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Small World» Forums » Variants

Subject: NEW! Smallworld Fan Race: KENKU rss

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Danny Mack
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For those of you (like me) who keep an eye out here in the "Variants" section for new races & powers to play with in Smallworld, here's something I think you may enjoy (or at least enjoy discussing.) But unlike most ideas posted in the forums, this one is more than just an idea. It's a reality!

KENKU [2/7]
> During the scoring phase of each player's turn (including the Kenku's own turn) in each region the scoring player controls they receive +1 Victory Coin per adjacent Kenku region, on a region-by-region basis.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Example: If a player has 2 regions which are each adjacent to 3 Kenku regions that player receives 6 total bonus coins!


You can download the PDF file here, to make your own:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/65369/smallworld-fan-r...

And you can view the end result here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/957851/small-world

[EDIT: Rule explanation edited to clarify original intent, by popular request]
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Bryan Jensen
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The kenku/tengu are renowned for looting in bands and for being expert in Japanese swordmanship. I'd expect to have a larger band of tokens and/or an ability to loot a coin from the enemy occupant of a conquered territory. Instead it appears that every opponent gets to loot the kenku.
 
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Danny Mack
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quixotequest wrote:
The kenku/tengu are renowned for looting in bands and for being expert in Japanese swordmanship. I'd expect to have a larger band of tokens and/or an ability to loot a coin from the enemy occupant of a conquered territory. Instead it appears that every opponent gets to loot the kenku.

Good call.
I was actually going for the other side of it. That they are reclusive, and have few allies, but when they do form an alliance it is beneficial in that other people seek them out for training in that expert swordsmanship you mentioned, etc.
Mechanically, on the map, I was trying to illustrate that reclusive nature and the beneficial side of "being next to and not at war with" the Kenku.
Give them Barricade- and you'll get to see some looting!
ninja

[EDIT: Just to be clear, races who are adjacent to the Kenku regions do not "loot" their bonus coins from the Kenku player. All coins related to the Kenku bonus come from the bank, whether the Kenku player or some other player is earning them.]
 
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Paul W
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This power is strictly worse than Merchants and/or poorly worded.

edit -- looking at your example, I see that it's the wording that's bad. "That player receives +1 Victory Coin for each region occupied by their active race which borders an active Kenku region" literally means that you get exactly one coin for each region that borders any number of Kenku regions. A more accurate wording would be: "Each region occupied by the players active race scores a number of coins equal to the number of active Kenku regions it is adjacent to."

Still though, it's a mouthful that gives the Kenku's opponents a huge incentive to cut the Kenku territory into isolated pieces. The power relies on creating and maintaining a sizable empire, yet the small number of counters renders that more or less impossible.
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Danny Mack
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fizzmore wrote:
This power is strictly worse than Merchants and/or poorly worded.

edit -- looking at your example, I see that it's the wording that's bad. "That player receives +1 Victory Coin for each region occupied by their active race which borders an active Kenku region" literally means that you get exactly one coin for each region that borders any number of Kenku regions. A more accurate wording would be: "Each region occupied by the players active race scores a number of coins equal to the number of active Kenku regions it is adjacent to."

Still though, it's a mouthful that gives the Kenku's opponents a huge incentive to cut the Kenku territory into isolated pieces. The power relies on creating and maintaining a sizable empire, yet the small number of counters renders that more or less impossible.

Well you certainly have no problem speaking your mind in a dogmatic fashion.
I thought of a metaphor to insert here about different types of editing, but I will just say as graciously as I may, that to you I'm sure your own wording sounds superior, and I'm not offended by that. Rewrite it however you please. For my part, that's why I included the example.

As for your comparison to Merchant- which may be a moot point...it's worth saying this is an "apples-and-oranges" scenario. The Kenku is a race, not a power.

Certainly you have perceived a piece of the strategy right away--it's a good idea to try splitting up the Kenku regions to your benefit. So congrats there, for your initial thoughts. It's quite another matter to play it out though, which is obvious to me you haven't had time to do. If I were you (since we are advising one another) I would hold back on some of that finality until you get out of the theoretical and onto the board.

Sure every race needs an unmolested "sizable empire" to ensure a victory, but it is "a small world after all." The Kenku actually make-do quite well in a corner somewhere. I won't spoil the wonder of figuring out the ideal configuration on the board, but I will say it's actually quite the opposite of what you described. It's true some races require sheer numbers to influence the game, but it should be obvious that the coin bonus makes that an unnecessary tactic for the Kenku.

But I perceive you are playing this (in your head) in terms of what it would be like to play against the Kenku. What you have not imagined is the dynamic they create on the board, just by owning 3 or 4 regions somewhere in a corner. There is a spike in the total score, for starters, and it's awesome to watch people jockeying for a position next to the Kenku, and then trying to gauge when to wipe them out. I know this doesn't get said much on these forums so it may seem a little hokey, but "this is fun to play." You might also try thinking in terms of what is like to play with the Kenku (and give me the benefit of the doubt that I wouldn't spend hours and hours of my life to bring this to fruition and share it on BGG if it sucked and was poorly thought out.) I promise you there is something good here--a new game element, even. NOT conquering has just become profitable.

So maybe I am a little offended, what'dya know...

Other facts that may be of interest to you:
1) The Kenku have fewer RTs than the Dwarves, but unlike the Dwarves, they have the potential to score over 20 coins in a turn!
2) Obviously they are not a big coin grabber when in-decline (unlike the Dwarves.)
3) The 20 friends and strangers that have actually played this out with me (an average of 2 games apiece) during the developmental stages have all really liked the race. For whatever that's worth as a quantifiable non-theory.
4) For the amount of wording they require in their rules explanation, the Kenku have proven to be a pretty simple, elegant, balanced addition to the game. No "sizable empire" required.

Play it. Then we'll talk.
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Paul W
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I'm not interest in playtesting your variant for you. I've thought about playing with the Kenku, and it simply doesn't seem like a good idea against competent opponents. Especially in larger games, since you only score at the beginning of your turn conquering next to the Kenku only helps you if you hold those territories until the beginning of your next turn *and* the Kenku choose not to go into decline. Furthermore even your "allies", if playing well, should only let you live if they think they'll get more out of the power than you do or if they think you're so far behind that you're not a threat.

Maybe for groups that aren't very cutthroat this could be a viable choice, but playing the Kenku (or trying to take advantage of teir presence) puts most of your scoring at the mercy of your opponents (since you don't score until the beginning of your turn), which is easily countered by opposition that can do the math.
 
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Danny Mack
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I owe you an apology, Mr. Fizzmore.
I was thinking, "Why is this guy being so negative? Doesn't he have anything better to do than park his raincloud on my post?"

But then your most recent post made me stop and think. When you said, "Conquering next to the Kenku only helps you if you hold those territories until the beginning of your next turn," I wondered, "Now where did he get that idea? That's not how we play it!"

Oh...you know...just the rules that I put at the top of the post, which were copy/pasted from the "3 Races Rules" PDF file. Yeah. Stupid Dan.

So basically, I typed it wrong, then copy/pasted it onto the sheet that you print out for the actual race, and here on this thread as well! This is a classic case of me not reading the rules thoroughly, because I don't need to read the rules, right? I know how this is played. But for people who I don't personally teach, obviously the rules sheet is of paramount importance.

To be clear: I have never played the Kenku--nor did I mean for them to be played--such that the Kenku bonus would be awarded based on where players are situated at the beginning of their turns. The bonus, along with all other coins, is awarded at the end of a player's turn.

NOW do you see why the Kenku are formidable?! blush

Thank you for pressing your point. If you hadn't, God only knows how long it would've been before I took another look at the rules sheet, and realized I'd made such a critical mistake. I feel really bad about this--especially for all the people who've already downloaded the rules sheet. (I will set about fixing this right away. The top of this post is correct now, but it will take a few days to get the revised PDF files through approval.)
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Tony Chen
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Just to clarify.

By "that player," I assume you mean the Kenku player and not the active player?

And the bonus is the total number of combination of pairs of adjacent regions?

Very interesting. This might change my preference for branching/node spatial play.
 
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Danny Mack
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
By "that player," I assume you mean the Kenku player and not the active player?

Sorry for the confusion (I see how you are reading this.) To be clear, here's the scenario:

Player 1 chooses the Kenku and enters the board, conquering 3 regions which are triangular in formation--each region touching both of the others. Assuming the Special Power does not award any bonus coins, the Kenku player would receive 3 coins for the regions +6 bonus coins. (each of his 3 regions is touching 2 Kenku regions, so each region nets him +2 for a total of 6 bonus coins. His total score this turn is 9.
....P1
P1....P1

Player 2 chooses his own race and enters the board, conquering the region below the Kenku's triangle (making a diamond shape) and one next to it as well, then 2 other regions elsewhere on the map.
....P1
P1....P1
....P2....P2...P2...P2
Player 2 scores 4 coins for his regions +3 bonus coins for being next to the Kenku regions--2 coins for one region, 1 for the other, because they are next to 2 regions and 1 region, respectively. Player 2's total score this turn is 7. (The Kenku player receives no coins on other players' turns.)

So the answer to your question is: the "Kenku Bonus" goes to whomever is taking their turn, if they are adjacent to a Kenku region. This works for every player, including the Kenku player on their own turns.

drunkenKOALA wrote:
And the bonus is the total number of combination of pairs of adjacent regions?

Hopefully my italicized answer with its crude diagrams answers this (see also the picture on the Kenku race badge.) In the event that Player 2 has a region surrounded by 3 Kenku regions (as in the diagram below) he would receive 3 bonus coins for that region. (So it's not just "pairs," but it is the total for all of his regions which meet the adjacency criteria.)
.....P1
P1.P2.P1

It has always seemed to me to be very simple to play, but it's proving difficult to explain on a computer screen. I apologize if I'm still not nailing it.
 
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Ryley Tolman
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fizzmore wrote:
I'm not interest in playtesting your variant for you. I've thought about playing with the Kenku, and it simply doesn't seem like a good idea against competent opponents. Especially in larger games, since you only score at the beginning of your turn conquering next to the Kenku only helps you if you hold those territories until the beginning of your next turn *and* the Kenku choose not to go into decline. Furthermore even your "allies", if playing well, should only let you live if they think they'll get more out of the power than you do or if they think you're so far behind that you're not a threat.

Maybe for groups that aren't very cutthroat this could be a viable choice, but playing the Kenku (or trying to take advantage of teir presence) puts most of your scoring at the mercy of your opponents (since you don't score until the beginning of your turn), which is easily countered by opposition that can do the math.


What an oddly hostile person for BGG.

As someone who has ACTUALLY played this race, I must comment that we (my game group and I) have played them several times and find them to be incredibly enjoyable. Obviously, we have been playing them correctly, with normal scoring methods, and by this they are perhaps the most interesting race to play. Do you pack up and re-enter the board by a weak player hoping he will buffer with you, and then the extra points he gets won't be of account since he is not in the running? Do you expand an empire and just try to benefit more than your neighbors? A few different ways to play them, and they are interesting.

Also, I do not feel that playing this race is "playtesting a variant". They are a fully fleshed-out race and deserve to be in any gamers collection. Yeah, they may be better or worse depending on a game group's style of play, but let's be honest, could not the same thing be said of EVERY SINGLE SMALLWORLD RACE?

Sorry for the direct method of my post, but I felt it necessary to defend a great race from a hostile poster. Honestly, there is no need for that type of douchebaggery on BGG.
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Greg
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Although Paul's tone wasn't too friendly, he isn't wrong about the problem with the wording for this race - as written, the implication is that each region receives one bonus coin for being next to any number of Kenku regions. However your example indicates that you intend for each region to receive bonus coins equal to the number of adjacent Kenku regions.

I would suggest a rewording in order to make the rules more clearly match your example.

An interesting sounding race that I look forward to playing!
 
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ebbe merleyn backus

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Thanks for the KENKU creation, respect
super graphics !

and as for the rules:

I use them differently: yes stubborn as all of us are :>

KENKU: every turn you may steal 1 coin from each
neigbouring player, with a max. of 2.


Although +2 isn't that great bonus still it has some impact
as it is taken from your opponent.

So other players keep a distance from you I suppose...
and stealing is one of their mythological features...
in groups , as mentioned before....

anyway: forgive my comment.... it is interpretation,
not critic...

adjusted printable version available,
but not posted out of respect!....


 
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Danny Mack
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Hmmm...this would have quite the opposite effect. Instead of everyone wanting to be next to you, they would be trying to get away from you.
It IS interesting, and thematically (as you say) it's another interpretation of the race. Certainly no problem there.

It just feels an awful lot like Ransacking- although as I'm reading it, your idea for the Kenku requires proximity, not necessarily conquest. I tend to shy away from fan races/powers that are similar to dynamics already at work in the game, because when you get the power and race in the same combo (such as Pillaging-Orcs) it tends to be less interesting, IMO. But perhaps your idea is different enough from Ransacking- to make a substantial addition to the game play.

Also I'm unclear as to how the "up to 2 coins per turn" works? Why not just 2 every time? Is this total per turn, or from each neighboring opponent?

I'm wondering if you played the race as it was originally designed before adapting it in this way? And what led you to this particular idea? I'm always curious about the creative thought process. Feel free to share.

I'm glad you are getting some use out of the fantastic graphics work my sister did for me, if nothing else. Thanks for sharing.
 
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ebbe merleyn backus

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yes indeed the opposite would happen..
players stay away from you like as if you have a scary dicease....

I do like fantasy games, but sometimes I might seem
a bit conservative in getting the themes...
( ike the sirens popping up, that might be better off called nymphs)

anyway:
we play mostly in the bigger variant..
as mentioned in the BIGGER GAME BIGGER pain variant....

in these space is chaotic & scarce and
the kenku worked out really well
in both rule variants....

you hit a point concerning ransacking : that is
indeed too close....
suggestion:
every player that is bordering KENKU region at the end of his
own turn should pay the kenku player 1 coin..

that keeps them moving away from you.....
and is still possible to combine whenever
the match ransacking kenku would appear.....
( I play with 52 races now , times how many powers we apllready have ??? )

yes things are getting close..
especially in the underworld box.... lookalikes....
so I wonder ifever there will be an expansion for
underworld..
commercially probably yes....

so.....
the up to 2 coins limit we made
as players might get too big advantage when playing in bigger teams....
the impact is allready max 4. others are loosing 2 getting 2....



why the change?
those kenku appear in the japanese myths as groups of smart little thieves with lot of tricks....

.
respect for your sisters work,
there are many ideas on the web for new races
but few graphical highlights.....

so you allready begged her for just one more ?

thnx for the reaction,
and by the way:
check thread new power coolest....
we had fun with it...
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Bryan Stout
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bandit_boy7 wrote:
...to you I'm sure your own wording sounds superior, and I'm not offended by that. Rewrite it however you please. For my part, that's why I included the example.

Danny, I'm afraid this is not just a matter of style or personal preference. The rules as written do not mean what you want them to say. It's great that you have an example, but you should also be precise in the actual phrasing of the rule. Here is another possibility for you to consider:

"During the scoring phase of each player's turn (including the Kenku's own turn), for each region occupied by active Kenku tokens, the scoring player receives 1 Victory Coin for each region he controls that is adjacent to that Kenku region."

 
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Danny Mack
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bandit_boy7 wrote:
KENKU [2/7]
> During the scoring phase of each player's turn (including the Kenku's own turn) in each region the scoring player controls they receive +1 Victory Coin per adjacent Kenku region, on a region-by-region basis.

How's that?
And should I bother updating the file for the Race Rules Sheet?
 
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Nathaniel
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Hello Danny

I'm interested in making a power (granting 1 token) based on this. Do you think it would break the balance? Could it work?
 
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Tryley wrote:
Honestly, there is no need for my type of d**chebaggery on BGG.


Edited your post to be true. He wasn't actually saying anything rude, YOU'RE the one being a jerk, basically yelling at him when all he said was that he didn't understand why people would use a race that helps your opponents just as much as it helps you, which is understandable. Forget the pot calling the kettle black, you're more like the pot calling the tissue black.
 
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