In Small World: Underground, in our first game, one player managed to pick up the Immortal Iron Dwarves. I understand that the race/power combinations are not supposed to be balanced, but even once the other 3 of us realized how awesome Immortal Iron Dwarves were, we just could not figure out a damn thing we could do about it.

He was able to spread out and leave only 1 token in every region, but our taking those regions didn't hurt him at all since he got the tokens back (Immortal).

Then, with his hammers, he could take any region he wanted no matter what the defense. He was able to just do whatever he wanted.

We realized that Vampire could actually take tokens away from Immortal, but Vampire wasn't immediately available. Is there anything we're missing about how to counter Immortal Iron Dwarves?

  • Not quite a dupe, but the answers in boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/65 can apply to this situation just as well.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 23:51
  • 1
    The specifics of what makes that combo overpowered are quite different, though. The same exact tactics won't really work here.
    – lilserf
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 16:30

2 Answers 2


I think it's important to realise that it's not just your group: a lot of people have been grumbling about the Immortal Iron Dwarves combination. I've seen plenty of suggestions that it should just straight up be banned. You're not "missing something" about how to deal with it - it's just very, very good, definitely to the point of being too good.

Having said that, if like me you prefer to play games as printed, even if that means occasional sessions where the odds are seriously unbalanced... presumably a player will have to pay top dollar to grab the combo if it turns up, since everyone knows how good it is. All the other players will (or should) team up to impede the Immortal Iron Dwarves' progress. Keeping them out of Mines so that the Silver Hammers don't rapidly accumulate seems like a top priority, and I think "he could take any region he wanted no matter what the defence" is a little bit of exaggeration: stacking piles of defenders up on the Dwarves' borders is going to slow them down, at least before they've been able to secure their full complement of Silver Hammers.

Yes, it's tough when a player has a combo that's just streets ahead of everybody else's, and what should have been a fun, balanced 4-player game turns into a three-against-one. But this is a known hazard of playing Small World, and the options are really limited to either banning known broken combos as a house rule; or accepting that every so often an annoyingly unbalanced game scenario will arise. But even so, think of the glory if the other three of you manage to destroy the Iron Dwarf tyrant against overwhelming odds! It'll be the best story since some puny hobbits managed to make it to Mount Doom and take down Sauron!

  • Interesting! Yeah, just knowing this combo now will hopefully help some as we'll definitely act faster against that player next time.
    – lilserf
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 16:26
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    Also this answer should get +1 just for the excellent use of "streets ahead."
    – lilserf
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 16:31

I was able to defeat an immortal dwarves combo in a 3-playergame with one new player ( so no help from him). The key was killing his race in decline so that he had 'only' 11 points a turn. Hide on the other side of the map and try to accumulate more than 11 points a turn. Do not fight them!!!

It's a good combo, but it only gives them map pressure. Just go for the points and play your game while trying to avoid them.

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