The Dwarves of Small World, being miners at heart, began digging into the earth from within their caverns, ever searching for more treasure to fill their coffers. Alas, in their greed, they delved too deep and unleashed upon Small World the powers of the Underground…
I played this game for the second time ever today, and during the course of the game the players noticed some rather potent combinations of Places/Relics and/or special powers.
The first is having the Royal special power (or any that would grant immunity to a region) in addition to having a high-scoring region in which to place the Queen.
For example, if a player (namely myself) uncovered the Keep of the Motherland and secured the point-doubling Scepter of Avarice within the Keep; then the player with the Royal special power snatched the Keep away from the other player by scaring off the substantial garrison using, of all things, the Stinky Troll's Socks, and moved the Queen into that Keep; the Royal player now has an invincible region worth at least 4 coins. Even more if said player moves the One Ring (err, I mean, Froggy's Ring… ) into that fortress to sap 1 coin from every neighboring player.
And when going into decline, as the Queen remains behind, despite the fact that the Scepter is no longer usable by the Royals, it is denied to any other player as its region is still invincible!
The second powerful combination—one which happened to help win me the game—is obtaining a race with the Reborn special power and then subsequently getting a race with the Martyr special power.
With the Reborn special power, the tokens in up to two of the in-decline race's regions can be replaced with one of the active race's. After losing the 4-point Keep described above, I saw the Martyr special power in the pool of available powers/races. Unfortunately, it was pretty high up the ladder, meaning I would have to pay much for it.
Luckily for me, the Shadow Mimes were at the bottom. Their special power allows a swap with any other special power available. It's an interesting racial ability and yet another thing I find to be quite powerful.
So I went into decline and later took over the Martyr Shadow Mimes. I then proceeded to use the Reborn ability of my previous race to establish a buffer of Martyrs between the rest of my in-decline tokens and the only other active race in a position to threaten them.
Now, Martyrs grant their race an extra coin for each of their regions that are conquered by other players—in my opinion, an excellent power by itself. So even if another race invaded such a race's territory, it would be as if the Martyr race still owned it for the purposes of scoring.
Another player soon put an end to my rapid expansion via Reborn by getting himself a new race and conquering my in-decline regions. No matter: by then I had obtained the Precious (err, Froggy's Ring ) and had been cashing in quite the score each round, especially after uncovering The Mine of the Lost Dwarf for an additional two coins.
The other players' efforts to strike me down were essentially for naught, as Martyrdom kept paying me for their assaults.
In fact, so powerful was my Reborn/Martyr combo perceived to be that it was suggested that the game be called in my favor a round early. But after tallying scores thus far, it was discovered that the player who took my Keep was not far behind me. We therefore decided to press on in the epic struggle.
So, at the foothills of Mount Doom (from which had issued the Flames in a previous round), the Last Alliance of Mummies and Ogres did battle against my armies of Shadow Mimes. Victory for the Mummies seemed at hand.
But the power of Froggy's Ring could not be so easily overcome. The Alliance was struck down (fittingly, as the Imperial March—Darth Vader's theme from Star Wars—thrummed in the background from our host's playlist) and the Shadow Mimes ruled them all…
The Shadow Mimes, and Froggy wearing his Ring: