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Days of Wonder's Small World app for iPad

By Fred Jandt
Published: June 11, 2010
Small World iPad app1
Days of Wonder's Small World app for iPad
Small World iPad app2
Small World app's main menu
Small World iPad app3
Screen capture of a Small World game app in progress on an iPad
Product: Small World for the iPad is Days of Wonder's port of its popular board game of the same name. The game includes a set of quick-play rules, a guided tutorial and a link to Days of Wonder's Small World resource page on it's website. The tutorial guides you through a complete game with pop-up windows providing tips along the way.

Gameplay: If you've played the board game, then you already know the basics. Each player selects a race/special ability combination and uses it to go forth and conquer the Small World, well, world. The iPad version is a direct lift of its board game brother, so all the races and abilities have the same effects.

Conquering is as simple as touching one of your tiles and sliding it to the space you want to take over. The game automatically calculates the tiles required and deducts them from your total. Once complete you can redeploy your tiles in the same manner. As you finish your turn, the game calculates your total points for the round and shows them to you. Overall points for each player are hidden, but can be displayed with a touch (although it is recommended to cover the total with your hand when you do).

Currently Small World is only a two-player game, but Days of Wonder is planning an update to include a single player versus computer mode.

Marketing: Small World is one of a slew of board game versions coming to the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Besides typical fare such as Monopoly and Scrabble, electronic versions of Settlers of Catan, Rush Hour and Carcassone are available. So the question becomes how does your store benefit from this?

The simple answer is not directly. All of these games are available in Apple's App Store, which your customers can access on their own. But the key phrase in that last sentence was "your customers." While all of these games are available in the App Store, none of them provide the full experience that the board games do. This is where you come in.

Small World is a perfect example of using the iPad to help sell items in your store. Let's say a mom comes in looking for a present for her son's birthday. She looks at Small World, but thinks it might be too advanced for him. She doesn't have time for you to run a full demo (and you don't necessarily want to open the game), so ... pull out the iPad version! You can pop open the app and have a demo running in seconds. Show your customer the rules. Even take them to the Days of Wonder site for more information.

But what if she wants to just buy the app instead? Simple. Explain that the app only accommodates two players and doesn't include any expansions (which you have handy). The iPad app is a great item, but it doesn't give you the full feel of a real board game, especially when it comes to rolling the dice. That said, it and others like it are some of the best presentation tools you will ever find for any product in your store.

Of course, all of this means that you have an iPad to use in demonstrations. If you don't have an iPad, or don't want one, then at least brush up on it so you can be educated when customers come in and talk about it.

However, why wouldn't you have an iPad? The $500 investment for a single iPad could pay back in a variety of ways for your store, not the least of which being able to show off the games mentioned above.

Lastly, the iPad is a new delivery system for games. A highly successful one. It is in your best interest as a store owner to be aware of emerging trends and this is one that has the potential to be a game changer (no pun intended). If you get nothing else from this review, at least be informed so if a customer asks you about the iPad version, you can speak about it as an authority. That's how you get customers to return.

VITAL STATS
Product: Small World iPad app
Publisher: Days of Wonder
MSRP: $4.99
Availability: iTunes App Store

BOTTOM LINE
Start playing in seconds
Same rules as actual board game
Wonderful demonstration tool for customers
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