Phantasmagorical subterranean civilizations
Widen our regional footprint
"I don’t usually like territorial games, but this an exception, because I got to play as Flocking Gnomes and the Invincible Shadow Mimes, which sound like they came from a random word generator. We started the game filling up all the empty spaces but, pretty soon, there weren’t any left, and we had to start attacking each other in the second half of the game. It is definitely fun, but 10 rounds felt a little long."
"The game starts with players choosing from among a few randomly placed races and special powers, with hundreds of possible unique combinations. Consider, also, that your opponents are playing with equally unique race/power combinations. I did a back-of-the-napkin calculation, and the odds of ever having the same character combinations at the start of a four-player game is about 1 in 2.8 billion. All of this is to say this game has amazing replay value."
"This is a standard area-control game in many ways, but it has a unique twist that I absolutely love. The race you are playing eventually spreads too thin or gets decimated by your opponents. In any other game, you would be doomed, and spend the rest of the evening whining. Not so with Smallworld. When your civilization loses its tribal vigor, you can send it into decline. It will continue to exist, but in a weakened state that is easy pickings for conquerors. Meanwhile, you get to select a new race/power combo and start anew in another corner of the world."
"There are hundreds of fiddly little cardboard pieces, and if you don’t store the box horizontally, they end up everywhere. There is a lot of sorting and stacking, and the administrative burden can be significant."
"The first few times you play, the races and powers aren’t familiar, and I found myself having to read and re-read the explanatory sheet several times to decide which one to pick. This slowed things down quite a bit."
"This is a stand-alone sequel to Smallworld, which I also recommend for its slightly more cheerful color palette."