Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Small World

Small World: 2 -5 players, 40 - 60 minutes, Ages 10+

High replay value. Fantasy themed, competitive, turn based game play, amusing combinations of races/powers. Comes with expansions that can increase number of players to 6 (Realms), and races and powers.

Mid-game of a 5 player game

Game play: Races and power card are shuffled and matched making for almost endless possibilities. Each player begins their turn by using their starting points to buy a race/power combo that gives them a set, varying number of starting pieces. The player then uses those starting pieces to take over the
land on the game board. You must have one more piece than is already occupying a land in order to take it over. Race powers can decrease the number needed to take over lands. Race powers and mountains can increase defense, thus increasing the number needed to take over lands. At the end of your turn, gain points for each land you occupy. Race powers can increase points gained depending on various factors such as certain land types occupied or whether or not you defeated other players to take the land.

At some point your first race will be spread too thin and you will have to put them "in decline" and select a new race. You cannot attack with your in decline race anymore but still get points from the lands they occupy. You then start again with your new race/power combo. Whoever has the most points at the end of a certain number of rounds, determined by amount of players, wins.
Race/power abilities can alter almost every rule stated above.

Review: Do not buy this game and open it expecting to play right away. There are over 150 pieces that need to be punched from cardboard sheets and placed into the game trays. It took me about 20 minutes to get all the pieces into their trays and ready to play. The game recommends taking the punched cardboard sheets and placing them under the plastic tray so that the pieces stay in their spots during storage. I did this and I still get a few stray pieces so I would not want to see what would happen if I had not done so.

This game has easy to learn rules but endless strategy as about halfway through the game, you need to determine when to pick your new race as compared to the other players and from what is available. Most new players had the rules down by round 3 and a sense of strategy by the time we were ready to play the game a second time. Each player is given a sheet that lists the turn actions and the race/power combos. I bought two expansions that included additional races and powers and those only came with one instruction sheet so once one of the expansion cards were revealed, we had to pass the sheet around so everyone could see what it did. We also took a plastic veggie tray and placed the point counters and special ability tokens in it next to the board so everyone could have easier access to them. Between the 100s of small pieces, player sheets, and Race/power cards, you need a fairly large table to play this. It would be difficult to play this on a coffee table or standard folding card table.

I recommend this game for those that enjoy strategy games and then fantasy genre. There are some laughs at some of the combinations that show up, like Merchant Trolls
and Diplomat Ratmen.

This game is not for people that dislike longer games.