Saturday, 27 July 2013

Hobby update 27/07/13

Board game night came around quickly again at the club, we played Smallworld this time.

Fancy seeing you here!

It's often described as fantasy Risk meets something or other but it doesn't feel or play like an all out conquest game one bit. This game definitely produced the highest level of participant satisfaction since we started doing this board game thing around Christmas time (the first one we played was Kingmaker back in Dec 12, I wasn't blogging then but it's a very cool game and worth a plug). One or two of our board gamers were dubious about this one but the game plays so fantastically well it's impossible not to get caught up in the fun and Smallworld gave us the most laughs yet.

The idea is that you randomly combine fantasy races with fantasy special powers and have six combos ready to choose from at any one time. You cannot ride one race to victory so inevitably your empire will run out of steam and be put into decline ('in decline' status means the race no longer conquers territory but continues to score points while it lasts) and you switch to a new force.

A lot of the laughs come from the combos. We got sensible match-ups from time to time such as Swamp Ratmen, Diplomat Sorcerers and Merchant Dwarves but often we got things like Flying Halflings, Alchemist Trolls or the deadly effective Commando Giants. We had a laugh when the Trolls got wiped out only to immediately reemerge as Spirit Trolls and when the Flying Halflings were doing their thing it was the cue for much debate over how best to utilise Eagles when fighting the forces of darkness in Middle Earth. I got a lot of points from using the bizarre Hill Tritons at one stage. It's very important to recognise when to keep going with your empire, when to enter a race into decline and what new race will score you the most points. Getting these decisions right will set you up for a win, though there is something to be said for just picking a daft combo and going wild with it. It really helps to keep all your victory point tokens face down too (they have different face values), it is quite tricky to keep track of who is winning so the player in the lead can potentially avoid having the others gang up on him which is a common issue with risk-like games.

The basic game includes 2, 3, 4, and 5 player maps as well as plenty of races and powers which increases the replay value. As the combos are the star of the show I have decided to visit Amazon and buy three of the available supplements in particular. It should only cost about £25 to pick up Smallworld: The Grand Dames, Be Not Afraid and Cursed, these are the supplements that add more races and powers to the basic game. Other supplements like Underworld, Necromancer's Island and Tales & Legends change the award-winning mechanics of the basic game and that's not something that appeals to me.

I've also been playing with some Dreamforge Games minis I picked up recently.

Some 'Eisenkern' (space-nazis) with GW heads.

I don't like the concept of nationalistic space armies (US Space Marine Corps, Space Stormtroopers and all that stuff) but by switching the noggins they take on a 'Mass Effect' feel with the armour looking very similar in style to what Commander Shepard and his N7 colleagues wear.

I am up to my neck in it with deadlines at the moment, this will be a make or break month for many projects including Oldhammer Weekend, a WFB3 game with Thantsants, a club RT game in an alien forest and my Blood Bowl league. I must confess the heatwave came at a bad time and I am fighting to recover my hobby mojo. Wish me luck.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Good luck Paul and this heat is causing problems all over the blogosphere!

    1. Thanks Fran! Don't like to wish suffering on anyone else but it's nice to know I'm not alone!

  2. Same here - frantically trying to muster the energy to stay away from the cold beer in the fridge and the BBQ out back so I can get some painting done instead of lapsing into a meat and alcohol induced state of somnolence of an evening!

    There's an amazing shop in Keswick that is literally full to the rafters with board games like this - I've always fancied giving some of them a go and Small World sounds like a lot of fun.

    I've now got just over 2000 points of assorted Goblinoids together - just finishing off painting some of them!

  3. That all sounds very familiar!

    I used to support my local comic, hobby and gaming stores a lot more than I do nowadays. The difference in price between the good guys and Amazon etc is just so huge. There is nothing quite like having a rummage through the shelves of a good FLGS though! Smallworld is designed to be engaging and funny at the same time and succeeds at both. You can have a look through the box next time you're up.

    Talking of which, lets fix the weekend before Oldhammer as a definite date when we can run a practice game of WFB3. If we can make it happen sooner, all to the good, but that weekend can be set in stone.

    1. That sounds ideal - I could possibly do the weekend before that as well if needs be.

    2. That's great, let me have a think about what needs to get done in time and I will email you in a day or two.

  4. Didn't know of the game, looks fun, I might have a look a it...
    Hehe, good luck with temperature, I also undestand you, I feel like I'm melting these days...

    1. It's great fun. Wil Wheaton did an episode of Tabletop about it on Youtube which is worth a look if you want to find out more about it before you invest.

      Fingers crossed the weather settles down so I can finally stop drinking beer.