[[caption-width-right:266:[[ItsASmallWorldAfterAll After all...]]]]
''It's a world of'' '''S'''''laughter after all!''

Created by Days of Wonder, ''Small World'' answers the question, "What would happen if a EuroGame company decided to produce a lighthearted ''{{Mythology}} [[BoardGame strategy game]]''?" by throwing [[FantasyKitchenSink just about all the known fantasy races]] together onto the same world map in a simultaneous bid for survival and [[TakeOverTheWorld conquest]] - creating an odd genre-blender: a sort of Euro-fantasy-semi-war-game.

''Small World'' is, at the same time, more and less reliant on [[RandomNumberGod chance]] than its better-known board game analogue. Dice are downplayed in combat and, instead, the majority of the luck factor lies in generation of playable races. There are two decks: Racial banners and Special Power badges, each adding a power or restriction while in play and modifying the number of troops available to the player. These decks are shuffled and laid out in pairs, and competition often starts with a race to get a particularly synergistic race/power combo first.

A unique twist compared to comparable board games is that players occasionally need to put their existing [[VestigialEmpire empire into decline]]: players gain victory points from the territory that both their current emprie ''and'' [[OnlyMostlyDead their declined empire control]], but the declined empire cannot continue expanding.

''Small World Races'':
* Amazons: During your Conquests, you may use 4 additional Amazons.
* Dwarves: Collect 1 bonus coin for each Mine you occupy at turn's end, even when in decline.
* Elves: When conquered, you suffer no loss; withdraw ''all'' your tokens from the region.
* Ghouls: Your Ghouls all stay on the map, when going into decline. In addition, they may continue to conquer new Regions during the following turns.
* Giants: Conquer any Region adjacent to a Mountain Region you occupy at 1 less Giant token than usual. A minimum of 1 Giant token is still required.
* Halflings: Your first conquest may be anywhere. Also place a Hole-in-the-ground in the first 2 Regions you conquer to make them immune to opponents' conquests & racial & special powers.
* Humans: Collect 1 bonus coin for each Farmland Region you occupy at turn's end.
* Orcs: Collect 1 bonus coin for each ''non-empty'' Region you conquered this turn.
* Ratmen: No Race benefit other than their sheer number!
* Skeletons: During Troop redeployment, take 1 new Skeleton token from the tray for every 2 non-empty regions you conquered and deploy it.
* Sorcerers: Once per turn per opponent, substitute an opponent's single ''active'' token with a new Sorcerer token taken from the tray, to conquer an adjacent Region.
* Tritons: Conquer all coastal Regions bordering a Sea or Lake at 1 less Triton token than usual. A minimum of 1 Triton token is still required.
* Trolls: Place a Troll's Lair in each Region you occupy, to increase its defense by 1. Troll's Lairs stay when Trolls go in decline.
* Wizards: Collect 1 bonus coin for each Magic Source you occupy at turn's end.

''Special Powers'':
* Alchemist: Collect 2 bonus coins every turn your tokens are on the map.
* Berserk: You may use the Reinforcement die before ''each'' Conquest.
* Bivouacking: Deploy 5 Encampments in your Region(s). Each Encampment increases that Region's defense by 1.
* Commando: Conquer any Region using 1 less token than usual. A minimum of 1 token is still required.
* Diplomat: At the end of each turn, select 1 opponent whose active race you did not attack this turn. He won't be able to attack you next turn.
* Dragon Master: Use the Dragon to conquer a Region using a single token; the Region occupied by the Dragon becomes immune to opponents' conquests & racial & special powers.
* Flying: You may conquer ''any'' Region of the map, not just an adjacent one.
* Forest: Collect 1 bonus coin for each Forest Region you occupy at turn's end.
* Fortified: Once per turn, place a Fortress in a Region to increase its defense by 1 and collect 1 bonus coin (only when ''active''). The Fortresses stay on the map even after your Race goes in decline.
* Heroic: At the end of your turn, place your 2 Heroes in Regions you occupy, to make these immune to opponents' conquests and racial & special powers.
* Hill: Collect 1 bonus coin for each Hill Region you occupy at turn's end.
* Merchant: Collect 1 bonus coin for ''any'' Region you occupy at turn's end.
* Mounted: Conquer any Hill or Farmland Region at 1 less token than usual. A minimum of 1 token is still required.
* Pillaging: Collect 1 bonus coin for each ''non-empty'' Region you conquered this turn.
* Seafaring: When your Race is active, you may conquer Seas & Lakes as if they were empty Regions. You retain these Regions even after going into decline.
* Spirit: When sent in decline, your Spirit tokens do not count toward the "only 1 race in decline" limit.
* Stout: You may go in decline at the end of a regular turn of conquests, after scoring.
* Swamp: Collect 1 bonus coin for each Swamp Region you occupy at turn's end.
* Underworld: Conquer any Cavern Region at 1 less token than usual. A minimum of 1 token is still required. All Regions with a Cavern are considered adjacent.
* Wealthy: Collect 7 bonus coins, once only, at the end of your first turn on the map.

Several expansions have been released, adding new Powers and Races.

There is also ''Small World: Underground'', a sequel which pits other Races with other Powers to control the Underground. It uses the same rules that its predecessor, with a few new rules to spice the game. ''Underground'' is playable on its own, but you can combine ''Small World'' and ''Small World: Underground'' to have an even bigger pool of Powers and Races.

!!'''This game contains examples of:'''

* AbsoluteCleavage / SexyBacklessOutfit: The Priestesses and their... robes. Let's just say their clothes don't leave much to the imagination.
* BuyThemOff: The idea behind the Corrupt power. Whenever one of your territories is taken, the player who took it from you pays you a victory point.
* {{Curse}}: The Cursed power screws over everyone, whether you choose it (it's the only power that doesn't have a troop bonus) or not (by paying 3 victory points to pass it on the queue instead of the usual 1).
** CursedWithAwesome: At least someone can get a decent number of points out of it if it's been on the stack for a while.
** GypsyCurse: Possible with Cursed Gypsies, though it's no more thematic than if used with any other race.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Several in ''Underground''.
* DeathFromAbove: Courtesy of the Flying special power, which lets you attack any space you choose on the map instead of just those adjacent to you.
* [[DefeatMeansFriendship Death Means Recruitment]]: Skeletons gain troops with every few territories they take, presumably representing bolstering their numbers with the corpses of the defeated.
** The Necromancer directly converts dead troops into Ghosts.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: You'd think Tritons would be able to capture sea areas on their own, but (just like any other race) they need to be ''Seafaring'' Tritons in order to do that.
** In ''Underground'': Muddy Mudmen.
* EvilSorcerer: The Sorcerer race certainly looks the part, what with their [[BeardOfEvil goatees]], [[GoodHairEvilHair slicked black hair]] and [[HighCollarOfDoom pointy-collared capes]].
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Added (along with an island) to the lake in the middle of the map with the ''Necromancer Island'' expansion.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The Hordes Of power; No capture bonuses, no special tokens, just lots of troops.
** Creates something of a BadassNormal when coupled with Ratmen, who also forgo special abilities for large numbers.
* ExpansionPack: Several, in true Euro Game fashion. Most add even more races and special powers to the pile.
* GlassCannon: Pixies - introduced in ''Be Not Afraid...'' - come in large numbers but can't leave more than one troop in each of their territories.
** Amazons gain four extra troops while attacking, which can allow them to cut through enemy territories fairly easily. These extra troops vanish after attacking is done, though, so unchecked expansion can lead to brittle defenses.
* IHaveTheHighGround: Mountains are the only natural terrain that grants a defensive bonus.
** The Giants' racial ability is a downhill charge, giving them a bonus when attacking into areas adjacent to mountains they control.
* InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons: The Dragon Master special power gives a race access to [[OneManArmy a dragon token that can conquer any territory by itself regardless of terrain or number of enemy units and makes that space immune to enemy abilities]].
** Thankfully, there's only one dragon token, and it gets removed and replaced every round.
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: The Goblins' ability given them bonuses for attacking races in decline.
* {{Leprechaun}}: Added in the ''Be Not Afraid...'' expansion, complete with [[InexplicableTreasureChests pots of gold]].
* LostTribe: The Lost Tribe pieces, single troops placed on predetermined spaces at the beginning of the game. They don't attack on their own and aren't controlled by any player but must be defeated in order to conquer their territories.
* MassiveRaceSelection: Sentient mushrooms, giant talking rats, tritons, elementals, ogres, spider-centaurs, trolls ... the list goes on seemingly forever.
* MassTeleportation: You can begin a turn by collecting all your remaining active troops from the board and placing them elsewhere as though you'd just selected them as a new race. This can result in a StealthHiBye if you use it to escape an approaching player's advance or to ambush another player's weak areas.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: The White Ladies become invincible after they go into decline.
** To a lesser extent, this also applies to the Priestesses. Upon going into decline, they build a tower, which is not invincible, but is generally more effort than it is worth for any other race to take without a dragon.
* {{Necromancer}}: A player takes this on as a special role in - [[CaptainObvious duh]] - the ''Necromancer Island'' expansion.
* NiceHat: The Skeletons wear cowboy hats (and boots). No explanation is given.
* NubileSavage: They seem to be going for this with the Amazons; They wear strung-together leaves... [[VaporWear and nothing else]].
* OnlyMostlyDead: You can use a turn to put your current race into decline, minimizing their presence on the map and making them unable to act but still netting you victory points in addition to any you'd gain from your new, active combo. Done either way after a couple of turns, when you can't gain anything more with your current race, or sooner if there is a desirable combo on the table.
** NotQuiteDead: Ghouls maintain their numbers and can continue attacking after going into decline.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: Horned Viking helmet; big, scraggly red beard; an axe in one hand and a beer in the other... this is a parody game, after all.
* OurMermaidsAreDifferent: The Tritons [[OneGenderRace are all burly mermen]] with seahorse heads. And that's not even getting into [[{{Stripperiffic}} the starfish pasties]]...
* {{Parody}}: The cartoony artwork of prancing Elves, carousing Dwarves, brutish Trolls and the like should be a hint that this game encourages [[RuleOfFun having a laugh at the expense of a few stock fantasy tropes]].
* PreExistingEncounters: The Lost Tribe pieces; There are predesignated spots on the map to place them on during setup.
* RandomNumberGod: Downplayed significantly in comparison to other strategy games, but players have the option on the last conquest attempt of a turn to roll a D6 (the "Reinforcement Die") once for extra effective troops.
** The Berserk power allows the Reinforcement Die to be used on every conquest attempt.
* RatMen: The Ratmen race.
* [[RecycledInSpace Recycled in the Underdark]]: The stand-alone spinoff ''Small World: Underworld'', with monstrous races more appropriate for the setting.
* RiskStyleMap: None of the sections are named, but the map divisions resemble divided provinces or kingdoms.
* UsefulNotes/{{Romani}}: The Gypsies, added with the ''Grand Dames of Small World'' expansion.
* ScoringPoints: One of the things that sets this game and most other strategy games apart; Victory in ''Small World'' is determined by who can score the most in the allotted number of turns. Although many versions of Risk do now play for points within a turn limit.
* SelfDestructiveCharge: Actually a viable tactic on the last turn, since points are collected at the end of each player's turn and can't be taken away through loss of territory.
* SpiritualSuccessor: To Philippe Keyaerts's ''Vinci''.
* StoneWall: Priestesses become this when they go into decline; They consolidate all their remaining troops into a literal tower of tokens on a single space, with the full defensive and point bonuses of its component pieces.
* TakeOverTheWorld: Averted. This is another difference between ''Small World'' and other strategy games. It's actually impossible for any single race to occupy every space on the map due to limited numbers. It might be possible for a single player to control the entire map between active and declined races, but it would take either the full cooperation of every player or a ridiculous amount of luck.
* TakeYourTime: Averted. Again, this is a Euro Game we're talking about. Everyone gets between eight to ten turns to earn as many victory points as they can.
* TitleDrop: The Cursed power, debuting in the ''Cursed!'' expansion.
* ToWinWithoutFighting: The Peace-Loving special ability rewards you for not attacking another player. (Expansion into unoccupied territories doesn't count towards this.)
* TunnelNetwork: The Underground ability lets you treat all spaces on the board with a cavern symbol as adjacent to each other for movement.
* VariablePlayerGoals: All players are trying to get the most victory points, but the variety of possible race/power combos keeps any single spot on the map from being universally desirable over another. Some players may even actively try to conquer fewer territories based on the bonuses their abilities give.
** The Necromancer in the ''Necromancer Island'' expansion has outright alternate rules, achieving victory when all his Ghost tokens enter play.
* VestigialEmpire: When a race declines, it turns into this, ready for the newest rising empire to take its place, but not quite gone yet.
* WeAreAsMayflies: A preferred strategy for any race with the Stout ability, which lets you decline without dedicating a full turn to it. This makes it possible to pick up a race, spread out, decline, then pick another fresh race the next turn and jump ahead several points in the process.
* WeHaveReserves: Pygmies recover troops based on a die roll whenever any of them are killed. Still fully susceptible to RandomNumberGod, as half the values on ''Small World's'' D6 are zeroes.
* WholeCostumeReference: The Queen token (granted by the Royal power) is wearing the same dress as Disney's Disney/{{Snow White|and the Seven Dwarfs}}. She does not otherwise resemble her at all.
* WhyWontYouDie: When a region occupied by a player is conquered, one defending troop is killed (removed from the game) and the rest are salvaged; Elves and Immortal races have the ability to salvage all of their defenders instead.
* WomanInWhite: Priestesses and [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin White Women]], both introduced in the ''Grand Dames of Small World'' expansion.
* YourSoulIsMine: The Necromancer employs Type Two, turning fallen enemies into Ghosts under his control.
* ZergRush: Possible with races (Amazons, Ratmen, Kobolds or Pixies) or powers (Hordes Of) that offer a large number of troops.