Small World of Warcraft – Board Game Review
Follow Genre: Strategy
Players: 2-5
Age: 10+
Duration: 40-80 minutes
Distributor: Days of Wonder

Small World of Warcraft – Board Game Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Qualitative components, Proper Warcraft vibe, Mechanics
Bad: Some rules are not always clear
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

World of Warcraft has been around for a whopping 15 years, closing in on its 16th year. The game is still going very strong, especially with the recently launched World of Warcraft: Classic, winning over the hearts of many older gamers. Nonetheless, Blizzard seems to be going all-out with its latest expansion, Shadowlands, even though it keeps getting delayed. People are already receiving their collector’s editions in the mail, but they cannot access the new content yet. Blizzard is also aiming to market its top-selling game a lot over the last few months, as we have seen many collaborations with different brands, resulting in Secretlab gaming chairs, a Blue Yeti X microphone, and a World of Warcraft rendition of the very popular board game, Small World. While Warcraft goes hand in hand with the concept of Small World, we could have never imagined a partnership as this would come to fruition. Courtesy of Blizzard, we can now present you with our findings of their latest collaboration in the world of board games.

Contents

  • 6 double-sided game boards of different sizes: 2 large, 2 medium and 2 small
  • 16 World of Warcraft Race banners, colored when Active and grayed-out when in Decline
  • 20 unique Special Power Badges
  • 5 player summary sheets; one for each player
  • 12 artifact and legendary places markers
  • 12 bombs
  • 110 victory coins
  • 182 race tokens & 15 Murloc tokens

The contents look very much like a proper hybrid of the original Small World contents and artwork drawn from the Warcraft games. The materials prove to be very sturdy and qualitative, but then again, Days of Wonder is no stranger to the board game market, and they know what their audience likes. When first opening the box, the content looks a bit off-putting in terms of how many bits and bobs there are. Nonetheless, everything looks impressively made, and you will soon notice that the game looks a lot scarier than it actually is, as we will explain below.

Mechanics

Small World of Warcraft follows the basic Small World principle where you have to conquer as many territories as possible while deploying troops from the fantasy-inspired races you pick. You will have to make hard decisions whether to keep playing with your current troops or let a race pretty much go extinct, allowing you to pick and choose new troops. At the end of the road, it’s your goal to get as many victory coins as possible, ultimately becoming this small world’s conqueror.

The game is actually a lot simpler than you’d initially think, even with the many different components in the box. Many of the special items depend on the race you’re playing with or the actual power badges. Some races can summon more troops, others can use their power badge to take over lands easier, or to gain more points at the end of a conquest. Nonetheless, you pick one of the available combos and then start conquering your way through. You have your amount of race tokens, depending on the aforementioned combo, and you have to spend two tokens for each normal area you try to conquer, three for an entry point and one extra token for each obstacle in your way. This means you’ll have to carefully think of what areas you are going to conquer, as you also have to keep in mind that you can only attack adjacent areas.

The further you progress, the more your troops are being spread out. If you are somewhat stuck in redeploying or attacking other areas, you’ll have to choose to let the race go in decline. This basically means that your race is going extinct, and thus you will no longer be able to use their powers and have to pick a new combo. They do however stay in the regions you conquered until someone else conquers them, so they will still earn you points at the end of your turn. After this, you start doing the same thing over again. If you then choose to go in decline again, the first race that was/is in decline will be removed from the board.

Of course, the game gets more complex as you dive deeper into it, but what is said above is pretty much the gist of it. Nonetheless, there are many different race and power badge combinations to be had, and even more special situations you can find yourself in. The game also offers variable rules when you wish to play certain variations of this base game, and sometimes certain rules aren’t perfectly clear and can be interpreted in many different ways.

Luck or Strategy?

This is one of the few times we can actually say that a game is for the most part strategy. While there is still luck involved in how other players react, and how certain races get paired up with the special abilities, you can plan a lot. You can already ponder on what race you’ll be picking next, what territories will give you the most points and have a strategic advantage, and so on. Planning does become a bit harder when playing with more people, as the more the merrier also means more people to mess up your moves and perhaps even wipe your army off the map.

Conclusion

Small World of Warcraft, while basically being a reskin for Small World, is a very impressive and entertaining board game that throws you right in the world of Warcraft while catering to a very big audience of board game fans. The game is pretty much the full package, with impressive-looking contents, different game modes, fun mechanics and new tactics to explore during each and every match. If you have the original Small World games at home, you won’t really notice a big difference, but the new Warcraft jacket might still be worth looking into. If you have never played Small World before, and also like Blizzard’s Warcraft franchise, then this is basically as good as it can possibly get for a board game mash-up.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Small World of Warcraft - Board Game Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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