Top 10 Small World Races
Not too long ago I did my Top 10 Dice Throne characters. I thought it would be fun to continue going down that Top 10 line where it is more focused on a single game than it is for a series of games. Sure it is more specific, but I hope that you enjoy it. For Small World, I am going to only rank the characters in the base game getting my Top 10 that way. I do have the “Be Not Afraid” expansion, but I want to keep it to what you’ll get just playing out of the base box. Everyone will have those characters if they have the game.
They almost didn’t make my list, but they are good. I mainly find that the elves are annoying. They don’t lose a troops when they are killed in a battle, so you can run with elves the whole game. So it’s annoying to decide when to go into decline, because you’ll likely always be getting solid points from them. But they are annoying to deal with as well because you can’t kill them to get them off of the board. They can be a bit of a trap race if the combo is wrong because you get decent points each round, but not enough to get close to being in first. But you still keep playing them, because you get decent points.
This might be higher on some people’s lists, because they can work really well in the right combos. Getting extra coins for taking over spots is always good. But they have limited numbers. Generally, you’ll see, I like the races with a lot of character tokens. But the orcs can be a nice, rush in there, get points, go into decline team. Even something like the special power stout with them works really well because you don’t have to waste a turn while they are in decline getting limited points potentially.
Dwarves are another race that has very few tokens. In fact, probably the fewest tokens of any race. But I don’t mind them because they are a good point getting race. The fact you can still get points while in decline is great. I like trying to hide one or two on mountain spots with mines so that I can quickly go into decline but still be collecting a few points a turn from them and put them in that harder to get to spot.
Trolls are the ultimate turtle team. By that, I mean when you play them, you can possibly just only play them. If you have the right combination with a special power that is giving them some points passively. Merchant for example, which is a special power that I don’t love, but can work with a defensive race. Getting 2 coins, plus being able to more easily defend a location is great. If you can get into the mountains with the trolls, they are hard to get out of there. Plus their lairs stick around when they go into decline. That’s not that common and makes them, hard to move even when they aren’t active.
The next two are pretty similar, I just like the other one slightly better than the giants. Giants give you a discount when attacking down from a mountain. Anything that makes conquering a region easier is really nice. Plus they are coming down from the mountains which gives you better defensive position with them. That said, getting into the mountains in the first place isn’t discounted, so that’s why they are slightly lower than the one to come.
Tritons are, in my opinion, slightly better than Giants. Mainly because they only care about being next to the shore to get their discount. And most of the maps, you can navigate from shore to shore relatively easily, possibly without ever leaving a shoreline. That makes them a great race to rush a large number of areas. The big reason they are ahead of the giants is that the Tritons are less situational. For the giants, someone could be entrenched in the mountains and make it hard for the giants to get a foothold. For the tritons, they can basically always have a weak spot to start.
Now we’re getting into the races that I really keep an eye out for. Skeletons add in more skeletons the more you attack. They are one of two races which grow over time. And while theirs might not be as strong a good combo, something like the special power commando makes them hard to stop. Even without a great combination, you can really push them around the map. They are a good one to come in and squeeze a player who is doing well or wipe out a large group of a race that’s in decline.
Much like the Skeletons, the Amazons can wreck someone’s strategy. I really like how theirs works in comparison to Skeletons. While with the skeletons you add more, the Amazons actually lose some when it’s not your turn. But then you get them back for attacking. Again something like commando is great for them. Pillaging Amazons is also a little bit crazy with everything that they can do. I will at times seek them out in the right combination over the next two.
Ghouls are fun because they are extremely unique. When they go into decline, you don’t take anything off of the board, and they spread like they are an active race. Now you lose your special power, but that’s okay. Being able to attack in multiple different areas keeps people from being able to focus as easily on your troops. And you can get some huge turns depending on who the ghouls are paired up with.
I’m not sure if people would consider this the top race. But I do, for one main reason, they can deal with the elves. But beyond that, they can spread extremely fast. The sorcerers once per player per turn, can replace an adjacent single enemy character with a sorcerer from the supply. In a four or five player game, you can spread quickly. Give them flying or underworld and they can pop up almost anywhere on the board. And like I said, they deal with the elves who don’t lose troops when they die, but being replaced by the sorcerer, they go back into the supply container. It’s hard to find a downside to the sorcerer, unless it’s early game, then players haven’t spread out enough.
Now, if I were to add in stuff from the Underground base game/standalone expansion, and the Be Not Afraid expansion, I could probably change this up. But just the base game, there are a lot of fun characters to try out. What are your favorite races? What is your favorite race and special power combo? For me, I’d have to say flying sorcerers.