Saturday, July 27, 2013

Small World by BoredMormon

The feel

The world is ripe for conquest and who better to do it then your brand new empire. But wait another empire has the same idea. And another, and another, there is no way we are all going to fit on this board. Maybe I’ll start a new empire.
Small World represents a squabble over limited land. There is not enough space to fit everyone who wants to play on the board, forcing players into conflict. The game scales well, coming with four different boards for each number of players.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this game is that when you are bored of conquering with your current army you can get anther one. Also works well when your army gets slaughtered.

The rules
Small World is a light game. Don’t expect to see any grand strategic themes. It’s simple enough for new players to pick up, and you can teach it as you go. Keep the rulebook handy though, the game will throw up obscure combinations that you need to check on.

The short version: You choose a race, you conquer some territory and score points. When your race runs out of reinforcements you choose another race.
Small World has a mix and match race mechanic. You shuffle the races and powers separately, meaning new combinations are available to choose each turn. Choosing the right race at the right time can be the difference between winning and losing. Some of the combinations can be downright hilarious, adding to the fun of the game. Diplomatic ghouls anyone?

Conquering territories is elegantly simple. Each territory requires two army tokens plus one more army token for every token already on it. No messy dice rolling to slow the game down. If you have enough tokens you win.

Unlike many games where players receive periodic reinforcements the army you get when you choose the race is all. Your opponents will slowly whittle down those starting troops. Or you can spread out so far that you can’t conquer anymore territories.  When this happens you throw them away and choose a new race. New races come with a new fully stocked army, and the fun starts all over again. The timing of selecting a new army is arguably the most important decision in the game.

The game ends after a set number of turns. Players then reveal the number of coins they have accumulated and the highest score wins.

- Getting a new army every few turns is cool
- The random race/power combination increases replay value
- Setup is relatively short
- Multiple boards mean the game works well across the entire players range
- No need to roll dice for most combats
- Very easy to introduce to new players
- Because the game ends after a set number of turns it doesn’t drag out

The box insert. While it does a good job keeping the pieces sorted there is not enough room for my big fingers. My wife has smaller hands and does not have the same problem. 


Buy. This game will fit just about any collection. For casual gamers it’s a perfect fit. For heavy gamers it’s a light strategy filler. Its also a great way to break people from Monopoly.