A Small World race must continually expand into new regions if it is to continue to earn Victory coins. But it will inevitably become over-extended - losing its effectiveness to defend its current territory or conquer new lands. The key to victory in Small World is knowing when to abandon your current empire and begin building a new one.
To put your weakened race In Decline, you turn its Race banner upside down, discard its Special Power (unless it still applies when in decline) and then turn over a single Race token in each of the regions you currently occupy.
The player can make no conquests the turn his race goes In Decline. However, those In Decline tokens are still valuable and will earn Victory coins at the end of the turn and as long as they stay on the board. Unfortunately, they are (with one ghoulish exception) unable to attack.
At the start of the next turn the player selects a new Race and Special Power combo from those available and begins building a new civilization. Once the new Active race has begun conquering regions, you now collect Victory coins from this new race, as well as from left-over tokens of your In Decline race. However, each player can only have a single race in decline at a time, unless...
When the Race tokens associated with the Spirit Special Power go In Decline, they can stay on the map, even if a second Race from that player goes In Decline. You may end up with two different races In Decline on the map at the same time, and score for them all! Your In Decline Spirits will only leave the map when taking losses from opponents' conquests.
Ghouls have special powers when In Decline. Ghoul tokens all stay on the map instead of the usual 1 per region. Even when In Decline, your Ghouls can continue to conquer new regions each turn, playing exactly as if they were still active tokens. These ghoulish conquests must be done at the start of the turn, before any conquest by your active race.
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