In Small World, players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all.
Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as a fantasy follow-up to his award-winning Vinci, Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs, and even humans, who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.
Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires – often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory!
On each turn, you either use the multiple tiles of your chosen race (type of creatures) to occupy adjacent (normally) territories – possibly defeating weaker enemy races along the way, or you give up on your race letting it go “into decline”. A race in decline is designated by flipping the tiles over to their black-and-white side.
At the end of your turn, you score one point (coin) for each territory your races occupy. You may have one active race and one race in decline on the board at the same time. Your occupation total can vary depend on the special abilities of your race and the territories they occupy. After the final round, the player with the most coins wins.
Small World has had several expansions. Some add new races and special powers, including one only available to Kickstarter backers of the digital version of the game (Royal Bonus); some add new mechanics or gameplay elements. There is a standalone expansion, Small World Underground, that introduces a new set of maps with different region types and rules, including new Righteous Relics and Popular Places that give bonuses to the player that controls them, in addition to many new races and special powers. Small World Realms comes with hexagonal pieces to allow players to make their own gameboards, and tunnel tokens used to connect the original Small World maps to Small World Underground maps (originally released as a separate expansion). The latest expansion includes a 6-player map with the Original Small World on one side, and Underground on the other. It also has rules for team play, and new Righteous Relics and Popular Places designed to be used in team play.
The Small World Designer Edition, a special version with tokens printed on wooden blocks, pewter miniatures for the terrain features, and all of the official expansions included, was available initially to Kickstarter backers of the second digital version of the game and later made available to the general public.