Small World of Warcraft
As big fans of WOW, we were really excited to see the universe of World of Warcraft and our favorite races back into a board game. Supported with a review copy by Gamer’s Dream, a family business based in Amsterdam, we were able to try this game out!
How to Play.
Small World of Warcraft has a colorful set up with many components. We strongly advise to follow the steps in the rulebook as it is well explained and showed with a clear set up picture. This game also has excellent reference sheets where every step of the game is explained in a short way. The characters and special powers are also explained on the reference sheets.
Once you have completed the set up, the first round will start. Depending on the amount of players, you will have a set amount of rounds to try and get the most victory coins in order to win the game. In the first round, the first player can pick a race with a special ability from the race column. the top one is always free, if you choose a race somewhere below the top one, you place one coin on each race above your choice as payment. If other players have left coins on your choice, you can claim those coins.
Now you can start conquering regions. The first region you can conquer has to have an anchor icon (unless a race or special ability states otherwise), from there, you can conquer adjacent regions paying in race tokens. A starting region costs one extra race token to conquer, as do mountains, a wisp wall, champion, fort, beast, or other opponent tokens and finally one extra travel cost for non adjacent entry regions. If an opponent is present in a region you conquer, you have to pay one race token more for each opponent race tokens present in that region for the conquer to be successful. The opponent in that region will lose one token and withdraw the other tokens back to their hand. You now control that region.
With your final conquest, if you don’t have enough race tokens, you can still conquer a region if you have at least one race token left. Simply chose the region you want to conquer and roll the dice. If you have enough points added with the dice, you gain control over that region. At the end of your turn, you may freely redeploy your troops however you like to defend the regions you control. If all player took their turn, the victory coins are scored, always keep your coins hidden from other players. You get one coin for each region you control, possible bonus coins from your special power or race ability, bonus coins for each legendary artifact or place and bonus coins for each race you defeated this turn from the other faction. Then the second round begins where everything repeats itself.
If you don’t have race tokens left or don’t see a way to expand your reach with the race you have now, you may place your race in decline. One token on each region that race controls on the islands will be turned to the grey side, the remaining tokens will be discarded. Your race and special power combo are also flipped to the grey side. You can now pick a new race combo from the column on the same terms as before. If you already have a race in decline, that race will be discarded as you can only have one race in decline at the same time. Note that if you go in decline, you won’t be able to conquer this turn, but you still score victory coins for the regions you control and your new race combo’s special ability.
When the first player moves the turn marker to the last round, each player takes their last turn and the game end. The player with the most victory coins wins the game.
Playthrough of the game.
It’s amazing to see how the designers mixed the ideas of the Small World franchise into the World of Warcraft universe. You really have to think things trough to fight over all the regions in this game scoring the most coins you possibly can. What makes it fun is that you don’t stay with just one race the entire game, but when you decide you can’t gain anything from the race you are currently playing with, you get to choose a new race with a random special ability. You can also block your opponent a lot and annoy them with taking their forgotten regions so they will score less points. Of course a lot of actions and strategies will depend on the races combined with the special powers. The Naga race for example is the only race who can control water regions, which can give great benefits, but with the wrong special power can also play out in the wrong way. We like how divers the game gets because of these combos. Another part of the fun is that your coins stay hidden the entire part of the game, which means you can only guess if you are in the lead for victory.
Small World of Warcraft is a very colorful game with many components all which have a good quality. We like that this is a game without any cards, but instead you play with tokens. We did notice that we miss miniatures, but this is our own personal preference, given that we for example really like Mysthea and Rising Sun who both have many miniatures. Then again, playing without miniatures does fit this game and the title.
Small World of Warcraft is a good area control game with good quality components and an amazing theme. For people choosing between this game and the Small World, if you don’t want to spend to much money by having to buy all the expansions to really enjoy the game, this is a great alternative with an amazing theme and a very complete game. Although this game might not be our personal favorite, for fans of World of Warcraft and area control board games, this is still a great addition to the collection.