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Subject: MeepleTown Reviews: Be Not Afraid... rss

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Derek Thompson
United States
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Be Not Afraid… is an expansion close to twice as large as the previous race/class expansions – with five races and five classes – as well as a storage tray for all of them. Although the storage tray itself doesn’t have an easy way to fit into either base box, it’s much better than the alternative.

Judging by the name of the expansion, I was expecting more creepy races along the lines of Skeletons and Ghouls. However, what we got was a hodge-podge of races that weren’t scary, but fit well with Small World‘s mythos, such as Pixies, and completely wacky races such a Homunculi and and Pygmies. The weirdest part is that those two words are essentially redundant! I have no idea why this expansion is called Be Not Afraid…, and what some of these races are doing in Small World. Although I like the theme of Small World, it’s always been a little zany, and it’s not so far out of the realm of possibility that I don’t want to include these races, but it all seems pretty weird.

Mechanically, I think all of these races are extremely interesting, although maybe the randomness of the Pygmy power is a little extreme. I think the “overpowered races with drawbacks” idea still has a lot of design space left in it, and I enjoyed seeing more of that here with Barbarians and Pixies. Homunculi are also an interesting extension of the original idea of the Cursed! class.

The classes are all excellent – they fit the world very thematically, more so than the races of this expansion, and they offer interesting decisions with minimal rules and minimal components. If I had to think of something to fault, it would be that Barricade and Imperial are a bit boring in their effects, and that Catapult has lead to a lot of rules confusion. Overall, this expansion adds a ton of variety, for a very reasonable cost.

If you are wondernig “Which race/class expansion should I get?”, the answer is all of them. Which one to pick for starters depends on how much you want to “feel” the impact of each purchase. The more races you include, the less you’ll notice when you add just one or two more. Starting with Be Not Afraid… will give a big impact on your games, but you won’t notice as much when you buy Cursed! or Grand Dames. On the other hand, you’ll notice the change when you add the little expansions if you buy them first, and you’ll still notice a difference with Be Not Afraid… However, because of the storage issue, I would start with Be Not Afraid…, and then move on to the smaller expansions. They are all worth owning eventually, for sure, as it’s clear that from the beginning Small World was designed to thrive on the variability of the race/class system.

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