I like games where I get to conquer things, kill my enemies and have special abilities. Small World, published by Days of Wonder and designed by Phillip Keyaerts, has all of those things.
You get several maps (for 2-5 players), 14 fantasy races with matching tokens and banners, 20 special power banners and all the other goodies you need to have a slaughtering good time. You start off by shuffling the races together, shuffling the special powers together, and putting out seven combinations of the two for players to choose from. This gives the game enormous replay power and a high level of unpredictability: you never know what combos you’re gong to get, or whether those combos are going to be awesome, terrible, or somewhere in between. The goal of the game is simple: deploy your troops to conquer as much territory as possible without getting ravaged by the races of the other players.
It sounds simple, and in theory it is, but it takes a while to get a hang of all the races, powers and quirks the game has to offer. The best way to get a handle on things is to watch a game being played! Take a look at the TableTop episode.
- Be Not Afraid…
- Tales and Legends
- Small World Realms
- Grand Dames and Cursed!
- Tunnels and Necromancer Island
We are missing Realms and Necromancer Island (a limited edition that is no longer available), but we have everything else. Tunnels is only useful if you happen to have Small World: Underground, a separate game with the same basis as the original. It has all new races and special powers, and some unique twists that only this version of the game provides, like monsters and relics with special powers. The Tunnels expansion allows you to connect the two boards and play them together, like this:
You connect two halves of a board to form one board made up of half an Underground map and half a Regular map. The Tunnels let characters from each game travel between maps and make new conquests.
Generally, a game takes 40-80 minutes, depending on how may players you have and their skill level. It’s a great game for people who want to combine elements of Risk with elements of a fantasy world (and not have to worry about a Risk game that runs for weeks). I also find that this game is just as much fun for 2 players as it is for more, and it earns a solid 8.5/10 and two thumbs up.