In Games

Game: Smallworld

# of players: 2 to 5 players

Recommended: Ages 8 and up 

Play time: About an hour

Style: Board game with fantasy-style tile characters

Summation:

smallworld-2We purchased this game as a part of our start of the school year treasure hunt (click here for more details about the treasure hunt). We have played the game a couple times and found it to be unique. Although it bears similarities to Risk, it has quite a few twists on that concept. The addition of races and classes and the fact that they change multiple times during the game adds interest. Also, we found that it is not quite as competitive as Risk. Although players are still attempting domination of the board, no player was entirely wiped off the board when we played.  
 
 
This game definitely has a learning curve – both with figuring out the game dynamics and each player choosing their own game play methods. It is a satisfying game to learn and eventually master.  
 
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The game does require a lot of space to play with tile arrays,race/class arrays, and each player’s individual choices. Plan ahead for plenty of table space. Our 4-foot folding table at the right is maximized with 3 players. The game board is a map with multiple sections of differing landscapes (like the variety of Catan’s tiles, but all in one piece). The boards are also unique in that they are two-sided with different maps on each side of the board. The board pictured at the right is two-sided and used for smaller groups (2-3 players). There is also a bigger board (pictured above) with two sides for groups of 4-5 players. This definitely creates more replay value.
 
The race and class tiles are what add variety and interest to this game. The pairing of the two (race and class) differ with each play of the game – because they are shuffled and chosen at random. In our games, each player had at least 4 or 5 different race/class combination pairs per game. Each pairing of race and class has different benefits and is played with different attention to the game board (map) sections.  
 
Overall, I think this is a good game for fans of fantasy characters, games that take some time (but not too much), and who aren’t afraid of a little competition.
 
(Click on the image below to be redirected to the game at Amazon)
 

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