since you’d rather be picking up chests.
- Explode. Careful with this!
- Gem Kill. Notably this doesn’t cost a gem – you just need to pick it up!
- 2x Potion.
- Refresh Wand. Picking up keys is quite bad, since you won’t get to see the secret level.
- 2x Book.
Mushrooms were a low tier artifact, but recently got a huge buff – the 5 treasures ability now spawns 5 treasures instead of 1! This is a huge payoff, bigger than any other artifact. It’s hard to pull off, but even if you only hit half the time, it has a higher average payoff than all other treasures besides possibly Wand Refresh.
Mushrooms’ biggest weakness is that it does not play well with Refresh Artifact. At the end of Zone 5, you’re probably not too keen on letting 5 more frogs come out to proc this! As a supporting item, however, it’s stellar. It provides good survivability in the early levels and gives insane levels of treasure.
- 5 Treasures. Does NOT count yourself or Scarecrow, but does count friendly animals.
- Cure Amigos. Remember that this is a great combo with the duplicate ability on Frog Statue for proccing 5 treasures.
- Remove Abilities. Deceptively powerful. Abilities get very nasty near the end of a run.
- Connect. Helps sometimes to get 5 treasures.
- Corpse Kill.
- Teleport Other.
Escape Cape is the other artifact to get a big boost in the most recent patch. It now has a Corpse Treasure upgrade. When combined with the extra killing power from Attack, Charge and Additional, you can reasonably expect to generate two or three treasures per cycle. The value!
Although it’s roughly comparable value to Mushrooms and Long Arm, it’s ranked lower than either because it’s clunkier. It’s quite bad before it’s upgraded, and once upgraded is always a little harder to cycle out of your inventory. I also think it has less of an impact towards survival than Mushrooms.
You can also get somewhat unlucky if good upgrades are offered to you together. Most artifacts only have 1 or 2 “must have” upgrades, but Escape Cape has 3! This makes you fairly reliant on luck to get all of them together.
That said, it’s still a valuable addition. Just be sure to upgrade it first – it’s quite terrible to start.
- Corpse Treasure.
- Use Now.
- Teleport Other.
Scarecrow is a nice, low variance option that always gives a bit of economy with its Corpse Treasure upgrade. It’s not as impressive as the stuff above it when fully upgraded, but has the advantage of starting out close to full power rather than demanding a lot of upgrades.
It’s best to just play at the beginning of the level to give time to basic attack a frog or two down. Be careful about playing it late – you can’t play it on a tile occupied by a corpse or treasure. You also can’t use it to proc 5 treasures on Mushrooms.
- Corpse Treasure.
- Attack Lizards. Lizards consistently deal the most damage to you in a run, making this much better than the other attack upgrades.
- Attack Frogs.
- Attack Shrimp.
- Attack Chicken.
- Reflect Wands. This isn’t too useful in practice, since most wand effects don’t do much when reflected. If one of your monsters gets Attack or Sleep as a wand effect, this gets better.
- Explosion. Truly terrible, since scarecrow is best when played close to you.
Grabbing a frog or chicken friend and CLONING it is just absurd levels of power, and usually trivializes a floor on it’s own. It’s also great to use when you are up to no good with refresh-duplicate shenanigans – your two cloned buddies buy a lot of time to let you dupe those sweet, sweet chests.
That said, Frog statue isn’t great for economy on it’s own. Cloning a chicken generates a treasure but costs you a gem, making your average gain fairly marginal at just 1.25 points. It’s also bad in the first level without the Charm Lizard upgrade. This keeps it from being a high pick.
In addition, it’s easy to end up with this stuck in your inventory. Zone 1 doesn’t have a frog to befriend, and Zones 2 and 5 are sometimes missing them as well. Planning ahead in a room is important – you don’t want to kill all of your potential targets!
- Duplicate. Remember this also clones any treasure the monster is standing on!
- Charm Chicken. With Duplicate, can generate extra treasure for a bit more economy.
- Charm Lizard.
- Instant. Very handy if you are trying to use the duplicate effect to proc 5 treasures on Mushrooms.
- Time Warp. Great in Zone 5 to send a friendly chicken to fight for you in the next game!
- Mirror Kill.
- Charm Ghost.
- Charm Shrimp. LOL.
Great for survival – just swap with a monster near a door and walk out! It doesn’t help much with clearing the floor, though, and the lack of any passive economy hurts it too. Overall it’s an acceptable choice. Since it starts off about as good as it’s going to get, you can focus on upgrading other artifacts first.
- Kill Lizard.
- Kill Chicken.
- Kill Frog.
- Remove Ability.
- Shrimp Cocktail.
- Charm Ghost.
Haruspex starts out very weak, but gets to be borderline OK with upgrades. It never directly provides treasure economy, but can indirectly boost it by scouting for it early. The nicest trick is with the Archive upgrade – if you can select a corpse with an ability already researched, this means there’s at least one other copy somewhere on one of your other wands. This gives a lot of indirect information! You can also replace bad abilities with the Forget upgrade.
That said, it’s bad for economy and starts off almost completely useless, so I usually skip it. I don’t have a lot of experience with this artifact, so take these ability pick orders with a grain of salt.
- Target Living.
- Appears First
- Earthquake. I’ve been told this is surprisingly weak due to its lack of reliability (without Forget, if you have an ability in the center you can’t use this!) and it denying you scouting opportunities. I’m a little skeptical that it’s really the worst ability, but I’m putting here for now until I get a chance to test it.
Something has to be last, and I think Extra Wand is it. It’s quite bad unupgraded – you can’t rely on it to do much of anything, and it can sometimes misfire spectacularly (ever teleport into a group of angry frogs before?). Once upgraded, it still has lower impact on average than other treasures. You *might* get a treasure ability, but Scarecrow always gives a treasure! You might be able to kill a frog, but Frog Statue can befriend and clone it instead!
VII. Playing Consistently
The structure of Cinco Paus is merciless. In Imbroglio, dying costs you maybe half an hour of gameplay. In Cinco Paus, it can cost you upwards of 8 hours!
While losing is crushing, it’s interesting to play a game that demands such a different skillset. Most games require a burst of effortful concentration – you only need to play well for 1 minute to beat the hardest mode in Super Hexagon. Cinco Paus, on the other hand, requires a long, uninterrupted string of nearly flawless play to clear.
As such, you may want to think about how to best fit the game into a routine. Here’s some common sense rules. I’ve somehow managed to fail all of them:
- Don’t drink and play Cinco Paus
- Don’t play Cinco Paus while tired
- Don’t play Cinco Paus while trying to have a conversation with your significant other
- Try to play Cinco Paus in the same setting each game
- Follow all of these rules more closely the deeper you are in a run
Thanks for reading! Unfortunately, there’s still a lot I haven’t covered; Cinco Paus is a bottomless well of interesting edge case interactions beyond the scope of this guide (did you know: Wands with Instant still cost you a turn when no enemies are in play? This matters for when the next frog comes out). For more in-depth discussion, please join us in the Michael Brough discord. 🙂