Small World (2010)

Today is the start of two consecutive board game days. I like the game day, but the thought of them upcoming exhausts me somewhat. I suffer from The Cult of the New. Whatever game that is out there that I haven’t played, I want to play it. This means a good chunk of time having the rules explained, then there’s board set-up and the extra long waits between turns because others are new and figuring out strategies and the, the worse part, going back to clarify a rule in game while we’re playing. Sites like Boardgame News and The Gaming Gang have many articles dealing with these issues. (Sorry, no links, I’m in a hurry) The cult of the new is a universal gaming problem. (Talk about your First World problems.)

Small World for iPad is the perfect board game to video game adaption. We have the physical board game with all of the expansions and really like playing it. We’ve played SW maybe ten times in board game form which is a super popular game in our house. The problem is it takes about 90 minutes to play from cracking the box open to putting the box away, longer if there are more than three players.
On the iPad, Shells and I can play SW in about fifteen minutes. I can play it in less time against the AI.
Whenever I get a new board game, I imagine what the iPad version would be like. No set-up time, a clearer version of the rules and a decent computer foe. Small world has it all. It doesn’t let you cheat, accidentally or otherwise. After playing the iPad version, we discovered about five fundamentally important ways we were playing the physical board game wrong. Interpretation of rules, even well-written rules is always a problem in every game we play.
So, my adeptness at playing the game has greatly improved, as I understand the design of the game and rules much better. I’ve played the iPad version, maybe 50 times and am still discovering new strategies. The in-game help and explanations aren’t intrusive and do a great job of describing all the moving parts. And against the AI, I have about a 50 percent win rate which is perfect.
The iPad even has in game purchasing to buy the expansions. (It doesn’t have the new card expansion, but that seems like a programming nightmare.) The only downside is that it is a two-player game (The board game version comes with a different board for 3, 4 and 5 players) and the game plays differently depending on the number of players. I understand why the developers (hey, they’re actually the same people who made the board game, that’s rare) focused on the two-player version as the GUI is cleaned-up and streamlined.
Okay, a short description of the game, then I gotta go. You play an ever changing race of people trying to take over a very crowded world. Each game plays differently because you combine a race with a random special ability. Both the race and ability provide focused benefits. You conquer the map and the other players and score victory points. Victory points determine the winner. Also, you can go into decline and get a new race.
The website does a great job of explaining the game. It’s a great light war game with a humorous fantasy theme.

If you’re interested in board games, the app is a must buy. Simple as that.

Gotta go, board game time.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.

2 thoughts on “Small World (2010)

  1. ianthecool September 12, 2010 / 9:19 pm

    It takes you 90 minutes to play? We usually play in half that time.


  2. Bryan September 13, 2010 / 7:21 pm

    I’m talking 4 players, two of which are teens, and including the time for set-up and tear down and lots of time staring at the various new races and special powers and card expansion.
    Everything I play seem to take longer than the box says. We played the Settlers of Catam dice game with Shells parents yesterday, simple game, took over an hour. The box said 15-30 minutes. Ugh, it’s why I like the computer version of some board games better.


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