We started playing Small World in a 2-player setup and the race which we found very difficult to play was Dwarves. The con of dwarves is their low number of troops (3), which means that it is hard to exploit their special ability (doubled income from mines, even in decline) as they quickly become short in numbers.
One of interesting setups we tried was flying dwarves which made it easy to catch a few of mines, although on the small map it was also easy for the opponent to conquer the mines rendering the dwarf special power not so useful. After a few tries we ended up avoiding dwarves in 2-player games.
Are there any potentially successful dwarf strategies on the small map, or are dwarves a kind of niche play that is only reasonable in bigger games?