Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Willingly Declining Wasn't Easy To Grasp

Originally, I was supposed to me Alex for brunch, but he overslept. So it turned into a "hang out, eat chili and play board games" plan instead. Not a bad fallback, although most people seemed more into playing Overwatch. Which I have to admit looks kind of cool, but the fact it's nothing but online player vs. player is so unappealing. I need a story mode, not to mention single player. Screw this interacting with people noise. People on the Internet are terrible, I know you know this, because you're on the Internet right now.

We did eventually get a few people together to play this board game Small World. There's a map divided into regions, each player selects a race - elves, halfings, wizards, stuff like that - which come with some ability, and you get another special power along with it, and a certain number of your people to serve as your forces. Then you conquer places, and get money for how many you regions at the end of each turn, plus any extra money the special powers might grant.

Which seems fairly bog-standard for a lot of games. What seems to be the trick here is the ability to go into decline. The number of your forces can't increase from what you start with, so there's a limit to how much you can conquer. I started as the Sorcerers, I had 10 of them, you have to have at least one in each region you conquered, so there was going to be a point I couldn't extend any further. Especially since the other players would be aiming to attack my weaker points and take them. So at that point, when your turn comes around, you declare you're going into decline, and that's your turn. The next turn you select a new race and a new special power from those available. However, any of the forces from your previous race that are still alive stay on the board, and you still get money for any regions they hold (so don't conquer places held by your in decline race).

The game is only meant to last 8 rounds, so it should probably take less than an hour. This one took over 90 minutes, but only one person was really familiar with the game, and a couple of the others seemed to have trouble grasping what they were supposed to be doing.


Kelvin Green said...

I hope you play Small World again. I don't get to play it much these days but I've had great fun with it in the past.

CalvinPitt said...

I'd like to, I think it'd be more fun once everyone was more familiar with what's going on.

Kelvin Green said...

Yeah, the decline mechanic is a tough one to get past; every instinct suggests that you shouldn't go into decline, because that's like losing.

CalvinPitt said...

That's it exactly. It's like, "why am I giving up?" But it made sense once I started to understand how it's structured.

Kelvin Green said...

Once you get past that hump you can make the timing of decline part of your strategy, and it can lead to the game developing some interesting rhythms. You've got me wanting to play now!