Small World 2 conquers the big world of Board Game apps. Does it have the stamina to occupy your time and live up to the table top success?
Android & iOS
10 - 30 Minutes
# of Players
1 - 5
Days of Wonder
Small World 2 is an Area Control game incorporating the roll of a die to further or hinder control of this too small world. Your goal as the Race you choose is to occupy as many regions at your turn's end as possible, thus earning Victory Coins. I found Small World 2 an exciting territory grabbing, option rich game with several multiplayer choices.
The graphics & user interface are splendid, and Solo games vs. the A.I. move along at a pace you determine. The random creation of Race & Special Power Combos make for unique game play nearly every time. Throw in the three available expansions, and Small World 2 gets a little weirder, spookier, and even sexier.
In my opinion, there are two things one must focus on to both master and truly appreciate Small World 2. First of all; when to send your race into decline may be the most important part of winning a match. Secondly, being conscious of the Race & Special Powers both you and your opponents posses will significantly increase your odds of winning.
A turn in Small World 2 starts with conquering some regions by deploying your race tokens throughout the landscape. During the deployment, you may be required to roll the die in order to compensate for race tokens. Your strategic approach lies in where you choose to place these race tokens based on the Special Powers of your Race and that of your opponents. You choose to where redeploy your troops amongst your regions at the end of your turn to gain defensive positions. Victory Coins are then counted and awarded.
Barrier to Entry
The Video Tutorial within Small World 2 is a bit silly in a good way, and does a fine job of walking new players through the basics of the game. What it lacks is a tutorial for navigating the Online & Offline Multiplayer options. Should an update to Small World 2 arrive soon, I think a brief explanation of each of six game options would be a nice touch.
My biggest barrier to entry was understanding how many Race Tokens were needed to conquer occupied and unoccupied regions. Both the Special Powers and Races offer Victory Coin and bonuses for particular regions, so pay close attention. My First dozen or so games, I was ravaged by Pillaging Gypsies, burnt by Marauding Giants, and decimated by Historian Priestesses. 50 or so games in now, and I'm the one reining terror upon my enemies with Seafaring Leprechauns, Bivouacking Skeletons and Alchemist Elves.
So Many Gaming Options!
Early on Game Play
Scoring 12 Victory Coins at Turn's End
Look and Feel
Like other Asmodee Digital Adaptations such as Ticket To Ride & Onirim, Small World 2 has an easy interface, smooth sounds, and responsive drag-and-drop play. One feature in particular I like is as the number of players in the game increases, so does the game board to accommodate the sheer number of troops that will be deployed. You will also find that the number of turns decrease according to how many players are competing; more players equals less turns in the game, and vice versa. Both the game board sizing and turn equalizing carry over from the table top version.
The Race avatars and Power icons are very well designed and add to the magical ambiance that is Small World 2. The sounds of the game are spot on fantastic. The musical score builds, the Victory Coin awarding and winning die jingles are perfect. Asmodee Digital really sucks you into the realm of Goblins, Trolls, Ratmen, and Humans with excellent scoring animations, a colorful countryside, and a suspenseful coin stacking end of game graphic.
Where to begin......... Play your buddy sitting across from you in a Face to Face match wherein the screen turns 180 degrees to allow said buddy to take his/her turn. This is a spectacular, speedy heads up game mode that is sure to be played best of three or five or seven. Should you have more than two gamers present, try the Pass And Play game for up to five players passing the device and taking turns.
Next up is the Local Game format where each player plays on their own device while connected to the same WiFi network. Good for gamers who use a lot of and sanitizer and don't want others handling their mobile devices. Small World 2 also allows for an Invite Buddies game play. This feature prompts your fellow gaming friends to join a private match no matter where everyone is.
Helpful hint: If you choose the Seafaring Special power early, you can rack up on Victory Coins even when you go into decline.
Finally, this app provides an online arena, which I can attest to, has some dedicated and experienced players out there. You can join an open game or create your own match with the game setting you decide. I like the scrolling message board within this arena screen that lets players across the world request players, discuss settings and actually interact with other Small World 2 enthusiasts. Even within the game, you can chat with your opponents. These are timed games, so be ready to play should you join or create a game. As always, my screen name is Pixel Mack - so send me a game invite, and lets battle it out.
Choosing a Race Combo
Five Player Game Board
Cursed! Expansion Pack
This Small World digital sequel works very well in Single player mode. The A.I. bots are not labeled easy, medium or hard, which is a flaw in my opinion; something that could be cleared up in the previously mentioned game mode tutorial I suggested. The ability to skip the A.I. player's turn movements and Victory Coin counting is a huge plus, as it really speeds up the solo game.
Victory Coins - Nothing else matters. Use your powers and attributes to tweak the basic rules of the game and earn as many Victory coins as you possibly can. There's an in app feature called the Tome of Knowledge you can reference at any time during the game. Use this to expand your understanding of anything about Small World 2. Note: Small World 2 is touted as a sequel to the table top game, and was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. These tidbits things don't affect the game, it's just something to impress your friends with.
Helpful hint: Is your Race overextended? It's better to go into to decline early than a turn too late.
Small World 2 offers three mini expansion packs as in app purchases that add more depth and complexity; Cursed!, Be Not Afraid..., and Grand Dames. Combined they add 10 new races and 12 new Special Powers, which by my math is 120 new Race combo possibilities. Cursed! gives you Goblins & Kobolds, and one of the Special Powers allows the beholder to Curse(skip) a Race's turn at a cost of a few Victory Coins. Be Not Afraid... gives us creepy new Races such as Pygmies, Leprechauns, and Barbarians that could use the Special Powers of Corruption, Catapulting, and Barricading amongst others. Finally, Small World 2 gives us three leading ladies - Gypsies, Priestesses, and White Ladies. Also included are the Historian and Peace Loving Special Powers; both are great additions.
Grand Dames Expansion
End of Game Statistics
The Stacking of the Victory Coins!
The Wrap Up
Whether with friends or solo gaming, this app is a favorite of mine. I believe this app lives up to its predecessor's award winning table top game in many ways. Small World 2 retains the zany cast of characters and a fun for all ages adventure each time around. Scoring and rules are very straightforward, which is a huge plus when you just want to zone out and be amused.
Should any more expansions become available, we will quickly update our review. However, the game hasn't been updated since 2014, so we're not getting our hopes up here. Despite being untouched in several years, I rarely have trouble finding an online opponent when I'm looking to destroy some random people at silly games. So Small World 2 has retained its player base for a good while now; let's hope it continues. Download the app below, and enjoy this lighthearted romp into the fantasy world Days of Wonder has created. It's a world of Slaughter after all....