In the game Small World, do races with the Spirit special power persist in decline indefinitely, or do they get bumped off the board after the player has two additional races go into decline?

Here is the situation we faced in a 2-player game I just played. I started the game with Spirit White Ladies, grabbed and managed to hold five spaces through my opponent's turn, and pushed them into decline on my third turn. Because White Ladies cannot be conquered while in decline, these five spaces were unassailable and significantly shrunk the board. My second race--Hill Tritons--suffered heavy attrition and went into decline fairly early, but the Spirit special ability kept my White ladies on the board. When my third race--Flying Dwarves--went into decline near the end of the game, the question arose as to whether the White Ladies and the Tritons should be removed from the board, or just the Tritons.

I think under most circumstances this wouldn't be an issue because most races can be eliminated in decline and opposing players normally would try to quickly wipe out the Spirit race in decline. However, in this case the White Ladies' racial immunity to conquest in decline prevented them from being eliminated as I sent two more races into decline after them. So should my White Ladies have stayed on the board after the Dwarves went into decline and the Tritons bowed out?

(In this game, we ruled that the White Ladies stayed and I won thanks in large part to shrinking the board and easily controlling the three spaces the White Ladies had blocked off with Flying Dwarves... but was it the right call?)

1 Answer 1


Yes they will stay on the board because the spirit power overrides the rule that prevents them from being removed while in decline. The White Ladies are unlikely to have a lot of territory as other players are likely to target them strongly before you have a chance to put them in decline.


When the race tokens associated with your Spirit Special Power go into Decline, they never count toward the limit stated in Entering In Decline regarding having a single In Decline race on the map at any given time.

  • It seems like the best strategy would often be to go in decline the turn after taking Spirit White Ladies, so opponents have only one turn to get rid of your tokens. Personally, I would want a house rule nerfing this combo. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 1:25
  • 1
    It's a good combo, but it's hardly better than some of the others in the game. (Were-pixies are one of my favorites, but underworld skeletons are a terror too) Powerful synergies are a feature of Small World, not a bug. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 2:44
  • @Acccumulation It isn't exactly the best combo out there and considering that you won't always see it I don't think there is a problem. In a larger game it is possible that they all get wiped out before there is a chance to put them in decline which would mean the power wasn't worth much.
    – Joe W
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 15:51
  • Thanks to Joe W for the accepted answer. It is a good combo made very strong in this case by the facts that 1) I only had one opponent who was too focused on his own position to recognize the implications of the combo, and 2) I later had a flying race that could snap up the three spaces cordoned off by the White ladies without confining itself to just those spaces. My opponent had to leave the declining dwarves where they were to avoid having his next race trapped.
    – ruffdove
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 19:18

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