Small World is a very area of control dice management game. Set in a fantasy world where any race can have any abilities, forget what you know about generic fantasy and embrace strange hybrid creatures.
What do you get?
Small world seemingly comes packed with counters, cards and races. It’s very good value and quite impressive how much content you get. The artwork is of an extremely high standard and the rules of play are very easy to understand.
How does it work?
Small World has players pitting against each other pitting two parts of ‘words’ together to form a type of world inhabitant. For example, you may randomly get the first special power which is “hill” and the send could be “dwarves”. Both halves of this clearly state what bonus this will attribute to your new found face. But nothing lasts forever and this is especially true in Small World. You get a finite amount of these characters to use and once you find yourself running on fumes for whatever reason, be it combat or just over exploration, it may be time to put your species to bed and start again quickly with a new race and carry on where you left off.
Is it any good?
The concept of Small World is certainly to have fun at quite a fast pace, laugh at the race you have formed and literally let the dice tell the story of how successful or terrible they are. This game really never wanted to be taken too seriously but ironically, it’s pretty balanced and I have seen competitive play at the games expo (I wonder if it was still fun then?).
Personally, this game didn’t especially do it for me but in much the same way that RPGs don’t especially tickle my fancy. If you love a very social game first, then Small World is a decent stab as the rules are really light. Honestly, after 1 round everyone is a Small World expert but that is much to its credit.
As stated, it’s not really for me but I do see a really good market for it. Players that like to discuss their politics or various reasons for invading lands for example can make quite compelling and delightful humour but there is something in that that it can also feel a little flat. I couldn’t imagine playing this with my parents, groups with different age range may be find it all hard to connect too as the game sort of demands you accept this crazy version of fantasy.
Maybe that’s it too. I like fantasy being a set way. Tolkien or Warhammer Fantasy, everything else is a bit wrong or naff for me and maybe that’s what I have a hard time adjusting to.
After all… Orcs are people too!