I had also packed up Smallworld with me when I came to spend some Christmas time.
We had time to play two games, one with four players and one with five. Descriptions will be brief, because it's been quite a while since these games were played.
As there was a person who had not played Smallworld, first game was played with no extras.
I'm not quite sure what happened there. Mounted Skeletons/Fortified Wizards combo won the game. It's very rare to see someone triumph by going in decline only once, but here two such players got pretty decent points. If the race combos would have played other way around (Fortified Wizards/Mounted Skeleton and Diplomatic Sorcerers/Dragon Master Pygmies) I think both would have scored a lot more points.
Again I noticed how much the Kobolds suck as a secondary race. They pretty much need to be either first race or chosen when your In Decline race is all but destroyed.
Mounted Skeletons/Fortified Wizards: 87
Wealthy Elves/Seafaring Kobolds/Merchant Leprechaun: 85
Dragon Master Pygmies/Diplomatic Sorcerers: 78
Peace-Loving Goblins/Forest Orcs/Mercenary Amazons: 71
Second game was played with full board just a day before Christmas. This time we had the Tales and Legends card deck with all the cards shuffled and drawn randomly.
For reference I'm writing down the cards and the turn where they were in effect:
2. Forbidden Forest
4. The Art of Combos
5. Gift from the Sky
6. Wizened and old
7. Necromantic Elixir
8. Forest Clump
Three first turns were quite interesting, because both turn 2 and turn 3 had effects that made certain regions unconquerable. For that reason Flying Trolls were a pretty damn good choice, and Heroic Sorcerers, too. Fortified Tritons could've been quite nice too, but they were pretty much beaten and mauled by other races in just one turn. They went in decline right on turn 2.
The Art of Combos on 4th turn was the Imperial special power. Were-Amazons switched to Goblins and they won the auction too. So we were looking at Corrupt Imperial Goblins with a huge fallen Were-Amazon empire to back them up. I believe other players should have already started to beat Amazons at this point, but everyone was busy wrecking Sorcerers and in-decline Trolls by then. Goblins reigned unopposed.
Once Sorcerers went in decline, Seafaring White Ladies tried to cleave four lenght unconquerable in decline empire, but their actions were thwarted, and Sorcerers were surrering pretty much by Barricade Gypsies (a horrible combo, by the way! Would be pretty succesful as a second race) and Mounted Wizards.
Wizened and Old cleared a lot of old races away from board. Last of trolls and sorcerers disappeared.
Corrupt Imperial Goblins won the auction for Necromantic Elixir and they went in decline right away.
Gypsies had finally started anew with Swamp Orcs, who finally started attacking the Amazons of old. But that was way too late. Barbarians had tried to kill some Amazons too, but they went in decline when they were still controlling 5 regions, and punishing Amazons stopped right there.
Mounted Wizards gave way to Catapult Pygmies, and Stout Barbarians picked Berserker Dwarves from the start of turn 6. Nobody really attacked the dwarves, so they could just build their lilliputian mining colony. Berserker Dwarves could've been pretty bad choice otherwise, but they had been skipped six or seven times already.
Anyway... once the goblins went in decline (still fully functional!) and emerged as Hill Ratmen, the game was pretty much over already. The player was getting 18-20 points per turn during turns 6-8.
After counting up there were no suprises - those damn goblins really won the game.
Were-Amazons/Corrupt Imperial Goblins/Hill Ratmen: 103
Flying Trolls/Mounted Wizards/Catapult Pygmies: 91
Fortified Tritons/Stout Barbarians/Berserker Dwarves: 87
Barricade Gypsies/Swamp Orcs: 78
Heroic Sorcerers/Seafaring White Ladies/Historian Giants: 66