Recommend
74 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Small World» Forums » Reviews

Subject: ooo... baby, baby it's a small world... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Anyway, how's your sex life?
badge
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't own Vinci. Looking at the game, I'm not surprised. It's just not very inspiring to me with its discs and cards etc.

But this is a review for the new - who cares about Vinci talk if you've not played it, right? devil

Here we go...



I DO own Small World, because it looks good, and I already knew Vinci is a good game. You should get small world because you've looked at lots of reviews and like the sound of it. I hope my review helps in your decision!

It is playable with 2-5 people; I have played with 2 and 4 and it is great in both forms!

It was quick to teach, and reasonably short (four player game with all new players took 90 minutes odd, two player with one new player took 45)

I anticipate once everyone is comfortable with each of the races decisions will be quicker and two players can play in 30 minutes and four in 60, but that's speedy.

======So, what's it all about, Algo?======

Wow, I can't believe it took me seven reviews before I came up with that.

In this game, you are a God.

Not only does this cover your role, it also answers one of the major questions about the game - why would a race choose to decline?.

As a God, only one thing matters to you. Being more successful than all your rival Gods. To do this, you will take advantage of several ambitious civilisations and use them to score as many points as possible, before tossing them aside as soon as you've had enough of them - to find others to do your will.

So picture yourself as one of the decadent gods on Mount Olympus if you like - it' s the best way of explaining why your primary task in the game is to choose when to bin your guys and start again.

======Cruel, heartless deity - check!======

The basic flow of this game is one of child-like simplicity.

Your first action is to choose your initial race (which has a separate, randomly associated special power, I'll come back to it)

Your choice will be from 6, with a price payable if you don't take the top one.

When you choose your race you get a number of tokens that will usually be all you'll get in total - somewhere between 8 and 13.

Once you've used up those tokens, or as many as will be useful, you'll need to choose a new species to get some more and contimue expansion. This involves spending a whole turn sending your current race into decline (losing their power, usually) and reducing their defences to a skeleton crew. You'll still score points for them while they are there, but you no longer have any control - they'll just sit there until wiped out.

You can only have one race active and one in decline at once, so you must discard your decline race after your third selection (if you make one, of course).

======How Do I use these tokens?======


Tokens are used to conquer provinces. It takes a base number of two tokens to take an empty province. If there are tokens on the province (including the mountain tokens), their number must be added - three tokens will therefore mean you must use five (Base of 2 + the 3) to take the province.

On your turn you can use all your tokens - you don't have to take one move then wait for your opponents!

If you are short of tokens for your last conquest, you can take a risk and use the "reinforcement die", which has three sides and values of 1, 2 and 3. You risk your forces and must roll at least as many extra points as will make you successful (e.g. You need 5 tokens as above but are left with 3 after your other conquests. You must hope for either a 2 or 3 on the dice, a 1/3 chance)

At the end of your turn, you'll get one point for every province your race(s) occupy, whether they are in decline or not plus any bonuses from racial or special abilities (for Orcs, 1vp for conquests involving enemies; for wizards 1vp for each magic source they occupy)



======That's It?======

As far as rules go - That's about it bar the shouting

Yeah. Simple, eh?

This game is really in the different race abilities and the different special powers.

I don't want to list every single one of them for you, but examples are:

When your race goes into decline normally they are rendered dormant, but the GHOULS can still be used as normal, potentially making them an excellent choice, so long as you're going to be sending them into decline at some point!

The ORCS give you an extra victory point for each province you conquer, so long as you did it in a violent fashion - i.e. defeated an opponent.

Special powers are similar, and occasionally mirror the race powers (PILLAGE for example is the same as the ORCS power so, if you have both, you'll get 2vps for every violent victory).

In combination with your race power these can really add a lot to your prospects of winning,

The SEAFARING power allows you access to the seas and the lakes, which are usually impassable.

The SWAMP one gives you extra points if you are in a swamp province.

======And these change every game?======

Yeah, since the races and powers are separate it makes the available options different every game, so variety is assured.

The powers are not balanced, per se (I saw an amazing combo of COMMANDO RATMEN), but call for different strategies to make the most of them.

I think they're excellent and they are what the game is all about.

======DO you have any concerns?======

Turn order is a concern for me - the choice of race/power at the beginning is random, and the first player will get the best option every time, since the payment of 1-5 vps is a small price for the best option considering winning scores are over 100pts

The turn order also remains the same throughout - over eight turns the benefit of the last move is reduced, especially since all your opponents will have scored their points before your last move anyway so you cannot impact on their scoring no matter what you do - so you just take the easiest route to victory points rather than bashing your opponents. Shame.

I'm sure it's possible to work out a balancing device, but to do so would be complex - and the variable numbers of turns in different games do not lend themselves to a revolving start player.

It's a minor concern at the moment, but I thought I'd be up front about it.

===So who would like Small World?===

I've not played many games like Small World, so I'd recommend it to almost anyone - my wife enjoyed the two player game today, and proceeded to destroy me, so it's not hard to pick up.

It probably fits into the realm of games like Diplomacy, Risk, et al, which depict territorial conflicts, though is fairly unlike them in most other respects.

I's also draw a parallel with another favourite of mine, Cosmic Encounter, since it is another simple numbers game with added spice through interchangeable racial abilities.

For tired old rules explainers like myself it's gratifying to have another game that can be taught in a short time - it's also welcome to have a good four player game that is also enjoyable with two. I ahev also heard good things about the three player game.

So, highly recommended for fans of any of the games mentioned and recommended still for fans of area control games and the like, who may see parallels here too.

It's very nicely produced, and I have no problems witht he all-cardboard approach since it's a game I'm buying, rather than a model kit. Everything punched out fine, and stores very nicely in the trays provided (though the token organiser could use deeper thumb holes!)

I enjoyed my first three games greatly, and anticipate digging this one out again soon, if not sooner.

Once again, whatever you think of my opinions, or Small World, I hope you enjoyed reading the review.

and for goodness sakes, keep playing games!

A
41 
 Thumb up
0.32
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Burkhard Nierhaus
Germany
Muelheim
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for a very good review. The game and your review are great, thx
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Anyway, how's your sex life?
badge
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Boogien wrote:
Thank you for a very good review. The game and your review are great, thx

How nice. Thank you!

A
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CLS Games -- Atlanta's Board Game Warehouse
United States
Kennesaw
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ALGO wrote:

Turn order is a concern for me.....I'm sure it's possible to work out a balancing device, but to do so would be complex - and the variable numbers of turns in different games do not lend themselves to a revolving start player.A


The relatively easy fix is to hold an auction for turn order at the start of the game using VP.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Anyway, how's your sex life?
badge
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rsolow wrote:

The relatively easy fix is to hold an auction for turn order at the start of the game using VP.



Just at the start?

Has anyone tried doing it once per round?

I'd be more interested in a non-auction solution, since if you already see the choices, your desire to bid will be hampered by lack of chips. Everyone will recognise a good combo and play for it if they can. If Commando Ratmen, for example, is sitting at the sixth position - how would you get it by bidding? And if noone bids, wouldn't it just devolve to table order anyway?

If you don't see the deal of races and powers before the auction it is total guesswork (and much of the benefit of choosing first is lost anyway if the best choice is the bottom one and you bid away half your chips!)

Also, there is little justification for not just bidding all your 5 chips since the difference an awesome first choice will make is far greater over the course of the game.

Naturally, you could start everyone off with more chips (e.g. 10), but;

a. This misses the point of a "simple fix"
b. Decreases the value of those chips in the first place - since you could bid five and still have jst as much choice as you did.

I'm sort of the feeling that it's fine as it is, at this stage, and would prefer a simple rotating start player. Not having the boards in front of me right now I may be wrong, but the length of the 3 and 5 player game is not compatible with such a rotating first player.

2 player, of course, it would work fine - each player getting to go first five times.

Just throwing out there where my thinking is at, but as I say, it's not a deal breaker, just my only concern.

Anyhoo, thanks for your reply!

A

edit: typing in the dark is not good for spelling...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter O
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ALGO wrote:

===So who would like Small World?===

I've not played many games like Small World, so I'd recommend it to almost anyone - my wife enjoyed the two player game today, and proceeded to destroy me, so it's not hard to pick up.

It probably fits into the realm of games like Diplomacy, Risk, et al, which depict territorial conflicts, though is fairly unlike them in most other respects.


A


First, good review.
Second, I always get a physical reaction (and not a good one) anytime someone seems to make Dip and Risk equivalent.
Third, and really the point, this game reminds me of a randomized Britania. In Britania each player has 4-5 cultures over the course of the game and scores points for holding predetermined and fairly specific locations. This game just randomizes the cultures and randomizes the locations (ie many races in SW don't care, some care about swamp, mine, ...).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter O
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As to the start and the first/last thing. Before the game begins, you could always have the person going last order the races shown any way they wish. It's not a complete solution but at the very least means the first player HAS to pay a full 5 for the perceived best race available.

Second, after the first round, I'm not sure why going first or last makes much difference. Is there an end of round step I'm missing? Once you're in the rotation it just keeps going until the final turn. No?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Anyway, how's your sex life?
badge
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tranenturm wrote:


First, good review.
Second, I always get a physical reaction (and not a good one) anytime someone seems to make Dip and Risk equivalent.


First, thanks very much!

Second, I should have been clearer - I meant Small World depicts territorial conflicts, similar to those depicted in those games, not similar in the way in which the games are played.

I also didn't mean risk and diplomacy are the same (far from it!) but that was outside the scope of this particular article.

A
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Anyway, how's your sex life?
badge
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tranenturm wrote:
Is there an end of round step I'm missing? Once you're in the rotation it just keeps going until the final turn.


No no no!

edit: You are correct, but that's not my point.


The advantage is one of timing later, as well! All other things being equal, the players will reach decline at similar points to each other and the sorry business will start again!

I appreciate there's a lot going on, but I think there is a risk that the player in third or fourth is at a disadvantage in timing, for the entire game.

More games may change my opinion, and as I said it is not the end of the world!

A
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.