Small World Cursed! and Small World: Grand Dames of Small World are two small race/class expansions that can be used with both Small World and Small World Underground. I'll talk about some Cursed! specifically, and then some general comments about both of the expansions together.
The first expansion for Small World, Cursed! consists of two new races (Goblins & Kobolds) and five new powers (Cursed!, Hordes Of, Ransacking, Were-, and Marauding). It is simply a few punch boards with a small rulebook in shrink wrap, and retails for a measly $10. The price-per-material is not as good as the original game, but considering the low price for an expansion, most Small World fans will find the difference negligible and be happy to have the extra variety.
I’m not an especially good Small World player, so I’m not going to talk about strategies for the new races and classes; instead I’ll discuss how well they “fit” with the basic games. Thematically, Goblins & Kobolds are natural extensions of the general fantasy lore that guides the races you see in the original Small World, and their powers make sense thematically and are interesting as well. Goblins gang up on the weak (i.e., those in decline), and Kobolds only attack in groups. It is especially refreshing to see one of what would eventually be several races with lots of troops and a disadvantage – but unfortunately, it seems Kobolds have been subject to more rules confusion than any other race. I’m not sure what the final ruling was, but we have always played there can NEVER be less than two Kobolds on a location, whether during the attack step or redeployment. Both are still welcome additions to the game, adding a minimal amount of complexity to the game but leading to more variety and more interesting decisions.
I appreciate getting five new classes, and for the most part I think they are good additions. I have a couple of minor quibbles, though. Cursed! is an extremely interesting class, leading to some really tough choices in the game, but it can also lead to some degenerate runaway leader situations. For example, if the game begins with one really good race followed by a cursed one, the starting player has a considerable initial advantage over everyone else. My other quibble is with Were-. Although it makes sense thematically, mechanically it seems awkward and even a little silly. Neither complaint is so extreme that I would consider excluding those classes, and the other three are brilliant. The best classes, in my opinion, are the ones that add interesting decisions with a minimal amount of extra components, as the game already has a a lot of pieces.
Even if this expansion was two new races and three good new classes for $10, it would be an auto-buy for any Small World aficionado. The other two classes are still worth including, sweetening the package and leaving you no real excuse not to pick this one up.
General Comments about Cursed!/Grand Dames
Days of Wonder either hit a stroke of luck or thought ahead, because regardless of which base game you purchase first, the expansions will integrate seamlessly with your game. None of the expansion races or classes deal with Relics, Places, or any particular type of terrain – which not only means that they fit with either base game, but also that you’re going to find some very unique things among the expansions. However, one complaint I have with all three expansions is that I would have liked to have seen a rule sheet for each player, as in the base game, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker.
You’ll note in the instruction manuals that many of the races and classes were designed not by Philippe Keyaerts but by players who submitted their ideas. This “outsourcing” is nothing but good news for a game, as long as it is done with the designer’s blessing. Aspiring designers get their name on something that’s bound to sell well, it’s less work for the publisher and designer, and it’s more content and more interaction with the publishers for the players. Days of Wonder has continued this concept with the $10,000 Ticket to Ride contest, and the results of that were phenomenal. I hope they keep going with it, and that other publishers follow suit.
The most common complaint about these expansions was that they were impossible to fit into the super-tight storage tray of the original game. While most companies would just bag everything and leave you with a generic, wide open insert, Days of Wonder went the extra mile both with the original tray and with a storage solution for these expansions, providing space for all of the expansions, even the out of print Leaders of Small World giveaway expansion, in the tray for Be Not Afraid… Again, props to Days of Wonder for thinking of the players first.
Originally posted on http://meepletown.com
- Last edited Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:31 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:51 pm
Re: Review: Small World Cursed!
However, one complaint I have with all three expansions is that I would have liked to have seen a rule sheet for each player, as in the base game, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker.
Your wish is my command - or more accuratly, MrMan2k3's command:
Small World Almanac (Reference Book for Small World & Expansions)
Thank you, MrMan!