Small World – Awfully Big


Over what has almost been 2 years now I have more or less uprooted my life and committed myself to getting healthy and in shape. This meant giving up a lot of the time I used to spend doing things I liked in favor of using that time to go for runs or cook meals. For those of you that have been around for awhile you may remember that this very site used to be all about geeky things like comic books and video games. Lately I have really gotten a handle on this new lifestyle of mine; I can cook up healthy meals nice and fast, my work outs are efficient, and I finally have time to get back to some of the things that represent the “old me”. Those things happen to be board games, video games, and comic books. Like it or not I’m a geek and ultimately this site will always be run by a geek. So yeah there will be recipes and health tips up here, but there will also be orcs, super heroes, and all other kinds of things. It feels great to get back to my roots, but this time in a totally different physical and mental mindset. Enough of that stuff though, lets talk about my new favorite board game Small World.

You don’t know what these are yet, but you want them all!

In my mind, there are few things better to do on a Saturday night than get a bunch of friends together and play a few rounds of an awesome board game over some snacks and a few drinks. The real catch to this perfect scenario is that you need to be mindful of a few things. First you need to make sure you have enough friends that are even interested in coming over to play board games, second it has to be a game either everyone has played before therefor knowing the rules or it has to be a game that can be taught/learned quickly.

This past weekend I had some friends over for a night of board games, I chose a game no one besides myself and Sarah had played before, Small World. This meant I had 3 people that I had to teach this game to in order for this night to be any kind of fun. Luckily Small World is the perfect game for this kind of situation, it’s quick to learn but then you fall into the rabbit hole of strategy which makes for one of the better board gaming experience around.

The awesome cover art to this awesome game.

Small World is a conquest style board game where you play as a randomly race with a random special ability. From there you take that race with it’s ability and get to conquering lands. All the while everyone else is doing the same on their turn, but the catch is, like it’s namesake this world is small and not every race can live happily. What you end up with is an all out 2-5 player war, the thing is that your race only has so many members before they become weak by either getting spread out on the map or getting killed off. As the god of this race you are tasked with deciding it’s fate, in the end you can declare that this race is no longer strong and prosperous so you can put them in decline and start playing as a new race. Sure this is a really high level explanation of how the game plays but once you check it out you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Points are earned by controlling territories which have been claimed by your race, the player with the most points at the end of the allotted amount of turns is the winner.

A few of the many race/power combos that you’ll get to enjoy in Small World

Everything about this game works, the race/power combos which exist as two stacks of custom cut cards that fit together make for a different game/strategy every time because they are always randomly matched up. The maps you play on are customized for the quantity of people that are playing, so the 2 player game has it’s own map, as do the 3, 4, and 5 player games.

Here is the 4 player version of the board.

There was a lot of care put into making sure this game not only plays well but looks great. Everyone token/map/piece of this game is custom art making for an awesome looking game. This game also has a ton of pieces, luckily there was enough thought put into this game that it includes custom containers for every little piece that is used. Clean up may take a bit, since you need to sort through every piece to and put it back in it’s respective container. But this assures that come time for your next round everything is neatly ready to go.

A taste of the art style in Small World

Small World made for a night of laughs, alliances, betrayals, and everything else you could expect for an awesome board game night. We’ve already started talking about when is the next time we can all get together to play some more. This is a great game for your friends that are on the ropes about playing board games as well as your friends that enjoy a good 4+ hour round of Risk. Since Small World has a set amount of rounds the game always ends up taking right around an hour give or take a bit depending on how familiar everyone is with the game.

Small World has quickly become one of my favorite games to play, if any of this even sounds remotely appealing to you I highly recommend going out and picking up this game. After your first play through you’ll have a good grasp of how the game works and then the fun can begin!


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