Small World Expansions and Versions: 2024 Guide

Looking for the best Small World Expansions? Look no further. While Small World Sky Islands is my top choice, there are plenty of Small World expansions to enjoy.

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Since it was originally released in 2009, Small World has captured the hearts of gamers across the globe. It sits in that sweet spot, balancing simplicity with complexity and luck with strategy. Small World also appeals to a wide range of ages, making it a great family game.

But with any game, it can get repetitive after a while. When that happens, an expansion is the best way to breathe new life into a game. Small World has launched several expansions over the last several years.

I like the scope and theme of Small World Sky Islands. It comes with seven new races and special powers, adding a lot of variety to the gameplay. However, there are other Small World expansions that focus on events, as well as Power Pack bundles.

Which expansion will you use for your next conquest? Keep reading to find out.

At a Glance

The best Small World Expansions are the ones you will actually play, of course!

If you want a stand alone game, I recommend Small World Underground. It’s strikingly similar to original Small World.

If you’re looking for a Power Pack, I recommend the Small World Power Pack #1. This is a great place to start for those new to Small World Expansions.

Of course, if you just want the best Small World Expansions, my overall pick is Small World Sky Islands. It’s highly entertaining and adds a lot to the game while keeping the feel the same.

All Small World Expansions are suited for players ages 8 and up.

Ready to read about the best Small World Expansions? Let’s continue.

Small World Expansions: Reviews

Small World Sky Islands: Best Small World Expansion

Players: 3-6

Playing Time: 45-80 minutes

Small World: Sky Islands introduces seven new races and powers to the Small World base game, but it also gives those races new territory to fight over.

Place the Sky Islands board so that it shows two or three islands in the sky. You choose. Then use the Small World game board as if you were playing with one fewer player.

Place access points to the Sky Islands on different regions of the board. The access points are cleverly dubbed the beanstalk and the stairway. Any time a race stands on one of the access points, they can try to conquer the space on the sky islands that shows the matching symbol.

Small World: Sky Islands

Sky Islands also adds a new board. The new board depicts small floating islands in the sky. You get an additional Victory Point for each island completely occupied by your troops.

The seven new races include:

  • Escargots: Earn coins for occupied regions at the beginning of your turn versus the end.
  • Scarecrows: Awards a conquering player an additional victory coin.
  • Khans: Earn an extra coin for each Hill or Farmland region you occupy. Any other region earns one less coin than normal.
  • Scavengers: When you conquer an In-Decline region, the token of the defeated race remains on that region to add to its defense.
  • Storm Giants: Storm Giants can use Bolt Lightning which can be used to conquer a mountain region with one race token, regardless of the defense. Storm Giants also have the unique ability to start the first conquest in the Sky Islands.
  • Drakons: Three of this race’s tokens can transform into Dragons, which you can use to conquer regions using one token, regardless of the defense. Those regions are immune to conquest.
  • Wendigos: Once per turn, choose a forest region anywhere on the board and clear the tokens.

The new Sky Islands powers include:

  • Goldsmith: Earn two extra victory coins per mine region you occupy. Any other region is worth one less coin than normal.
  • Zeppelined: Perform special conquests anywhere on the board by rolling the reinforcement die and count if the pips are enough to overcome the defense. An empty side means the Zeppelin will crash, making the territory immune to conquest until your next turn.
  • Airborne: Conquer regions for two less Race tokens than normal.
  • Haggling: Distribute up to five Trade Pacts tokens to your opponents. If a player with Trade Pacts conquers one of your territories, they must pay you back one coin for each Trade Pacts they have.
  • Gunner: Receive two cannons to be placed on your regions, allowing you to conquer adjacent regions for two less tokens than normal. Regions with a cannon are immune to conquests.
  • Exploring: At the end of your turns, receive an extra coin equal to the number of regions you occupy on the main land or in the sky, whichever is less.
  • Racketeering: When a player chooses a new race, receive a number of extra coins equal to the number of combinations that player skipped.

Before the Power Pack expansions, Small World Sky Islands was the first large expansion box. It adds so many new elements to the Small World base game, that I would still consider it one of the best Small World expansions.

The Scavengers, Storm Giants, and Drakons are pretty cool. They add some interest to the game without throwing it off-balance. The powers are also neat, and they can be used in the base game alone.

Small World Sky Islands can be played with up to six players. The theme of this expansion is unique and fun, and the access points force players to make a decision about their strategy.

This expansion requires a copy of the Small World base game to play.


  • Seven new races and special powers
  • Includes organizing tray
  • Includes new double-sided board
  • Fun theme


  • A little pricier

Small World Power Pack 1: Be Not Afraid & A Spider’s Web: Best Power Pack

The Small World Power Pack #1 combines two previous expansions into one box. Inside you’ll find eight new races and powers, along with 42 tokens and 98 race tokens. Will you opt for the fearless Lava Barbarians or the glorious Catapult Ice Witches for your next conquest?

This is the first expansion I’d recommend if you are looking to add to the base game. This particular pack includes two mini expansions: Be Not Afraid and A Spider’s Web.

This expansion requires a copy of the Small World base game to play.

Small World: Compendium Vol. 1

Be Not Afraid

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 40-80 minutes

Days of Wonder released this expansion in 2010. It contains five new races with unique abilities and five new special powers. The races include:

  • Barbarians: There are nine of them, but you can’t redeploy them at the end of the turn.
  • Homunculi: The longer this race stays in the combo column, the more tokens they add to your hand when you pick them up.
  • Pixies: They’re numerous but vulnerable. There are 11 tokens, but you can only keep one token on a conquered region with them.
  • Pygmies: Each time you lose a token, roll the reinforcement die and receive as many new tokens as the rolled number.
  • Leprechauns: Place pots of gold worth 1 victory point on your next turn. But your opponents could steal them first!

The new powers include:

  • Barricade: Collect 3 bonus coins if your troops occupy four regions or less at the end of your turn.
  • Catapult: Conquer any region one space away from the catapult at one less token. It makes a region immune to conquest.
  • Corrupt: Collect a coin anytime an opponent conquers one of your active regions.
  • Imperial: Collect one bonus coin for each region above three regions that your Imperial troops occupy at the end of your turn.
  • Mercenary: Spend victory points to reduce the number of tokens required to conquer a region.

A Spider’s Web

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 80 minutes

A Spider’s Web is a mini-expansion released in 2014. It adds three new fantasy races and three new special powers. The races include:

  • Ice Witches: Winter markers increase regions’ defenses by one. Regions with Winter markers earn one less victory point if not controlled by Ice Witches.
  • Skags: Randomly place one loot marker on each conquered regions. The markers are revealed when a territory is conquered or when a race is placed into decline. Markers lead to different outcomes.
  • Slingmen: Conquer one region away from occupied territory and take immediately one victory point for each region conquered in this way.

The new powers:

  • Copycat: Place the copycat marker next to any power in the combo column and benefit by that power’s effect.
  • Lava: Place a lava marker in any region adjacent to a conquered mountain region. All the tokens are returned to their players, and those regions can’t be conquered by any other player until your next turn.
  • Soul-Touch: When you decline your race, it automatically revives your previous In-Decline race.

Together, Be Not Afraid and A Spider’s Web form the first Small World Expansions Power Pack. There are new rules that make specific locations worth more victory points. Play one of 12 prebuilt scenarios that add variety and excitement to the game.


  • New races and powers
  • Great for Small World enthusiasts
  • Adds scenarios, variety to the map
  • Includes a tray to store everything


  • Difficult to set up
  • Water regions can get confusing

Small World Power Pack 2: Grand Dames, Royal Bonus, & Cursed!: Best Value Power Pack

Small World Power Pack #2 has a mix of elements that will take the game to another level. This expansion pack comes with eight new race banners, 10 special power badges, 42 tokens, and 98 race tokens. Will you choose the poor cursed Fauns or the mighty Aquatic Priestesses for your next conquests?

The second of the Small World Power Packs bundles together three mini-expansions: Cursed!, Grand Dames and Royal Bonus. The first two were developed as part of the Small World Design Contest. Royal Bonus was originally released only to Kickstarter backers of the digital version, but it has since been made available to everyone.

This expansion requires a copy of the Small World base game to play.

Small World: Compendium Vol 2

Grand Dames

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 40-80 minutes

Grand Dames is a mini-expansion that adds three new fantasy races and two powers. The races are:

  • Gypsies: Place a victory coin on each region you abandon, which will award you a bonus at the end of your turn.
  • Priestesses: When this race goes in Decline, take one token from each conquered region and stack them in an “Ivory Tower” pile. Each Tower token earns one coin.
  • White Ladies: This race becomes immune to conquest once in Decline.

The Priestesses and White Ladies are lackluster. They just don’t come with enough tiles to make an impact. The gypsies, however, are a nice addition to the game. They add an interesting twist that encourages you to roam with them.

In addition to new fantasy races, there are also new unique abilities:

  • Historian: Collect a bonus victory coin for each In-Decline race at the point of selection. Collect bonus coins each time you or an opponent go in Decline.
  • Peace Loving: Collect three additional victory coins each time you finish a turn without attacking active races.


Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 40-80 minutes

This mini-expansion adds two new races and five powers. This expansion also works well with Small World Underground. The additional races include:

  • Kobolds: There are 11 tokens, but you must have at least two tokens to occupy a region.
  • Goblins: Use one less token than normal when conquering regions with In-Decline races.

The five new special powers include:

  • Cursed: You must pay three coins instead of one coin to skip a race when choosing combos.
  • Hordes of: Treat these as additional tokens of your race.
  • Ransacking: Conquer an opponent’s region and gain an additional coin from that player’s stash.
  • Were-: On an even-numbered game turn, conquer all the regions with 2 tokens less than normal
  • Marauding: Complete another cycle of conquests with your troops after leaving one token on each conquered region.

This expansion shines when it comes to the new abilities. The Cursed! option is unique and adds an interesting twist to the game.

Royal Bonus

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 80 minutes

Royal Bonus is the final installment in this Small World Power Pack. It adds three new races to the game. They are:

  • Fauns: Collect an additional race token for each conquered region during the troops deployment phase.
  • Igors: Collect ALL the race tokens lost during conquests. Exchange those at the beginning of your turn, with Igor tokens in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Shrubmen: All the forest regions occupied by this race become immune to opponents’ conquests, racial and special powers, even when in Decline.

Additionally, the game adds some new powers. They include:

  • Aquatic: Each coastal region awards you an additional victory coin, whereas each non-coastal region awards you one less victory coin than normal.
  • Behemoth: Collect them each time you conquer a swamp region. They count as Race tokens for both attack and defense.
  • Fireball: Fireballs count as two race tokens when used to conquer regions. Obtain a fireball for each Magic source you occupy.

The Small World Power Pack #2 is another great addition to the original. You get a lot of value with three expansions for basically the price of one.


  • Blends seamlessly with base game
  • Easy to learn
  • Includes a token tray


  • Some races are lackluster
  • Only includes one instruction sheet

Small World Underground (Stand-Alone): Best Standalone

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 45-90 minutes

Small World Underground is a stand-alone game set beneath the surface of the same Small World universe. It can be played on its own or combined with other Small World expansions.

Small World Underground adds way more than just fantasy races and powers. It also adds some interesting mechanics, such as monster-occupied territory. These regions have monster tokens on them, which much must be defeated to achieve helpful bonuses.

When you conquer a monster-occupied region, you may draw a marker from the stack of Places and Relics and place it on the conquered region. These markers give unique powers to whoever controls them. For instance, one might afford you the ability to conquer territory with fewer tokens than normal.

There are new maps, 21 new power badges, 15 new fantasy races, places and relics, and much more.

If you like the original game, Small World Underground is basically a copy of it with a different theme and corresponding elements. The races are fun, but there isn’t much different from the original.

The Places and Relics add a little spice to the game, but I wouldn’t get Small World Underground just for that. The real benefit of Small World Underground is to combine it with other expansions. Alternatively, if you don’t already own Small World, you might snag a copy of Small World Underground to get a similar feel.

Small World: Underground


  • Good replay value
  • Play as standalone or in combination with other expansions
  • New maps
  • Adds Monster Territory
  • Cool artwork


  • Feels like a copy of the original

Small World River World

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 45-80 minutes

In Small World: River World, players discover new maps full of water regions haunted by merciless pirates. Players must defend their precious harbors against them, fight them on the river, all while keeping an eye on their opponents.

Small World River World adds two new double-sided game boards showing a river surrounded by lands. The game mechanics is pretty much the same as the original, except you’ll have to face a different event with every turn. Pirates, storm, freezing and calm, you’ll have plenty of event cards to fight while also battling the other players.

There are also some new regions and symbols on the map. Find a quick breakdown of the regions:

  • Rivers: Only require one token to be conquered, but also require emptying during the redeployment phase. You must have a special power to occupy river regions.
  • Harbors: Harbors score extra coins. The more you have, the more coins you get!
  • Shipyard: Whoever occupies the Shipyard region is entitled to place the Shipyard token on any river regions and start conquests directly from there.
  • The Temple of the Seer: Whoever occupies the Temple of the Seer region can peek at the next event marker and disclose it to the other players, if they so wish. Bluffing is allowed.

The Small World River World Event Cards include:

  • Storm: Conquering a river region requires three tokens instead of one.
  • Quiet waters: Nothing happens.
  • Harsh Winter: River regions become frozen, each earning one victory coin. If you reveal another Harsh Winter event, your troops must leave those regions.
  • Pirates: Place a pirate ship in every empty river region. Regions adjacent to a pirate ship score one less victory coin. Pirate ships can be defeated and removed using normal rules of conquest.

This is one of the Small World expansions that adds a completely different and unique theme to the game. If you dig Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ll enjoy the thematic elements of this expansion.

The new mechanics work well, and it’s nice to add events as opposed to races. The events could use a little more variation, however. This expansion revolves around the game board while neglecting the characters and abilities.

Days of Wonder Small World: River World Multi-colored

River World is the only one of the Small World Expansions that has pirates, so that’s definitely going for it. However, this isn’t the one I would go to first if I was looking to expand the game.

This expansion requires a copy of the Small World base game to play.


  • Two new double-sided boards
  • New maps & event cards
  • Fun theme
  • Impressive artwork


  • No new races or powers

Small World World of Warcraft (Stand-Alone): Best for World of Warcraft Fans

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 45-80 minutes

Small World of Warcraft is a stand-alone board game set in the fantasy world of Azeroth. Similar to the original Small World game, players have to fight against each other to conquer as many regions as possible in order to expand their territories and earn Victory coins.

This version of the game introduces a few different elements that add variation and interest to the gameplay. The board game is specially designed to be floating islands, so you can pick any kind of island combinations, according to the number of players.

As is fitting for a World of Warcraft-themed game, the different races of the Horde and the Alliance clash in a world-consuming conflict. In a new mechanic, players get a Faction Bonus of one victory coin for each race of the opposite faction they defeat on their turn.

Small World of Warcraft Board Game | Fantasy Civilization Game for Family Night | Strategy Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Avg. Playtime 40-80 Minutes | Made by Days of Wonder

This game also introduces artifacts and legendary places. They are revealed as the game progresses. When that happens, players can use their effects and bonuses.

This light-hearted fantasy game combines the Small World game mechanics with Blizzard’s celebrated Warcraft universe. With straightforward rules, Small World of Warcraft is easy to learn while offering multiple strategies, making it a great choice for game night with friends and family.


  • Stand alone game
  • World of Warcraft theme
  • Adds faction bonus
  • Introduces artifacts & places
  • Easy to learn


  • Complex
  • May not be as appealing for non WOW fans

Small World Necromancer Island

Players: 3-6

Playing Time: 40-80 minutes

A Necromancer set his magic tower in the middle of Small World’s lake region and he’s trying to take over all the lands with a swarm of ghosts. He works his evil by capturing the souls of all race tokens lost to conquests.

What’s worse, his Powers grow as his reach increases. If the Necromancer succeeds in bringing all his Ghosts into play anytime before the game’s end, he wins!

The gameplay mechanics are simple. The Necromancer has 13 ghosts placed in the Well of Souls next to the game board. His goal is to bring them all into play by the end of the last turn. He can convert lost souls (race tokens) or spend coins to acquire ghosts.

He has six special powers randomly chosen at the beginning of the game that will help him conquer the regions of Small World.

This is one of the best Small World expansions in terms of unique theme and mechanics. It’s very thematic and changes the feel of the game. This can be an advantage or a weakness, depending on who you ask.

Small World Necromancer Island is certainly interesting, but it’s not currently available, so it can’t be at the top of my list. If you have your heart set on this one, you’ll have to check back for availability.

This expansion requires a copy of the Small World base game to play.


  • Highly thematic
  • Interesting twist on the original board game


  • Might change the feel too much
  • Isn’t always available

Small World Expansions: Last Thoughts

When it comes to Small World Expansions, my top choice is Small World Sky Islands. Its entertaining and balances variation with staying true to the original Small World board game.

If you’ve played Small World Expansions, which one is your favorite? Drop a comment below!