Playing Small World isn't an easy task, as it requires not only strong knowledge of the races and powers, but how to best use them and when to select them. On top of that, board management and troop deployment makes each turn potentially daunting, but here are some general strategies for Small World that hopefully make things easier for you.
Let's begin, shall we?1) Play your game.
You cannot improve at Small World unless you're playing what you want to play. Picking races 'because they're there' will almost always result in worse turns than picking races you want to pick.
Take the regions you want to take, decline when you want to decline, and you'll find that you'll improve over time, and the decisions you make will become stronger. 2) Be attentive to the board.
This one's hard to pick up immediately, but over the course of games, you'll need to notice little things. If opposing troops need farm spaces and you would only get one or two units on said farms, it's probably better to leave the farms for them so you lose fewer troops.
If opponents spread themselves over a large area and you notice that, you can force them to lose a lot of units by attacking them across the map. The more attention you pay to the map, the more informed your choices will be. 3) Pay general notice to the coin stash.
Some people will hate this, and I'm not saying have an idetic memory of what the scores are, but you need to know who's winning at what stage of the game to be best at Small World. If someone's scoring 15 points a turn and they're in the lead, you absolutely must attack them to force a decline. If someone's in last place and not producing enough to threaten you, leave them be and play the aggressor on someone who is a threat.
By knowing the scores roughly, you can plan your next attack, who you need to defend against and what the best way of doing that is. 4) Press the Limits without breaking them.
Amazons start with 10 tokens plus their power's tokens. This gives you a possible 5 regions + at least 1 region from your power. If you can avoid stretching yourself thin over the board, you can claim critical regions and score a lot of points with those 5+ regions. You can use your 4 Amazons for attacking other races if you want, as they're coming back to your hand anyway.
You need to know the limits of your races.
The Dwarves have 3 tokens. The Pixies are only allowed one token per region. The Leprechauns can end up giving other races their Pots of Gold. You cannot afford to overextend with your races, as it will be punished, and your decline may come turns before you wanted it to.5) Get out the second you see a problem.
If you're going to find that you're going to have 3 tokens left at the beginning of your next turn, while only scoring 5 coins, your head is probably shouting 'I should decline sometime soon.' Back that impulse.
If there's going to be an issue that will affect your score negatively, decline, take the big coin hit and get a new Active race.
If your Active race + Declined race is scoring 11+ points per turn and it's not being affected, consider not declining for the rest of the game, but as soon as there's a problem, get out. Decline, take the hit and get a new Active race. 6) Be careful with how many coins you throw away.
Races that aren't on top of the pile cost extra Victory coins. Don't throw away 5 Victory coins to get the really strong power on the bottom of the pile unless you're SURE you can make the coins back with that combo. Your Merchant Pixies may look appealing at first, but if you only end up getting 8 coins, spending 5 for it means you only technically gained 3 coins, which isn't very good.
Make sure that the investment will pay off, if not immediately, very soon. 7) You will lose.
It is impossible to win every game, and you'll find situations where you can't win. Sometimes, going first with certain race combos behind you is the reason you'll lose. Sometimes it's bad play.
The sooner you understand that you're going to lose, the better; as it forces you to learn how you lost and you'll examine your game to see if there was anything you could do better.
Don't just ragequit, it's pointless and you gain nothing from it. Instead, learn what you did right, learn what you did wrong and learn what you need to do in future.8) Attack with Attackers, Defend with Defenders
Commando, Were-, Berserk, Marauding, Mercenary, Mounted, Pillaging are all offensive powers.
It's super critical that you don't waste turns with these powers and rather, you attack units to get the largest benefit. The beauty of Were- is that on an even turn, you can conquer Active races in one big rush, forcing a decline due to all the lost troops.
If you can force someone else to decline thanks to one of your attacking races, then it's a victory for you on that turn.
Inversely, Barricade, Bivouacking, Diplomat, Fortified, Heroic, Merchant, Peace Loving are all defensive powers. If you're going on a rampage with these powers, you're going to end up spreading yourself out over the map, which will mean your units will not last. 9) Make yourself unattackable while exploiting other that aren't.
This is the hardest to do, as you don't have 300 units per turn. The aim is to minimise casualties, while inflicting the highest number. Elves are perfect for this, as you don't lose them if they're attacked. Good redeployment is useful for survival, but to be most effective, you need to combine good defense with wise and powerful attacking. Pick opponents weak points and defend yourself so that you don't have any.10) React to change.
If your opponents change their Active race, change their position on the board or start changing who they're attacking or where they choose to attack, you absolutely have to react to that. If the incoming attack is too much of a threat, decline, get a new Active race and start over. If your opponents decide to attack you and you can trade with them at no relative cost, trade with them on your turn.
It is super important that you understand what's happening and how you can deal with it. If you find that you can't, get out quickly.