Thursday, October 20, 2016

Board Game: Small World

Boy, where ya been, Matt?

Writin' bout Monsters. That's a Kickstarter, go back it.


The Game: Small World
The Publisher: Days of Wonder
Time: Depends how many players, but less than an hour
Players: Me, +Michelle, Kathy, +John, Gwen

New game, so we get to punch out cardboard thingies!
Game Play: Small World consists of various races trying to keep hold of land in a shrinking world (I mean, the fact that the world is shrinking is part of the conceit of the game; it doesn't actually happen in-game). The board has four variants (2, 3, 4, and 5 players), and gets bigger the more players you have, but the game also has fewer turns.

Here's the 5-player variant.
At the start of the game, you shuffle the races, and then the special powers and make a line of five (powers and races are separate, so you don't get the same combos game to game). You can pick the top one in the column, or buy a lower one with victory points, but in either case, you wind up with a bunch of little cardboard squares representing your units. Once you've got your units, you place them in those little segments (starting with a border one and then going adjacent); you've got to place at least two, then one more for things like mountains and enemy units.

And then you get victory points, and then play passes!

Michelle contemplates colonization.
Subsequent rounds let you pick up your units and keep moving out, conquering other folks if you've got the units for it, but eventually you get spread too thin. At that point, you can go into decline; you flip your units, they're basically dead (they still generate victory points, but they're easy to conquer) and you can pick a new race.

Busy, busy.
Opinions: It's a fun game. Part of the strategy is knowing which combinations of race and special power are good to pick up when (I wound up with Spirit Ghouls at the end of the game, which would have been fantastic at the beginning) and when to go into decline to best maximize your race's position. Since there are a limited number of turns, you definitely have to plan ahead, but it doesn't have as many things to keep in mind as other similar games, so that's nice.

Keep? Yep.