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Subject: Two new players discover the rulebook wasn't lying. rss

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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
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E & B, being both big Pratchett fans decided to sit down and try the Thud game. I'd seen it had received mixed reviews on the 'Geek, but it was cheap secondhand, and looked cool!

The rulebook, while written in a typically whimsical style notes that at the start of the game, and for novice players, the slow lumbering trolls will seem completely overpowered. This can only be countered by the Dwarves being willing to sacrifice a few Dwarves into the path of oncoming trolls in order to keep their group alive long enough for it to become powerful. These helpful words took a little long to sink in. Four half-games, in fact.

In the first game, we gleefully ignored the wise advice of the rulebook. B took Dwarves first and started to move them quickly about the board, trying to form individual lines of 3 Dwarves to set up a fling! Meanwhile E was able to shove a move trolls about, cutting down swathes of Dwarves.

Just as the rulebook mentioned, a single line of 3 Dwarves is both vulnerable to troll attack and very inflexible in its own attack. The trolls can simply step to one side and be safe. Late in the Dwarf turn, B remembered that a pair of Dwarves was a pefectly good last-ditch line and managed to collect 4 of E's trolls, mostly by good luck before giving up with 2 Dwarves left running.

On the second turn, B tried to emulate the troll line-forming strategies E had formed to stop any small clumps of Dwarves forming. This game was also pretty patchy, lots of movement and running, no real groups or lines forming. One note was that once a Troll was shoved into a corner to capture Dwarves, it was far too slow to bring it back into play to deal with any new threats.

By missed opportunities and now the troll player was more canny about avoiding Dwarf reprisals for capture, the second half was declared without loss to the trolls First game: E 16T/3 B:2/32T

In the second pair of games, we started to realise how important dwarf groups mentioned in the rulebook actually were. E took the Dwarves first and started rushing them about to form groups. While we had the group of dwarves starting up, though, they were still vulnerable to Troll shoves. E made several missteps in the order of forming groups that led to situations like this



Finally B's Trolls managed to demolish every one of E's Dwarves for a perfect 32-0 finish.

On B's dwarf turn the game slowed down a bit as he tried to avoid the vulnerabile situations early Dwarf groups can find themselves in. In particular, the rules mention useful Dwarf sacrifices and he started to make much more use of these in his game. Also, luring a troll away to capture a group of dwarves in a corner can leave you free to create a useful group.

This was a typical Dwarf sacrifice (although, in this case he's completely protected by the group behind him, or at least his sacrifice will not go unrevenged. Either way, this stops the Troll taking 3 Dwarves and reducing the group.



This is the start of a group of Dwarves. If the troll player isn't immediately ready to deal with this, possibly by sacrificing a troll or two things can get nasty.



Once the dwarf group reaches this sort of size, things are all over for the Trolls. There's almost no way to usefully attack it and the Dwarves will slowly move up to and then around the central rock leaving the Trolls nowhere to hide.



Once B figured out how to get around the rock safely, and took one of the two remaining Trolls, E conceded with 1 Troll left. Second game: B: 32T/21 E:0/4T

In conclusion, Thud is a much more fun game that it might seem on the first play. I'm going to try writing a mini strategy article/review about it using these images so people can get an idea of how to form up their Dwarves. Once you have a grasp of how to do that, it becomes a matter of timing. Can the Trolls move fast enough? Of course, the rulebook does mention all this, but who reads them?
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Emily Harper
Australia
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oh look! Google search for 'Thud!', and find my disastrous playing (well, it got more disastrous as I went on, oddly enough) described online. Brilliant! and weird.

and now I want my own copy (which is how I got onto BGG in the first place). You will be pleased to know I have already snaffled up Vegas Showdown and Underground. You're a bad influence on me.
 
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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
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The marketplace seems to be largely devoid of copies at the moment, you might see if any folks in AU are trying to trade, otherwise ebay?


 
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