Désirée Greverud
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Analysis of 5 new races

I love new Small World races. I love getting new banners and new tokens and introducing new critters to my Small World playing family. When someone (in this case Raf Calderon) puts in the effort obviously given to the 5 races here, that warrants a close look. All 5 here are well presented and 4 of them utilize quite interesting mechanics for a SW race. I have finally had a chance to test these races in depth and see how they play alongside standard SW races in both test environments and real games. The following is my analysis based on observation of (test) games, my notes and my general knowledge of SW races. As always, if you disagree with anything I say, that’s cool. This is a light fun game and if you are having fun playing in a way disagrees with anything here, so what? Who really cares what I have to say anyway, right?

I apologize in advance for the length of this analysis. I wanted to be thorough and explain my thought process as I tested these races and what I felt needed work with them. Also, I spent so much time with these because I felt like the effort Raf Calderon put into these demanded this much work on my part, especially if I was going to be somewhat harsh on some these. Ultimately, the main reason is that I really like these races and I want to use them in my games. Nearly every other custom race I have incorporated was a standard riff on existing powers: do this action, get this reward and any tweaks were simply a matter of getting the numbers right. But 4 of these 5 were quite different and earned a very close look.

The 5 races presented to us are Elder Dragons, Khans, Transmorgifiers, Relic Knights and Frost Titans. Two of them gain coins by alternate means than usual (they don’t gain points from owning regions), 2 are growing and 1 is a more standard bonus to attack + defense race.
Let’s start with the alternate earners. There is no power or race in the game that removes all points from owning a region. The expansion Aquatic power comes close, by making each landlocked region worth -1 (that is, instead of getting the usual 1, the player gets 0). This is offset by giving a +1 coin to coastal regions. Thus, with careful play, a race can avoid the null regions and score double for the desired ones. So the basics of scoring strategy aren’t upset by this power. 1 point per region is the mechanism that encourages races to go out and conquer. More regions=more points, no matter what other powers are involved. Removing this mechanism means that a race needs a different way to score that still encourages them to conquer regions. Numerous methods have been discussed by the community including coins for tokens killed, coins for being next to others, for not being next to anyone, for how many of your own are killed (the “dying to win” tactic) and for how many of your own tokens remain. Elder Dragons and Khans each provide interesting means of solving this issue.


Originally posted here
Elder Dragons:
At the end of your turn, instead of scoring a Victory coin for each region you occupy, place 3 Victory coins from the bank face up on each occupied region, if it has no coins and it is not your last turn of the game. In following turns, increase 3 coins to 5, then 5 coins to 10. At the end of any turn in which the region holds 10 Victory coins, or on your last turn of the game, remove and add the coins on the region to your stash. At the end of a turn in which you removed 10 Victory coins, place 3 new Victory coins on the region unless it was your last turn of the game. Coins on a region are lost if you abandon it. If the region is conquered, add the current coins on the region to your stash, and take one Victory coin from the conquering opponent, if that player has coins remaining. While In Decline, including the turn they go into Decline, you score 3 Victory coins for each Elder Dragon region, and any coins remaining on a region are returned to the bank. Finally, if a special power would allow you to score bonus Victory coins, you may take those directly into your stash as normal.

In depth analysis of Elder Dragons:
Let’s begin with the rule itself for them. Like most of these races, the rules here are overly complicated, confusing and over written. Standard Small World language would be “while active, Elder Dragon occupied regions are worth 1 VC less than usual” This eliminates the need for adding lengthy exceptions or explanations. The last turn of the game exception may make sense but isn’t really necessary. It simply adds to an already lengthy rule without adding any substantial gameplay. This is a complicated race and does require a longer rule than most, but that is a good reason to trim it where ever possible.

Gameplay is ok. I’m never happy with races that have other powers baked into their own, in this case “corrupt”; largely as a way to offset the -1 VC per region. It works here since the opponent’s choice becomes one of conquest for no gain vs allowing the Dragon player to gain large amounts of coins and in fact, the concept ceases to function if the Corrupt aspect is removed since there is then no question the best move is to conquer them. There is a problem however and it seems to apply to all of these races as we shall see – they seem to be designed for 2 player games. In a 2 player game, an Elder Dragon opponent either needs to conquer them to prevent future gains or out gain them. In a multiplayer game, no one player is going to want to take the hit of conquering for no gain to do something that benefits all other players equally. In my games, people were reluctant to “take one for the team” as it were. While this may be part of the intended design, it gives the Dragons a bit more defense than Corrupt alone does. Having only 2 tokens keeps them limited and even without being actively attacked, they will earn on par with other races averaged over 3-4 turns. Because they don’t need to spread out to score, they can instead remain well defended on just a few regions. Two or 3 seemed to be the sweet spot. Opponents aren’t willing to attack a stack of 2 or 3 dragons that only occupy 3 territories anyway when there are plenty of empty or single spaces to conquer more easily and the deceptively small scores for Dragons the first couple of turns reinforces this perception.

In decline however they go from being just slightly under earning, to unjustifiably overearning. I’m just not seeing any design reason for a race that earns 3 coins per region in decline. It is out of line with other races and I think it was added because of a fear that the small numbers would limit in decline earning. Very few races keep powers in decline (Trolls, Dwarves, Ghouls) and they simply continue to do what they were already dong. Only one official race scores differently in decline – Priestesses- and even they are still effectively 1 point per region just done as an all or nothing. In Decline regions earning 1 like normal is fine and keeps them from being too far off from other races in the game. To offset their small in decline earning, I allowed them to take whatever coins were left when going in decline. It gives them a final little boost and plays smoother as well. Taking the money is easier than sending it to the bank and in keeping with the hoarding mechanic.

Once the coin adding mechanism is understood, they play quite smoothly. I will be adding them to my [regular, non-test] game, with some minor tweaks.

My rewritten rule is:
Elder Dragon occupied regions are worth 1 VC less than usual. At the end of your turn, on Dragon occupied regions with no coins on them, place 3 Victory coins from the bank face up. In regions already containing 3 coins, increase the amount to 5. In regions with 5 coins, remove the coins and take 10 coins from the bank, add them to your VC stash and place 3 new Victory coins on the region. Coins on a region are lost if you abandon it. If the region is conquered, add the current coins on the region to your stash, and take one Victory coin from the conquering opponent, if that player has coins remaining. While In Decline, including the turn they go into Decline, you score 1 Victory coins for each Elder Dragon region as normal, and any coins remaining on a region are added to your Victory Stash. At the end of the game, any coins remaining on the board are added to the players Victory stash.

Still quite wordy, but trims the fat and better explains the coin adding mechanic. Slight tweaks bring them more in line with other races in the game. Overall I am quite happy with getting Dragons into my Small World game and I enjoy the new “hoarding” mechanic that brings something new to Small World. As it turned out, this mechanic helped me solve one of the issues with Relic Knights you’ll see later in this review.


Originally posted here
Khans:
Khans do not score Victory coins for regions they occupy while active, instead, for each Khan Region, collect a Victory coin from each opponent for each Region their active race occupies that is adjacent to that Khan region. You may collect multiple coins from an opponent whose active race controls a Region sharing a border with multiple Khan regions. You only receive coins if an opponent has coins remaining, and if their active region is not Immune due to a racial or special power. If a special power (such as “Merchant”, “Forest”, etc) would allow them to collect a bonus Victory coin, Khans may gain those from the bank as normal. While In Decline, including the turn they go in Decline, Khans score one Victory coin for each Region they occupy as normal.

The other alternate earners are the Khans. My first thought was the similarity/contrast with my favorite custom race, the Kenku. But while everyone wants to be next to Kenku (including the Kenku themselves) no one wants to be near Khans. What intrigued me here is that while the Khans don’t earn points for their own regions, their method of earning still requires them to spread out and touch as many other players as possible except their small numbers prevents this to a great extent. In a 2 player game, getting next to a single opponent (especially one you don’t actually need to conquer) isn’t difficult. They are easily defended against by going in decline and denying them any regions to steal coins from, but that only works once. In multiplayer games, they will need to spread thin to break through the clutter of various active, in decline and Lost Tribe tokens. In this regard they are quite fragile but can be good earners if well placed and against larger opponents (Skeletons, Amazons) which were the stated design intents and in that they succeed.

What I find interesting was the choice to make their own regions worth 0. Unlike the Elder Dragons, where that element helps motivate the hoarding/turtling nature of the race, in this case it feels at odds with it. Their power demands maximum spread which means getting as many regions as they can, but without the usual benefit of doing so. My plays with them didn’t reveal them over earning in comparison to others. The 5 or 6 coins they would get normally from regions wouldn’t unbalance them to any great extent although it pushes them to the top of the earning stack and makes them targets sooner. I may test this at some point but it’s a smaller design issue. The power itself works and is balanced with other races and the token count for the race is at the right point.

Of all the races presented, Khans required the least rewriting for my use and that was primarily to clean up the language.

My rewritten rule:
While active Khans occupied regions are worth 1 VC less than usual. For each Khan Region, collect a Victory coin from each opponent for each Region their active race occupies that is adjacent to that Khan region provided they have any coins left. You may collect multiple coins from an opponent whose active race controls a Region sharing a border with multiple Khan regions. In decline, Khan regions are worth 1 VC as usual.

All I did here was change the wording to reflect the Khan regions being worth 0 while active and removed extra wordiness. People who are looking for new races should already be aware of basic rules like immune regions being immune or that regions being worth 1 less doesn’t eliminate coins from powers like Swamp or Forest. Fortunately, nothing here changes the power so despite the rewrite, I am using them exactly as designed.

While I am generally happy with the previous 2 races, the next two the Growers, are both problematic and need some work. Let’s take a look.


Originally posted here
Relic Knights:
Before your first conquest, select an opponent to place the Relic token in a region. The region holding the Relic token may not be Immune or be made Immune, and the Relic Knights may never begin their conquests in a region or adjacent to a region containing the Relic token. The Relic token may not be placed in a region already containing an active Relic Knight race token. At the end of any turn in which your Relic Knights occupy the region containing the Relic token, remove it; take a new Relic Knight token from the tray, add it to the troops you redeploy, and collect a bonus Victory coin. Then, select a new opponent (if available) to place the Relic token in a new region. Remove the Relic token when your Relic Knights go into Decline.

OK, the very first thing I did was dump all the restrictions on where the relic can be placed (except the no immune rule). If opponents want to be stupid, let them. I understand the reasoning, but it’s really not needed. Simpler rules are always better in a game like Small World. The restrictions just serve to overly complicate a simple idea. But this is just prequel to the real issue.

The main problem is they are weak. Like really weak. It’s funny; the usual problem people have with growing races is making it too easy to get tokens. If you look at Skeletons and Sorcerers, they have to work for it. Skeletons need to make two conquests (usual cost=6) to gain 1. A good early turn will net them 1 or 2 tokens with more in subsequent turns if they keep working at it. Sorcerers’ effectiveness grows with the player count but can get only 1 per opponent and are fairly restricted on how as well as easily defended. Often, custom-made growers get tokens the way Feld games award points. Gain a token for conquering somewhere and gain one for owning it and gain another for losing it, etc. Relic Knights however, with a well-placed token, need to make several conquests (more depending on the map) just to earn a single token with no chance of gaining a second token in a single turn. On the 2 player map, they can generally get to any spot and gain a token per turn at the cost of any other focus, but as the map grows, they have less chance and thus are weaker the more players there are.

During test games what I discovered is that even something as simple as Hill Relic Knights means they are better off going for Hill areas rather than worrying about a hard to reach Relic token. Conquering/holding 2 Hills is going to be easier and give a better benefit than chasing after a relic that only provides 1 token and 1 coin especially since getting the best route to the relic may involve abandoning all regions and re-entering the board (a good strategy for Skeletons and Orcs but not as beneficial here). Knights (with a 5 power) will at best after 3 turns have 14 tokens (minus those sent to the tray) assuming 1 token per turn growth compared to say, ratmen who at best have 13 minus losses and haven’t had to chase a token around. Sure tokens should be hard to get but maybe once a turn while being forced to fight in certain areas of the board that may not be advantageous for you is just a cruel tease. In my test games, going for the relic became secondary to scoring actual points – points gained by claiming cheap regions and maximizing their special power. In the Hill example, any Hill region scores a bonus coin as opposed to that one specific Relic token region. In a “Go for Relic or Go for Hill” choice, Hill wins. The carrot (a single token & coin) simply wasn’t worth the stick (fighting through well defended opponents instead of closer, cheaper regions).

The mechanic is fun, and thematic but doesn’t work here largely because it ignores the basic premise of Small World which is to score Victory Coins and chasing the relic (especially on the 4 or 5 player map) doesn’t help you score VCs better or faster This is apparent from the creator’s stated purpose for them which is to be used as pawns by warring opponents to do their dirty work for them. In a two player game, a smart opponent will force the Knights to take out their own in decline race to gain the relic meaning in 2 players, selecting the Knights as your second race is always a bad move.

How to make Relic Knights better? The obvious solution is to increase the carrot. This is a growing race, so give them more tokens. Unfortunately, giving 2 tokens per Relic feels unbalanced and deviates from the normal granularity the game has: do a thing, get a thing as a reward. The same applies to giving more coin. If you want to force a little more long term strategy, you could go with gaining an increasing amount of tokens each time: 1 token for the first relic, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc. This then (assuming no losses) gives them at best 14 after 2 turns and 17 after 3. The first relic is still a “loss leader” in terms of cost/reward but the next ones become better, encouraging the player to split focus: go for points but also focus on getting that relic. This still lags behind average skeletons but puts them in the range of Sorcerer with the extra VC making up the differences. I do like this idea as it fits in nicely with the Elder Dragon coin mechanic – the longer the quest, the bigger the rewards.

The other part that needs to change is the one relic per turn limit. Once the relic is claimed, a new one should be placed immediately. It is unlikely they could get to it, but possible depending on placement. In a multiplayer game, an opponent could place it directly on a nearby but well defended area occupied by a third player, thus enticing the Knights to make the big conquest for a big reward while helping take out a well-defended region, although this depends on how much others are willing to let the Knights grow. In fact, this adds a level of decision-making for the chosen opponent: do they place the relic in a manner that will hurt a third player while allowing the Knights to get stronger or do they attempt to make the relic as hard to get as possible to prevent a big payoff? In 2 player, where Knights will inevitably be taking out their own in declines, the added tokens help offset that loss and force “do I grab the Relic for tokens at the loss of my own regions (i.e. coins) for the reward of more tokens to use next turn?” With these 2 changes Relic Knights have a chance of actually growing but also of doing so in a somewhat unique manner which then would make them a good addition to my game.

My (current subject to future revisions) rewrite is thus:
Before your first conquest, select an opponent to place the Relic token in a region. The region holding the Relic token must be conquerable and may not be Immune or be made Immune. While Active, each time the Relic Knights conquer the region containing the Relic token they get 1 bonus Victory Coin as well as gaining additional race tokens from the tray equal to the number of times they have claimed the Relic i.e. 1 token the first time they claim it, 2 tokens the second time, 3 the third, etc. Immediately after claiming the Relic, select a new opponent (if available) to place the Relic token in a new region.

I’m thinking there is a better, more elegant way to explain the growth but my family play group understood it so it’ll suffice for now. Other thoughts on this were to use multiple Relic tokens that then get placed on your banner and a rule along the lines of “… each time the Relic Knights conquer the region containing the Relic token they get 1 bonus Victory Coin as well as gaining additional race tokens from the tray equal to the number of Relic tokens they have claimed.” But this means making lots of tokens when only one at a time is in play. My other thought was some kind of mini-scoring track but now they would be getting quite fiddly.

The second grower suffers from many of the same lack of actual growth problems. Take a look below.


Originally posted here
Transmorgifiers:
Once per turn per opponent, your Transmogrifiers can substitute an opponent's In Decline token adjacent to an active Transmogrifiers Region with a Lost Tribe token taken from the tray, if there are Lost Tribe tokens available, or; once per turn, you may conquer a Lost Tribe region adjacent to an active Transmogrifiers region by substituting the Lost Tribe token with an active Transmogrifiers race token taken from the tray or your hand. In Decline tokens replaced must be the only token in the Region (so multiple In Decline Ghouls on the same region are immune!).

Just a quick glance at the description should immediately show you how weak they are. At best they gain 1 token a turn, no matter how many players and have a contingency because there are turns where they gain 0. If skeletons ever go a turn gaining 0, it’s time to decline them (or send the player to remedial Small World school). Since Sorcerers can be defended against by playing like Kobolds, them gaining 0 in some turns is possible in 2 or 3 player but becomes less likely the more players. Not everyone will be able and/or willing to double up every region.

Regardless, a maybe 1token (but never more) growth per turn is awful. The backup is that if you can’t or choose not to convert a Lost Tribe, you can convert 1 token of your opponents in decline race into a Lost Tribe. This presumably sets you up for your next turn where you can convert one of the converted tokens into one of your own, but on the turn you do this, you gain absolutely no benefit whatsoever. The basic question asked of any power, “does this power help me attack easier, defend better, gain tokens, gain coins, or give me immunity?” is answered “no”. It’s a move that hurts your opponents but does nothing for you. It doesn’t even hurt your opponents’ active race! This is a race that will rely entirely on their special power badge to get any benefit since their race power is nearly worthless. As we saw with Relic Knights, their growth potential is pathetic compared to other growing races, and in the case of Transmorgifiers, who start inexplicably at 5, it takes them 3 turns to equal basic Ratmen in numbers.

A further problem is the idea of delayed rewards. This was evident in Elder Dragons, who handled this quite well, and Relic Knights, who didn’t. What I mean is that in a game where an average race is Active 3 or 4 turns, a power that doesn’t help you this turn, but will give you something next turn (or in two turns) is a power that is going to be worthless/unhelpful on your first and last turns (probably half of your race’s life) so the reward it gives you needs to be greater than what a power might otherwise give in a single turn. It should, in fact, benefit you at least double, if not a little more, to motivate using it. If I get nothing in turn 1, my reward in turn 2 needs to be at least 2 turns worth of bonus and really should be more to reward the wait. Transmorgifiers’ backup power delays reward to the next turn and then doesn’t give any more than the normal power anyway, meaning at least 1 turn goes by without any power benefit and there is no delayed bonus when the reward does come.

In my own regular games, I am already using a custom race called Necromancers, which are basically the In Decline version of Sorcerers. Once per turn per opponent, they can convert a single in decline token into a Necromancer. I have used them for a year and found them to be balanced and not over powered and superior to Transmorgifiers in every way. While this may not apply to most (or even many) players who choose to use Transmorgifiers it becomes an issue for me in trying to fix this race without simply turning them into something I already have.

What can be done then? The banner & art exist and are quite enticing so making use of them would be nice. I don’t want to deviate too far from the designers original intent so what I have is a 5 race that converts in declines to Lost Tribes and Lost Tribes to Transmorgifiers. The first obvious fix attempt is to allow both actions per turn: convert one Lost Tribe to a Transmorgifier then allow one in decline per opponent to be converted to Lost Tribes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the basic problem of growing at maybe 1 (but never more) per turn and simply multiplies the unhelpful in decline->lost tribes move.

What is needed here, as with Relic Knights, is a better method of growing. Converting 1 Lost Tribe per turn is just too limiting. Converting 1 Lost Tribe per opponent per turn now puts them on par with Sorcerers (and Necromancers) with the bonus of no means of preventing it other than killing off the Lost Tribes. In a 2 player game, this amounts to no change at all, which is why I suspect they were developed with 2 player games in mind. This change however, makes the Lost Tribe tokens more valuable in multiplayer games as well as more in need of being replenished. This is where the other part of the power comes in. After converting Lost Tribes to Transmorgifiers, they can then convert one in decline per opponent into a Lost Tribe. The move itself still isn’t directly helpful, but is much more obviously a set up move for following turns thus more justified. The problem regarding delayed rewards is removed since there is better growth potential now. It’s no longer a dick move of just denying opponents a point, but clearly designed to give you more tokens next turn. This also removes the needless conversion of multiple tokens in order to just get one later. “Hey, why did you convert my guy last turn when you used that Lost Tribe over there to get a new token?”

With these small changes in place, Transmorgifiers were no longer a weak, pass-over-until-enough-coins-make-it-worth-it race, but actually something as fearsome as their artwork that other players will take notice of when they hit the board and all without any radical changes to the basic race.

My new rule:
Once per turn per opponent, your Transmogrifiers can conquer an adjacent region occupied by a Lost Tribe by substituting the Lost Tribe token for a Transmorgifier token from the tray. At the end of your turn, once per opponent, you may convert a single one of their adjacent in decline tokens into a Lost Tribe token.

The final race here is the most “standard” presented in that there were no new/clever mechanics involved. Unfortunately, the basic attack & defense powers given to the race were vastly out of balance with other races in the game.


Originally posted here
Frost Titans:
Frost Titans place a Frost Rune token in the first region they conquer, and may conquer any Mountain region using a single token. A minimum of one Frost Titan token is still required. The Frost Rune token makes the region immune to enemy conquests and racial and special powers while the Frost Titans are active, and is not removed if you abandon the Region (but you must still occupy the region to score Victory coins). The region containing the Frost Rune token may be conquered by Frost Titans using a single token. A minimum of one Frost Titan token is still required. When the Frost Titans go into Decline, the Frost Rune token remains on the board - it no longer grants immunity but adds defense to its Region for the rest of the game.

This is quite a wordy rule for two basic ideas. All that is really going on here is an immune token and conquering mountains with a single token. This is already problematic as it combines 2 unrelated powers, either one of which is sufficient for a race. I’m no adverse to a race with 2 powers (although none exist in the official game) but doing so definitely opens them up to extra scrutiny.

The immune token being reconquerable doesn’t make sense to me. Why would you ever abandon an immune space and then conquer it again, especially since the rule as written means no other race can conquer that region anyway. It’s a rule describing a highly unlikely situation and ultimately adds little benefit to the race. It’s an immune token like a Hole in the Ground or a Heroic token. No need for it to be needlessly more complicated than what is already in the game. This applies to it remaining on a region as well. It’s shaped like an immune token and players will see it as an immune token. You have to verify that Frost Titans are no longer active to realize it’s now a +1 defense marker standing alone in a region. This is like nothing else in the game and is potentially confusing. That confusion isn’t worth a 1 defense space being added to the board. If this were to continue then the immune shaped Frost Token should be replaced by standard defense token. No standard immune token works this way, but the idea isn’t out of line with the rest of the game (Trolls keep defense in decline for example). Nothing remains for any race or power in the game after the race is removed from the board though and I see no reason to make an exception here.

The other half of their power is the deal breaker though. Taking mountains with a single token is huge. This is Conquer Mountain regions with 2 fewer tokens than usual combined with conquer mountain regions as if they were empty, either of which would be acceptable alone. If you look at what exists already, the only -2 to attack is the Were- power which gives a universal -2 but only every other turn and would be a 5 token race, and the only Attack as if empty is the Underground race Flames ( a 4 race) who are restricted to regions adjacent to their starting location or connected to it by an unbroken string of Flames regions. Here, Titans have both plus half of what Halflings get.

Mountains normally cost 3 to conquer plus whatever defense is already there. Frost Titans only needing 1 token means they are getting a space cheap that than requires at least 4 from someone else to conquer. In multiplayer test games, they easily took control of 2 mountains first turn and 3 or 4 by turn 2. Combined with an immune space, this made them very powerful, overly so and diminishes the value of races like Giants. Mountains are supposed to be hard. Giants get a nice reward for gaining one. Titans have an easy time getting the best defense in the game and little risk of losing it since no one is going to waste an attack on a region that can be retaken with a single token. The general consensus around the table was these were not fun and were unfair.

Major reworking is required to bring these guys in line with other races in the game. My initial balance thoughts would be to ditch the immune token and have them conquer mountains either at -2 or as if they were empty. -2 means they can conquer empty mountains for a single token but without wiping out opponents already there. As if empty allows them to ignore any (non-immune) opponents but still costs them 3. If I don’t want to change the 4 on the banner, -2 would be the better way to go. (Attack mountains as if empty would warrant a bump to 5 as all mountains would then require 3 tokens to conquer)

My new rule for them is the very simplified:
Frost Titans conquer mountain regions with 2 fewer tokens needed than usual, minimum 1 token still required.

This eliminates the bonus defense and keeps their power fair and in line with other races. If further testing reveals this to be too weak, the immune token can be reintroduced as a standard immune token (i.e equivalent to a Halfling Hole in the Ground).

I’m sad about this since it reduces them to a fairly nondescript race, but my only other option is to invent something completely different in order to justify using the banner & tokens since they are unusable as currently written. At least this way, they are still strong and paired with a good power can do quite well. Flying, Underworld or Catapault become very helpful in getting to all those mountains and defensive abilities like Bivouacking and Fortified make them virtually untouchable. Barricade is always a good one for low token races as well.

So that’s my analysis of these races and what I did to make them usable in my Small World games. If you are still reading at this point, wow. Thank you and congrats for having a lot of patience! My sincere thanks to Raf Calderon for these unique races and my sincere apologies to Raf Calderon if anything I have said about his creations offends or hurts. Remember what I said way back at the beginning: if you don’t like what I said, ignore me. Play the way you want. Have fun! It’s a World of (s)laughter after all!
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James
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Amazing analysis, Desiree! I've played with these as Raf designed, so I actually read all of your analysis (go me!).

I don't get as much play time in on Small World as you do, and most of my gaming comes against my 8yr old daughter in 2-player games.

Having said that, I love, and am in awe, of your analysis and recommendations for updates. Relic Knights have come up in games I've played. They were completely bypassed in a non-2-player game (just not enough benefit for choosing them, as you stated). But, I'm actually half way through a game where my daughter chose flying relic knights. Even without the changes you recommended, they are doing decent (again 2-player game), but it is obvious, they still are not balanced without your changes.

I have yet to see Transmogrifers and Khans come out as I don't play enough and we play completely random when we play, with all races from all expansions and custom ones I've printed.

The one or two times we had Frost Titans come out, even though they did not match up with an especially great power, they still held their own which supports your analysis of them being overpowered.

And, Elder Dragons came out in a 2-player game and narrowly edged Merchant Mice (custom --> 5, max 12, during redeploy, take an extra token from tray for each occupied farmland). We both kept the races for most of the game.

I'm going to include the alternate rule suggestions you mentioned in my plays and start trying them out. Thanks!
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Désirée Greverud
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sjliver wrote:
Amazing analysis, Desiree! I've played with these as Raf designed, so I actually read all of your analysis (go me!).

I don't get as much play time in on Small World as you do, and most of my gaming comes against my 8yr old daughter in 2-player games.

Having said that, I love, and am in awe, of your analysis and recommendations for updates. Relic Knights have come up in games I've played. They were completely bypassed in a non-2-player game (just not enough benefit for choosing them, as you stated). But, I'm actually half way through a game where my daughter chose flying relic knights. Even without the changes you recommended, they are doing decent (again 2-player game), but it is obvious, they still are not balanced without your changes.

I have yet to see Transmogrifers and Khans come out as I don't play enough and we play completely random when we play, with all races from all expansions and custom ones I've printed.

The one or two times we had Frost Titans come out, even though they did not match up with an especially great power, they still held their own which supports your analysis of them being overpowered.

And, Elder Dragons came out in a 2-player game and narrowly edged Merchant Mice (custom --> 5, max 12, during redeploy, take an extra token from tray for each occupied farmland). We both kept the races for most of the game.

I'm going to include the alternate rule suggestions you mentioned in my plays and start trying them out. Thanks!


Thanks for slogging through that. glad to hear from someone who has played them as written. I have been using Mice for some time. In fact, Berserk Mice came up twice this vacation during real (non-test) games which always generate a laugh especially since we are quite literally in a cabin in the woods at the moment and our cat will bring us mice almost every day.

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James
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DragonsDream wrote:
Thanks for slogging through that. glad to hear from someone who has played them as written. I have been using Mice for some time. In fact, Berserk Mice came up twice this vacation during real (non-test) games which always generate a laugh especially since we are quite literally in a cabin in the woods at the moment and our cat will bring us mice almost every day.


Hopefully your cat can keep the population down even if Hordes of Mice make an appearance.
 
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Rick Janssen
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DragonsDream wrote:
Analysis of 5 new races
My rewritten rule is:
Elder Dragon occupied regions are worth 1 VC less than usual. At the end of your turn, on Dragon occupied regions with no coins on them, place 3 Victory coins from the bank face up. In regions already containing 3 coins, increase the amount to 5. In regions with 5 coins, remove the coins and take 10 coins from the bank, add them to your VC stash and place 3 new Victory coins on the region. Coins on a region are lost if you abandon it. If the region is conquered, add the current coins on the region to your stash, and take one Victory coin from the conquering opponent, if that player has coins remaining. While In Decline, including the turn they go into Decline, you score 1 Victory coins for each Elder Dragon region as normal, and any coins remaining on a region are added to your Victory Stash. At the end of the game, any coins remaining on the board are added to the players Victory stash.



What about allowing the player that conquers a territory containing an Elder Dragon to capture all coins on the territory for themselves (Stealing the dragon hoard). This would give great incentive to attack that player.
 
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Désirée Greverud
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rdjanssen wrote:
DragonsDream wrote:
Analysis of 5 new races
My rewritten rule is:
Elder Dragon occupied regions are worth 1 VC less than usual. At the end of your turn, on Dragon occupied regions with no coins on them, place 3 Victory coins from the bank face up. In regions already containing 3 coins, increase the amount to 5. In regions with 5 coins, remove the coins and take 10 coins from the bank, add them to your VC stash and place 3 new Victory coins on the region. Coins on a region are lost if you abandon it. If the region is conquered, add the current coins on the region to your stash, and take one Victory coin from the conquering opponent, if that player has coins remaining. While In Decline, including the turn they go into Decline, you score 1 Victory coins for each Elder Dragon region as normal, and any coins remaining on a region are added to your Victory Stash. At the end of the game, any coins remaining on the board are added to the players Victory stash.



What about allowing the player that conquers a territory containing an Elder Dragon to capture all coins on the territory for themselves (Stealing the dragon hoard). This would give great incentive to attack that player.
that becomes more of a Leprechaun type mechanic. The point of Elder Dragons (as I understand them) is that the dragons gain more money the longer they go without being attacked. The incentive for opponents to attack is to keep the Dragons from scoring. If opponents could steal the treasure there would never be any reason to attack except when there are 5 coins and the Dragons would never earn any coins at all.
 
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Raf Calderon
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Hi, Raf here! Thanks so much for taking the time to write such detailed analysis of your thoughts and experiences! For me, it's just really cool to see people discussing the races I made.

Ultimately, I just want to say thank you and please do not apologize for your analysis - I'm happy with the races I made, and thinking of unique and interesting mechanics for new races beyond what i had seen so far was a really fun and fulfilling project for me, so you're completely entitled to your opinions, and I'm glad there were elements you enjoyed and decided to pursue.

I have a few special powers I want to share and two more races that are decidedly more simple than what I've shared so far, so I'm hoping to put a packet together after I'm done with my current project.

Thanks Desiree!
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