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I have recently bought Small World and I'm loving it. I find it hovers just on the edge of what I find an acceptable play time, but I figure that once it's learned, we can speed it up a bit.

I'm sure I'll want to get into the expansions sooner or later, but I know in some games (such as Carcasonne) each expansion makes the game take longer.

Are there any changes in any of Small World's expansions that lengthen play time?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Most of Small World's expansions (Grand Dames, Be Not Afraid, Cursed) just add additional races and powers. Those won't lengthen the game.

  • Realms adds a modular board and scenarios. Those will presumably add to the setup time a little, and some of the scenarios might also take longer than an ordinary game.
  • Tales & Legends adds events, which will take a little extra time to resolve and consider the consequences of.
  • Tunnels allows you to play with six players and combine the base game with the standalone follow-on game Small World Underground. It's difficult to imagine that both factors wouldn't considerably increase the play time.
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+1, but, Adding races does increase the setup time, due to additional randomization needed (more abilities need to be randomized too) – user1873 Sep 22 '12 at 15:20
@user1873: I'm sorry, but did you just say: "shuffling 15 race cards takes longer than shuffling 12"? Or is there more to randomizing with these new races? – tugs Sep 24 '12 at 16:41
@tugs, indeed I did. For sufficiently large deck size, the number of riffle shuffles approaches 3/2 log (deck size). Piling the cards and mixing them on the table has much the same problems to be truly random, the difficulty of making sure that each card is equally likely to show up at each location increases, tl;dr;… – user1873 Sep 24 '12 at 21:10
Ok, perfect. Thanks for the info. – tugs Sep 24 '12 at 21:45
@user1873 Not that 12 is a very large number, but log 15 / log 12 is ~1.09, and 1.09 times not very long is still not very long. – Jefromi Oct 24 '12 at 1:49

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