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Tales and Legends expansion for Small World by Days of Wonder

By John Kaufeld
Published: June 17, 2010
Small World Tales and Legends box
Small Worlds Tales and Legends
Tales and Legends cards
Some cards from Tales and Legends
Product: The Tales and Legends expansion takes Small World in a new direction. Where their two previous expansions added more races and special abilities, Tales and Legends takes the special abilities concept to a whole new level with "event cards."

The expansion ships in a single tuck box. It includes 54 full-color cards featuring the same style of artwork as the game itself. The box also contains instructions, variants, a pair of marker cards ("upcoming event" and "current event"), and two blank cards that let players design heir own legends and tell their own tales.

Gameplay: Tales and Legends adds one step to the setup process: shuffling the events and drawing a small deck of event cards. The card comes into play at the beginning of the second turn. The card changes the game's rules for that turn alone. A new card replaces it at the start of the next turn. The process continues through the game's last turn.

Each card's rule change ranges from minor, such as earning an extra victory point with each conquest, to "legendary," like preventing all races from going into decline for a turn.

In a very smart design decision, the expansion builds on Small World's existing approach of showing players their options and letting them plan ahead. At the start of the game, the event deck is placed face up next to the board on a card labeled "upcoming event." That event comes into effect on turn two, so all players have the first turn to analyze the event text and plan their strategy around it.

At the beginning of the second turn, the first event card moves to the "current event" area. This reveals the next event card in the "upcoming event" stack. Players continue their strategy-building process by looking at both this turn's event and next turn's impending one. This approach lets the expansion mix up gameplay, while still giving players control over their choices. It's a brilliant touch.

In addition to the game text, each event card carries two icons assigning a theme and describing how much impact that card's special text inflicts on the game. When creating the event deck at the beginning of the game, players can customize their deck by selecting only cards from a specific theme or a certain level of impact. This gives the players a lot of flexibility in how this expansion works in their games.

Marketing: Small World players will want this expansion. With its small physical size and relatively low price point, the Tales and Legends expansion makes an easy sale to players who already enjoy the game.

During the holidays, a card deck-sized expansion is a perfect stocking stuffer. Make sure you promote it with a shelf-talker or in your stand-alone stocking stuffer display.

If the original games sold well in your store, consider combining this expansion with the first two race and special ability expansions (Grande Dames of Small World and Cursed! are currently being reprinted and should be available soon).Those three pieces together create a natural bundle that's an easy gift option for grandparents, non-gaming spouses, and significant others.

The cards do not fit standard or Euro-sized deck sleeves, so don't offer sleeves as an up-sell option.

VITAL STATS
Product: Small World Tales and Legends Expansion
Maker: Days of Wonder
Stock No.: 7905
MSRP: $15
Availability: Alliance Game Distributors

BOTTOM LINE
Lots of challenges and play variants make this a great value
Low price point makes an easy up-sell item with base game sales
Bundle with first two expansions (DOW 7902 and 7903) for great holiday item
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