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The most amazing collectors edition of a game..ever?


For those unfamiliar with the Small World Designer’s Edition (SWDE) – it’s a very special edition board game that originated from a Kickstarter project that was mostly focused on developing a enhanced version of the Small World app.  Within the write-up for the project, the details of the SWDE were revealed.

Kickstarter overview of SMDE

Unfortunately, many of those who would wanted this amazing edition probably weren’t aware of it.

When Days of Wonder announced that they would be selling the remainder of the print run that weren’t needed for Kickstarter backers, it was welcome news to many gamers who were pining for a copy.

XB1A6839On the day the games were made available, they sold out very quickly.  In about 5 minutes the remaining copies had been sold.  I was lucky enough to have completed the transaction before the supplies were depleted.

The secondary market for copies was quickly inundated with sellers looking to flip their recently acquired copies.  Asking prices of over $1000 were not uncommon.

Upon receiving my set, I was floored by the sheer size and weight of the wooden box.  I’m guessing that the War of the Ring Collectors edition might be similar, but since I haven’t had a chance to see one first hand, I’m not certain.

After seeing some posts on BGG about painting the resin figures, I was hesitant about applying my mediocre painting skills to these valuable miniatures. Luckily, I came across a post from a member who was offering up his painting skills for Small World.  (If you are looking for him, he goes by the BGG user name Benwax123).

After trading a few messages, I decided to take the plunge and have him paint my set.  I was hesitant, as sending off a valuable set of miniatures to someone whom I never met face to face, was a bit scary.  Given he had painted a number of sets prior to mine, I concluded that he was probably reliable – or else – someone on BGG I’m sure would have raised the concern on the thread.


I carefully packed up my miniatures.  I ordered some small bubble wrap bags from Amazon to help ensure their safe arrival.

I sent them out, and crossed my fingers for no damage.  A few days Benwax123 sent me over a note indicated they had arrived safe and sound.

It looks a few weeks for my turn in the queue and Ben let me know that painting was starting. It was about one month from shipping to completion.

Here are some pictures showing the painted miniatures.



And another



And another


Very happy with how these came out and looking forward to it’s first play.




One of the coolest things about the designer edition is the heavy wooden tiles that are used for races tokens .  Think scrabble tiles.



Each race is packed in its own box, which has a flocked insert that is designed to fit the exact number of tiles needed for each race.   This is a nice extra touch that shows how much thought went into every aspect of the production of this special edition.

Also, the Race Banners and Special Power badges are created from think wooden stock.   The image below shows the standard edition compared to the Special Edition.



Another great element of the SWDE is the metal currency.  I was surprised to find all of the coins were individually wrapped.


This next image shows the regular edition currency along side the Designer Edition equivlents.


Since Victory Points are kept secret, the SWDE includes drawstring bags for each player to store their Victory Point coins.

Overall,  the Small World Designer’s Edition is an over-the-top amazing edition of an extremely popular game.  I imagine that over time the value on these sets will continue to rise, as it seems unlikely that a more impressive version of this game will be developed.  If you enjoy collectors edition games, this might be the best one out there.




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Spotlight On: Word Frequency Analysis on BGG

Here’s a thread on the ‘geek that analyzes how often players use specific gaming terms in relation to a game.  As  data geek by career, I find this type of analysis to be an interesting way to find games that fit a certain style.

For instance, the word ‘fun’ appears in 269 out of 487 comments for the game Terror in Meeple City.   Does this mean that Terror in Meeple City is the most fun game?  Maybe.

I won’t recap all of the details here, but it’s worth a read if you are into this type of thing.



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Spotlight: Top Strategy Articles of 2014 on BGG

Like most gamers, I find to be an indispensable resource for all things gaming.   The problem is that sometimes (ok, almost all of the time) it’s like drinking from a fire hose.  So much information it’s hard to digest.

Sometimes really great content surfaces to the homepage while it’s hot, but over time, it disappears and becomes more difficult to find.

From time to time, my hope it to highlight some of these great articles.

So my first item is the Top Strategy Articles of 2014.

bgg_top_strategy articles


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Spotlight On: The Esoteric Order of Gamers



In my ongoing pursuit of the best gaming accessories, I came across a fantastic resource for reference materials.  The site is the Esoteric Order of Gamers.  The focus of the site is on thematic games, but they also have some rules summary documents for less thematic titles such as Agricola.  A very impressive site…



Here’s a few links to some rules summary as examples of their work:

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Battlestar Galactica

Kudos to the folks at