I love Smallworld but found myself dissatisfied with using Tunnels for connecting Smallworld with Smallworld Underground. I wanted a way to make them merge more seamlessly, and I also thought it would be nice to have a variable map. Therefore, I began designing map tiles for the game.
After playing with several ideas, I settled on the following for the content of the various tiles:
Since the game already treats many of the Underground terrain types as equivalent to the special icons from the original game, I found that I could make the two integrate fully by giving each territory a primary and secondary terrain. For example, muddy mountains or mushroom farmland.
The next step was to work out how best to combine the various territories into tiles. I decided this was best to use groupings of three:
Here is a sample of artwork for tiles:
Note: Days of Wonder released their own tiles with Smallworld Realms, but it still uses tunnels to connect the surface to underground and so does not address the main issue I was concerned with. However, my final tile shape was strongly influenced by Smallworld Realms as I like how it allows territories to have a varying number of adjacent territories.