“…It’s a world of Slaughter, after all!”
Small World is a whimsical game of constant warfare and friendship-ending skirmishes.
Players mix-and-match fantasy races with insane randomized powers. Some may seem harmless like water-bound elves. Or you may end up with flying orcs rampaging around the battlefield. It’s all completely random.
But what happens after you’ve played the game to death?
Do you begrudgingly pick the bivouacking trolls for the umpteenth time to make an impenetrable wall across the mountains?
After many a game of Small World, you may find yourself hungering for more races and more ridiculous combinations. Luckily for you, there are quite a few awesome Small World expansions and we’re here to show you which ones are actually worth your time.
Check out the top Small World Expansions below:
Our Top Picks for Best Small World Expansions
In a hurry? Check out our favorite Small World Expansions below.
The best place to start expanding your Small World Universe are the Power Packs. Back in the day, there were only small micro expansions that were released as limited edition promos. They can still be found by themselves but Days of Wonder re-released them bundled up, making them much easier to find instead of having to track down each individual mini-expansion.
Let’s see what’s inside.
Small World: Power Pack 1
The first Power Pack is a compilation of Be Not Afraid and A Spider’s Web. It also comes with a tray to hold all the little token bits neatly. I do love tray organizers.
Small World: Be Not Afraid…
Be Not Afraid adds 5 brand new races with their own unique abilities.
- Barbarians: Their ability kind of sucks, but you get A LOT of barbarians to add to the table.
- Homunculi: The longer it stays in the selection queue, the more Homunculi are added until they’re picked up. Very unique.
- Pixies: They’re swarmy with a lot of minions, but can only leave 1 on each territory every turn.
- Pygmies: My favorite in this pack! They roll to take new pygmies out of the box each time one is killed.
- Leprechauns: Can place pots of gold down worth an extra point next turn…if you can keep it.
In addition, there are also 5 new special powers to match up that can be mixed-and-matched between all races, past and present.
It includes these abilities:
They all add new ways to receive coins, but more importantly the added strategies of abilities like corrupt and catapult change how you look at the board adding yet another layer of strategy.
Small World: A Spider’s Web
Spider’s Web is a little smaller, adding only three races and abilities each.
- Ice Witches: They’re cute but annoying. They corrupt the regions they control, making it harder to capture, and when you do take it from them, they’re worth less.
- Skags: They drop loot tokens on everything they conquer. It could be some money or most likely an ambush.
- Slingmen: These horrifying creatures can sling themselves across a region and attack 1 region away. It doesn’t have to be adjacent. Nothing is safe.
For such a small expansion, A Spider’s Web offers a lot of new ways to attack that throws a lot of vanilla strategies out the window. It’s definitely no longer safe to simply hide behind a massive fortress of dudes, especially if those nightmare fuel Slingmen can simply hop over you.
As far as starting points for expansions go, Power Pack 1 nails it. With a ton of new races and abilities, the game feels completely fresh without changing too many of the base rules. It’s a lot more of everything you love about Small World, in a convenient box.
Small World: Power Pack 2
These next two are rather interesting. They’re the product of a design contest where fans could submit their idea for different races and powers. This is the result of over 700 contestants and the final result. The final winners were picked and separated into two different thematic expansions: Cursed and Grand Dames.
Small World: Cursed!
- Goblins: Goblins are all about picking on the weak. They can attack in decline races for cheap.
- Kobolds: Kobolds tend to run in packs, so they always have to have at least 2 in every region. Luckily there’s a ton of them.
The races in Cursed are okay but the abilities are what make this mini-expansion shine. There are a lot of new ways to attack and gain points, and a lot of mean abilities to use against your opponents. One of the cooler new ones is “Were-” which turns your race into a were-animal giving a big boost every other turn.
The big winner in my book though is Ransacking. It allows you to steal coins from your opponents when you attack them. Win-win…or win-lose I suppose.
Cursed includes 5 new abilities:
- Hordes of
Small World: Grand Dames
All of the ladies of Small World play with very unique abilities. The real winner in this group are the White Ladies. There’s only a few, but once they hit the board they aren’t leaving.
- Gypsies: Adds coins to abandoned locations.
- Priestesses: Gather into a powerful white tower during decline.
- White Ladies: Once in decline, they can’t be removed.
The Dames come with 2 new abilities. Both can give you a serious tactical advantage but Historians are my favorite. If there are a ton of in decline races on the board you can quickly load up on victory points. What’s not to like?
Grand Dames includes:
Small World: Royal Bonus
Finally, the last mini-expansion tacked onto Power Pack 2 is the Royal Bonus. It was originally released on Kickstarter, but you don’t have to deal with their system anymore to pick this one up.
Out of the new races the Igors are probably the most interesting. I do like swarmy things, so thematically picking apart the corpses of your enemies to make new soldiers is a really nice touch.
- Fauns: Fauns and Victim gain 1 new race token for each
- Igors: Collect killed player tokens and turn them into new Igors.
- Shrubmen: Forest regions taken by Shrubmen are immune, even during decline.
Royal Bonus comes with 3 new abilities:
They’re nice to have, but not anything groundbreaking that we haven’t already seen.
Small World: Sky Islands
Your Small World gets… bigger?
Apparently islands like to migrate south for the winter and luckily they’ve stopped right above your own personal battleground for supremacy. Don’t worry, the map is still small enough to be irritating and have everyone fighting for both the new islands and the ones below.
To soar above the others, there’s even a host of new races and powers that give some cool new ways to play with your aerial Adirondacks.
Sky Islands adds a brand new board that grants additional coins for holding an entire sky island along with 7 new races and powers.
Small World: River World
Not to be confused with Kevin Costner’s greatest movie, River World is more in line with a traditional big box expansion. It replaces the original map with a new river version that adds quite a few water features and changes up some of the base rules.
River World adds new events that happen at the end of each round and each race gets its own boat to traverse the open seas. You don’t get anything for conquering them unless you have a special ability but they get you from point A to point B.
River World’s new addition is an expansion that isn’t just adding a few new races. It adds a lot more thematic flair to the whole game, so if your player group is looking for something with a bit more pizazz, this one may be the choice.
Small World: Realms
Realms is a utilitarian expansion. That may not sound super exciting, but it holds a special place in this lineup, and that place is randomness.
As if Small World needed more random chance (I hate that die).
Realms adds new tiles that fit together which allow players to recreate their own board. That may not seem like much at first but any fan will know that changing up the board can definitely add a ton of variety to the game. It also comes with several quirky scenarios that you can set up and play, such as the “Rusted Throne”.
Similar to the free print-and-play version made by fans but this one has the added scenarios and high-quality production value you’ve come to know from the peeps at Days of Wonder.
Small World: Tales and Legends
Legends adds over 50 new events to trigger throughout your game. They’re all broken into categories, so some may just become a pleasant surprise or small annoyance, while others can completely decimate your forces on the board.
It’s always fun to add a little bit of story to the world.
Small World: Underground
Okay, so it’s not really an expansion.
Small World: Underground is a standalone game in the Small World universe. Instead of fighting on a brightly-lit battleground, you’ll dive deep underground and fight in a dark cavernous battleground. It introduces all new races, events, and spaces.
Think of it as an alternative starting point to the vanilla game and the next entry wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t mention it.
Small World: Tunnels
Yay, free stuff! If you own both Small World: Underground and original Small World, you’re eventually going to ask yourself, “Can I combine these two to make a Medium-Large World?”
The answer is, “Of course you can!”. Small World Tunnels is a free downloadable expansion that allows you to bridge the gap between the overworld and underworld making a much bigger and more exciting map.
Tunnels are meant to bridge the gap between the original and Undergrounds, allowing you to play both at the same time.
Click here to download Tunnels for free!
Small World: Necromancer Island
If you’ve ever accused Small World of lacking in thematic elements, look no further than Necromancer Island.
Remember that big annoying lake in the center of the board, that only 1 race could possibly maybe use if they have the right power? Well, a Necromancer has set up shop there and that spells bad news for everyone. As player tokens are destroyed, the Necromancer harvests their souls and will continually spawn ghosts to attack everything and everyone.
Players now have to prevent the ever-growing threat of the Necromancer while attacking and defending their territory from opportunistic opponents.
This is a really fantastic expansion that makes the game feel completely different.
Small World: Leaders of Small World
Days of Wonder really like their design contests. Leaders is a new expansion that adds a bit of a twist to the standard gameplay. Each race now has a leader token that grants and works just like any other token. True leaders lead from the front, so they’ll never be able to set foot in an unconquerable space. They’re also worth an extra few victory points in ransom if your opponent captures them, so don’t leave them undefended.
Small World: 6-Player Board
One of the problems with Small World is that you’re always wanting more. Okay, that’s not really a bad thing. If you find yourself in a group of six, however, there’s still hope. All six of you can still play with this expansion. You’ll just have to play in three teams of two.
It’s not just a bigger map board, though. There are a few rule changes along with several new powers that are designed specifically for team play. If you often find yourself in big game groups this is definitely worth the pick.
You’ll need a copy of the original Small World or Small World: Underground in order to use the new boards.
From the Fans for the Fans
There’s a pretty solid cult following for Small World that’s stuck around this whole time. Since Small World is a fantastic gateway game, it holds a special place in many of our hearts as one of the first “real” board games we play. Because of this, there are quite a few fan-based expansions that are completely free to play and download that make your Small World just a little bit bigger.
Community’s Compendium I & II
There are supposedly 2 community-made expansions. There’s really only 1. The first was successfully created and is listed completely free over at BGG. It was community tested to fit seamlessly with the original game, so you won’t find any game-wrecking nukes in the pack. There’s literally no reason not to check it out. It’s free.
Compendium I Races:
Compendium I Powers:
Random Map Expansion
Sick of playing with the same board over and over?
Well, it’s time to get random. This is another free fan expansion that Days of Wonder authorized the fans to use their artwork to make tile pieces to randomize the board. Similar to a Catan setup, this one works very similarly.
Small World: Realms does much the same thing but you can’t really argue with a free price tag.
Click here to download the Random Map Expansion PDF!
For a “Small” World, there really are a ton of expansions to wade through (including a digital version).
That’s not a bad thing because I really enjoy the game. It’s competitive, fast-paced, and ever-shifting. For such a bloodthirsty game it’s also really cute and quirky.
Hopefully, this list helps you narrow down the choices and lets you get back to what’s important, slaughtering your friends for their land.
If you haven’t played the original… you absolutely must give it a try.
What’s your favorite Small World Expansion and why? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.