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I just finished a very unique game of Small World. This is how it went down
Player 1 (P1)
Player 2 (P2) myself
P1 pays 4 total to snag the Trolls. Sets up shop in bottom left corner taking 3 territories. P2 follows up and also pays 4 to take the Elves. Attacks Trolls and gets one awesome roll of 0 but is redeemed with a 3 on the second conquest. This allowed me to take down the Fortress space and one of the other troll spaces.
P1 abandons region and conquers the mountain region on the right and 1 other territorie. P2 is not so lucky with the die and only manages to conquer a single troll territory on the mountain (without a fortress) and capture 2 other unoccupied spaces.
P1 conquers 2 more territories (no mountains). P2 rolls like a champion and destroys both non-mountain spaces occupied by the trolls (eliminating a fortress).
P1 goes into decline while holding the single mountain region upper right of the lake with a troll lair and fortress. P2 follows into decline with 5 territories.
Current Race Setup
Cursed Goblins (6 coins)
Swamp Wizards (2 coins)
P1 pays 6 and snags the Kobolds. Eliminating all of my elves in a single turn. P2 pays 7 and snags the newly revealed Stout Halflings. They appear in the lower right farmland and conquer 2 kobold spaces.
P1 begins wrecking the lost tribes racking up points. P2 holds onto both holes in the ground and conquers a single kobold territory.
P1 continues ruining the lives of innocent lost tribes. P2 abandons all regions and attacks from the top border to conquer another 2 kobold territories. Then the halflings go into decline. *I did this since it maximized the amount of kobolds i could destroy*
Cursed Goblins (12 coins)
Swamp Wizards (4 coins)
Hill Sorcerers (2 coins)
Heroic Dwarves (2 coins)
Forest Priestesses (1 coin)
Dragon Master Ratmen
P1 crushes the remains of the Halflings. At this point I knew I was truly going to lose. If I take the Goblins, I gain 12 points but the Kobolds will ruin me in a single turn. I would then have to go into decline and gain 0 points the turn after. If I don't take the Goblins then P1 will go into decline next turn and get 15 coins on the final turn. P2 pays 3 and receives 4 to take the Swamp Wizards. The wizards conquer some swamp and magic regions to try and gain some points.
P1 goes into decline with 4 territories. P2 continues to spread out Wizards into swamps and magic regions.
P1 laughs all the way to the bank with the Cursed Goblins. Then conquers 3 unoccupied regions with them. P2 maximizes the last tiny bit out of the wizards along the bottom of the map (getting 14 points on the last turn).
This was the lowest scoring game the 2 of us have had. The big turning point was when P1 snagged the Pillaging Kobolds. I should not have sent my Berserk Elves into decline. The Kobolds swept through my elves on the first turn and easily made up for their steep initial price. With 16 tokens the Halflings were incapable of slowing them down even after destroying 5 of them. I chose the Halflings thinking that the Stout would be beneficial to recovering the coins on the Goblins and the holes in the ground would help defend against the Kobolds. But in the end the Kobolds were too much and there were too many lost tribes to ruin. The 'limitation' of having to keep 2 tokens on a territory had little impact on this game. I gained over half my points in the final 3 turns of the game with the Swamp Wizards. I thought I would share this match because it really stood out from other ones I had played. Any comments are appreciated. Thank you.
I definitely would have took berserk elfs, spread out 1-2 turns, declined, then stuck with the kobolds as long as i could.
waiting till turn 4 to decline your first race just seems like a bad idea to me. you miss out on the points for a second race.
If this had been a 3 or more player game then I would agree with you that spreading out the elves for the first couple of turns and then going into decline would be a good idea. But in 2 player attacking your only opponent is often the best strategy.
Consider the example above:
If I spread the elves out on my first turn I would probably get 5-6 territories on average.
However, by attacking the trolls I get 2 points for the territories, 3 future points are taken away from my opponent (2 for the territories and 1 for the fortress), and I eliminate 2 of my opponents tokens. This is a better choice.
In a 2 player game it is not important to score huge amounts of points. I only need to score more than my 1 other opponent. By limiting the amount of points that my opponent scores I am improving my long term differential score.