Small World: Sky Islands

Do you like Small World? Did you stop buying the expansions a couple of years back, because there were simple too many of them? Well, perhaps it's time to remedy that.

Small World: Sky Islands
Posted December 22, 2019 by Jay Kay
  • Designer(s): T. Alex Davis & Philippe Keyaerts
  • Publisher: Days of Wonder
  • Playercount: 3-6
  • Length: 30-80min
  • Age: 6+

Note that this review asumes you're familiar with the Small World base game.

Components

  • Double-sided board (2 or 3 Islands)
  • 7 Fantasy Race banners
  • 7 Unique Special Power badges
  • 94 Matching Race tokens and 4 Lost Tribe tokens
  • 5 Zeppelin/Burning Region tokens
  • 5 Trade Pact tokens
  • 3 transformed Drakon tokens
  • 2 Lightningbolt tokens
  • 2 Cannon tokens
  • 2 Access point to the Sky Islands tokens (Beanstalk and Stairway).
  • 1 “END” token
  • 1 Summary Sheet
  • Rulebook

As you can see, this expansion comes with a new board (Sky Islands) and 7 new races.

Setup

As the Sky Islands adds more areas to conquer, you will have to use a board that accomodates 1 player less than the number of players. For example  in a 4-player game, you will use the 3-player board from the base game and the a Sky Island board. The Sky Island board is double sided, one with 3 islands and one with 2, and you are free to choose which one you want to play.
The Sky Islands are accessed from the base board by the Beanstalk or the Stairway, the location of these are randomized, but it's recomended that you keep them apart, and keep them away from the border zones.

Also, In 4- and 5-player games, put the “END” token on the last spot of the Game Turn track to remind you that the game lasts one turn less due to the change of board. In 3- and 6-player games, you play to the end of the turn track for that board.
That's it. You're ready to play.

Rules

The Sky Island zones work just like normal zones, but you cannot access the sky island in other means than through the Beanstalk or the Stairway (unless you can fly..). You also cannot start there unless you have a special power that says so. If you hold all the zones in on Sky Island at the end of your turn, you will get one extra coin. So there's the incentive to go there in the firt place.

New Races

  • Drakons: Each turn,transform 0-3 Race tokens into Dragons. These work in the same way as the Dragon from the base game. They are removed next turn.
  • Scavengers: When Scavengers conquer an In decline region, race tokens that would normally be discarded stay in place and add to the region’s defense.
  • Khans: Khans earn an extra coin per hill or farmland. However, other regions are worth one less coin.
  • Wendigos: Once per turn, choose any forest: remove all race tokens here and give an extra Race token to the Wendigos.
  • Escargots: Receive coins for occupied tegions at the beginning turn, not at the end. Coins from Special Power work like normal.
  • Scarecrows: When a player conquers an active Scarecrow region, that player earns an extra coin from the bank.
  • Storm Giants: Can start in the Sky Islands. Get two Lightning Bolt tokens; with them conquer any mountain region by using a single race token.

New Special Powers

  • Airborne: During the turn when the Airborne power is selected, conquests follow normal requirements but they cost two less Race tokens than normal.
  • Exploring: At the end of each of your turns, you receive a Victory coin bonus equal to the number of Regions you occupy on the Ground or in the Sky Islands, whichever is less.
  • Goldsmith: The Goldsmith Race earns 2 more coins per Mine Region. Any other Region is worth one coin less (But not less than 0).
  • Gunner: You get two cannons. With these you can conquer adjacent regions for 2 less. They enter the game "inactive" and must be flipped to the "Fire" side before they can be used. When they are inactive they can be moved to other regions.
  • Haggling: You receive 5 Trade Pact tokens, which you can give to other players. If players with these pact tokens attacks any of your regions, he or she must pay you the ammount of coins equal to the number of Pact tokens he has. On the other hand, you must pay him if he does NOT attack you.
  • Racketeering: When another player chooses a new race, you earn as many VC as the number of skips they make. On decline, your next race is free.
  • Zeppelined: You will have access to 5 zeppelin tokens which you can use to conquer any region of the map. You must roll the reinforcement die, aand apply it as it was a final conquest. But if you roll 0 the zeppeline crashed and the defender must remove 1 token, and get the rest back in hand. The attacker must also remove a token and the zone is set on fire. This zone is immune to conquests and specials abilities until next round.

That's pretty much it when it comes to rules and game play. The small world: Sky Islands rulebook can be found here.

OPINION

The good

  • The Sky islands are a small, but cool adition to the game. Makes the game even tighter and more competative.
  • 7 new races and 7 new Special Powers are generous compared to some other expansions.

The bad?

  • Nothing bad to say really.

CONCLUSION

This expansion is probably the best one up to date. 7 new races and 7 new special powers, most of them interesting. The Sky Islands and their accesspoints will be fiercely competed for, which is what this game is all about. But in the same time, another player might focus to dominate the base board instead.... Again, probably the best small world expansion.

Great stuff, 8/10.

Get this expansion from one of these online retailers. Should cost you around 25 bucks

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