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Subject: Small World, Yay or Nay? rss

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From the title,I think my question is quite apparent:

The game Small World has been on and off my wish list for over a year. It's one of the most debated games I've seen around here (apart from dominion of course ),whereby opinion on the game ranged from light game with no weight and low replay value to a game with hidden strategies and enormous replay value out of the box.

Now I've placed Small World in my wish list for 3 main reasons :
1. Awesome component (graphical wise)
2. interesting theme (Always been a fan of the fantasy theme,whether funny or dark )
3. Simple gameplay and game length of 1 hr++

Reasons why it was OFF my wishlist:
1. depth? I agree its not a mindless light weight,and know that its not comparable to games like Agricola, but how deep is it REALLY?
2. Replay value?

and most importantly
3. I've felt that some of the race and powers of the original small world to be too generic. some examples :
- +1 coin per forest/swamp/farmland/hill/magic region/mine region
- -1 token required to conquer cavern/hill/farmland/coastal region/adjacent to mountain

Now granted there ARE other abilities in the game, the same-y feel of those abilities just made me think that the game might not have as much replay value (forest elves and hill elves just seem too similar to be considered very different races) and depth (similar powers in general utilizes similar strategies) as I imagine the 14 races + 20 powers would have.

With that being said, do you think the game is for me? Are any of my views wrong? If so feel free to correct me with your opinion,regardless whether you love or hate the game (you need 2 sides to compare right? ) and help me with my decision



p/s: for those who have played the underground version, is it better in sense of power similarity ,replay value and etc?
(please keep the comparison between SW and SWU to their base set only, since the expansions for SW can easily work for SWU too, which i assume they cancel each other out)


Lastly,thank you all in advance for your support and help


EDIT: I forgot to include this information that might be useful.My usual gaming group consist of 2/3 players, and although sometimes I do have over 4/5 people coming over, it's most likely that I'll be playing the 2/3 version more often than not. I know the game can support from 2~5, but would it still be fun at the low end of players?


EDIT #2 : As things stand now, small world if out of the list. However I'm still giving a chance to it's underground cousin,and I beacon for anyone with experience on SWU to clarify how different the game is from its original set, and is it different enough to counter my cons on the game.Thank you!
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Markus
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Based on other games you have rated I think Small World would be a good game for you. While it isn't the deepest game ever, it is definitely deep enough. It is also vastly replayable and you can add one or more of the cheap expansions to add much more if you so desire.
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Alex Brown
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I think Small World is boring, but looking at your rated games you shoudl definitely give it a shot.
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Donal Behal

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I like Smallworld but the base set in 5 player games require expansions not to go through all the race piles in a game and reshuffling them; meaning you will have to get Cursed; Grand Dammes and Be Not Afraid to have a lot of mixes and great combinations. I personally really enjoy Tales & Legends added to my game.

Perhaps you can consider the Underworld basic set it has relics and items added to the gameplay making it more exciting than the standard base game; also the races are more obscure and not as generic as the base game.

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Alex Brown wrote:
I think Small World is boring, but looking at your rated games you shoudl definitely give it a shot.


Can you elaborate a bit on why you think small world is boring?? I'd like to hear from both sides,be it small world fans and those who didn't like the game, to compare the thoughts
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Lord_Nibbler wrote:
I like Smallworld but the base set in 5 player games require expansions not to go through all the race piles in a game and reshuffling them; meaning you will have to get Cursed; Grand Dammes and Be Not Afraid to have a lot of mixes and great combinations. I personally really enjoy Tales & Legends added to my game.

Perhaps you can consider the Underworld basic set it has relics and items added to the gameplay making it more exciting than the standard base game; also the races are more obscure and not as generic as the base game.



A point that I forgot to add in is that my usual gaming group is only 2/3 person, so I'd rarely have the chance to play on a 4~5 player map. Would small world still be a good game with that number of players?

Also in case of expansion. If I like the game there's no doubt I'll pick up the expansions (including T&L ),but from the price perspective alone and my thoughts on the game as of now, it seems that the price of the base + all 4 expansions seems to be quite high. But there is also the chance that I might LOVE the game and pick up ALL the expansions,so yeah
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Tim Stratton
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Im usually a fan of slightly deeper or more complex games, but small world manages to strike an excellent balance between simple gameplay, variety (in terms of different combos of powers) and strategic play that makes it an great game.
I think even though some of the powers are a bit generic, its the combos of powers and the strategy in picking the right one that gives it variety and re-playability.

Ive only played the game with groups of 3 and 4, which worked well, and Ive been told that its still good with 2.

Plus I'm always a fan of a game which has numerous expansions to add extra variety once the game inevitably gets a bit familiar. (I think I said variety far too many times there...)
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Chris Stanton
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I found Small World to be a bit...dull with 2 players & not that much better with 3. There didn't seem to be much real decision-making, it was all a bit obvious what to do.
The most fun I had was with the race/ability combos...& the humour of that palls after a while
With 4 or 5 & a crowded board, it may well be a lot more fun but for your typical number of players, I can't recommend it.

Granted, I may be missing something & it may truly have great depth & replayability....but I really cannot summon the enthusiasm to find out.
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Johan Haglert
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Isn't it worth taking underground instead of original?
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/66579/my-small-world-a...
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It's a boring game. Bash the leader until they no longer are. It's as if you play the same game three times during the game. I've never played anything other than the base but I can't see expansions helping my issues with it. Why not play it first and decide yourself? Also, read session reports. If they sound amazing, buy it. I'm guessing they won't.

(Can't you play this online as well?)
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Alex Brown wrote:
I think Small World is boring.


Me too
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genesyx wrote:

Reasons why it was OFF my wishlist:

2. Replay value?

Replay value is HUGE. And the game plays substantially faster with more playing.


genesyx wrote:

and most importantly
3. I've felt that some of the race and powers of the original small world to be too generic. some examples :
- +1 coin per forest/swamp/farmland/hill/magic region/mine region
- -1 token required to conquer cavern/hill/farmland/coastal region/adjacent to mountain


Those +1 coin per forest type things are why the game gets away with not having a modular board. Some games, terrain is meaningless. Some games, it is a prime factor in play.

Its one of my wife's faves.

Get the Legends card deck expansion if you're getting any.
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Tim Stratton
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clydeiii wrote:
It's a boring game. Bash the leader until they no longer are.


Isn't the point of the coins all being the same on one side so you cant know who the leader is for sure, unless your obsessively counting every time someone scores and keeping track?
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I personally find the 2-player game to be the most enjoyable. I didn't used to think that until I got the iPad version of the game. With the iPad version, you can ONLY play 2-player. So I begrudgingly did it since I had no other choice on that device. After many plays, I came to appreciate the fact that the 2-player game has very different tactics than with higher numbers of players. I now enjoy it the most, by quite a margin. It's like a hardcore knife-fight in a phonebooth.


clydeiii wrote:
Bash the leader until they no longer are.

The same could be said of any boardgame with high player interaction and direct conflict. It's also one of the many reasons why I like the 2-player game the most. There's no kingmaker.
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I definitely recommend Small World, although I would recommend it with at least a couple of the expansions. The race powers are kind of similar across the board. They give variety, but not extreme levels of it.

But with the expansions? It's one of the best games I own in that case.

I wouldn't call it a "deep" game exactly. It's meant to be lighter more family fare. But in that weight, it's one of the best games available.

However, the game is better with 4+. The three-player game gets the job done, but the two-player game is, to me, kind of a letdown. It just doesn't have the same interplay between people that makes the game shine.
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genesyx wrote:
Alex Brown wrote:
I think Small World is boring, but looking at your rated games you shoudl definitely give it a shot.


Can you elaborate a bit on why you think small world is boring?? I'd like to hear from both sides,be it small world fans and those who didn't like the game, to compare the thoughts


The only strategy in this game is when to go into decline and what race to pick when you do go into decline. On these rounds, all you do is flip your tokens to the declined side, remove your previosuly declined tokens and pick a new race.

You will usually do this 2-3 times in a game.

On every other game round, there is little to no strategy. All you do is pick up your attacking pieces and relentlessly attack the person you perceive to be in the lead. The next player does the same. Rinse, repeat.

That is why the game is boring to me. There are only a couple of meaningful decisions in the entire game, and the rounds where you make those decisions are the most boring rounds you will have playing the game as you literally do nothing that turn other than pick a new race.
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Norman Hedden
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Glorified Risk. Nay!

Try before buy.
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Hi everyone, thanks for all the responses ! As I expected, the game is indeed a LOVE it or HATE it game with not much "in between" grounds

Also a special thanks to
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whose articles has indeed been an eye opener on the 2 player gameplay.
Not sure if the "fun" factor is comparable to those of a higher player count (as there are still debates on whether 2 player is "fun" or "dull"),but I am convinced that small world is far from being a game with no "strategical decisions". Personally I would classify it in the medium light category, similar to Rattus,another game which i enjoy a lot

Geosphere wrote:

Those +1 coin per forest type things are why the game gets away with not having a modular board. Some games, terrain is meaningless. Some games, it is a prime factor in play.


That being said, even with that (and ONLY that)reasoning, I still think that there are just too many similar abilities for that sole purpose and for my liking. So in some way,small world is out.

Fortunately (?), Underground is out, and at 1st glance it seems like the races and powers are less generic (well,there IS still muddy,mining,mystic and the shrooms...) compared to the original. (I think? ). Also the Relics and Places seems to provide an additional incentive for people to aim certain regions, or maybe just further chaos into the game.

For those who played SWU, what do you think?Do the RR&PP make the game any "deeper"? Would you recommend this over the original small world?


p/s: If I'm getting this game,I'd most likely pick it up with 1 of the expansions (not sure which 1 yet,but maybe T&L or BNA).
 
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casualgod wrote:
The only strategy in this game is when to go into decline and what race to pick when you do go into decline. On these rounds, all you do is flip your tokens to the declined side, remove your previosuly declined tokens and pick a new race.
If this is the only thing you and your gaming group consider while you're playing, it's no wonder that the game is boring to you. The next time it's your turn to choose a race, consider:

--Is there a place on the board that's especially appropriate to one of the races that you can choose? Enough so that you should be willing to spend more than you normally would to take it as your next choice?

--Is the current leader (or at least the person you think is in the lead) really the best person for you to attack? Maybe the best thing for you to do is to mop the floor with someone else, gaining huge numbers of points and challenging for the lead by advancing your own position, rather than trying to pull the leader back to you.

--Where exactly is the best place for you to bring your race onto the board? Should you choose a corner filled with the last remnants of the Lost Tribes and races In Decline? Or is there a race that obviously should be in decline but whose owner has overstayed his welcome who you can rip to shreds? Sometimes, the best place to enter is right behind another race that has itself just come onto the board, especially if it's the Skeletons, Sorcerers, or a Fortified race--they will just get stronger later on, so the time to attack them is now.

Check the Strategy section for more ideas. There's seriously more to this game than you think--if you're willing to put more thought into it.
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What some call "bash the leader" I call "a negotiation game."

(Not even an issue with 2 players, and it scales well.)

With experienced players I've seen some clever and sneaky victories, which leads me to think this game may have more depth than some of the nay-sayers give credit for.

Since it plays fast and has very little luck it should never be called "glorified Risk."

If your game group is the same 2-3 players you should definitely pick this one up. As always, though, try it before you buy it if you can.

Cheers!

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fuldhim wrote:
If this is the only thing you and your gaming group consider while you're playing, it's no wonder that the game is boring to you. The next time it's your turn to choose a race, consider:s game than you think--if you're willing to put more thought into it.

-SNIP-


This x1000. If all you are doing is attacking the leader without taking these factors into consideration, you're overlooking most of the strategy the game offers.

genesyx wrote:
p/s: If I'm getting this game,I'd most likely pick it up with 1 of the expansions (not sure which 1 yet,but maybe T&L or BNA).


Those are good expansions, but I'd get several plays in before you add T&L. BNA is nice, but for the same money, Grand Dames + Cursed will give you the same number of races and two more powers.
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EitherOrlok wrote:

genesyx wrote:
p/s: If I'm getting this game,I'd most likely pick it up with 1 of the expansions (not sure which 1 yet,but maybe T&L or BNA).


Those are good expansions, but I'd get several plays in before you add T&L. BNA is nice, but for the same money, Grand Dames + Cursed will give you the same number of races and two more powers.


You sir, are awesome! Not sure why I didn't see how the grand dames + cursed add up to the same price as BNA, but that definitely help me alot, since (if i were buying the game) the cursed power was the ability that I deem most interesting of the lot
 
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Small world is a great game so long as you have a playgroup of at least 4 people. 3 player in sw is ok 2 player is flat. If you have a smaller play group go for small world underground. The 2 player is very good. Haven't played 3 player yet. 4 players is quite entertaining. If you get underground you need to learn how to play on someones sw original first. There are many factors to swu that would be quite overwhelming to a first time sw player.
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I also went back and forth on whether or not to buy it for a while before finally deciding to. Played it a couple times and then sold it.

Although I liked the game, my reasons for selling it were:
1. I was trying to cut down on the amount I spent on games and I felt like this one didn't make the list of games I'd play enough.
2. The hundreds of cardboard pieces are too fiddly, and I felt that a lot of the game time was spent just handling the pieces rather than actually playing the game.
3. I generally would play with 5 players, and the turns do drag on a bit with 5 compared with other 5-player games.

I definitely don't think it's a bad game at all, and I would gladly play it again if someone else brought and suggested it. Just for me, it didn't quite make my list of games I'd need to keep around. I *almost* ended up buying SW:Underground but decided against it at the last minute. I definitely feel like Underground would be the way to go if you only bought one though, I think there's a lot more replayability.
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