Amy’s Adventures in Small World

My friend Alan recently told me about how his 6 year old daughter had learned Small World first on the iPad and then the board game proper. I was very impressed that a 6 year old could learn it and asked him to write a brief article which clearly shows the value and complementary nature of learning games digitally and then in an analogue context, which by the way, she prefers! 🙂

Amy’s Adventures in Small World

by Alan Hatcher

I love games, which goes without saying, and so do the kids. However, my experience is that you can’t take this for granted; you have to work at it, find the time, fire their imagination and drag them away from all the electronic alternatives to keep their interest. I recently bought an iPad, to keep me awake on those long commutes home. At least that was my excuse and within a few weeks it was full of board game apps; goodness knows how that happened, and my six year old daughter has rather taken to one of these. So perhaps I should let her tell you about it in her own words.

Dad, “so Amy what is your favourite game on the iPad at the moment”

Amy, “um, mostly Small World

Dad, “and what do you like about it”

Amy, “it’s a winning game, you can make your pieces go on other pieces”

Dad, “yes, so how else have we played Small World

Amy, “on a board”

Dad, “and which did you like best”

Amy, “on the board, because you can play with four and it’s bigger and you move the pieces”

So there you have it – analogue games to digital games and back to analogue games in one easy jump. I was quite fascinated by this, not least of all because she had taken so well to the game on the iPad it the first place. Once I had explained the rules and with a little help explaining the special roles as we went along it was very intuitive. The iPad won’t let you make an illegal move and does all the adding up and tidying up for you so with trial and error she was making a good go of it. What was interesting was then how well she made the transition to the board game and understood what to do; she knew what the computer did and then could see what we had to do on the board. I doubt that Amy would have understood the game from scratch if we had just approached it as a board game and if we had tried it would have been a steeper learning curve.


For more information about Small World go to –


One thought on “Amy’s Adventures in Small World”

  1. Thats pretty interesting, Small World is the next game to try with my kids (6 and 7). I thought it might work well but was unsure of the different powers/races. I thought that there might be a bit too much going on for them.

    But reading this has pushed it back to the top of the list.


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