How To Play: Small World Underground – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Delving into 'How To Play Small World Underground' reveals the intricate dance of selecting races and powers, securing key territories, and the art of timing declines just right. With a bit of strategy and this guide, you can transform from novice to master of the underworld realm!


Welcome strategy adventurers! Whether you’re a seasoned conqueror or new to the realm of Small World Underground, this guide is your magical lexicon for not just playing but mastering the game. Combining a concise outline of the game rules with field-tested strategies for victory, you’ll go from bewildered beginner to tactical tyrant. Let’s delve into the key elements of play and champion-level maneuvers that will pave your path to triumph!

What’s in the box

  • 2 Double-Sided Game Boards
  • 15 Fantasy Race banners
  • 21 Special Power badges
  • 204 Matching Race tokens
  • 9 Popular Places & 6 Relics
  • 9 Black Mountains
  • 8 Mushroom Armors
  • 7 Silver Hammers
  • 4 Vengeance Markers
  • 1 Game Turn marker
  • 1 Balrog
  • 1 Ghost
  • 1 Great Ancient
  • 1 Queen
  • 1 Spiderine
  • 106 Victory Coins
  • 6 Player Summary Sheets
  • 1 Reinforcement Die
  • 1 Rules Booklet

How To Play Small World Underground: Rules Summary

Setting Up The Epic World

Before diving into the mystical lands, ensure an enchanting setup:

  1. Select the proper game board size based on the number of players.
  2. Randomly distribute the race banners and special powers.
  3. Place mountains, popular places, and relics on the board as indicated.
  4. Each player picks a race and special power combination to start.
  5. Hand out victory coins starting with five for each participant.

Embarking on the Gameplay Journey

Mastering the turns to extend your empire:

  1. Conquer adjacent regions starting from a border or a sea space.
  2. Deploy the right amount of troops, considering fixed terrain costs.
  3. Expand while being mindful of not overextending your limited forces.
  4. Use special powers to enhance your conquests strategically.
  5. Collect victory coins for the territories held at the turn’s end.

The Path to Victory

Claiming your rightful throne entails:

  1. Play through a set number of turns as determined by player count.
  2. Amass victory coins through cunning conquests and control of regions.

Grasping Special Rules & Conditions

Tales of old reveal winning hinges on:

  1. Know when to abandon a declining race for a rising power.
  2. Effectively leveraging the unique abilities of relics and places.
  3. Adapt swiftly to random events that shift the landscape’s favor.

Best Small World Underground Strategies

Mastering the Mystical: How To Play Small World Underground with Savvy Race and Power Pairings

Successful conquests in Small World Underground hinge on synergies between races and special powers. Optimal decisions shape your entire strategy. Initially, analyze the board’s layout.

Picking Potent Pairings

  1. Consider race/power combos that complement the available regions.
  2. Target powers that elevate your race’s innate strengths.

Strategic Expansion

  1. Expand deliberately, leveraging unique abilities.
  2. Anticipate opponents’ moves to disrupt their plans.

Adaptable Approach

  1. Adjust strategies as board dynamics shift.
  2. Stay vigilant for power declines, ready to pivot.

Remember, the pairing you choose sets the stage for your dominion in the cavernous depths.

Mastering the Geography of Conquest

Controlling key territories in Small World Underground isn’t just about expanding; it’s about securing strategically important areas that provide ongoing benefits, choke points, or access to certain regions. To excel, consider these tactics:

    Identify Strategic Regions

  1. Focus on territories that bolster your power, like fortresses that provide extra defense.
  2. Protect Resources

  3. Secure regions with popular bonuses early to claim their advantages.
  4. Block and Fortify

  5. Place troops in bottleneck areas to control player movement, deterring invasions.

Adroitly handling these areas intertwines with overall success.

Mastering the Art of Decline

In Small World Underground, knowing when to put your current race into decline can shift the game in your favor. Timing is everything! Firstly, assess your race’s expansion sustainability; if it slows, consider decline. Secondly, always eye the available races; if a powerful combo emerges, set up for a decline.

  1. Analyze Expansion Potential

    When your race’s territorial expansion begins to falter, it’s likely time to enter decline. Hang on too long, and you’ll miss valuable turns harnessing a fresh, active race.

  2. Future Race Synergies

    Monitor the queue of upcoming races. If there’s a synergistic power set coming up, it could be wise to decline soon in preparation for a robust takeover.

  3. Decline Before Challenge

    When you see an opponent preparing to challenge your territory, declining at the right moment can disrupt their plans and give you a strategic edge.

Crowning Your Underground Empire: The Path to Victory

Putting into play all the strategies we’ve walked through for ‘How To Play Small World Underground,’ you’re now armed with the insights needed to dominate the subterranean realm. Remember, mastering your races and powers is the bread and butter of your campaign; seizing key territories paves the road to your empire, while strategic timing of declines could mean the difference between a mere chieftain and a true underground monarch. So gather your friends, pick your battles wisely, and let the conquest for the underworld begin!

Want to know what we think of Small World Underground? Read our detailed review of Small World Underground here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.