Previously, words could snake around on the board, now they have to be in straight lines. Also, the first one to connect all three sides of the triangular board won the game, now the opponent gets one more turn to try and block the winner. The third major change: before you could only flip one of your opponent’s letters, now you flip all you use.
These small changes improve the game a lot. The end game particularly changes from sudden blow to a tough fight. It’s more interesting that way. Here’s a game I’m currently playing in Little Golem. I’m black and I just made a winning candidate move with ID. This was the seventh winning move in the game, I’ve had four (CAP, AX, IODINES and ID) and my opponent three (ICEMAN, PANTS, ISO). Looks good to me right now, but my opponent still has several places that offer easy ways to block me.