The Meeple’s Eye View is an in depth review of one of the many games in our board game library.
Forest Skeletons? Diplomatic Trolls? Wealthy Ratmen? Which race of creatures will you use to seize control of the most territories? Think your Commando Tritons can win the day? Maybe they will, but in a few turns be assured someone else will rise up and conquer your tribe sending them into decline. Don’t worry though, you will just take another race with a special power and be right back on top in this Small World…
Theme: Conquest featuring fantasy races
Number of Players: 2 to 5 (expansion available for 6 players)
Game Time: About 20 minutes per player
Age Appropriateness: 10 and up
Game Type: Small world is an area-control, light fighting game
Game Play: Players choose a character race/special ability combo and conquer territories on the board. After you conquer, you score victory points based on the territories you have. Use your remaining troops in subsequent rounds until you can’t do anymore with that race, then put them into decline and choose a brand new character race. To take over a territory, you simply must have enough troops to conquer it. Every obstacle (like a mountain) or enemy troop in a territory raises the number of troops needed by one. Some races or special powers give bonuses to conquering certain territories or offer a bonus to defending. It isn’t complicated conflict, but it is fun and offers some strategy opportunities. At the end of the final round the player with the most victory points is the winner.
Component Quality: This game has a TON of cardboard chits and tokens. They are heavy-duty and feature fantastic artwork. Zero complaints about component quality. The game boards are outstanding for several reasons. First, they utilize the backs of the boards. How many games would be better if they gave you an alternate set-up on the back of the game board? Each side of the boards included in Small World is a game board for a different number of players. Finally the boards are just stunning and manage to avoid looking too busy despite all of the different territories.
My Take: So you can probably tell that I love this game. I’ve had it for a few years now and I know I haven’t seen or used every character race/special power combination. I love the artwork. I love the game play. I love that you can abandon a race if you don’t think you are getting anywhere with them. I love the balance between the races because of how many troops you get of each. The special powers feel very different. I can go on and on about this one.
This is also one of the very rare games that works well with all numbers. The different size maps and shrinking number of rounds make this one a great game to own because it works great with 2 to 5 players. The only downside to adding players is the length of time between your turns grows.
Small World can be a great family game, though this one gets to the table more with my buddies than my wife and daughter.
Expansions and Replay-ability: There are 14 races and 20 different special abilities in the base game. That adds up to a lot of options and fun combinations. As much as I love this game I do not own any of the expansions. There are plenty of expansions available however. Small World Underground is a stand-alone second version of Small World featuring completely new character races and powers with an underground (slightly darker) theme. There is an expansion called Small World Realms which gives you terrain tiles in order to build your own map. Several others are available that provide more races, powers and scenarios.
I highly recommend you check out Small World.
Rick Grayshock is a husband and father who is a digital content producer for FOX Sports Ohio and is a co-founder of the Cleveland sports website WaitingForNextYear.com. Rick is excited to contribute to Meeple Moments and to write about his ‘other’ favorite hobby. Follow him on Twitter @RickGrayshock.