Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's a Small World After All

I had the privilige of playing a fairly simple Wargame Called Smallworld several months ago and was impressed with the way this multiplayer game (and the more the merrier would be my opinion works) fits together. This is one of those games where a player gains points for conquering territory. Combat is automatic (no dice or Combat Results Tables). Our game was fun and despite the fact we had five players the game lasted no more than 90 minutes.

The unique thing about the game is that it is based on a bit more complex game called Vinci that normally takes a bit longer. Each player will have a chance to play multiple races of fantasy types. There are trolls, orcs, wizards, halflings, vampires, amazons, etc. Each race obtains a special power as they come into play. Some can skip spaces, some have special benefits in certain terrain areas, some don't require as many "units" for battle. The special powers are randomly matched to the races at the beginning of the game. With a number of races and a number special powers some hilarious combos can come up. In ourgame we had beserker Halflings and we all laughed a lot about the damage these do.

The game plays something like History of the World, minus the dice, in that the players attempt to extend their empires and try to protect previous empires (to a small extent) so that they can continue to earn victory points. Players may obtain a second race by declaring that their current race is going into "decline" which means it stops being active.

For some, the game is nothing more than picking up chits and moving them around, rinse and repeat. If the combat was a bit more risky it might have a stronger appeal to those folks. However, I found the game to be a neat filler game with some fun flavors and laughter. It isn't your typical wargame, and I think after a dozen or so games it will tend to lose its appeal. However, I found it to be a lot of fun and a neat change of pace.

Days of Wonder has done an excellent job with the components and artwork with the exception of the annoying mountains {loose cut moveable terrain} that we did not understand the purpose of since the mountains were already printed on all of the boards (different boards are used depending on the number of players in a game). I won't rush out and buy this one, but if I'm waiting to play something and someone brings it out-- I'm in!

Finally, an optional rule probably ought to be instituted that any players who begins to hum the tune from Disneyland's "It's a Small World After All" ride will immediately be forced to leave the game, the table, and the gaming room.