David C
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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I don't get Small World out often, in wide part because some race/power combinations are a little more powerful than we're used to dealing with, or require a bit more explaining and rules understanding than the norm.

So I was curious, with all the expansions and the base sets, what combinations or single races/powers have proven to be the most/least difficult, or special situations that have come up?
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Bo Ejdesgaard
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Odense NV
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In my experience when teaching Small World to newcomers, the first 2-3 games I only play with the base set. In the first game I tell that as a rule of thumb players should go for the highest numbers of units they get. When the rounds go by I more and more explain the different strengths and weaknesses of the different race abilities and powers. This has worked great so far.
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Chris Wood
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Darien
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New-comers always pick the elves since they cant die, but then realize too late that they stagnate quickly without a supporting declining race. The newbies typically keep the elves 3-4 turns too long.
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Chris Wood
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Also, Diplomatic powers are broken in 2 players games.
 
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Julius Andrikonis
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Althuogh it is not true for every race, but on average I think races in the base game are easier to understand for new users then the ones in the expansion. In the base game probably the hardest to explain role is Sorcerers, moreover it has some corner cases considering Flying power and entering the board. Out of my experience it is usually tricky to explain Gypsies or Priestesses (both from Grand Dammes). As I think now, I have never seen Leprechauns (Be Not Afraid) in play (must check if the banner is not lost!) and they might also cause some problems in explaining.

As for special powers they are usually more straight forward than races (cheaper attack or bonus coin). The ones that might be harder to explain are Catapult and Marauding.

And finally, I haven't played Underworld enough to comment on those races.
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Danny Mack
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Menifee
California
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Well there's already a pretty good discussion on the topic of teaching Small World, so I won't veer aside from the specific question being asked by the OP to address that broader issue. I will just say that in the context of this issue you may find useful information on making use of the players' aids and helping to keep the verbal instruction to a manageable minimum.

For this particular question (which I think is a good one), I agree with the comments of the others that teaching the base game is quite enough to chew on already. The mechanics of how the game is played are VERY simple, which makes wading through the sea of possible powers a bit easier to do.

I don't go through and explain all the powers (see the aforementioned thread), but I do occasionally remove powers (but NEVER races)--even from the base game. Spirit is probably the one I remove most frequently, and I am finding more & more that Stout & Commando are problematic. Invariably it seems Stout comes out in the first 5 available races, and then whomever takes it is the 1st to go in decline. Since everyone pays keen attention to how this works (because they know they will soon have it to do) they all get it mixed up, thinking they can take their turns and then decline in the same turn. Even though I say it, people don't get it--they are going by what they see, not what they hear. Sometimes that person gets bent out of shape, and I always seem to get accused of "not telling them that." (Whatever, big babies.) If Stout came out later in the game (perhaps via the teacher slipping it into the bottom of the pile somewhere) it would be just fine.

I say Commando is problematic only for the person who has it. If they start the game with it, they get used to thinking they can take regions for "1 + the stack" rather than the "2 + the stack" rule that everyone else is working with. When they pick up their next race, it's hard to break them of thinking/planning out their conquests with "1 + the stack" in mind. No, that was the power of your last race. Everyone else has been playing this way, because they did not have the Commando power. For some reason that's a hangup. Again, maybe if it was put in later in the game.

Lastly, I usually remove one of the Hill/Forest/Swamp powers. They just feel so samey to me, and I want to enjoy this too, especially if I'm not getting to play with the expansions for the sake of the newbies. There are more powers than races anyway, so it works out.

I don't teach with the expansions, but I have them all (except for Tales & Legends) and in the events I run at the local conventions I find that when folks who have played the basic game sit down to the table with all of the goodies in play, there's never really a hangup. Again, the mechanics are easy enough so they just need to glance at the expansion sheets (which is problematic in itself, I guess you could say.) I don't find anyone expressing a sense of being overwhelmed in these instances, but rather an "oooh! shiny!" reaction is more common.

Hope this helps. I welcome follow-up questions.
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Connor Cranston
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Rotterdam
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The most problem i had teaching this game is with sorcerer...

I've heard several times things like "I didn't know that, had I known, I would not have chosen Sorcerers"...ugh
 
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