Select your starting civilization's fantasy race (elves, dwarves, humans, etc.) and special power and then conquer as much territory as possible in a world not quite large enough to accommodate everyone peacefully. Victory points are awarded each round based on how much territory you occupy. There are also many ways to earn bonus victory points, based on your race and special power.
The first turn primarily establishes initial position, but it eventually becomes apparent that choosing which of your fellow settlers to attack will be required at some point. As your initial race spreads out and thins out, you reach a point where further expansion is not profitable.
Deciding when to go into decline (retain your current territory but cease expansion), then selecting a new race and power to enter the game, is one of the key strategic elements of this fast-paced and lighthearted game. If you haven't played before, please attend the demo or read the rules on-line and you will be able to pick it up quickly.
We will be playing 4-player games as much as possible during the heats, with 3 player or 5 player games as needed. The GM will play only if needed to optimize numbers. The default game is the original Small World without race or power expansions. A few people needed to go back to their rooms to retrieve their copies last year so please bring your copy of the game if you have one.
Based on feedback from last year, turn order will be assigned randomly at the start.
Although I have detected no correlation between starting position and finish order, it is true that my previous system allowed players to select who sat to their left and right, if they were so inclined. This year each player will be assigned a seat and starting position randomly.
The player with the most victory points at the completion of the last turn wins the game. In case of ties, the player with the most tokens on the board (active and in decline) wins. If there is still a tie (which has not happened in my time as GM), then both players receive credit for the win. If this happens after the first round, then a coin toss will determine the winner.
The game winner is responsible for turning in the summary sheet at the end of each game.
Last year several winners had to be turned away from the semifinal. I would like to allow all heat winners to play in the semifinal, so I am making a few changes this year. First, I am going back to two heats. That alone should ensure that all heat winners advance. Just in case, I will also expand the field to 25 if necessary, rather than limiting it to 20 as has been the case for the past several years. If I had used five-player semifinal games last year all winners present at the start of the semifinal would have been able to play.
If 20 or fewer winners appear at the start of the semifinal, a total of 20 winners and alternates will advance to play 5 4-player games, as in the past. If more than 20 winners appear and there are enough alternates to fill out to a total field of 25, then 5 5-player games will be played. If fewer than 16 winners appear, then three-player games will determine the finalists. In any case, the 5 semifinal winners will advance to a 5= person final, and the 6th place overall finisher will be the player who finished second in the semifinal round to the eventual champion.
Tiebreakers, and order for semifinal seeding, are as follows:
- Most wins.
- Win in first heat entered.
- Win in second heat entered.
- Total points in games entered, where for each game your points equal the ratio of your score to the score of your highest scoring opponent (resulting in a number no greater than 1) plus 3 points for a win and 1 point for second place (or for a five player game 4 for first, 2 for second and 1 for third; only 2 for the winner in a 3 player game)
- High dice roll.
Two years ago several alternates made it into the semifinals due to no-shows, so I encourage everyone on the alternate list to come to the start of the semifinal. I will post the rankings shortly after the completion of the second heat.
Days of Wonder will once again provide special prizes, such as expansions to the original game. This year the top six semifinalists will win prizes. This includes the five winners and the closest runner-up as a percentage of the winner's score. Note that the closest runner-up is not necessarily the sixth place finisher of the tournament (see above). The special prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the semifinal round.