Ugh. Small World. In the hours just before dawn I still occasionally find myself waking up in a cold sweat, memories of loyal dwarf minions laid low by the insidious machinations of... well, whoever I was playing against, really; I'm kind of terrible at board games, doubly so when they're transformed to fit touchscreen devices and it's much harder to cheat. As one of the first games to launch on the original iPad, Small World has been conquering empires and breaking hearts for some time, and now it's back (in sequel form), following Days of Wonder's successful Kickstarter drive earlier this year.
Small World 2 takes the empire-wrangling, minion-managing gameplay of the original and lets farm more people get in on the action. The original iPad release was limited to two players: Small World 2 lets up to five get in on the action over Bluetooth and WiFi, or in a pass and play mode, if you don't mind sharing your tablet with others. You can also play online in real-time with GameCenter and Facebook friends, as well as folks using a Days of Wonder account--games will switch to an asynchronous, turn-based mode if your internet opponent slinks away from their device in disgust at their own incompetence.
This has certainly piqued my interest--when Ticket to Ride finally arrived on Android earlier this year, signing up or a Days of Wonder account allowed for cross-platform play between players on the iOS, Android, and PC versions. Small World 2 will be coming to Steam and Android devices later this year, and those players will immediately have a massive number of existing players to take up arms against, always a boon in competitive multiplayer communities.
Small World 2 will set you back $10 on the Apple App Store, easily well worth it. A few more races and special power combinations are available as in-app purchases--much like the physical board game, these expansions simply offer more variety for serious fans, so you aren't going to miss out if you decide to pinch pennies.
If you own the original Small World, just head to the App Store and download the update--it's completely free, likely as remuneration for friendships ended and sleep lost all those years ago.
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