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Subject: Yet another bunch of Small World ideas: Black Elves and Witches rss

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Gumsch
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Hello there,
as there are certainly not enough custom Small World races and special powers floating around, here are a couple of my own. I've been thinking about them for a while now and am tempted to try a few of them out. However, I'm planning to try my hand at drawing the tiles first (playing with empty race banners/ substitute races is boooring ) ...
Therefore I'd like to collect a few opinions on what you think of the following stuff and its balance:

Races:

4, tokens, Black Elves (I know, yet another dark elf variant ... )

At the end of their turn, you may put a web marker on a region adjacent to a region controlled by the Black Elves, if your web token is already on a region, you must transfer it to a new region or take it from the board. The web token cannot be lost but is removed once the Black Elves go into decline. The region containing the web token can be conquered by a single token. As long as the region is webbed, racial tokens within that regions are unable to leave it. However, the web is automatically removed when the region is conquered. If another race than the Black Elves conquers the region from race tokens under the web, the Black Elves receive two victory points.

// Explanation: This is meant to be a nasty little trick that the Black Elves can use to eliminate strongly fortified territories in their neighbourhood. It is also meant to possibly incite other players to attack their neighbours. Please note that the Black Elves themselves may not immediately attack the webbed region, as the web is only placed at the end of their turn. I'm still wondering if the Web should perhaps STAY in the region after a conquest - till the Black Elves move it at the end of their turn. Sort of a Dragonmaster-Free-for-All. Might be interesting, though in that case the victory point bonus would have to be reduced - or awarded only once.

5 tokens, Witches

Whoever attacks the Witches - while they are an active race - receives a toad token(is not placed on the board). The Witches's player may choose not to roll the extra conquest dice at the end of their turn for an attack, but instead in an attempt to curse an active race of their choice. The race receives as many toad markers as eyes on the dice were rolled.
! A race that goes into decline immediately looses all toad markers.

If -at any point - a player has more toad markers than tokens of his active race left in game, this race is immediately turned into toads.

6 tokens, Toads
Toads behave just like a regular race. All toad tokens are collected and turned over to the toaded player. His active race sheet is replaced by the toad sheet. The special power remains. He now keeps toad tokens in the appropriate number (race+special power) and returns the rest to the box. The tokens of his former active race left on board are removed and he will start his next turn with his shiny and slimy new toads. Toads have only a single racial ability: Every second victory token earned by the Toads is given to the player who controlled the Witches.

// Comments: The Toads, of course, are not supposed to mixed into the actual race stack. They live to serve the Witches, after all. After all, what would a witch do without a proper toad at her side?
----
Special Abilities:

4 tokens, Royal:
Royal adds a crown token to the race that must be placed at the end of the turn in a region controlled by this race. As long as the crown is not conquered by another race, it provides three victory points per round to its owner. However, once it IS conquered, the royal race is immediately put into decline. If it is already in decline, it is removed from the board. Once conquered, the crown is removed from the board.

//Thoughts: Might be interesting to provide victory points to the player conquering a crown - alternatively he might KEEP the crown, in fact turning the conquering race in a royal race... Though that might be slightly chaotic. But interesting...

3 tokens, Siege:
Siege allows the player controlling the race to place to distribute two catapult tokens in one - or two - regions controlled by the race at the end of the turn. The player can then immediately remove one racial token per catapult from a neighbouring territory. Catapults do not count as tokens for defending or attacking purposes. A catapult in a region that is conquered by another race is considered destroyed and can no longer be used or moved by its owner.

I guess I'll stop here - my other ideas are likely to need a bit more work. Sooo ... what do you think?
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Blue Jackal
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Royal is somewhat similar to the custom race "Leprechauns" - which is one of the custom races I find most interesting, so it's not an insult.

I do like the Toads/Witches idea EXCEPT I'd possibly just have the race get forced into Decline... if for no other reason than it'd require less token production on my part. Since I suspect most players would have the race go into Decline anyways - maybe not always, but not worth the extra text and effort, IMO.
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Gumsch
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To Blue Jackal:

First of all, thanks for your comments. As to Leprechauns, I tried to look them up again but wasn't succesful (too many threads with "new race" in it, without specification ;) ) - I just found a picture of them. I vaguely remember reading about them, though - and you seem to be right. I hadn't considered this, but they are indeed similar - though they force no one to go into decline + are a race, not an ability. Hmm ... didn't intend to copy them, but yes - those two are really similar, I guess.

You are also likely to be right about the Toads. The restriction is likely a bit too punishing for the toaded player. While they ARE of course intended to be a cursed and really weak race which should not be played too long in any case, there should definitely be an incentive not to decline them immediately.

Well ... you do get quite a lot of fresh tokens ... which is an advantage in itself - but perhaps it would be best if the Toads would just have to hand over a standard sum of - say two - victory points to the Witches's owner. Simpler and less punishing. Additionally it would make thematic sense to forbid the Toads to attack the Witches. Mmh .. I think this should work rather well.
 
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Colin Fahrion
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Gumsch wrote:
To Blue Jackal:

First of all, thanks for your comments. As to Leprechauns, I tried to look them up again but wasn't succesful (too many threads with "new race" in it, without specification ) - I just found a picture of them.


Here's the Leprechauns File Page. There are actually a number of different variant game rules for leprechauns mentioned. That said I really like your game mechanics for Royal.

The other two don't thrill me as they seem too overly complicated, but the basic ideas are good. Also, I think your Black Elves would be better as Arachnoids or something. I'm personally against and Dark/Black Elves as it breaks the Power(adjective) + Race aspect of the game. The game already has Underworld Elves.
 
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Gumsch
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Thanks, Catcubed,
ah ... looks like the Leprechauns are indeed a bit different. Mmmh ... a thought just drifted through my mind - I've belatedly realized that the 'punishment' for losing the crown can actually be considered quite a benefit in some cases - an involuntary stout . Royal White Ladies or Royal Priestesses could present interesting tactical challenges, for example. Hmm ... I do have to try that one out.

As to your criticism of the other two -which two do you mean? The 'Black Elves' are one - but do you find Siege or the Witches - or all three - too complicated? The 'Black Elves' could indeed use a better name - but as there are already a bunch of humans running around I think another sort of Elves might still fit in. Perhaps I ought to call them 'Albae' or something. Anyway - yes, their ability is a bit spidery - that's why the 'Albae' on my test-doodle is petting a little spider.
I think the ability is thematically appropriate to their spider-loving, treasonous and back-stabbing ways.

Web shouldn't be too complicated rule-wise, at least in my opinion. You have to put it in a different adjacent region every turn. It traps every tokens found their AND reduces the defense to below zero, so that you only need one token to conquer. As you place the web at the end of your turn all the other players get a chance to conquer the region before you. This can be quite an incentive for neighbours to attack this place.
If they do, you earn two victory points.Otherwise you can attack it in your next turn, conquer it - then move it to another region at the end of that turn.
It is intended to serve in three possible ways: You weaken a region for future conquests, you also trap a number of enemy tokens in place,
preventing them from attacking you - plus you could goad another player into attacking the region for you, possibly leading to counter-attacks and long lasting feuds.
It is perhaps questionable if one should award the 'PLACEHOLDER' with victory points for that - maybe their ability is strong enough in any way. However, as it is some sort of delayed-dragon-master-free-for-all I think that it is not impossible to balance.
 
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Marc Du Rietz
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I like the Black Elf idea, it's similar to an in-development power of mine called Manipulative
It seems to be pretty well balanced, race abilities are normally a bit better than special powers, and Black Elves are a bit better than alchemists.
That said, I also think that you should change the name of it
Nitpicking really.


I have a hard time seeing Witches working properly in an actual game.
Dwarves would be the perfect targeted (few and a decline ability) while kobolts would basicly be invurnable to this special. But if you have tested it and it works, it's interesting.


Royal is a very situational special power, you wouldn't pick it when you have a large amount of declines and therefor I like it.


Siege is intersting, a bit like assassins, but I think that you should get 4 tokens when picking it. I don't consider it more powerful than commando.
 
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Blue Jackal
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I'd like to amend my previous statement:

Maybe I read it wrong the first time, but Royal is very interesting. I like it a lot! I'd possibly change it in the following way:

The Crown stays in play while in Decline (as it does currently), but if the Crown is conquered while the Royals are in decline, the Crown is lost BUT the rest of the declined Royals remain.

Since it's going to be pretty easy to take the Crown once you decline, right? Since it's just going to take 3 to take (plus whatever other territories they have to carve through.)

I suggested that this be made a power - but then that'd be broken with the White Ladies Decline ability. So, this needs to be a race, unless you want a clunky addendum.

Though your version might be better - the likelihood of being conquered while Active is small (actually, on second thought, it's not that small once you've spread out), so having a likely consequence while Inactive may be more interesting. With 4 tokens, you're likely to get more VP than from Wealthy (2 turns Active, 1 Turn Inactive), so it's better than Wealthy... but if an aggressive race is on the board, they can easily wipe out your In Decline Royals, reducing VP gained from territory. I kind of like the thematic implications too - conquer the Crown, and opposition literally goes away... if they were already In Decline, it goes away completely!

This assumes the change occurs immediately... and it might increase the likelihood of someone trying to grab the Crown. Previously defended territories are now ripe from the taking.

So, after thinking about it, I think I'd keep your power as is, though it might need a tweak or two for balance. I'm tempted to say it needs to be 5 tokens, but maybe not.
 
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Gumsch
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To Steek:

Thanks, I'm already thinking about alternative names - though I'd like to keep them somewhat dark elvish instead of purely spiderish (I like dark elves more than I like spiders ;) ). Currently I'm thinking about calling them 'Albae' - though that might require a bit of cosmetic redesign. How does your 'Manipulative' ability work, by the way?

Regarding your concerns about the Witches ... true, they would be quite dangerous to less populous races as White Ladies or Dwarves. On the other, the Witches's ability is largely a defensive one. If the Dwarves don't attack them, the Witches need a lot of luck - and likely more than one turn, to turn the little bearded fellows into toads.
And those smaller races are likely to go into decline rapidly anyway, which would protect them from being toaded. In any case I do not think that it is particularly problematic if one race is especially vulnerable to another - there are already several existing examples for this - such as kobolds versus sorcerers. It might need some tweaking, however, to balance this just right. I'll have to test it eventually.

Concerning Siege - you are likely right, as it is, it is slightly underpowered. Perhaps more siege engine tokens would be an alternative to a larger race token number. Mmmh ... I'll have to think on that one.

Anyway - thanks for your comments :) - I'm glad you seem to like those ideas.
 
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Gumsch
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To Blue Jackal:

You're right - I did intend the conquest of the crown to have an immediate effect on the royal 'insert race here'. Hmm ... would it be broken on the White Ladies? I'm not sure. They could spread, immediately decline and have an unassailable three-victory point bonus in addition to their regular points, true. But to make that safe, they'd have to decline right away. If they don't, the crown could prove to be a very dangerous liability as there are not particularly many White Ladies to defend it.

On the other hand, given the right scenario and place, you might put the crown virtually undefended in the front row, whenever you are ready to decline. If you lose it, you can immediately pick another race on your next turn. That could be a neat tactic for White Ladies, too.

Hmmm ... I think I'm going to play around with this ability for a while and see how it works. Thanks for your thoughts & encouraging comment.
 
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Blue Jackal
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Gumsch wrote:

On the other hand, given the right scenario and place, you might put the crown virtually undefended in the front row, whenever you are ready to decline. If you lose it, you can immediately pick another race on your next turn. That could be a neat tactic for White Ladies, too.


Hmm, you know, I'm not sure if I like that. I suppose players can always avoid attacking the Crown when they think the player's going to decline anyways.

It might be preferable to have the Decline take place during the player's next turn... and I suppose if you don't have a Crown on the board, you should know you're supposed to decline!

The removal of decline tokens could be instant, but then that sort of conflicts with the delayed decline mentioned above.

 
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Marc Du Rietz
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Just hope i can be of any assistance

You will have to wait for manipulative until my next forum post
(I have one huge problem with this power, and that is making it work functionally 1v1)
 
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Blue Jackal
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Gumsch wrote:
In any case I do not think that it is particularly problematic if one race is especially vulnerable to another - there are already several existing examples for this - such as kobolds versus sorcerers.


I agree with this. For instance: Priestesses are less valuable if the Dragon Master power is on the board (or is going to be on the board.) Your Ivory Tower isn't so mighty once a dragon's around.
 
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