IanTheCool's Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Small World – Be Not Afraid…: Pygmies, Pixies, and Ghosts, Oh My!

Small World has proven to be a very expandable game since it can incorporate many more races and powers without really affecting the games gestalt. Be Not Afraid is another excellent expansion which adds many more fantastic races and powers and is perhaps Small World’s best expansion to date.
Be Not Afraid goes a little bigger and reaches a little further than the previous two expansions Cursed and Grand Dames. This expansion adds more races and more powers, five of each. It also creates more interesting races, like the Leprechauns and the Pygmies, which add a lot more flavour to this already flavourful world. Even the packaging is more substantial. This is a great expansion of a great game.
Small World: Be Not Afraid also comes (most places you buy it anyways) with a bonus mini-expansion called Necromancer Island. Necromancer Island does change the nature of the game more than the basic expansion, but does add some very interesting ingredients into the Small World Cauldron. I will be addressing this scenario later on in my review.

Additions

Be Not Afraid comes with five brand new races, five new powers, and a storage tray to keep it all together. There are some great races here, my favourite of which is probably the leprechauns. These mischievous little Irishmen provide a good risk and reward feature by allowing you to place as many or as few pots of gold on your spaces and collect them if you are able to hold those spaces by your next turn.
Another great new race is the pygmies, who have a chance to regain armies once one has been killed off with a roll of the dice. Very cool indeed. Homunculi, whose numbers grow the more people pass over their race banner, are pretty good, though I don’t like the actual race choice. Hardly anyone knows what a homunculus is, where most people know trolls or wizards.
The other two races are barbarians, who have large numbers but cannot retreat, and pixies. Pixies are rapidly becoming one of my favourite races to play. They are similar to Kobolds except that instead of not being able to have just one on a space, you can only have one on a space. This allows you to spread very quickly, which really gets you on a conquering high.
Be Not Afraid comes with some cool powers as well including Imperial, which rewards large expansion, Barricade, (which is the opposite of that), Corrupt, Mercenary, and Catapult. One more thing that needs to be mentioned is the storage tray which allows you to store the tokens on both this expansion and the Cursed and Grand Dames expansions properly. This was a nice addition to the game which makes set-up and storage much easier.

Critique

Be Not Afraid is an excellent expansion which gives us more than the previous two expansions in both quantity and quality. There are some really great races here. Leprechauns add a really great risk management aspect and a protective aspect as you need to guard your gold. The pixies are also great fun to play as you really get to spread out fast and easy. Once the option of no defense is taken from you, embrace that limit and run away with it. Pygmies and their ability to respawn are great and the Barbarians and Homunculi are decent races to play simply because of their high numbers.
The best new powers are imperial and barricade, since they can really influence your strategy. Are you going to try to spread out or stay close to one area? Those two are the best new powers here and are neat flip-sides of the same coin. Corrupt and catapult aren’t anything too special, and mercenary in only really of any advantage in a few situations. There are some interesting powers here, but they’re not nearly as interesting as the races.


Bonus Review: Necromancer Island

Almost anywhere you buy Be Not Afraid, it will come with a free bonus scenario called Necromancer Island. Because it came with this expansion I tend to consider it a part of this expansion which may or may not be played. Necromancer Island adds only one new race, the necromancer and his ghosts. The player who chooses to be the necromancer must build up his army of ghosts from those other races who have been killed off in the game already. If his entire ghost army makes it on the map, he wins.
Necromancer Island can really change the nature of the game. Suddenly instead of a free for all, there is more of an all against one mentality. Because of this the necromancer should only be used every once in a while and not added to every session. It is pretty cool for when you want something different from your Small World however. The fact that the necromancer can buy up to six powers is really neat, and the strategy that has to be employed by the other players to avoid his army getting too big is quite challenging. But the way in which it changes the fabric of the game may turn off many who love their Small World as it is.

Expansion –
Necromancer Island –
Base Game –
Base Game & Expansion –

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