Best Small World Expansions Ranked & Reviewed

“…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.

🏆 Our Top Picks

In a hurry? Check out our favorites below.

Best Utility

Small World: Realms
Realms adds a bunch of new scenarios and introduces a randomized map. You can use the community made free version, but you wont get all the scenarios and awesome component quality.

 Best Thematic

Small World: Necromancer Island
This adds a true big bad evil guy to the mix that everyone can simultaneously fight while fighting amongst themselves. It adds that little bit of motivation while keeping the same free for all spirit of the original game.

Best Overall: Power Pack 2

Small World: Power Pack 2
You really can’t go wrong with either of the power packs, but I really liked the units and changes that come with Power Pack 2. You get a ton of new races and abilities, and they’re all fun to play. It will definitely extend the game’s shelf life.

Power Packs

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

Small World: Power Pack 1 - Be Not Afraid & A Spider's Web

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:

  • Barricade
  • Mercenary
  • Corrupt
  • Imperial
  • Catapult

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: Be Not Afraid
  • This is an expansion to Small World
  • Adds depth and complexity to the base game
  • Adds Barbarians, Homunculi, Pixies, Pygmies and greedy little...

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: A Spider's Web
  • Age range: 8 and up
  • Number of players: 2 to 5
  • Play time: 40 to 80 minutes

Small World: Power Pack 2

Small World: Power Pack 2 - Cursed! and Grand Dames Expansions

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: Power Pack 2
  • Three previous small world expansions in one box!
  • A tray to conveniently store everything in this power pack
  • 42 various tokens, 98 race tokens

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:

  • Cursed
  • Hordes of
  • Marauding
  • Ransacking
  • Were-
Small World: Cursed!
  • This is an expansion to Small World
  • Adds depth and complexity to the base game
  • 2 New Race banners and tokens (Kobolds & Goblins)

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:

  • Historian 
  • Peace-Loving
Small World: Grand Dames
  • This is an expansion to Small World
  • Adds depth and complexity to the base game
  • Great addition to the popular Small World game

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:

  • Aquatic
  • Behemoth
  • Fireball

They’re nice to have, but not anything groundbreaking that we haven’t already seen. 

Small World: Royal Bonus
  • A mini-expansion for Small World
  • 3 new Race banners and tokens (Fauns, Igor & Shrub men)
  • 3 new Special Power badges (Fireball, Aquatic & Behemoth)

Small World: Sky Islands

Small World: Sky Island Expansion

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: Sky Islands
  • A new expansion for small world
  • The new sky islands board offers additional space for players to...
  • New races and special powers expand the replay ability of the...

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: River World
  • "Adds rivers, ports, and Pirates to your small world collection...
  • "Random events add to the exciting and ever-changing gameplay "
  • "Two double-sided maps lend many new gameplay opportunities "

Small World: Realms

Small World: Realms Expansion

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: Realms
  • This is an expansion that can be used with Small World or Small...
  • Not a standalone game
  • Adds depth and complexity

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: Tales & Legends
  • 2 to 5 players can each play at the same time
  • This is an expansion to Small World
  • Adds depth and complexity to the base game

Small World: Underground

Small World: Underground Expansion

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: Underground
  • Small World Underground - when in a hole keep digging
  • This is a standalone game
  • Recommended for experienced Small World players

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

Small World: Necromancer Island Expansion

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: Necromancer Island
  • Must have a complete copy of small world to play this expansion
  • Ages 8 and up
  • For 3 to 6 players

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: Leaders of Small World
  • Age range: 8 and up
  • Play time: 40 to 80 minutes
  • Number of players: 2 to 5

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.

Small World: 6-Player Board Expansion
  • This is not a standalone game
  • Adds depth and complexity to Small World
  • Also can be used with Small World Underground

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’s 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:

  • Demons
  • Dryads
  • Hydras

Compendium I Powers:

  • Riverine
  • Trapper
  • Automat

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 similar. 

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!

Wrap-Up

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 you friends for their land. 

If you haven’t played the original… you absolutely must give it a try.

Small World
  • High quality European components
  • For 2-5 players
  • Takes 45-60 minutes to play

What’s your favorite Small World Expansion and why? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

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