My Ten Favourite Small World Races
Rounding out my list at #10 is the cultists. I didn’t think I would like the cultists. Perhaps because of the darker theme they invoke, I’m not sure. But they are really quite cool and quite powerful.
The Cultists can actually summon Cthulhu( though they don’t actually call him Cthulhu in the game), which is great for you in two ways. First, whatever region Cthulhu is on becomes an immune region for you. Secondly, you are able to attack regions around that region for one token less! Not only that, but you can move him around at the beginning of each turn! This allows for some really strategic positioning, especially with the new Popular Places added to the new set.
The Gnomes became the poster child for the new Small World Underground’s release campaign earlier this year, mostly because they are a recognizable fantasy race and because their picture depicted an underground world instantly with their riding drill and earth tones. But their power is what is really cool. They are immune to all racial and special powers. So basically, if someone tries something on you, you can tell them off! You have a dragon? So what! Your trying to convert me into a sorcerer? I don’t think so!
Skeletons are great because they’re just so hard to kill. Why? For every two occupied territories they take over, they get an extra skeleton from the tray. So they can keep building their army! Pretty cool stuff, and hard to contend with for the other players. Sorcerers similarly can build their army through converting, but I like Skeletons better. I never found playing with the sorcerers all that fun, as interesting as they are. But skeletons I can definitely get behind.
Pygmies may seen silly, but they’re really quite cool. Why? When you kill them, they have a chance to come back with a roll of the die. However many pips you roll, that’s how many pygmies get to come back onto he board. So by killing a pygmy, you have a chance of bringing back even more.
I like this idea because its different and its a new way to use the reinforcement die. I do wish that Pygmies had 1 or 2 extra tokens in the tray to play around with, but even as it is its pretty fun playing the pygmies and knowing there is always a chance to come back stronger.
Amazons are vicious. Why? Because they attack with 4 extra tokens. Sure they’re not around for defense, but if you attack them they will come back at you with force. In my experience, the player who plays as the amazons usually have a good chance of being the winner at the end. Combine them with a power which gives them defense as well, like Fortress or Heroic, at they are a force to be reckoned with.
Ghouls may be the most unique race in the original game. Why? They are allowed to attack even while in decline! This makes you feel as though you have two turns for everyone else’s one turn, which can be a lot of fun to play with. The fact that they attack in decline also ads a lot of theme to the mechanics of the game. Love it.
Small World Underground came out with another excellent race, the flames. Flames allow you to bring a volcano into the game in designated chasm areas. But what’s great about that is that any region touching the volcano, the flames can conquer as though they were empty! This gives a nice twist on the conquest powers which usually allow you to conquer something at -1 token. Here, the flames simply ignore any non-terrain tokens on the space entirely! Now that’s powerful!
I usually like races and powers which give you coins bonuses for owning certain types of terrain (Humans, Shrooms, Hill, Forest, etc.) even though many people find them boring. But Mudmen, though using a similar concept, does something altogether different. Instead of an extra coin for each mud region you own, you get an extra mudman! What a great idea.
Gaining an extra token isn’t new as Skeletons and Sorcerers have been doing it for the past two year. But getting through certain terrain areas is new, and is quite awesome. In fact, my first game of Small World Underground i took the muddy mudmen. What a combination! Mudmen quickly became on of my favourites.
There are a few “high number” races, such as the pixies, the kobolds, and the mummies. These give you a lot of armies, but usually at a cost. I don’t like the mummies cost of having to use an extra token much, nor the kobold’s restriction of always having to leave two tokens on a space. But man, do I love the pixies!
The pixies can give you up to 16 tokens (16!) but you must leave only one token in each space. This does not give you much defense after your turn. But who cares!? During your turn, you can do a lot of damage with 16 pixies with no restriction on being able to spread as wide and fast as possible. In fact, not having to worry about defense at the end is quite liberating!! They are a very close second.
Yes, my favourite Small World race are the lucky Leprechauns! Once I learned that the Be Not Afraid expansion would have Leprechauns as one of their races, it quickly became one of my most highly anticipated new releases last year.
Little did I know that I would love playing with their ability as much as I love them thematically. Leprechauns allow you to place any number of gold coins you like on your territories. If you hod them at the start of your next turn, they’re yours! But if someone else defeats you, they are theirs!
This adds a nifty aspect of risk management to the game and I love the fact that you have a choice of how many or how few pots of gold to put down each turn.