Small World "Its a world of slaughter, after all!"
This box is great at keeping everything you need separated and organized. That's one thing I think is very important in game. I like to be able to find what I need, when I need it, without digging through everything.
In this game, you are trying to defend your areas on the map. It comes with different maps depending on if there is 2-5 people playing. This is the 3 player map. Notice that some of the spaces have a symbol on them. Some of the races have special abilities that can be used on spaces with certain symbols. It can be anything from being able to conquer for less race tiles to getting extra victory coins.
You start by setting up the board. Each mountain area gets another mountain placed on top.
The areas with a square with a little target in the middle, gets a lost tribe tile.
This is the round tracker piece. There are only 8-10 rounds in the game depending on the number of players. You move it at the beginning of each round.
When you are done, it looks like this.
Each player gets a card that tells you what the different races and special powers do.
Each player also starts with five of the 1 victory coins. You get coins during the game which we will talk about in a minute. These coins become your points at the end of the game, so keep them face down in front of you.
There is a pile of special powers. These will be paired up with the different races.
These are the different races. When they are paired with the special powers, it gives the races a special power plus the different abilities that come with the race. Each race has it's own ability.
You lay out 5 combinations. These will be the ones you get to choose from. When one is chosen, they all move down and the new combination is now at the top of the piles. As you can see, there are more special powers than race cards. This makes it so that if you go through all of them, they will come back up as a different combo.
When we play, we always have one person that is over handing out the race tiles. I personally like it this way. It makes it so they all stay together and organized. They also put the pieces back as they are taken off the board. With so many little pieces, it helps keep them on the table so you don't end up loosing them.
Some of the races come with special tiles that make it harder for people to kill them off. These fortresses (fortified special power), encampments (bivouacking special power) and troll lairs (troll race) make it take one more race token to conquer.
Some of the power ups also have a token that come with them. The dragon master can automatically take over a space with only one race token. This can be done once per turn. The mask one comes with the Heroic power up. This makes two of your spaces immune to enemies and their special powers. The hole in the ground comes with the Halflings race. These do not move once they are placed but they make those two spaces immune to attacks.
On your first turn, you start by picking which special power/race combination you want. The one on the bottom is free to take. If you decide you don't want that one, you can skip by placing a 1 token on each piece you want to skip. Remember, these victory coins become your points at the end. If the one you want has a token(s) on it, you get to keep them.
If I took the Flying Amazons, this means that I get to conquer any space on the map (flying) and I get an extra 4 amazon tiles to use only when conquering. Usually when you come onto the board, you have to start on the outside edge and have to move to adjacent spaces. Some of the powers and abilities will let you skip to a certain type of space.
When you take your combination, you also take your race tokens. You get the amount by adding together the numbers on the cards. For instance, the flying part has a 5 and the Amazons have a 6. You start with the 11 tokens. The four extra ones you get, you can use during your turn but you have to take them off at the end of your turn. This means you get 15 tiles to start, but only 11 stay on the board. Each space you occupy needs to have at least one race token left on it at the end of your turn. You will use this combo until you go into decline with it.
Each race token is two sided. One side is bright and colorful, the other side is dark and dull. When your race is active, you have the bright side up. When you go into decline, you will flip the tokens over. This lets everyone know if they are active or not.
When conquering spaces on the board, each space takes at least 2 race tiles unless you have a power or race that says otherwise, some say you can conquer with one less in some areas. If there are other tokens on the space you want, you have to add 1 more race tile per thing added. For instance, if you wanted a mountain space, it would be 2 for the base plus one for the mountain to overtake it. So that would take three race tiles. If there was a race tile as well, it would take four race tiles to conquer it. When a space is conquered, the race tiles that were on that space are taken off the board. One of the race tiles stays off the board. If there were more than one tile, the remaining ones are given back to the person playing that race and they can put them on a space with other tiles of the same race.
At the end of your turn, you can fortify your troops. If you have a few tiles piled up because you needed to conquer an area, when you are done you can take the ones off the top and redistribute them to help strengthen other areas on the board. Once this is done, you count how many spaces you have control of on the board, including your in decline tiles, that's how many victory coins you receive.
At the end of the last round, you add up your victory coins. Whoever has the most, wins the game!
I have a love/hate relationship with this game. I like the colors, the game play and how everyone's turns can have a direct impact on you. You have to pay attention to what is going on. I like that each game you play is different. I like that this game is easy enough to understand that my boys can play it with me. It has a lot of strategy with just a touch of luck. It's also just the right amount of time to play. It doesn't drag on for forever (unless you have people that don't pay attention and work on a strategy while they wait for their turn). The game lasts for about an hour.
What I don't like is when you play with people that get upset when you attack their race like you personally attacked them. Part of the game is knocking people down while helping yourself. I don't like listening to people complain through the whole game. I have found that these people usually win because they don't get attacked as often so they don't complain. Depending on your friends, this may or may not be a problem. It's really not a huge deal, its just slightly annoying. I find I tend not to play games with people that act like this. It makes almost any game not enjoyable.
Over all, its a good game and I enjoy playing it. I think if you have the right group of friends, this is a definite must have.
Now, a word from my 9 year old:
I like Smallworld because I enjoy conquering different lands. The Ratmen are my favorite, they have lots of guys. You can pick between many races that do many things. The special powers are fun because you never know combinations you will get to play with.
It is a fun game to play with my dad and my friend's.
And here's the table top... because I can.
It has been brought to my attention that the video doesn't show up on a mobile device, so here's the link.