Cute W loves games. He’s always finding a new game to try with the girls. He particularly likes strategy games, which can be a tough sell for them. But a new favorite with M is Small World. It’s recommended for ages 8 and up, and I think that’s pretty accurate. J finds it intimidating, but she finds many games intimidating. This is partly because Cute W and M are both cut-throat, trash-talkin’ competitors.
I finally tried it recently, and I liked it, too. Maybe because I won! Yeah, yeah, beginner’s luck. Basically it’s a world domination game. Every games is different because there are different combinations of races (like Amazons or Dwarves) and special powers (like diplomacy or wealth). It’s sort of complicated. No, it’s really complicated. The game includes extra cheat sheets so that you can keep track of who you are and what you can do.
So, you play a round, attempting to take over as many territories in the small world as possible, and then you make money based on how much territory you’ve got. Part of the strategy is to hide your coins so the other players won’t realize how well you’re doing. If it’s obvious that you’ve got lots of money, they might gang up on you. I hid coins behind a hand towel.
I was surprised by how much fun this was. It was similar to Sleeping Queens, one of our very favorites, in two ways. First, it seems complicated, but then it seems natural and fun pretty quickly. Second, even though there’s strategy involved, there’s enough chance to make it possible for a 9-year-old to beat a 40-year-old. Which is the way M likes it.