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Subject: Close 4-player game + photographs rss

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Drake Rutherford
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Four players – myself, J, M, and P – decided to gather up some armies and conquer stuff. I took a photo at the beginning of every round (my hand was steadier on some photos than others). Here’s what happened.

Round 1

M goes first and takes Wealthy Trolls, an excellent starting race. She comes in from the northeast and conquers a decent bit of land.

J goes second and starts with Forest Dwarves. She takes a small slice in the southern region, but the Mines make up for it somewhat.

I go third and opt for another great starting race that was revealed when M took the Trolls: the Stout Ratmen. I take some Mountains in the western region.

P goes last and takes the ridiculously synergistic Imperial Amazons. He takes control of much of the eastern region, easily earning the most VP that round.

The tight spaces of Small World have yet to take effect. P’s Amazons are uncomfortably close to J’s Dwarves and hold a valuable Forest, but other than that we’re all spaced pretty well.

Round 2

M’s Trolls take two more regions, including another Mountain. With Troll’s Lairs everywhere and no Dragon Master to be seen, her race is looking practically invincible.

J’s Dwarves fight against the encroaching Amazons and take the Forest. She scores 7 VP, which is probably a world record for VP scored in one turn by Dwarves.

My Ratmen army makes a final push northward, then goes into Decline. Their leader may have abandoned them, but they were at least left with a sizable kingdom.

P’s Amazons expand even farther and he earns another large amount of VP. The other players are eyeing his thinned-out, but lucrative, empire.

Next turn is looking to be a round of Declines, in part to keep up with the Ratmen, and also because everyone’s extended out about as far as necessary.

Round 3

M goes into Decline, leaving behind a northeastern corner filled with Troll regions that all require at least 4 tokens to take. If we want them off the board, we’ll have to cripple her Active race enough to force another Decline.

J also goes into Decline and reaps the benefits of the Dwarves’ unusual special power. They aren’t very fortified and draw attention to themselves by continuing to earn bonus VP. They will surely be quickly wiped out.

I pick up the Alchemist Wizards and conquer a measly three regions. The abandoned Ratmen are still pulling most of the weight, but Alchemist and a Magic Source help make the Wizards somewhat profitable.

P, strangely, decides to forego Decline and extend his Amazons just a little bit more. The huge boost from Imperial is simply too comforting to let go of.

Next turn will see the introduction of two new races. There’s not enough space for everybody, and the Ratmen, Amazons, and Dwarves all seem like easy targets.

Round 4

M had wanted the Alchemist Wizards, but I had had Stout and she hadn’t, so she settles for the frequently passed-over Berserk Giants. They destroy the Southern and Central Amazonian Empire using the southeastern Mountain range. It might have been better for P to have gone into Decline.

J takes the Pillaging Pygmies, who are as well-suited to the situation as they are alliterative. They obliterate the Northern Amazonian Empire and score plenty of bonus VP in the process. It is very likely that P should have gone into Decline.

I see a nearby region with a Magic Source. Coincidentally, this region also has the last Amazon token.

And that is how, when P went into Decline this turn, he earned 0 VP.

Round 5

A new era of history has begun, one free of the unifying yet terrifying Amazonian Empire. One of the new kingdoms rising out of the ashes of the old is M’s Giants, which decide to expand westward into fortified Wizard territory. M has terrible luck with the die, and having a Berserk race is no exception.

J ‘s Pygmies form the other half of the shattered eastern region. They fight a few Giants, but don’t do much else. Pillaging bonuses and the Declined Dwarves are keeping her VP per turn fairly consistent, but someone will probably take out the latter.

I scuffle with the Giants a bit, but consciously keep my Wizards at four regions. Expanding much more will leave them vulnerable to attack, and I want to keep them as long as possible. Magic Sources and Alchemist make this low region strategy feasible.

P is pretty angry about M and J burning down his empire. But he also saw that I earned 15 VP last turn, so he channels that anger into a productive destruction of my Ratmen by taking the Heroic Pixies. But Heroic doesn’t net extra points, and with region upon region of Ratmen to slog through he only earns 6 VP.

I’m in a tough spot at this point – my Ratmen will surely be completely wiped out next turn, but my Wizards aren’t exactly ready to Decline. M still has a comfortable supply of Declined Trolls, but the Giants are caught between two Active races that don’t want them spreading any farther. J has been the most consistent in earning points thus far, but that’ll change when someone gets around to conquering her Declined Dwarves.

Round 6

The Giants half-heartedly conquer a Dwarf and try to take another region but don’t roll high enough, which just about sums up M’s entire experience with this particular race and power combo.

J ‘s Pygmies take the former Dwarf region the Giants had just taken, then sit there and earn the same amount of VP they always have.

I spread out my Wizards across five regions to make them a bit more useful in Decline. I figure that M, the only real threat to them, is going into Decline next turn so I needn’t worry about defense anyways.

P continues his ransacking of the Northern Lands of the Declined Races.

Overall, it was a pretty uneventful round. And how are those two Dwarves still sitting there?

Round 7

M goes into Decline, trading six fortified Declined Trolls for three Declined Giants. Moral of the story: make sure your second race isn’t easily beat up.

J expands into the now drastically freed-up northern region and continues to earn a solid amount of VP. Have I mentioned that someone needs to conquer those Dwarves?

I go into Decline as well, removing the one remaining Declined Ratmen from the map in the process and leaving behind the more substantial Declined Wizards. Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

P expands southward a bit. A Mountain and a freakishly long Hill region with a Hero provide a strong defense against the Pygmies, who by now have emerged in the eastern region as the dominant force.

This round saw the expansion of two kingdoms into powerful presences – the Pixies and the Pygmies. But two late-game races are going complicate things. They all look pretty good. Well, except the Spirit Ghouls. Those would’ve been nice to have a bit earlier in the game.

Round 8

Bivouacking Sorcerers were the obvious choice for M, given how spread-out the Pygmies were and the very nature of Pixies. Three free VP never hurts, either. They establish an immediate presence in the northern region.

J continues to do the thing she’s been doing since Round 4. It’s like the Imperial Amazons all over again.

I take the rather nice combination of Corrupt Leprechauns and conquer in the southwest, because that’s apparently the only region I ever go to at this point. I place a Pot of Gold in every region – either the Pixies don’t conquer me and I earn extra points, or they do conquer me and I earn extra points.

This is such a conundrum for the Pixies that they turn purple with indecision, thus going into Decline.

The end of the game is nigh and we still have one more race to see.

Round 9

The Sorcerers can’t use their power on the Pixies anymore, but they still expand farther and earn M a good amount of final-turn VP.

J, too, gets a good amount of VP, although her Pygmies don’t do anything.

My Leprechauns expand and don’t bother with Pots of Gold. Their shenanigans are no longer useful.

P chooses the Hill Elves and takes a few last-minute regions.

The four warlords then pack up and go home.

The End

1st place – 96 points, myself, Stout Ratmen/Alchemist Wizards/Corrupt Leprechauns
2nd place – 90 points, J, Forest Dwarves/Pillaging Pygmies
3rd place – 89 points, M, Wealthy Trolls/Berserk Giants/Bivouacking Sorcerers
4th place – 84 points, P, Imperial Amazons/Heroic Pixies/Hill Elves

Normally in four-player games with this group last place tends to get 70-something while first breaks the hundreds, but this game was close. P wasn’t far behind third despite the complete destruction of his Amazons, and there was only a 12-point difference between first and last. The power of pairing an offensive race with Imperial was revealed, along with the unwelcome attention it draws.

Those Dwarves stuck around, too.
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Danny Mack
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Lefty / Happily Married / Parent of 2 Girls / Christian / Yucata User
Smack dat Ghoulie, Mr. Trolla!
Thanks for sharing. This was a treat! It was fun to follow the flow of the game via your round-by-round breakdown of the events. I also really enjoyed the luxury of having the pics as a reference for the commentary. I chuckled at this line:
Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Since you won, I guess we'll be able to refer to you as "the Emperor". LOL
Anyway, I'm surprised you got the "W" on this one. I was predicting either J or P FTW, based on my estimates. That's so realistic for how this game goes.
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Drake Rutherford
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Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! No one really knew who was going to come out on top - we all had our ups and downs throughout the game, but in the end I think my downs weren't quite as bad as anyone else's.

I also just realized that those two Dwarf regions at the very bottom scored J 27 points over the course of the entire game, or 30% of her total score. That's true dedication right there.
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