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This is a pretty simple question, but I can't find a definitive answer for it.

Let's say that my active race has only a single race token on the board. During another players turn, that last token is removed. When my turn comes around am I allowed to choose a new active race (as my current race was completely wiped out) or do I have to put that race into decline and wait until my next turn to choose a new active race?

My gut feeling is that you need to send your active race into decline, basically skipping your turn and not scoring any points. However, some of the other players are saying that sounds too "unfair." I'd prefer an answer to include an official Days of Wonder ruling, if one is out there.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

You still have to go into decline. This is clarified in the FAQ, where every answer has been made by a Days of Wonder spokesperson:

All active units destroyed

If all your active units are destroyed in one turn you may:

1) Score points only with the in-decline race. or

2) Go into decline and score 0 for that turn. You may not take a new combo this turn

This makes sense to me. If it were otherwise, you would be effectively penalised if you had just one unit left in play. Although having no units is unfortunate, it shouldn't be a strategy to prefer being wiped out in order to skip a decline.

With regard to the "fairness" objection, if you've waited until such a late moment that you could be wiped out, then you've already accrued the benefit of keeping the race active up to now, and this is the price. Small World is all about the trade-off in choosing when to decline. In this situation you've got what was coming to you!

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