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Author Topic: Which Smallworld game to get?  (Read 10505 times)

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Asper

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Which Smallworld game to get?
« on: March 09, 2014, 01:42:59 pm »
+1

Folks, i need your help.

I consider buying a Smallworld game (original or underground), but i can't make up my mind which one to get. The original game appeals a bit more to me because it seems more diverse and colorful thematically (and i think the expansions were mostly designed for it). Then again i read that SW Underground was something like a 2.0 version of the first game, with deeper gameplay and more interesting abilities.

Can somebody help me decide which one to get?
As i will buy some of the expansions sooner or later, it matters a bit whether the game mixes well with those.

Thanks in advance :)
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Drab Emordnilap

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 01:46:45 pm »
+1

I like Small World Underground better as a standalone game, but the expansions were exclusively designed for base Small World. There's compatibility errata for the expansions (and also for using the base races and powers in underground), but obviously that involves more mental effort than "Play it as printed".
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Asper

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 02:00:34 pm »
0

I like Small World Underground better as a standalone game, but the expansions were exclusively designed for base Small World. There's compatibility errata for the expansions (and also for using the base races and powers in underground), but obviously that involves more mental effort than "Play it as printed".

Ah, okay. Is there a specific reason you like it better?

Edit: I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 06:36:19 pm by Asper »
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popsofctown

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 09:56:15 pm »
+1

Vanilla Smallworld has about as much deep and interesting as you can shake a stick at.  It's also modular, you can easily remove a power token if you don't like its effect on the game, and you get a blank race and a blank power to add yourself.  I'd recommend vanilla smallworld if it has more forward compatibility, I played plenty of games with it and didn't get tired of it.  The main flaw was that I got an opportunity to trade smallworld for a like-new box of Base Dominion.
I doubt that Smallworld Underground has done much to circumvent this major flaw.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 09:59:14 pm by popsofctown »
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Archetype

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2014, 12:13:14 am »
+9

I like Small World Underground better as a standalone game, but the expansions were exclusively designed for base Small World. There's compatibility errata for the expansions (and also for using the base races and powers in underground), but obviously that involves more mental effort than "Play it as printed".

Ah, okay. Is there a specific reason you like it better?

Edit: I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.
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popsofctown

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 05:51:29 am »
0

I see what you did there.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 06:09:21 am »
+1

I see what you did there.

What did he do?
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Kuildeous

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 08:24:29 am »
+1

Aside from races, I consider Underworld to have two major changes.

The first is the river. It's not necessarily better, but it does change things a bit. It opens the map to a lot more conquest since the river could be used to circumvent strong defenses. The original Smallworld has the impassable (mostly) lake, which does allow for some turtling, especially for the Halflings.

The second is the relics and locations (I forget the exact names). These also aren't necessarily better, but they provide many more options. Now you have more than just matching races and powers; you have other wild cards you can factor in. I like it enough that I wish it was in the original, but I still wouldn't say that Underworld is better.

As mentioned earlier, the original Smallworld works well with the expansions. I've never tried combining any of them with Underworld so I don't know how well that'd work.

I almost picked up the 6-player boards, but $28 is pretty hefty for just a couple of boards. And actually, I'm willing to wager that it's still only one board printed double-sided.
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Asper

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 02:09:43 pm »
0

as you can shake a stick at.

Thank you for your reply as well as for teaching me a new expression.
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pedroluchini

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 03:02:17 pm »
+3

I see what you did there.
What did he do?

He's referring to this exchange:

I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.

Asper was asking whether Small World Underground (the board game) is deeper (in the sense of strategic complexity). Archetype facetiously interpreted these words in the literal sense, noting that the underground (the region below the surface of the Earth) is deeper (positioned further down in relation to things on the ground).
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Kirian

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 05:06:22 pm »
0

As a separate topic yet not, does anyone know if the Smallworld app uses the original board and rules or the Underground board and rules?
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Jimmmmm

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 06:50:15 pm »
+9

I see what you did there.
What did he do?

He's referring to this exchange:

I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.

Asper was asking whether Small World Underground (the board game) is deeper (in the sense of strategic complexity). Archetype facetiously interpreted these words in the literal sense, noting that the underground (the region below the surface of the Earth) is deeper (positioned further down in relation to things on the ground).

Ah, that makes sense. Seems to me he was digging for upvotes.
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Kirian

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 07:01:06 pm »
0

I see what you did there.
What did he do?

He's referring to this exchange:

I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.

Asper was asking whether Small World Underground (the board game) is deeper (in the sense of strategic complexity). Archetype facetiously interpreted these words in the literal sense, noting that the underground (the region below the surface of the Earth) is deeper (positioned further down in relation to things on the ground).

Ah, that makes sense. Seems to me he was digging for upvotes.

/golfclap
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Kuildeous

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 12:31:04 am »
+2

I see what you did there.
What did he do?

He's referring to this exchange:

I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.

Asper was asking whether Small World Underground (the board game) is deeper (in the sense of strategic complexity). Archetype facetiously interpreted these words in the literal sense, noting that the underground (the region below the surface of the Earth) is deeper (positioned further down in relation to things on the ground).

Ah, that makes sense. Seems to me he was digging for upvotes.

Well then...
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Asper

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2014, 02:36:33 pm »
+1

Thank you all, i finally decided to get Vanilla Smallworld, mostly because of the expansion support. If i don't like it enough to get an expansion, probably Underworld wouldn't have changed that, and it's gonna be lost money anyway. Though i certainly wished it was less expensive...
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mail-mi

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2014, 10:35:11 pm »
0

I see what you did there.
What did he do?

He's referring to this exchange:

I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.

Asper was asking whether Small World Underground (the board game) is deeper (in the sense of strategic complexity). Archetype facetiously interpreted these words in the literal sense, noting that the underground (the region below the surface of the Earth) is deeper (positioned further down in relation to things on the ground).

Ah, that makes sense. Seems to me he was digging for upvotes.

Well then...

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eHalcyon

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2015, 08:08:33 pm »
0

Wanted to post about this, but didn't want to make a whole new thread.

Played a 3 player game of Small World last night.  My friend wanted to try out his new expansions, so he shuffled the races and powers to have more of the new ones at the top. 

Small World is a weird game for me.  I like the idea of it a lot for the sheer variations you can see.  However, I have a lot more trouble grasping the strategy in it than I do with other games.  I end up near last place every time.

I was first player this game.  The free race was Lava Shrubmen, a thematically amusing combination.  All forest regions occupied by Shrubmen are untouchable by others even in decline.  "Lava" lets you put one lava token in a region adjacent to each mountain region.  The lava would clear out any attackable region and make it untouchable to others.  I thought that these powers conflicted, but I chose the race anyway because the Shrubmen had really nice art.  And it was amusing!  And free!

The combo was amazing on the 3 player board.  As first player, I was able to settle 2 forest regions and 2 mountain regions all on the edge of the board.  I used the lava to block off another forest region and some random space.  In future turns, the lava from the 2 mountains would act as an impassable wall next to the central lake.  I even managed to reach a fourth forest before I went into decline.

There was a disappointing moment for me when we realized that the Lava itself did not score for occupying a region.  When we realized this, I had to return about 10VP that I wasn't supposed to have gotten.  I immediately went into decline the turn we realized it because I already had gotten myself to 4 forests and the fifth was out of reach.

The player to my left had the Commando Fauns.  Commando lets you conquer any region for 1 fewer token.  Fauns were strange -- when they destroy a piece, both the Fauns and the destroyed get one race token back.  In this way, the Fauns can multiply but can't really whittle down others.  The player made good use of them and managed to take many regions.

The third player had the Aquatic Ice Witches.  Aquatic makes coastal regions worth +1 but makes non-coastal regions worth -1.  Ice Witches have these weird snowglobe tokens ("winter markers" officially) that can be placed permanently (while the witches are active) on the board (1 per magic source at the end of your turn).  The snowglobes are defensive but they can also make regions worth -1 to other players.  Early on the snowglobes did not mean much, but by the time all 6(?) were on the board and we were all bringing in our second races, the snowglobes really got in the way.  By the end, they were making 12 points per turn (he managed to get 6 coastal regions under his control, most of them on mountains).

My second race was the Corrupt Igors.  Corrupt grants me 1VP every time one of my regions is conquered.  Igors collect body parts.  That is, they collect all Race tokens lost on conquests, which can be traded at the start of my turn for more of my own race tokens.  In a 3 player game, it's a 3:1 rate.  This was incredibly powerful.  I was at liberty to stretch myself very thin, not worrying about defending territories.  Even defeated Igors returned to me as 1/3 of a new future Igor.  Hilarious.  It was an even better return when the Fauns defeated an Igor!  Corrupt did not come into play that much, though it did discourage the others from attacking my near-defenseless regions.  By the end, I was making 14+ points per turn (including my shrubmen). 

My early turns with the Igors weren't that great though, because I ran into the line of Ice Witch snowglobes simultaneously making regions more difficult to defeat and also making them worthless to control.  Luckily, they went into decline soon after that.

The Commando Fauns were replaced by the Soul-Touch Skags.  Skags get 1 random Loot Crate in each region they conquer.  If they are conquered, the Loot Crate is reveal.  Some crates grant the conqueror bonus VP, while others actual cancel the conquest and repel the attacker.  When they go into decline, the Skags collect all loot crates they still control.  Soul-Touch lets you go into decline and immediately revive your previous in-decline race, then play a full turn with them almost as if they were new.

The player made pretty good use of them.  He activated Soul-Touch on the second last round (collecting +4 from his loot crates) and got some decent use out of his Commando Fauns again too.

The Ice Witches went into decline after 2 of their regions were conquered by the entrance of the Skags.  The new race was Copycat Pygmies.  Copycat allowed the player to mimic one of the special powers from the list of 6 choices (of future combos) next to the board, and this could be changed at the start of his turn.  Pygmies have a chance to multiply when conquered (roll the reinforcement die for each pygmy lost and receive that many pygmies, deploying them at the end of the current player's turn).

The Ice Witches that remained were actually in great positions.  They were all around the central lake.  Several of them were actually protected by my own in-decline Shrubmen and their indomitable forests.

The pygmy power didn't really come into play.  The pygmies came in later than the rest and weren't really attacked much.  The one time it happened that I recall, a blank was rolled.  Copycat was pretty good though.  It allowed them to make a splashy entrance using the Flying power.  Of note -- the first drop was into a region in the center of the Skag regions.  It was relatively undefended because it was supposed to be protected by the reinforced regions around it.  The Flying drop-in was unexpected, and it turned out that the loot crate there was a +3 bonus.  Later on, they made use of the Heroic and Swamp special powers.

In the end, the third player had 87 points, the second player had 91, and I had a stunning 101.  The in-decline shrubmen drew a solid 6 points every round on their own (4 untouchable forests and 2 tough-to-access mountains) which was a good augment to the wildfire that was Corrupt Igors.

Actually, now that I look more carefully, the second player's score probably should have been slightly lower.  They activated my Corrupt power at least once, but I just took my coin from the bank when it should have come from the player.  Wow.
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Asper

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2015, 10:21:25 pm »
0

It seems you heavily played one of the two newest expansions. I must admit that, as much i like to expand my games, i found the last two to be extremely complicated (as far as i could judge by just reading the rule sheet). The Shrubmen are certainly simple, but Ice Witches, Skags, Igors and most of the special abilities (Giant or whatever it's called as well as fireball) were so much text that it actually made me not buy the expansion after all. Say, did you find the contents of the new expansion to be reasonably simple to grasp all in all?
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eHalcyon

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2015, 11:44:36 pm »
0

Your idea of reasonably simple may not be the same as mine. I don't own Small World and play it very little, but it all made sense to me.  Since I don't play it much, I take it as a given that I'm going to need to read the text a lot, even for base game things.
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Asper

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2015, 07:47:46 pm »
0

I see, thank you.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2015, 08:17:16 pm »
0

I see, thank you.

It also helped that my friend (who owns the game) was strangely knowledgeable even though he says he doesn't get to play it much.  He knows most of the powers from memory and can usually remember which expansion each power/race is from, for the purpose of looking them up on the player aids.  He's not perfect (didn't catch my mistake with the Lava for a few turns) but he's pretty good.

I think if you like Small World enough that you want more combinations, the complexity will be worth it to you.  I don't think the powers aren't really any more difficult to understand than, say, a Dominion card (at least with a careful reading).
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Asper

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2015, 11:42:46 am »
0

It's less about me than about the people i play with. One difference between Smallworld and Dominion is that if you forget what a Dominion card does, looking at the card itself will answer 99% of your questions while the Smallworld race/ability tiles only give vague hints most of the time. For example nowhere on the Halfling tile does it say that they can enter the board anywhere.

Anyhow, the more i think about it the more i believe that you are right - the base game has some rather complex abilities itself (Fortresses, for example), so the expansions are not really different in that respect. I do think they ran out of classic fantasy factions, which was another reason for me to not buy it, but that's beside the point.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2015, 03:41:31 pm »
+1

I see what you did there.
What did he do?

He's referring to this exchange:

I'm asking this because i can't judge whether Underground is actually deeper or more interesting, as i read.
Well the underground is definitely deeper.

Asper was asking whether Small World Underground (the board game) is deeper (in the sense of strategic complexity). Archetype facetiously interpreted these words in the literal sense, noting that the underground (the region below the surface of the Earth) is deeper (positioned further down in relation to things on the ground).

Ah, that makes sense. Seems to me he was digging for upvotes.

That joke had many layers to it.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Which Smallworld game to get?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2015, 03:45:54 pm »
0

I own Smallword: Underground; my friend owns the base game.  Both are fun as standalone.  Underground has some cool racial abilities and cool new effects, and may be a little more fun (at least for 1v1 games), just because of the extra stuff in it.
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