A videogame/board game mashup of two '00s classics is now out and about: Small World of Warcraft, which is one of those brilliant names that I'd suggest but which publishers rarely choose. It's a World of Warcraft-themed skin on the board game Small World, with a set of mechanics and clever twists to make the game of rising and falling empires new and fresh for the Alliance and Horde.
Small World is a perennially popular 2009 board game from Days of Wonder. In it, an empire made up of a random combination of "Race" and "Special Power" conquers territory and clashes with other empires, conquering ever-more territory before going into decline. When an empire goes into decline, that player just picks up a new species and gets to conquering all over again. The winner is the person who had the most successful empires over the course of the game.
The World of Warcraft twist comes in the empires to play and the random powers they can have, so this has your Azeroth critters: Blood Elves, Draenei, Dwarves, Ethereals, Forsaken, Gnomes, Goblins, Humans, Kobolds, Naga, Night Elves, Orcs, Pandaren, Tauren, Trolls, and Worgen. The special powers are also WoW-flavored, including things like Archaeologist, Beast Master, Herbalist, Blacksmith, and my favorite: Fishing. There are also artifacts like the Doomhammer, or the famed Ashes of Al'Ar, which is probably the closest you'll ever get to seeing those in any game.
I've had the chance to sit down with Small World of Warcraft, and it's definitely above-average for mashups and branded games. It's designed by original Small World designer Phillipe Keyaerts. Actually, because it incorporates the lessons of 11 years of development on the original game and its expansions in one box, this is probably my new go-to version of the game. It plays a bit like a curated best-of Small World mechanics, plus a few new things like rules to make Horde and Alliance races prefer fighting each other.
You can learn more about Small World of Warcraft on the Days of Wonder website. (opens in new tab)