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Small World has been described as a re-implementation of Vinci, but I've heard that there are some non-trivial differences. How do these two games differ in terms of rules/mechanics and feel of play? (I'm not concerned with the change from Europe to a fantasy map unless it affects play.)

I'm familiar with Vinci but have never played Small World.

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There is an excellent comparison of the two here. Some highlights:

  • Vinci has one big set of powers and you draw two for each race. Small World splits them into Race Powers and Abilities, preventing some combinations from occurring.
  • Vinci charges you two points for each race you skip over, Small World only 1. This modifies the dynamics of which races you might choose.
  • The end game conditions in Vinci are reaching a certain number of points, making the length variable. Small World has a fixed number of turns based on number of players.
  • Small World has different maps for different numbers of players, and you always get the same number of tokens for a race/power combo. Vinci only had one map, but varied the number of tokens a power combo started with based on the number of players.
  • Small World adds a reinforcement dice which gives you a random chance to take over a single province that you wouldn't be able to conquer normally at the end of your turn.

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