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Subject: Dull and Duller rss

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Paul W
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It's your prerogative not to like the game, but as a review this really doesn't bring anything to the table. You haven't explained anything about the game or provided any support for your conclusion. I mean, you didn't even provide any detail about your sole two player experience with the game, so there's no way someone looking into the game would have any idea why you reached the conclusion you did. I love a good negative review, but if you're not going to bother writing a review it's best left for the comment field of your game rating.
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Andy Van Zandt
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Slogo wrote:

On top of this, the title seems to be a bit of a misnomer. I felt it wasn't that the board was too small to accommodate the races, but rather that there were just too few of any one race to populate the whole map, meaning that the map is too big, not too small.


you know that your in-decline race stays around and earns you points, right?
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Kevin Outlaw
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I have mainly played this game as 2 or 3 player, and when I'm playing against my wife we are usually at each other's throats by the second turn. The map is plenty small enough. For example, why conquer a mountain location when, for the same outlay in troops, you can conquer another player's (probably better) location and diminisih that player's army in the process? A few races like dwarfs have trouble conquering more than a few locations, but rats and skeletons are all over the place. Then add in neutral tribes and two or three declining races, and you will very quickly find the board has filled up.

I also think there are more decisions to make than you might think. Okay, this isn't a real brain-burner, but the decisions are there - Do you pay to skip having to pick a crap race even though you don't want to give up the gold? Do you take a crap race because there is a big stack of gold on it that will make up for the poor abilities? What turn do you go into decline (I leave it too late almost every game and usually get a sound kicking from the wife)? Going into decline is usually a deal breaker in our games. Rolling the dice is one of the least taxing decisions.

I think, once you know the races and which powers work well with them, you might have more fun with this. However, I know gaming hours are short and working hours are long and if a game doesn't immediately tickle your fancy then why keep playing it it? (I wouldn't).

If you do give it a few more goes, you might want to update the review to make it a bit more useful.

Cheers.
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Simon Karch
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I appreciate your critique of my post, and maybe I could have been a little more descriptive, but to say that this is not a review I think is false. As review being a critical appraisal, I think I succeeded in this. I said that I didn't like the game. I gave a reason why I didn't like the game (lack of interesting decisions), and I explained why I thought the decisions weren't interesting (little risk vs. reward considerations). To explain why I experienced very little risk vs. reward considerations would necessitate game mechanic descriptions, which I wanted to avoid (and which also can be found ad nauseam in other reviews).

A review such as this basically serves as a conclusion. I don't know about the rest of you, but I rarely ever read a whole review, instead skipping straight to the conclusion. I find the conclusion concisely sums up the main arguments the author presents and is usually enough for me. I realize this may not be useful to some, but I'm sure it serves others just fine....or maybe just me?

I dunno, I think its a review. Probably not the best, but still a review.
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Simon Karch
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Quote:
you know that your in-decline race stays around and earns you points, right?


I do. I just thought going into the game that it would be the board imposing the restrictions, but what I found was that I felt more restricted by the race tokens. That's all
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Malte Menger
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this game sucks as a 2 player game. try itout with at least 4 people and you will see where it shines.
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CJ
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malteh wrote:
this game sucks as a 2 player game.


Agree.

Quote:
try itout with at least 4 people and you will see where it shines.


Partially agree. The game is definitely better with more players but I too feel that it lacks real meat. It is a wonderful game as a slightly more complex gateway but I haven't played it in 6 months and have no real desire to any time soon...
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Peter Rice
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The game is ok, with a big curve going to those who have played enough to recognize combo's and values. I thought given my other likes and dislikes this would have been a hit. You need serious calculation to figure out what to do, but so do the other players. Sit. Wait. All the more so with four players.

On the other hand, there is interaction in going after other players, The lead player often gets reigned back into the pack, so it remains competitive. The insane # of combos insures the concept of replayability is there.

Not hard to recognize the reasons for its success, but clearly not for everyone either.

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Jeremy H
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Quote:
So that's it. A simple review for a simple game. A much simpler game than I had anticipated actually.


Pretty much the same thought has been echoed by everyone I've played with in 2, 3, and 4 player games. Spot on review.
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Alexei Gartinski
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You might try its predecessor, Vinci You'll find there exactly what you are looking for. It is amazing how only a few rule changes - Small World was created by the same designer, apparently trying to reach a larger audience - turned this deep strategic game into something what you (IMO quite accurately) describe as "dull"...
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Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
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I think this guy is spot on and there's no sense burning up more screen space. Fundamentally the game is just a snoozer. For the life of me I don't know why it's garnered the attention it has.

S.


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Yiorgos Golfinopoulos
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First of all, that's not a review. That's just your first time impressions and you should have posted them somewhere else, like the General or Sessions forum.

You have played one 2-player game and didn't like it. I am not saying that you should, but play a 5-player game. Competitively. Then come back and tell us about lack of decisions.

And yes, this is a simple game. That doesn't mean it is dull, it only means that you can play it dull-ly and think that there's nothing else to it.

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Jeremy Yoder
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You played on the 2-player map and did not remove your declined tokens? Hmm. I don't see how you couldn't have found it to be a rather crowded board, but so be it.

I, too, think people write off Small World as always having a "best choice" but I find that to be a premature assessment. True, it's not T&E, but it works great as a fun, attractive gateway game... and actually a bit more than that if you give it a chance.

Of course, different strokes for different folks, so if that's not what you were looking for, then you obviously won't care for it. But as others said, this is a poor 2-player game. Good with 3, but 4 and 5 is where it shines.

If you're looking for a bit more competitive version that presents more factors to your choices (when playing with 4-5) try playing with open VPs, though personally, I prefer them hidden.
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Tony Chen
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Quote:
In every instance that a decision has to be made, the best one is obvious.
Far from it. I think I know what "obvious strategy" you are talking about. I obliterate people playing that way, by abandoning regions and voluntarily scoring fewer VPs than I could have sometimes. Two player Small World is very deep.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/409614/great4-game6
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Tony Chen
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Okay just read some more of the thread. Three things.

I thought this is a review. Short and not very well supported but still a review.

Two player Small World is very different, but it is the deepest and if depth is what we are looking for like the OP is, I wouldn't recommend playing with 4 or 5 players over 2.

The depth in Small World eludes many people. In other words, they "don't get it."
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Brian Pedersen
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Grognerd wrote:
Not hard to recognize the reasons for its success, but clearly not for everyone either.

I find this to be a very accurate description.
For me the game is too light. I would rather play Vinci.
But I regognize the appeal of shorter, more chaotic, games in this genre. So I am not surprised by the success of Small World. It is just not my type of game, and I fear a lot of people are being mislead by the appraisal of the game, compared to what you actually get.
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Tony Chen
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andrak wrote:
Grognerd wrote:
Not hard to recognize the reasons for its success, but clearly not for everyone either.

I find this to be a very accurate description.
For me the game is too light. I would rather play Vinci.
But I regognize the appeal of shorter, more chaotic, games in this genre. So I am not surprised by the success of Small World. It is just not my type of game, and I fear a lot of people are being mislead by the appraisal of the game, compared to what you actually get.
I think people are being mislead by the packaging and cute art. It's wolf in a sheep's clothing.
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Gabe Alvaro
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Rename your review to "First play of 2P Game is Dull and Duller" and most of the criticism of your review would probably not have occurred. Perhaps you were seeking criticism of your review by choosing it's blunt title?
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Rich S
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fizzmore wrote:
It's your prerogative not to like the game, but as a review this really doesn't bring anything to the table. You haven't explained anything about the game or provided any support for your conclusion. I mean, you didn't even provide any detail about your sole two player experience with the game, so there's no way someone looking into the game would have any idea why you reached the conclusion you did. I love a good negative review, but if you're not going to bother writing a review it's best left for the comment field of your game rating.


Agreed, I always seek out negative reviews when considering purchases. They are very much appreciated. But this seems more akin to something put in the comment section of the game, not a review. Clearly, given its rating, most people enjoy the game. Thus, the onus is on the person who doesn't like the game to thoroughly explain why it sucks. I'm not saying the reviewer is wrong in his opinion. But the review is fairly useless with lack of detail.
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John Small
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I have played SW as a 4-player game and did not enjoy it one bit. The theme didn't attract me in the least.The mechanics, choices, flow of play, interaction, etc., didn't make me want to come back and play it again. I played Vinci as a 4-player game a few years ago and I didn't like it either. So I'm going to land on the side of agreeing with the OP.

As to the review actually qualifying as a review, I'm going to say yes and I'm going to say thank you for writing a concise review that I can read quickly and get on with the rest of my day. If I want more detail I can read the longer, more complete reviews when I have the time.

Simon, I just now noticed your flag microbadge. I assure you that the maple leaf did not influence my reply.
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John Bandettini
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I think it's a pretty successful review to generate this much debate.

I actually agree entirely with the review. I found it a pretty dull game and have no desire to play any more. I too am puzzled by quite how popular it is.
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Troy Adlington
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Simon, this is a multi-player game.

The interest is in the meta-game. (The game above the table)

The hidden Vps in Small World really facilitate this. (as compared to the open Vps in Vinci this game's predecessor)

Also, watching what race/Ability combos are available and timing your decline(s) are pivotal to success.

Is this game a 10?

No.

But it's a fine game nonetheless. Play it with 5 for full effect

 
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Kyle Smith
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Having played the game with 2, 3 and 4 players, I can completely agree with the review. It became a very simple game of taking as many low cost territories as possible for exactly 2 turns, then declining. It was like clockwork. Every single player did it. Sometimes a person would stick around for only one turn, or maybe 3 if the race called for it. Very rarely would any race go after another. Mostly the in decline races got picked off. The part about the maps being too large, not too small is exactly right.

I think the only interesting decisions ever made were to go for the weak race with lots of coin tokens left on them.

After only a few plays I've put this up for trade. All in all there are far more interesting and varied area control games to try.
 
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Jeremy Jameson
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For example, when choosing a race, it is (in my experience) always best to choose the one that gives you the most race tokens, regardless of any special ability. Simply put, the more resources you have to invade (race tokens) the more territories you can control and the more victory points you will earn.


As a general principle for new players who don't yet know about all the abilities, yes. But as an obvious choice, NO!!!!

I opened my first game by taking the Hill Trolls at 9 tokens; there were a number of races with 10, and possibly even one with 11 (I don't remember on that point, though it seems to me that my brother got a huge number of skeletons right out of the box).

I proceeded to then "waste" my few tokens taking mountain regions, accumulating far fewer VPs than anyone else on my first turn. The second turn, I continued zooming for mountain regions. After that, I declined my race and played in a more "normal" fashion. The Trolls stuck around practically the entire game!, and I ended up winning by a few VPs.

And this demonstrates another choice in the game. It cost a sum total of five (5!) tokens to take out one of my Mountain Trolls. Is it better to use those 5 tokens to deny me a VP, or take 2 other regions and gain an extra VP yourself? If they had taken my Trolls out earlier, would it have given them the edge? Or would it have handed the game to an uninvolved third party who didn't have to waste his tokens? If they had left my Trolls alone and used their tokens for conquering as much land as possible, could they have caught me?

It was a close game, with me winning by (I think) 3 VPs.


So yes, this game is rather shallow. But there are interesting choices, and I think that your statement there is an oversimplification.

I did very well taking the Merchant Ratmen at only 8 tokens once as well, scoring more VPs than with any other race played by any other player in the game.

EDIT: And I kept them around for three rounds, scoring piles every time.
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Malte Menger
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I totally agree to Troy. In my gaming group, this fun is heavily based on the metagame.

The mechanics of this game are pretty simple. There is not much depth in it. But if you get targeted by two or more others, there is no way you will come out first. So you have to prevent to be hit by diplomacy. This is what this game is about for me.

A bit of roleplaying helps as well to get the best out of the silly theme. I really like this game in this regard.
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