Review: “Smallworld”

Designer: Philippe Keyaerts

Publisher: Days of Wonder and Others

Players: 2-5

Ages: 8+

Play Time: 40-80 minutes

The world is too small for all of these races. 

Some need to be culled. Some need to step up and conquer their neighbors. Which races will be the conquered and which will be the conquerors?

Smallworld is an empire-building game, with some fun and crazy twists. You control a different race with a different power – for example, “Wealthy Humans” or “Heroic Trolls” – in a starting territory. You expand your empire(s) by conquering “neutral” (i.e. NPC) and player-controlled territories and collecting coins. The player with the most coins at the end of the game wins!

Races and Powers


The above picture is of the available races; the below picture is of the available powers:


Using a combination of the races and powers, plus a number of tiles specified by your races and powers (see the numbers in the bottom-left corner? Add the 2 numbers together on the race and power tiles to get the number of tiles you get), you try to take over as many neighboring territories as possible. Once your holdings get too thin, then you put your race in “decline” – in general, they go inactive and you get to pick/buy another combination of race and powers. 


Some of the Dwarven holdings

This game involves a little bit of strategy: how long do you wait to put your race into decline? Depending on your combination, this matters a lot; don’t go into decline too quickly. Do you aggressively take over territories? If your combination is right, then yes!  Other than that, there’s not much that’s too difficult for younger players. It’s also a quicker game than it appears: our Game Night group can usually get through a game in about an hour. For more information about this game, check out Board Game Geek’s web site. A fun game!


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