Small World (a boardgame review)

Small World Board Game We’re a family of geeks. (Sorry, girls, but that’s how we raised you.) So, when Geek and Sundry rolled out last month, we were hooked. Web series of awesomeness, ahoy! Chief among these is Tabletop masterminded by Wil Wheaton: a smart and genial geek god. (Yes, he’s also the actor who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.)

One of the first games that he reviewed and played with guests on the show was Small World (tagline? “It’s a world of (S)laughter”) – a fast-paced board game of strategy, conquest and screwing over your opponents generally having fun.

How do you play? You play a randomly specialized fantasy race so you might end up with the Wealthy Amazons, Pillaging Tritons, Seafaring Elves, Diplomatic Giants from the mash-ups out on the table in any turn. Conquer and hold as much territory as you can, paying attention to special bonuses you can exploit (Humans get bonuses for farmland, Dwarves enjoy more revenue from controlling mines) and, when your opponents nibble away too much at your conquests, go into “decline” where you’re free to start a new combination in the next turn (meanwhile collecting some revenue from all of your old groups’ tiles still on the board).

We got a copy last week and have played, what?, about ten games so far? (A couple of these have been done back to back as it’s a short game, especially if you’ve gone with the 2-3 player option.) It’s addictive, absurd and adorable.

They have expansion packs. Maybe we’ll have to make a detour by another gaming store on our way down to the Congress to see if we can pick a little something up. Which reminds me, I really need to call it quits with the revisions to my conference paper. Maybe after one more game. . . .

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6 Comments

Filed under pop culture, review

6 responses to “Small World (a boardgame review)

  1. fMhson would love to live at your house. He asked the other night when we could have “family game night.”

    p.s. when this post first popped up on my blog roll I thought you wrote a book review of David Lodge’s hilarious satire of academia of the same title!

  2. J Liedl

    Lodge is why I was very careful to add in “board game”. I still love his books after all of these years in academe. Probably because of them, actually.

  3. DH and DC have been enjoying this one recently.

    They also liked the Tabletop video, which i think also hooked them. Usually DH gets stuff from recommendations on boardgamegeek but I think the video was influential in this case. Not sure which came first…

    • J Liedl

      We have quite a stash of board games but definitely are enjoying this as a family game a lot more than we’d done with others. Part of the fun has to be the quick play and the silliness of some combinations. Mounted Tritons? Really?