UK’s Sun has a front page article about a woman who neglected her children and let her dogs starve to death while she obsessed over an online virtual reality game. The woman has been banned from the internet and from owning pets, and given a suspended sentence and community work.

So far so good.

The problem is that the game named by the Sun is Small World from Days of Wonder. The Sun splashed a big picture of the game box and described it as a game “where dwarves and giants battle to conquer the world”. The various UK newspapers who picked up the story dug deeper and included other pictures of the game and links to BGG and DoW. The Daily Mail even included an extensive sidebar about the game, including the helpful sentence “Unlike virtual worlds – where players assume an avatar and interact directly with each other – Small World is played like a traditional board game where you spread out your ‘army’ to take over nearby territories with the aim of taking over the whole board.”

And there’s the problem: Small World is an Ipad-based board game, not a virtual reality game. SmallWorlds by Outsmart is a virtual reality game.

I contacted the Sun, who passed me along to Roger Pearson of UK Law News (the Sun article was written by Chris Pollard). Roger told me that during the Maidstone Kent court proceedings, wherein the reporter picked up the story, the game named was, indeed, “Small World”, and not “SmallWorlds”, but that no description of the game was given at court. Which means that the description, pictures, and other detail were added by journalists after the core of the story was written.

Roger cheerfully admitted that the game could have been SmallWorlds. Which it probably was.

Update: Mitch Olson, co-founder of, posted in his forums that the event is tragic, but, according to the news sources, it’s not his game but Days of Wonder’s. A comment later in the thread uses the pictures in the news articles as proof of this.

Update: Days of Wonder weighs in, justifiably angry. So does Rock Paper Shotgun.

Update 9/15: Mitch notes that there is confusion as to which game was involved. Regardless, the story is tragic, and his company will take steps to ensure that their gamers act responsibly.