Sunday, June 28, 2009
A four player game with my wife Jackie, DB, and my sister D. My wife started, and from the get-go I knew we were in trouble. First, let me preface this game with this statement: I have not yet beat my wife in Small World. She has played the game one third of the times I have, yet every time I play against her, no matter how many other players are involved, she wins.
My wife chose her first race, Spirit Ghouls. D took forever taking her turn, and DB started out strong with an eight point turn. I start out with a little Ghoul butt-kicking. Jackie's second turn, you guessed it, going into decline; unfortunately my turn had opened up Merchant Trolls, and on her next turn she took these.
The game was close between Jackie, DB and myself, but Jackie had a strong lead with her multiple 13+ point turns. The one chance we had was two simultaneous attempts made by DB's Underground Amazons, who popped up from every which location on the board, conveniently almost exclusively owned by one of Jackie's three races, and my Berserk Giants, who took the mountain near Jackie's Ghouls and laid waste to Troll after Troll.
When final scoring rolled around, I knew I would be soaring into last place; DB and I both had around 60 points, but both D and Jackie counted over 80 points (apparently we overlooked D's last few turns, which were getting 15+ points). Jackie ultimately won by only one point.
Friday, June 26, 2009
The components are excellent--a polished wood ring around 4 inches in diameter, and 24 wooden hippo tokens in four colors. The ring and hippos have a nice feel and weight to them, and are smooth, so there is little risk to the playing surface (such as a wooden dining table).
The game is simple; you spin the wooden ring, and everyone attempts to flick their hippos such that they are either enclosed by or under the ring when it stops spinning. Any that meet this criteria are removed from the game, and the ring is spun again to begin a new round. Once someone has successfully flicked three of their hippos into/under the ring, that person wins.
While a simple quick game, taking only 5-10 minutes to complete a game, the experience is fast and fun, and begs to be played again immediately. The hippo tokens slide across the table and bump each other, players shouting, and as the ring falls, there are always a last few desparate shots to get under the ring or remove another player's hippo. Add the zero set-up time, and this makes for an excellent quick filler that will likely get much play.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Having now played several games of Small World, I believe that Days of Wonder has another hit. With the combination of Races and Powers, the variety in each game is astounding; a race may be looked over one game (Hill Humans? What am I supposed to do with those...?), only to find its combination with another power exactly what a player needs in another game (Berserk Humans! You're dead now!).
The rulebook is clearly written, and the game also scales extremely well--it actually comes with two double-sided boards, each marked with a number 2, 3, 4 or 5, to denote which board to use depending on the number of players.
Presentation: 8 of 10 (only marked down for lack of clarity of in-decline chits)
Difficulty: 4 of 10 (most people should be able to play this game with little or no help)