Small World - Board Game Box Shot

Small World

| Published: 2009
Small World title

Small World is a zany, light-hearted civilization game in which 2-5 players vie for conquest and control of a board that is simply too small to accommodate them all! Picking the right combination of fantasy races and unique special powers, players must rush to expand their empires - often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory.

Small World box and contents
image © Days of Wonder

User Reviews (87)

Filter by: Order by:
Player Avatar
8
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
7
114 of 121 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 5
“Area Control without the Sobering Realism of War”

I happened upon Small World through a literal “gateway” experience… not from another, more accessible game making me interested in digging for weightier options, but from a gateway game literally pointing me to Small World and saying “you buy this now!” That game was Ticket to Ride. It contains a devious Days of Wonder sales pamphlet inside the box, and said pamphlet has Small World prominently displayed on the cover and on the first several pages. Of course, my feeble mind was no match for Days of Wonder, whose subtle mastery of mind control has yet to be understood by us lay-folk. Here are my experiences with the game I was coereced into buying:

Observed Set-Up and Play Time
Opening the box and preparing for play is a several-hour process. There are sheets upon sheets of cardboard to carefully punch (and I do mean carefully… the art on the pieces will rip off if you move quickly), and the rulebook, while well-written and reasonably brief, will need a thorough reading. After those few hours, the first game (for me, a 2-player game) took around 45 minutes with nary an error made. Follow-up games take around 5 minutes to set up and 45 minutes to an hour to play depending on the number of players. It’s simple, effective and fun from the first game, but holy cow cardboard.

My Learning Curve and Teach Time
The learning curve to the game itself is pretty small… one play-through should do it. But you really only become fluent at Small World when you no longer have to reference the wonderful skill/race sheets to understand how your new race will behave. If you’re using the base game with no expansions, it will probably take around 10 games for you to experience every race and skill and be able to know what they do immediately upon seeing them. To teach the game, I take 15 minutes before starting to slowly run through the basics; then we’re off.

Group Sizes and Dynamics
For some reason I have a very hard time getting non-gamers to play Small World with me. I would expect that the light theme and cute artwork would make this appealing… I am apparently mistaken. The biggest group I’ve managed to corral for a game was 4 players, all fairly adept at designer game play.

Objectionable Material
Small World is light fare, but at its essence is about conquering and dominating. These aren’t tenets to use as a foundation for your child. However, it is possible that point is lost in their minds behind simply wanting to “beat your Troll with my Amazon.” While there is no visual depictions of violence or use of adult language, and even the potentially scary monsters (ghouls, skeletons, etc) are animated comically, I would probably wait to introduce this to my kids until they are around 10.

Comparable Titles
First and most obviously, this game is an evolved descendant of Risk. It also has a bit of a distant cousin in Smash Up, a card game that allows you to combine two unique sets of abilities together and see how you fare (in Small World, a race and a skill; in Smash Up, a combination of two monsters). But in general, Small World is akin to the multitude of area control games currently available. It differentiates itself through its fantasy theme, providing respite for those of us who have had enough of war games yet enjoy the occasional conquering of a region.

It feels incomplete to comment on Small World without touching on the expansions, for they are many. There is a stand-alone companion game (Small World Underground) that plays identically but gives new races, skills and game board (complete with new land types); 3 expansions that simply provide new races and skills (Cursed!, Grand Dames and Be Not Afraid); one expansion (Tunnels) that allows you to connect the base game’s board to that of Underground; one expansion that changes the board to a Catan-style variable board (Realms, which includes Tunnels); one that attempts to add a story to the game through event cards (Tales and Legends); and one that allows an extra player to resurrect other players lost race tokens to use against them (Necromancer Island). I have used a good chunk of these (Underground, Tunnels, Realms and Be Not Afraid), and I feel that they add nothing to the game. Small World Underground is itself a good game… but it isn’t better or worse than the original, just a variation. And trying to connect the 2 boards through Tunnels is a disaster… I have given it 3 attempts, and it completely ruins the game for me. I purchased all of these within weeks of purchasing the original game, so it may be a case of “too much too fast”… but I wasted a lot of money on these, when the base game itself was sufficient.

 
Player Avatar
6
United Kingdom
Intermediate Reviewer
Video Game Fan
8
66 of 71 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“This world ain't big enough for the both of us...”

In Small World, you are controlling a fantasy race trying to dominate a world which is just not big enough for everybody. Eventually your race will become overstretched, but don’t worry, you can abandon your race and select another one!

So I keep changing races? How weird is that! How would that work? And why would I even want to?

Let’s go back to the beginning. The board for Small World is a map divided up into regions. There is a different board depending on the number of players. Why? Because it is designed to be just too small! Next to the board you will place a pile of race tiles, and next to that a pile of race modifier tiles. For example, the top race might be Orcs and the top modifier might be “rampaging”, so that makes Rampaging Orcs! Each race and each modifier has a special ability, meaning that when they’re combined you’ll get two special abilities. You take the top 5 combos and place them in a column below the stack, so you’ll have 6 combinations visible.

Each player is given some coins and the game begins. On your turn you’ll need to start by picking up one of the six visible race combos. You can take the first one (furthest from the stack) for free, but you’ll need to pay one coin for every race you skip. If you do that, put one coin on the race tiles that you pass over, because another player will get those coins if they choose that race later.

Your race tile will have a number on it, and so will the modifier tile that goes with it. Add these two numbers together, and that is the number of units you’ll be getting to go forth and populate the world with, so take that number of tokens (the tokens are specific to your race). Starting from a region at the edge of the board you capture regions by placing two tokens in the region, plus another token for any other tokens that are in the region (these could be tokens from other races, or mountain or lost tribe tokens that are placed on the board in certain regions at the beginning of the game). If you end up with too few tokens to capture your last region then you can roll the reinforcement die, which can add to the strength of your last tiles, so depending on that roll you may or may not get your last region.

After you have finished conquering you can redistribute your tokens around the board, then finally give yourself one coin for each region you occupy. Play then moves to the next player.

Where I might get attacked myself, right?

It’s not really a case of might, more will, remember it’s a Small World after all.

You had to get that in there, didn’t you?

Surely it’s obligatory! Anyway, if another player conquers a region you occupy, you lose one race tile, but any others are returned to your hand for you to use on your next turn.

Well that all seems straight forward!

Yes it is, but don’t forget that your special abilities might bend these rules, you might get extra coins for certain things, you might have to use less units to conquer, you might not lose tiles when you’re conquered, etc.

OK, but we just keep going at it until the game ends?

Not quite, remember you have limited tiles to use and these get more limited as the turns pass. Eventually your race will become more trouble than it’s worth, and you will choose to put your race into decline. Leave just one tile in each region you occupy and flip them over. You’ll still get a coin for each region that race occupies, but you won’t be able to conquer anything with them and you’ll lose that races special abilities. However on your next turn you’ll be able to select another race and start conquering at full strength! After 10 rounds the player with the most coins is the winner!

I get it now! So what makes this game great to play?

A number of things. The special abilities of each race make playing with each one unique, and the modifiers ensure that each race is slightly different than in the last game. The variety of special abilities is great, and they can bend just about every rule in the game, but never in a way that is confusing. There are many great decisions you’ll need to make during the game, such as balancing your desire for a particular race combo with how much it will cost to get it, or should you take a cheaper combo which may give you coins straight away if other players have skipped it? The major decisions you’ll have to make is picking the perfect time to put your race into decline – too soon and you’ll spend too many turns waiting around (remember if you put your race into decline you don’t get your new race until the next turn), too long and you’ll be stuck with an ineffective race who cant conquer enough. The only drawback is that when you start playing the game you’ll have to keep checking the player aid for what each race and modifier does, and you’ve got six combos to choose from so that can take a while, but you’ll quickly learn to read the symbology on the tiles and only have to check occasionally. In short this is a great game with loads of replayability and you should definitely give it a go!

 
Player Avatar
3
Gamer - Level 2
10
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Easy to Learn, Quick to set up, Great Depth!”

One of the best things about SW is that it comes with 4 different boards. There is a board for 2 players, for 3, for 4, and for 5. This is what makes the game fun for any of those combinations of players. The board never feels too big with few players, or too crowded with 5. Don’t get me wrong though, it does get crowded, but the right type of crowded.

In SW, there are a collection of “Adjective” or “Power” cards that get randomly grouped each game with the different armies. This makes every game unique! Some games you might have an army of Beserk Skeletons that grow in size very quickly, and the next SeaFaring Skeletons that really stay out of the way.

A simple version of the gameplay goes as follows. A player selects the army they want to use. They conquer regions on the map using their armies until they can’t conquer anymore. They get victory points for each region they now have. They move their troops around until they are happy with their positions in the regions they now occupy, and then they end their turn. A turn typically takes around 30seconds to a minute. There is no rolling dice (with a few small exceptions) to determine who wins in combat. The game just flows.

If at any point you feel your army are no longer useful to you, or have reached their prime, you can put them into decline. You essentialy lose control of the army, but still score points off them. At the start of your next turn, you can then select a new army and carry on conquering lands.

Certain armies and powers can help you gain victory points in different ways. Each player is provided with a reference page that details each army and each power. This really helps the flow of the game as players don’t need to disturb others to figure out what their armies can do. I’ve found that even 8 year olds learn this game within a single turn due to the simple nature of it and the wonderful aide the reference sheets provide.

Don’t be fooled by the simple mechanics, though, as SW is full of strategy. Deciding exactly when to go into decline as well as to which armies to choose can have huge consequences. SW rewards skill over luck every time, and I’ve found the same few people win this game every single time because of great strategy.

SW is the perfect mix of light-hearted war-gaming on a board that is easy to learn and deceivingly complicated at the same time.

I recommend SW to any family looking for a fun relaxing board game as well as any gamers out there looking for a game to get your non-gaming friends into board gaming. Pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed!

 
Player Avatar
3
Intermediate Grader
7
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Small World goes into Decline, but will Redeploy stronger (in Underground).”

What is Small World?

Philippe Keyaerts’ Small World is a game of conquest in a world that is much too small for the grand ambitions of its inhabitants. As the player, you control different fantasy races (one at a time) with their (randomly assigned) special abilities and attempt to expand your empire across the map before they fall out of power, only to be replaced by your next race of creatures.

How does it play?

In the beginning of the game, you determine which board you will be using to ensure that the world is indeed quite small for the number of players you have. Then, you’ll set-up the board with impediments to your civilization’s expansion (in the form of mountains and Lost Tribes) where it instructs you to, and then (finally!) you’ll get into purchasing your starting races! Every player starts the game with a small handful of coins which are then used to purchase races throughout the game (those leftover at the end become your victory points!) and are gained by holding land.

Alongside the board is a deck (of paired race and ability tiles) with a few of them face-up on display to be chosen from (though it’ll most likely cost you some gold). Once each player has picked up the race tokens from their chosen race, the game is ready to begin! Each player will enter from the outside of the board and conquer the surrounding tiles until they eventually choose to go into ‘decline’ (make your current race inactive and pick a new one next turn).

What makes Small World a unique experience?

The act of putting a race into decline is what really gives Small World its unique flair. This “feast or famine” style of play creates an additional layer of complexity and strategy as you must determine when you should put your race into decline and where you should enter the board to maximize your empire in the small world–-not to mention which race/ability combo you’re currently playing or going to bring in.

Final Thoughts

One of my small, but (personally) significant grievances with Small World comes from how underwhelming it feels to conquer Lost Tribes in the base game. Fortunately, that problem has already been addressed in the standalone expansion (Underground) with the addition of “relics”.

Overall, however, Small World is a great for what it is–a gateway game into modern boardgaming–but, the randomness of the game might take a bit away from its longevity. The game does not draw from a deep well of replayability due to the fact that you can’t play again to try a different strategy since all of your strategies are developed on the fly due to the random race/class combos. A House Rule that allows you to select which Race and/or Class you want to play (at an increased price) might put more emphasis on strategy and less on luck of the draw. That change would allow for brainstorming out of the game (and thus more cravings to play the game).

 
Player Avatar
4
Intermediate Reviewer
9
42 of 46 gamers found this helpful
“Genocide with a smile!”

Components
Starting with the box alone the visual appeal of this game is evident from the beginning. The artwork on the box has a humorous and cartoon-esque appearance and is very well done, The overview of the game from the back of the box is sufficient to give a good sense of the game without spoiling too much before opening.
Opening the box presents you, firstly, with a couple of leaflets from the lovely Days of Wonder peeps showing some of their other products and then below these we get to the first of the main components, the instructions. They are the perfect length and well presented, only twelve pages, there is no overcomplicating of the rules which are not hard to grasp at all. There are race and power reference pages and even a diagram showing the best way to organise the plethora of tokens which lay below. Here also are five reference sheets which show turn order on one side and race/power effects on the other, my only gripe is that these are HUGE, they are almost the same width as the box itself and if all five players requested to have one, which is unlikely thankfully, then they take up more space than the board itself and my gaming table ain’t that big chaps and chapettes!
Skipping over the tokens, which are next and require popping from their frames, we find the boards. The two and three player double sided board is a single fold affair with fewer spaces for the two player side and the same for the double fold board for four and five player games. The art on them is really nice, colourful and the spaces are clearly different from each other with any icons or markers easily distinguished from one another. Both boards are of a high quality, much better than some I own but I have seen one or two better.
At the bottom of the box is a two part compartmentalised tray for token storage, one part of which is a removable tray which holds the players race tokens for easy access throughout the game without having to have the box at hand.
The trays are a necessity with Smallworld as the token count is among the most impressive I have seen. I am among those sick people who enjoy popping tokens and counters from their frames and this game was guilty of feeding that habit! There are LOADS!!! (that’s right, three exclamation marks, count ‘em) the tokens easily account for more than half the weight of the game and they are gorgeous, the artwork is extremely well done with the same humorous theme held throughout the game and they have a reassuringly sturdy feel to them even down to the noise they emit when dropped on to the board, I know it’s sad but it really is a satisfying noise!

The components alone are begging for a perfect ten and I had to really struggle to find a point to mark it down. In the end I had to settle for one minor gripe in that I would have preferred the reinforcement die to be made of plastic as the wooden one feels a little cheap compared to the beautiful bits it finds itself surrounded by (it must feel a little depressed when it considers this fact!)
9/10

Gameplay
Simplicity thy name is Smallworld!
This game is so easy to learn that my entire gaming circle had it down by the end of turn one, even my eight year old son had it learned after a couple of turns and the boy can barely concentrate on staying upright half the time!
When played with four or five players this game shines in a class all of its own, It has all of the subtle tactics and vicious backstabbing that any gamer could ever want. The joy in seeing someone take a gamble and gain control of several regions only to have the next player ruthlessly annihilate them is a joy not seen in games of a similar nature. It also helps that the random combinations of race and power means that the backstabbing often leads to a revenge play happening sooner rather than later and you never know what combo will be next from the pile. This fact also helps with the replay value. Because the races and powers are drawn from randomised piles each game you will not see the same pair drawn very often and therefore, peoples choices will differ from game to game based on their preference and the choices of other players.

The gameplay is brilliant and I can’t wait to add some of the expansions to it if only for the new races!
9/10

 
Player Avatar
5
Advanced Grader
Plaid Hat Games fan
9
42 of 46 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Small world, big game”

For a small world there’s certainly a lot in the box, in fact your first job when returning from the games shop will be to punch out lot of tiles. And some more tiles. And lots more.

Anyway, to the game itself. The game mechanic is very smooth, round one pick a race and associated special ability (these combinations change for every game), round two start conquering. If you’ve played risk you’ll be familiar with the mechanic, put two armies into an empty land, add some more if you face opposition or mountains – mountains can be tough, what with the climbing, and rocks, and cold winds.

The key difference between small world and risk though is that there is no dice rolling needed (so there will be no cursing the snake eyes staring up at you mockingly). Instead you have a finite number of armies (some races have more than others) so you can only go so far across the board, go too far and you’ll be spread thinly which may get you lots of points (the more areas you hold the more points you get) but will leave you horribly exposed when your best buddy brings his flying orcs rampaging across your lands.

And now we come to the crux of the game, how far do you expand your finite armies? Then when you’ve taken your wealthy elves as far as their pointy ears dare stray you retire them, send them into decline, the age of the coin hugging elves is over! This means on your next go you choose another race/ability combo and then begin conquering anew.

Every race and ability lets you benefit from conquering different areas, may give you more troops, more money or allow you to pop up from holes in the ground seemingly anywhere in the world. Its these abilities and combo’s that make the game, and it gets better the more you play and the more you learn what they all do (handy crib sheet provided).

The game also plays on a timer which means you all know how many rounds are left, from this you make your crafty decisions on declining races and getting new ones.

The games plays swiftly, its very easy, my seven year old can play it. The real trick is timing and understanding races and abilities so as long as i keep that crib sheet to myself i’ll be fine.

 
Player Avatar
5
Critic - Level 4
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
8
51 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Another Nice Mid-Level Game from Days of Wonder”

Small World is known in gaming circles as a re-theming of the classic game Vinci, but for many gamers, this will be their first exposure to the concept. This is a fun little game where players get to mix and match nifty powers in an attempt to kick their friends off the game board and scratch out as many points as they can.

The key component in Small World are the races; there are a number of different races like trolls and elves and wizards – typical cliche fantasy fare – each with their own special power. There are also a number of attributes – again with distinct special powers – that are randomly paired up with these races. So in one game you could have swamp trolls and seafaring elves, and in another game you could have seafaring trolls and stout skeletons, and so forth.

Each player works to procure a race from the handful that are available, place their tokens on different areas of the game board, and collect money at end of turn for areas they control. This money is then used later to buy other races, and at the end of game to determine the winner. The races’ special powers may make it easier to conquer certain areas, or give a bonus for others, or allow you better attacks against other players.

When a new race is bought, the previous race goes “in decline” meaning the pieces generally stay on the board but that race no longer uses its power. Mostly it makes opponents work a little harder to get what they need, while you are off with your shiny new race grabbing points elsewhere.

Overall, I like the components in this game; all the pieces are good solid cardboard bits, and the artwork looks great. One chief complaint is that the way certain illustrations blend can make it harder to tell what type of area you’re supposed to be looking at. This information should be clear to everyone at all times.

The gameplay is simple enough to teach newcomers in a relatively short span of time. The lighter nature of the game may turn off more hardcore gamers, but for people who just want some good solid fun and good player interaction, Days of Wonder tends to provide these in spades. Small World is no exception.

 
Player Avatar
7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
8
77 of 85 gamers found this helpful
“A great strategy game, different every time, but not for everybody”

Small World seems simple to understand. There are many race banners and many ability banners which get randomly paired together to create a race/ability combination. This creates nearly limitless combinations making every game a different experience.

Players pick a race/ability combination and use the race tokens to spread out and conquest regions on the board representing Small World. Due to the size of the board, players are constantly conquesting each other’s territories while their race diminishes over time, until the owner decides it is time to put their race into decline, which is where the owner stops running their race and picks a new race to start playing.

Figuring out conquests is relatively simple. The number of race tokens you need to use to conquer a territory is equal to the number of cardboard pieces in the region (whatever they may be) plus 2. There are a couple pieces you can’t conquer, though, such as a dragon. Many players still have difficulty understanding this, however.

The part of the game that is difficult for players to understand and grasp is how every race/ability pairing works. Each of these have their own symbols to show what they do, so nearly every pairing players need to look up how the race or ability works. This tends to be too much information for players to hold.

There are many pieces and components to this board game and all with great artwork to them.

Now the strategy of the game seems very simple, you take your race tokens, and conquest other regions, score points, and see who wins. But to get into the advanced play, it is much more difficult, there is a lot of strategy to it, and it’s not nearly as easy as it looks.

This game is ideal for 2 players, but plays up to 4.

Pros:
-High-level of abstract strategy
-Relatively simple/straightforward rules
-Excellent artwork and design
-Map scales well to the number of players

Cons:
-Race/abilities are widely varied and need to be frequently referenced
-The strategy is far too abstract for most players to enjoy
-The scoring system is hidden, making it difficult to keep track of how well you are doing

 
Player Avatar
2
Reviewed My First Game
7
49 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“The Decline and Fall of the Seafaring Elven Empire”

Two to five players, well-balanced for all.

About an hour-and-a-half to play, depending on the number of people (more people, more time).

I’m always looking around for good strategy games. I love to play them, but I’m terrible at them, so I’m trying to find one that I don’t always lose. I also play most of my games with only a single other person, whether my wife or a friend over for the evening. Strategy games almost always need a third player to hold the game’s triangular shape, which makes it complicated. Risk, for example, places neutral pieces on the board if you’re playing with two.

Small World fills my constraints wonderfully. There are multiple boards for rebalancing from two to five players. There’s a huge amount of replay value in the mix of races and classes you can choose for your armies. There’s an automatic neutral army mechanic that allows two players to play an interesting game. There’s an ingenious catch-up mechanic based on dwindling resources that makes for interesting decisions throughout the game, as well. I’m slightly ahead of myself, though.

The game plays like Risk, with several major differences.

First, attacking is a simple comparison, with at most one die roll. As in Diplomacy, whoever has the most units wins, but Small World also allows you to roll a die to add a random number of units to your attack. (EDIT: Most of the time, you can only roll this die on your last attack, and then only if you don’t have enough units to succeed without it.) This means that each turn moves fast, as most of the time is spent deciding where to send your units, and not resolving a dozen die rolls over a single attack.

Second, your army has a race and a class, which you get to choose. Races (like Elves or Humans) are paired with classes (which they call “special powers,” like Heroic, or Seafaring) randomly each game, and shuffled when you run out. Some combinations are downright broken (Commando Amazons? Good night!), but they come up so infrequently as to not be a problem, and can only last a few rounds before dying out anyway. The queue of upcoming pairs is visible on the side of the board, in order. You can choose the next pair in the queue for free, but must pay one VP for each pair you choose to skip. This balances the more powerful pairs, and also provides compensation (you get all coins paid for skipping your pair) for the person who eventually chooses the underpowered pair.

The most important difference is that you don’t get reinforcements. When you get your army initially, you have a limited number of units to use for attacking. You need at least one unit occupying an area to control it, and you get VPs based on the number of areas you control, which creates a difficult decision. See, at any time you can choose to put your existing army “in decline,” which allows you to choose a new army. However, once an army has gone into decline, they only maintain a single unit in each area, you can no longer attack with them, and you lose your next turn. This means that the choice as to when you go into decline has a huge effect on the game.

If you go into decline too early, you lose out on VPs you could have gotten by expanding farther, because any extra units you’re using for defense go away. If you go into decline too late, you might miss a great race/class pair that just appeared in the queue. Too early, and the ratio of active turns (where you’re gaining territory) and inactive turns (where you can’t attack) starts to get low. Too late, and the amount of territory you can gain each turn diminishes to uselessness: since you don’t gain any more units to attack, there comes a point where you cannot gain more territory — diminishing returns.

The final major difference is two-fold: semi-hidden victory points and a turn limit. Recent versions of Risk have a turn limit, but the “victory points” are purely determined by the number of countries controlled, which is public information. Small World’s victory points are semi-hidden, by which I mean that you have a stack of them on the table, so people can generally tell whether you’re doing amazing or not with a glance. However, you’re allowed to hide the exact number of VPs you have, and are not required to answer any questions about how many are in front of you. This means that quite a few games end with loads of tension while people count (Dominion does this very well).

If you’re looking for a quick, lighter strategy game, Small World definitely fits the bill. I’ve never had a game last more than two hours (even when teaching it), and most are much faster than that. You can play it quick-and-dirty, just attacking where you feel, but the choice of when to drop into decline makes skill and thought a major factor in victory. Expansions provide new race/class pairs to shuffle into your set, but the base game provides enough variety to keep it interesting for a long time.

 
Player Avatar
4
I'm a Player!
Advocate
8
49 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“A big game in a small world”

I’ve been playing quite a few different card/dice games lately, and as I have been introducing my wife to the wonderful world of gaming, I decided to add a little bit more to her arsenal of games by playing Small World. To be honest, this was the first time I’ve played an area management game like this and I have to say that I have had such a wonderful time playing it.

First off, I want to preamble this by saying that the edition I am playing is the iPad edition, so this review won’t touch base on the actual packaging or components of the game in and of itself, and will talk about a couple of other different things. First off, the objective. The person who has the most victory points at the end of the game wins, so its relatively simple. You gain victory points by having your race control spots on the map, each spot giving you at least 1 victory point. At the begining of the game, a race/adjective(?) in which you would then put on the board. As the game goes on and you gain more territory, you will be running out of units because you must keep 1 unit on your territory at all times and through your opponents invading your territories, so you will be able to put your race on decline. When you do this, you get to choose another race and continue.

The gameplay is super easy to understand and explain, but with lots of depth that makes it interesting. Ever since getting the game, I’ve played about 11 games of it against the ai on the Ipad so that I can get a feel for the game, and I can win only about half the time or so. The reasoning for this is through bad placement on my part, but the randomness of race/adj. makes for good and horrible pairings. There is a bit of luck in this randomness, but it offers a lot of strategy. I find one of the reasons I’ve kept playing was to see what combinations would appear.

The art in the game (from the race design to the map design) is really good. Its has a light-hearted fantasy feel to it, with some bright and cartoony colors that would appeal to some people. I can see that the art stylings may not appeal to everybody, especially for a fantasy genre, but I found it to be quite terrific to my own tastes.

My verdict? I love the game more than I thought I would actually. My first few play throughs we are a bit difficult (I got my rear end handed to me my first game) playing through it shows that it has a real intuitive play style. Its definitely a keeper game, I think. Who would I recommend it to? People who enjoy the kind of area management/strategy games like Risk would definitely want to check this game out. Its quick and easy to pick up and doesn’t take a huge chunk of time like most games of Risk I have played. People who are new to the hobby would like to check it out because its not very intimidating in the least. I think people who want a serious game would want to avoid it, and perhaps the hard core gamer wouldn’t enjoy it. The randomness found in it could possibly make them dislike it simply by virtue of the fact that you can’t plan ahead so easily. Overall, being an avid gamer that I am, its definitely a keeper and one I would love to introduce to my friends and family down the line.

 
Player Avatar
3
Amateur Reviewer
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
7
67 of 74 gamers found this helpful
“Fun strategy that fades quickly”

Smallworld is a light hearted territory control game that uses simple mechanics spiced up with a variety of special powers and combos to keep things interesting.

The play of the game is pretty simple. On your first turn you pick a race and get some tokens to represent your troops (usually 9-10). Each race has its own power and an additional randomly assigned special power creating new combos each game. One game might have Berserk Orcs while in the next game they might be Diplomatic Orcs.

You then place tokens on board spaces to take over territory. To take over an area, you simply place two tokens + 1 additional token for every obstacle in the space (mountains, enemy troops, etc). At the end of the turn, you grab a victory point token for every space you control. On following turns, you pick up all troop tokens except for 1 on each space and continue to take over more territory.
The only additional consideration comes from going into decline. After your troops begin to get spread thin, you can choose to put them in decline. You skip a turn and no longer get to do anything with those troops but they still score points for you as long as they are on the board. On the next turn, you get to pick a new race and start taking over even more territory. You earn points for any space your active or in decline race controls.

Smallworld has several great aspects. It plays fairly quick for a territory control game and technically you can never be knocked out of the game. The race/power combos add a lot of variety to play and the fight mechanic is simple enough that my six year old loves playing this game. The first several games you play of Smallworld will prove to be a lot fun. The fun, however, doesn’t last forever.

The simple mechanics make the game easy to learn and play but also present an inescapable problem. Eventually, the races and powers begin to become overly familiar and even a bit stale. After this point, you’re left with a game that’s as complex and intricate as basic arithmetic. Smallworld plays fast for a territory control game but it still doesn’t play real fast for a game with such simple mechanics.

Smallworld is a great choice to introduce casual gamers and young family members to war gaming. It can even entertain a more seasoned gamer in short bursts. However, Smallworld doesn’t have the depth to keep a serious strategy gamer engaged for long. There are no deep strategies to discover and no advanced moves to master. Because the powers and available races are random each game, you can’t decide to try out any specific ability or combo. The play is fun, but it fades fast.

 
Player Avatar
1
I Am What I Am
 
40 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“Smallworld - The 7-Up Of European Games ”

What, you ask? Why is Smallworld the “7-Up of European games”, you ask? Because, like 7-Up claims to be, Smallworld is light, bubbly, and refreshing. Smallworld will never win any awards for being a triumphant example of tight, highly strategic boardgame design, but it sure as [beep] has for being light, easy to learn and play, and most importantly, fairly fun. It’s games like Smallworld, though, that I have the most difficulty writing about because the game itself has no major flaws that would allow me to desecrate its good name, but on the other side, myself and the folks I’ve played this with are not exceptionally keen on it either. In short, it’s a game with merit, a neat “mixed-up Mother Goose” mechanic to keep it fresh, but it’s not something I would pine for or beg to get to the table. The only downside of the game is that Smallworld propagates racial genocide, which hasn’t been in vogue for a while in Europe, or so I hear.

The concept of the game is that the players each play a race, or several races, of randomly drawn creatures with the sole desire to take over the world as best they can in a limited amount of time. The name “Smallworld” is derived from this concept, because the world is simply too small for everyone. Each race has its own racial special power, and to add to that, each has an additional, randomly drawn power. Further, each race and special power has a number of troops associated with it, and thus the amount of troops any given race/power pair has varies with the random draw, allowing for exceptional balance across the game. Each player takes turns placing troops or redeploying troops, all the while expanding the scope of their dominion. Eventually, though, the players’ newly formed empires will recede, and the players have the option, at that point, to stop using that race and begin again with a new race. The game is made up of rounds, and at the end of each round, the players earn Victory Points (VP) based upon their level of control of the world, and at the end of a set amount of rounds, determined by the player amount, the game ends with the most dominant player winning the game.

The component and art quality is really quite good, and although the art direction is a bit on the caricature, cartoony side for my tastes, the theme is consistent and very suitable to the game. All of the components are of good quality cardboard, with the exception of the exceptionally well-designed troop tray, which is made of plastic and has a nice cover to stop the natives from escaping, of which there’s 186. Other components consist of two double sided boards, a bazillion VP chits valued at one, three, five, and ten. Then there’s the meat of the game, which is made up of fourteen racial banners and 20 special power badges, along with a gaggle of special chits which can be used with some of the power badges during gameplay. There’s also a turn marker made to look like a 2-D crown, and a special die for use during some attacks. All in all, there’s a crapload of stuff packed neatly into the little Smallworld box, and all of it looks very nice indeed. Finally, there’s the game manual, which is very understandable and well laid out, and six player references.

Setup is a little more complex than other games, and takes a little longer than one might expect for such a light game. First, a board needs to be selected and flipped to the correct side, based upon the amount of players in the game, with the turn marker placed on the first turn on the turn track. Next, shuffle the race cards and select five of them randomly, and place them on the board in a column, and in the order you chose them. Although the game calls the race cards, “racial banners”, this is a political year, so I’m calling them race cards specifically to attempt to get you to tell other players on the table that they’ve played the race card when they use their racial powers in game. Yes, I digress. Anyhow, do the same thing with the power badges, which physically dovetail with the race cards to create one new, unified race card with an associated power. Once you’ve got five complete race cards, make a stack of the rest at the bottom of the column, as when one is used, a new complete race card comes into play at the bottom of the column. In essence, at the beginning of the game, you’ll have six races to pit against one another, with the sixth being the last of them and sitting on a stack of the remaining completed race cards. This acts to hide the identity of the racial mixes so you can’t plan racial jokes in advance, such as, “How the [beep] are the Dwarves Mounted? Who’s short enough to get behind them while they’re bent over?”

Now that you’ve got the race cards sorted out, you’ll need to get into “Capitol Hill”, which is what I call the tray where all the races are intentionally segregated for the purposes of being pitted against one another later, and get out the “Lost Tribe” tokens to place them on their respective places annotated on the map by the Lost Tribe icon. Finally, hand out five VP tokens to each player, and you’re ready to start your fascist, imperialist aggression against your friends or relatives. There’s some token-placing which really seems like a waste of time, such as placing mountain tokens on spaces that depict mountains, but really, if the *ed board has a picture of the mountain on it, why the [beep] do I really need to place a big token shaped like a mountain, with an illustration of a mountain, on it? Total redundancy, because as far as I can tell, and as many times as I’ve played it, you can’t destroy the mountains, so this is a serious [beep] design choice. Anyhow, let’s skip that and just move onto how to play.

To begin, you need to select the first player, which is done by determining who has the pointiest ears. I’m not making that up…it’s in the rules. Assuming someone is more Vulcan than the rest, that green-blooded monster must pull a “Jesse Jackson” and choose a race card to play. To do this, one can simply take the first race card in the column, but if the person has some sort of bigotry against that particular race, they may choose any race they wish in the column, but as a penalty for being an unabashed racist, they must place reparations, in the form of a VP token, on any race card that lies above the one they chose in the column. Next, they must move all of the race cards up one space to fill in any gaps made by the player’s selection, which exposes a new race card for exploitation. As noted before, each race card and mated power badge has a value placed on it, and you simply need to add the two values together to get your starting army size, and once you’ve done that, simply head to Capitol Hill and snatch that value’s worth of the troops of your race.

To play, you may place your tokens on any space adjacent to water on your first turn, to represent a hostile invasion by sea. This is only on your first turn, as you can move your troops from owned territories to adjacent spaces in later turns. Anyhow, to take a territory, simply place two tokens on an empty territory as an occupying force, plus one token for virtually any other token in the space, such as a mountain, a Lost Tribe token, or an enemy token. There’s a ton of these little special tokens, but the rule is pretty hard and fast regarding the cost of a conquest, so it’s a pretty pedestrian matter to figure out how many troops are required to place in a potential conquest. In some sort of strange homage to Ameritrash, on your last declared conquest, you may roll a specially pipped die that has zero through three pips on it, and add that value to your attack value.

If you conquered an unoccupied space, nothing happens other than the fact you’ve occupied a space, but if an enemy or neutral territory was taken, that player sends one of their defeated tokens back to Capitol Hill and the rest are normally redeployed into one of their owned territories at the end of the current player’s turn. After spending all of your tokens, you can then redeploy your own guys to reinforce your territories to further expand your influence. At the end of your turn, you tally up the amount of territories you control, plus any racial or power badge bonuses, and take that amount of VP tokens. That, in short, is all there is to playing Smallworld. Well, almost.

As I noted earlier, when your race essentially runs its course, you may put them into decline. This consists of simply flipping over all of the tokens of that race to their dark side and removing all but one of those tokens from each occupied territory. Then, you remove the power badge from the race card, mercilessly stripping any power from the newly-subjugated race, and finally, you flip their powerless race card to the darkened side. Doing this costs an entire turn, and once you’re done putting your race into decline, you score the territories as you normally would. These powerless tokens, while not able to be deployed or used in any manner, still score points for the ruling player until they are conquered or until the same player puts yet another race into decline at some point in the future, where they’re arbitrarily removed and thus have failed as a viable gene pool. On your next turn, since you do not have an active race, you simply draw a new race as you did on your first turn, hoping this race will fare better than the last.

Now, that’s really all there is to Smallworld. It’s a very, very simple game, as I said initially, but that doesn’t mean it’s not full of strategic choices, because it is. It’s almost a wargame, except that it’s actually an area control game masquerading as a wargame, in my opinion. There are a lot of really neat pairings for race cards and power badges, and some make for interesting and fun “master races” that are generally more powerful than most, such as the Commando Amazons, which only require one token to occupy a territory due to their Commando power badge, start with 10 troop tokens, and get to play 4 additional troop tokens per turn for the purposes of conquest but which are removed at the end of your turn. The balance between the power badges and races is actually really well done, though, so there’s not much in the way of Kingmaking, so to speak.

Now that you’ve learned about the basic gameplay and what the game’s about, let’s talk about the all-important fun factor. There’s not a game that’s quite like this out there, with so many neat little qualities all stuffed into one package, but at the end of the day, I just didn’t have all that much fun playing it the first or any subsequent time, and neither did anyone I’ve played this with. I’m not saying it’s bad or boring, so save your nerd rage for someone else, but I am saying that it’s just not a super-compelling game. I like the fact that it’s a pretty short game, playable in under an hour in almost all instances, and I also like that it’s got very few rules, so it’s easy to learn and play.

The problem is that it’s pretty redundant, and the choices allowed you on any given turn are pretty much obvious; there’s no “masterstroke” plots within plots you’re going to pull off. Further, the endgame is pretty anticlimactic, with one guy usually saying, “yep, I won” and that’s about it. El Grande, Cave Troll, or any number of games do Area Control better, and there’s a bazillion games that do wargame better. There’s a bazillion games that do variable player powers better, too. There’s just not a lot that seem to pack them all into one little package, and do it so pretty, so it’s clear that the game has a lot of merit. It’s just not for me, that’s all.

There’s a bunch of expansions out for Smallworld, too, that have a bunch of new races and powers, and the latest one I know of has evil Necromancers or something and a new, bigger Capitol Hill tray that will hold all of the original races as well as all of the expansions. [beep], that must be the U.N. Building.

What Makes Smallworld Bigger Than Elvis:
- Neat art and a wonderful theme
- Brisk gameplay and easy rules allow a low barrier to entry for everyone, including the “Powerful Bilt Yoot Fa’Merica”
- One of the best chit trays, ever
- It allows you to be an overt racist without offending most people at the table

What Makes Smallworld Smaller Than El Vez:
- It’s not incredibly compelling, and a bit on the repetitious side
- Fiddly as “The Devil Came Down To Georgia”
- “Jack of all trades and master of none” game design

Overall:
The fact that it’s sold incredibly well and is way, way up in the Boardgamegeek.com charts indicates that it’s a good game, and I’m here to tell you that I agree with that assessment. I think the game has some merit, but it’s just a lot on the dry, repetitious side for me. I guess the best analogy I can put out there is that it’s a fairly cut-throat pseudo-wargame for people who like Eurogames and don’t dig Ameritrash-style wargames. There’s lots of player interaction, which is great, but all I can say is that I just really didn’t like the game all that much. I’d play it if I was at a buddy’s house, and I’d be fine with it, but I know that I’d be wishing I was playing Cosmic Encounter instead. I recommend that you either try Smallworld, or research the * out of it, before taking the plunge, because you and I both know your OCD will make you buy all the expansions too, and that’s another $80.00 on top of a $40.00 price tag, and if you don’t like it, you’ll kick yourself.

Rating:
3.5/5 Stars

For those of you interested in Smallworld, go ahead and check it out at Days of Wonder’s site here: http://www.daysofwonder.com

 
Player Avatar
8
Intermediate Reviewer
Vanguard
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
7
66 of 73 gamers found this helpful
“Elegant and evil!”

I was a bit hesitant if this was a good game or not before I tried it out the first time. Territorial conquest games are not really my cup of tea, but I was really surprised in a positive way. Not only is the game very simple, they also managed to more or less completely get rid of luck. You have a bunch of tokens, and you use them to grab areas on the map. Some areas cost more people to conquer because there are more enemies, the defenders cover in mountains or something similar. Different players will gain different amount of points for different areas depending on what race/special power they play at the moment (more on that later), so figuring out how to use your forces in the most efficient way is a big part of the game. Quite often the final score can be very even (partly because this is a game that invites bashing the leader) so you really want to maximize everything.

A couple of things make this game highly dynamic and interesting:

1) Races + Special powers
You play a race combined with a specail power. This creates many more or less bizarre combinations (flying hobbits, underworld amazons or diplomatic skeletons just to mention a few odd combos). The race gives you some property (like getting extra points for fields or being really good at attacking from mountains), and the special power gives you another ability. The two also contains a number of units and these numbers added together makes up your total number of trigger happy citizens.

2) Decline
Normally you don’t get any new tokens for your race, so after a few rounds your forces have probably been a bit decimated. At this stage you can decide to abandon your race and let them go in decline. Next turn you simply grab a fresh race (with a new special power). When counting points you add the points from your active race and your old declined race (which simply stay passive on the board as long as noone attacks them). This creates some interesting choices. First of all, the optimal situation is of course to have a vital active race and a decent declined race that adds some points, But at what point do you give up your current race? It’s not fun to let them in decline, but on the other hand you may just be scoring badly and delaying the inevitable anyway. Also, if your declined race is really not helping you out, is it a good idea to let your active race go in decline to get more points? These are hard choices, and each time you let a race go in decline you miss a turn where you could have grabbed some fresh land.

3) Buying new races
The stacks of races and powers are shuffled, and a que is formed with combinations. The first in line is free to grab, but for each step up the chain you must pay one gold (victory points). Anyone grabbing a race with gold on it gets the gold, so you must really think twice if it’s worth the 6 gold to grab a really neat combination higher up the chain. Of course, if you’ve played it a few times you learn what combinations are extra good, but it’s still hard to know the optimal purchase.

The rules are very simple, but the combinations and the players choices makes the game very hard to figure out. I have no clue how the gameboard will look next turn.

I don’t think everyone will enjoy this game, but most people we’ve introduced it to have found it really fun. The artwork is great, different maps make the game scale very good for different numbers of players, and the combinations themselves always makes us laugh. I definetely think you should try it out!

 
Player Avatar
4
Comic Book Fan
Novice Reviewer
8
48 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“A military strategy game at its core, with a whimsical fantasy gooey shell”

Small World is a military strategy game in its core, but outside of that grizzled interior contains a whimsical fantasy gooey shell which will have you falling in love with races like Flying Trolls, Swamp Dwarves, Dragon Master Halflings, or Seafaring Skeletons, only to abandon them halfway through the game for a completely new race. Small World doesn’t constrict you to one race like in Risk, so if you find yourself being stepped on or have stretched your troops thin, you can always put your current race into decline and start all over again! It is completely up to you as to how you play this game, just make sure that after 9 rounds you have the most Victory points!

To earn Victory points all you have to do is conquer and hold territories. When you initially choose your starting race you will be given character tokens according to the corresponding numbers on your special ability and race cards. With these tokens you will then begin your conquest. It will cost you two tokens to conquer an empty region. For every other unit on top of a region, whether it be a mountain, Lost Tribesman, or another player, it will cost you one extra token per unit. At the end of your turn you get 1 Victory point for every piece of land you own. On top of this, if your race has a special ability such as “Forest”, you get an extra Victory point for every forest you occupy. From here on out it is a mad dash to conquer as much as you can and rake in the points.

Eventually players will begin to bash heads and will inevitably start to attack each other. When you take over someone’s region they get all their tokens back except for one, which gets placed back in the game tray. This makes it so players will start to lose more and more units, thus making it harder to conquer new regions. Lose too many units and your ability to hold your regions will grow harder as well. Don’t get too attached to your races though, because I guarantee that you will go through 2-4 races per game. When you think your race has over-exhausted itself you can put it into decline. What this does is flips over all your tokens leaving one token in every region you control. You still earn points for holding these regions and on your next turn you get to start out with a whole new race and begin your bloody conquest all over again.

The best part about Small World is that every time you play it, the game changes. The races and special powers are completely random so one game you can play as the Hill Elves, then in the next game you can play as the Fortified Elves. This is the reason I keep coming back to Small World. Every time I’ve played I’ve been a different race with a different power. I’ve looked at the board in brand new ways every time I’ve played because my strategy changes with each new round. With 14 races and 20 special powers the combinations are limitless. Currently there are 4 expansions for Small World, including a stand-alone game titled, Small World: Underground, which takes the action below the surface with Gnomes, Cultists, Drow, Mummies, and many more.

Small World comes with two reversible game boards that change depending on the number of players. The two player board is half the size of the five player board to ensure that you will be at each other’s throats no matter how many players you have. Small World should take you between 40-80 minutes, is perfect for 2-5 players, and is rated Ages 8+. It has won awards such as the Meeples’ Choice Award, Games Magazine’s ”Game of the Year”, and the Golden Ace. If you are looking for a fun, strategic game to play with your friends, I can’t recommend Small World highly enough. Never has murdering Elves and Giants felt so good. Game on!

 
Player Avatar
9
I'm a Gamin' Fiend!
Knight-errant
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
10
48 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Play the role of a fickle deity. Lead your people to victory, and abandon them for another!”

A new land awaits, ripe for colonization. It has everything a people looking for a new land could possibly want; prime farmland, rolling hills, lush forests, mountains that touch the sky, even a native population to eradicate.

Yes, a great new land to explore and exploit. So great, others have found it and want a piece for themselves as well. Sadly, it’s a Small World, and there just isn’t enough for everyone…

Welcome to Small World, a game for 2-5 players. The ultimate goal of the game is to be the player with the most victory coins at the end of the game. To accomplish this, you will lead your chosen race to take as much territory as possible in the Small World, and hold it as long as you can. That is, at least, until your chosen people just are not making you rich enough, so you abandon them for a new people to lead.

To begin, lets take a look at what you get for your money.

2 game boards, double sided
35 cardboard game pieces
14 cardboard race banners, double sided
20 cardboard power badges, double sided
109 cardboard victory coins
1 cardboard game turn marker
1 custom six sided die
168 cardboard race tokens
18 cardboard lost tribe tokens
1 rule book
6 player reference sheets

Everything seems made well enough, as in my house the components have all stood up to many plays with minimal wear. I am not a fan of the plastic cartridge that the game comes with. It is sturdy enough, and keeps all those race tokens in place, but it is a pain to get the suckers out. Some small Ziplocks or coin envelopes would possibly be a better fit. I remove the plastic mold that holds the rest of the bits and put them in Ziplocks to get things in and out easier.

OK, so, as outlined above, there is a bunch of stuff in the box. What are we going to do with all of it? The first thing to do is determine how many players you have. One of the great things about this game is that there is a different board for 2, 3, 4 & 5 players, guaranteeing that carnage will commence during the course of the game. Pull out the proper board and turn to the proper side, and begin by giving 5 victory coins, all ones, to each player. Mix up the race banners and lay out six of them on the side of the board, and determine which one will be first. Then mix up the power badges and put one with each race banner. These will be your starting race/power combinations.

Each race has its own unique ability. Humans, for instance get extra victory coins for each piece of farmland under their control. Tritons need less troops to take territory adjacent to a lake or sea. Trolls get a lair placed in every territory they take, making it harder for other players to take that territory away.

The power badges grant similar boons. Some add victory coins either right away or each turn based upon certain conditions, some make it easier to take territory, some make it harder to let others take it away. Every game you will have different race/power combinations available, so every game will be different.

Put the Lost Tribe tokens on the board where marked, and mountain tokens on the mountains (if you want) and put the game turn marker on one. Determine who goes first (the game recommends whoever has the pointiest ears, but whatever)and get ready to play!

The first player is going to look over the available race/power combinations and decide which they want. If they want the first one, they just take it. If the want the second, they need to put a victory coin on the first and take the second. If they want the third, put a coin on the first and second… I think you get the idea. Move down the rest of the combinations to fill in the hole and put a new combination in the sixth slot.

The first player then takes the appropriate number of race tokens, determined by the number on the race card added to the number on the special power badge. These will be the available units you control while using this race. There are a couple of races who can add to the number as you play, but, for the most part, this is what you get.

Unless you are flying, you choose a spot on the edge of the map or shoreline and take over that spot. Essentially, the way it works is a completely empty piece of territory will take two units to conquer. Mountains take three. If there is anything or anyone occupying a territory, it takes one more unit than two for each thing occupying it. If the territory is occupied by a lost tribe, it takes three. If there are two units belonging to another player in a territory, it will take four. Two Amazons and a fortification? That will be 5. You continue conquering land until you do not have enough units to continue. Should you have one left in hand, you can roll the reinforcement die. There are four different symbols on this die, none (or lack of symbol I guess) 1, 2 & 3. If the roll shows enough pips, added to the units in hand, to take a territory, you get to take it. If not, then those units are just used as reinforcements. Now, you count up how much territory you own, and claim one victory coin for each piece. Then you add any bonuses.

You can now reinforce your territory. You can put as many tokens as you like on each piece of land, just so long as you leave at least one on each one. If you have a piece of territory that gives you a bonus, you would want to move more units there if it is in jeopardy of being attacked by another player. This will now end your turn.

The next player looks at the available race/power combinations and once again chooses which to take, paying for ones beyond the first in line just as the first player did. Play continues as it did for the first player. The second player could either take a different side of the map, or jump right in slaughtering the first player. The choice is theirs.

If a player successfully attacks another player, then the attacked player will permanently lose one unit. If there were units beyond the one they lose in the territory, they may hold on to those units until the reinforcement phase and put them where they like in territory they still hold.

As the game progresses, and players begin to engage one another in battle, the number of units you have available will begin to dwindle. There comes a point where you are losing territory with no way to reclaim it. What do you do? Abandon those useless creatures you once found favor with! At the beginning of your turn, you may declare that you are going into decline.

When going into decline, you turn over your race banner and power badge. Most races loose all of their powers, abilities and/or bonuses when in decline. You will take all but one unit from each territory you still control, and turn over the remaining unit in each to show the race is in decline. You will still get victory coins for each piece of territory your race in decline holds, but they cannot take any more (well, unless they are ghouls)

On your next turn, you will choose a new race/power combination as you did on your first turn. Then you enter the land as your predecessors did and claim as much as you can.

Each time the first player begins their turn, they move the game turn marker to the next turn number. Once turn 10 is complete, the game is over, and whomever has the most victory coins wins.

So, that is Small World in a nutshell. With the race/power combinations changing every game, every game is going to play out very differently. I really like that the game uses a different board for each possible number of players, so if people want to play the game, you never have to say that the game isn’t really good with x amount of players.

There are some bogus race/power combos, like Merchant Dwarves (they get a whole 5 units) but there are always enough combinations available that something should be useful to anyone. Strategy comes into play when presented with a combo that may get additional victory coins for holding certain types of territory. You will have to look at the map and see how hard it would be to get a hold of the most of that type. Some races/powers get bonuses for every territory they took that had something in it to kill. How tough a nut is your opponent to crack right now? Do they have a race in decline just waiting to be annihilated, or does every territory they hold have 3 units in it? There is enough thought that goes into the game that I do not get bored, but not so much that if the folks I am playing with have had a bit to drink, they don’t stand a chance. Added to this, this is my wife’s favorite game, so I get a good bit of use out of it.

All in all, while it may indeed be a Small World, there is room in it for me, and if you like what you see, there is room in it for you too.

 

Add a Review for "Small World"

You must be to add a review.

× Visit Your Profile