About BoardGameGuru

BoardGameGuru is a UK based online retailer, specialising in board games.

To use the shop, please follow the link below:


To read the full articles below, please follow the link to their own pages.

Our Favourites : Small World

During my last game of Vinci (a game now out of print) a strange image popped into my head. I saw the Prince of Wales at the Spithead review, celebrating his mum’s Diamond Jubilee, in 1897 surveying the greatest navy the world had ever seen. He turns to her prime minister, the Marquis of Salisbury and says:

“This is as good as it’s going to get. Shall we go into decline?

"Yes Sir . With your highness’s approval I suggest we come back in the middle-east with special tech oil development"

“Make it so my lord, Prime Minister"

Unfortunately the one Special Power that all real empires share is the special power ‘can’t go into decline until forced to’ So, to me at least, the idea of putting an empire into decline seemed a bit silly, yes they decline but there is no guiding intelligence behind it. Now that personal thematic tick is totally removed in Small World - you are chucking Elves, Giants and amazons around the fantasy Small World - historical reality does not matter.

And what a great fantasy world it is - not only do you have Halflings but they can be pillaging, you can have Stout elfs and Diplomatic Trolls. The oxymoronic mish-mash of fantasy races and powers is a joy. My first play was punctuated by laughter as race/power combos were revealed. Attracted to the silly combos I was duly thrashed by the very sensible combos of Dragon Master Sorcerers and Berserk Amazons. I think every one knows this is a remake of Vinci. The basics are very simple and the rules are available on the Days of Wonder website.

In summary:-
1) You choose a race special power combo,

2) You conquer provinces of Small World with said race,
3) You score points for provinces occupied on board,
4) Repeat 2) and 3) with your race until it has gone as far as you think they can then put them into decline

5) Start your next turn by going back to 1) with a new race power combo.

It plays quickly, requires good timing and an eye for a good combo.

Apart from the fun factor game play what really stands out for me is the production values and the care and attention that have gone into making this game.

1) The artwork is fantastic, funny and informative
2) The rules should be a template for rules writers everywhere they are so clear and concise
3) The player aids are 12 by 12 double sided sheets in full colour. See points 1 and 2 above
4) There are two double sided map boards to provide a different map board for 2, 3 4 and 5 player games
5) It comes with a tray for the race counters

6) The RRP is much lower than games which seem to have terrible rule books, or counters that rip upon punching out

Days of Wonder have fabulous production values and they have excelled themselves with this game - other producers take note - This is how it should be done- no errors and totally customer focused

For the Vinci owners amongst you (I include myself in that number) it does not feel like re-themed cash in on an old title. Why?

1) There is an improvement in play balance,
2) The hidden VP’s helps to stop ‘bash the leader’
3) The game ends after a set number of turns rather than a set number of VPS which improves ability to plan ahead
4) It scales well from 2 - 5 In conclusion

I am glad Vinci has been in to decline and we have a new power,
Small World.

No comments:

Post a Comment