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Thursday, June 11, 2009

small world contest: necromancers!

Sure, the initial confrontation had shaken us. After all, they did out number us. We were not, however, prepared for the terrifying site of our fallen brethren reanimated, bloodthirsty, and turned against us. Who were these warriors, and what dark magic did they command?

Necromancers, clearly! (and the reanimating-the-dead type of dark magic, of course)

Necromancers are able to raise their fallen enemy to use in future conquests. A token can only be raised if there are more Necromancers than raised tokens in the region. In general, there must be one Necromancer for each raised token in any given situation. Specifically:

  • During redeployment, the raised tokens may be redeployed with the Necromancers as long as each region has at least as many Necromancers as raised tokens.

  • While readying your troops, you may leave as many raised tokens in a region as you want, as long as you also leave at least as many Necromancer tokens in that region.

  • During conquest, you may use the raised tokens to complete a conquest as long as you use at least as many Necromancer tokens in that conquest.

  • When a region occupied by Necromancers and raised tokens is conquered, the Necromancers must return a Necromancer token to the try. If before the conquest, the region contained an equal number of Necromancer and raised tokens, a raised token must be returned to the try along with the Necromancer token.

Note: As Elves do not return any tokens to the tray when active, Necromancers may never raise any active Elves. When Elves are in decline, they are subject to the Necromancers' power.

I really like this idea, but it is a pain to balance. Some comparisons:

  • Trolls(5): They both gain defense, but the Necromancers must conquer an occupied region to gain defense (in the form of raised tokens). However, upon successive conquers, the Necromancer's defense stacks, whereas the Trolls only receive +1 per region regardless. Trolls keep their defense in decline; Necromancers do not.

  • Giants/Tritons(6): Giants gain a -1 conquest bonus when on mountains. Tritons have a -1 conquest bonus along coasts. Necromancers cannot gain a combat bonus (in the form of raised tokens) until their second turn, but their combat bonuses can stack, and it can be used anywhere.

Based on that point, I began playtesting the Necromancers at 6 because they do not have the decline bonus to make their defense bonus as effective, and they do not get the combat bonus out of the gate. At 6 they start very slowly -- in both games they only gained 3 and then 6 territories. However, it is cost prohibitive to attack them early on, which allows them to gain momentum. I think they would be a good "long-lasting" race to come in as a second race after "wide-spread" race like Amazons, Skeletons, or Ratmen.

I have not tested it, but they might work well at 5 with an added decline bonus:
When Necromancers go into decline, they can keep up to 1 raised token for each declined Necromancer token. When the declined Necromancer token must be returned to the tray, the raised token must also be returned to the tray.

This probably makes them better than Trolls, who are 5. For that reason, it seems that they are better without the decline bonus. Therefore, this needs to be added to the Necromancer description:
When the Necromancers go into decline, all raised tokens must be returned to the tray.

My biggest fear is that this race is too fiddily. It takes some sorting out to determine how to make sure that you can maintain your raised tokens, as well as capture new ones. Some might find that tactical thinking fun, while others may find it too difficult to want to bother with it. Also, the rules take a lot of explaining, even though they are quite simple. One must be quite verbose to cover all the bases and fill all the holes.

New rankings:

  1. Stealthy

  2. Necromancers

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