The best RimWorld mods take the sci-fi colony sim to the next level by introducing new tools, features, and gameplay changes.
These can make the game a lot easier, more challenging, and overall more fun depending on the route you take with modding RimWorld.
In this list, we’ll help you find the best RimWorld mods for improving the game and adding new systems to spice up your next playthrough.
With that out of the way, here are the most popular RimWorld mods for 2023!
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How to Install RimWorld Mods
Before diving headfirst into RimWorld modding, you’ll want to research how to add mods without breaking the game.
Once you find a mod you want to use, make sure it’s compatible with your version of the game before downloading and going through the following steps:
- Open the downloaded ZIP archive
- Go to your RimWorld Save File location
- Windows – Find your RimWorld directory, which if you’re using Steam should be: C:Program Files (x86)SteamsteamappscommonRimWorld
- Windows – Drag and drop the extracted ModName folder into your RimWorldMods folder
- Mac – Right-click the RimWorld application and show package contents; Steam directory should be: Library/Application Support/Steam/steamapps/common/RimWorld
- Mac – Drag and drop the ZIP archive’s ModName folder into your Mods folder.
- Linux – Unpack the archive into the Mods folder: ~/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/RimWorld/Mods
- Start up the game and click the Mods button to activate your mods (some mods may require you to generate a new world to work properly).
Run Multiple Mods Together
The first mod you should consider installing is HugsLib, which acts as a database allowing you to run multiple mods simultaneously without any issues.
You’ll find many mods outright require you to have HugsLib to get them to work properly, so you might as well save yourself the trouble of having to install it later.
The creators continually update this mod, so you don’t have to worry about it conflicting with newer versions of RimWorld.
Make Colonists Smarter
Mod: Common Sense
Considering RimWorld colonists don’t always make the best decisions in carrying out their assignments, this next mod will save you a lot of headaches.
Once installed, the Common Sense mod will make it so that colonists factor in their current mood, location, and other details when completing tasks.
It’s fairly open-ended in terms of how much or little autonomy you can provide, with several optional toggles that limit various pawn behaviors.
Make Colonists More Resilient
Mod: Grim Reality
Along with raising their intelligence, RimWorld pawns can stand to be more resilient when navigating life’s many ups and downs.
That’s where a mod like Grim Reality steps in to lessen the effects of relatively inconsequential setbacks that would otherwise ruin a colonist’s day.
On the flip side, it also intensifies colonists’ reactions to events that are objectively terrible and more likely to have a lasting negative effect.
Manage Colonies More Easily
Mod: Colony Manager
If you dream of a future where you no longer have to micro-manage pawns, Colony Manager is one of the best RimWorld mods capable of making that a reality.
Designed with productivity in mind, this mod appoints an AI manager to automatically assign colonists tasks to ensure the colony always has fuel and food.
The only catch to using it is that you’ll have to start a new save for it to work as it introduces a new work type to the game.
Add Children Colonists
Mod: Children, School and Learning
Children are a useful asset to any colony as they can be molded into hard-working citizens and ultimately shape the future.
With the Children, School and Learning mod, women gain the ability to birth children that pop out as near-grown teenagers who will reach maturity in one in-game calendar year.
During that first year, you’ll have the option to send them to school and lunch tables to learn new skills that will carry over into adulthood, resulting in more productive members of society.
Track Colonist Health
Mod: Medical Tab
Tracking colonist health is another key element of maintaining a prosperous community while avoiding the spread of infectious diseases.
Normally, you can only check in with your pawns once they’re already sick but with the Medical Tab mod, you’ll be privy to early indicators of health concerns.
This is done using a new medical overview tab detailing health stats for each colonist, animal, prisoner, visitor, and hostile inside your settlement.
Mod: RimWorld Multiplayer
Connecting through LAN, Steam, or port-forwarding, this mod allows you to invite up to eight players to set up neighboring or even warring settlements.
Most vanilla RimWorld features are supported out of the box, and you can navigate to the mod’s Discord group to find other people to play with.
Add More Colonist Personalities
Mod: 1-2-3 Personalities
Seeing as colonist personalities are at the core of RimWorld’s unique storytelling, it seems only natural to have as much diversity as possible.
With the 1-2-3 Personalities mod, you can significantly increase the number of possible character combinations to create wildly different colonists.
In turn, this leads to more exciting and unpredictable pawn interactions, conversations, and relationships that are guaranteed to shake up any playthrough.
Track Colonist Interactions More Easily
Mod: Interaction Bubbles
Building off of the previous mod, Interaction Bubbles is one of the best RimWorld mods for tracking colonist interactions without relying solely on the in-game log.
Once installed, it will display a text bubble above characters’ heads to indicate any social interactions they’re currently engaged in.
This can provide some much-needed context for certain rivalries between pawns as well as add a deeper sense of immersion to any playthrough.
Add Colonist Mood Bars
Mod: Color-Coded Mood Bar
Another useful tool in any RimWorld overlord’s belt is the ability to keep track of your colonists’ moods without missing a step.
After all, a discontented pawn is less likely to contribute and more likely to get into fights with other pawns until their mood improves.
To avoid this, we suggest adding the Color-Coded Mood Bar to your next playthrough, which lets you keep tabs on each settler’s current mood and respond accordingly.
Be a Better Host
It is common for traveling groups to pass by your community on their way to another place.
By default, RimWorld limits how you can interact and trade with these NPCs but if that’s not enough, you can always broaden your options with the Hospitality mod.
It adds new elements that let you create a more welcoming environment for visitors complete with beds, selling areas, vending machines, and other activities.
Respond To Attacks Quickly
Mod: Defensive Positions
Of course, not every visitor is going to be friendly, as some faction will inevitably try to overtake your settlement and force your hand in battle.
This can catch you off-guard and result in having to scramble to get your pawns in a defensive position before the enemy has a strong foothold.
By using the Defensive Positions mod, you can reduce your response time by saving defensive layouts and sending your colonists to battle with a single click of a button.
Speed Up Research
Mod: Research Reinvented
In vanilla RimWorld, players unlock new projects by assigning a pawn to conduct research, more often than not taking several in-game weeks.
This can be a tedious process that eats up more and more time the further you advance to later machines, making a mod like Research Reinvented an absolute game-changer.
With it installed, colonists will research projects quicker and can even reverse-engineer machines they discover out in the world.
Build Over Existing Structures
Mod: Replace Stuff
Another annoying part of RimWorld is having to deconstruct existing walls, doors, and furniture before you can build new structures on top.
This can prove especially frustrating for new players who are still coming to grips with the game’s many systems and would benefit from a more streamlined process.
As such, Replace Stuff is one of the best RimWorld mods for beginners as it allows you to build on top of your existing structures while retaining details such as assigned beds, upgrades, etc.
Build Smaller Rooms
Realistic Rooms is another valuable mod for RimWorld beginners looking to build more compact living spaces for their pawns.
By default, the game requires you to build substantially-sized rooms to house all your colonists, making it next to impossible to add individual bedrooms.
However, with this mod, you can lower their expectations and construct more humble sleeping quarters while still receiving useful buffs.
Set Up Camps Anywhere
Mod: Set Up Camp
Having to haul gear, food, and even other pawns across the map can exact a heavy toll on your colonists’ bodies over time.
With a mod like Set Up Camp, you can ease their burden by providing some much-needed rest anywhere in the world.
This is done by selecting your caravan on the map and choosing the option to set up a campsite where colonists can rest, hunt, and gather resources for the journey ahead.
Add New Content and Features
Mod: Vanilla Expanded
Rather than a single mod, Vanilla Expanded functions as a living collection of mods designed to expand and improve on vanilla RimWorld while keeping things balanced.
Included are new texture mods, furniture sets, armor and weapons, plants, animals, improved cooking, fishing, factions, and even books.
Since each mod is handled by the same team, you’ll never have to worry about compatibility issues following a new update.
Explore Distant Worlds
Mod: Save Our Ship 2
Once you’ve set your sights on the stars, you’ll have the option to store colonists, items, and even pets aboard your vessel before heading off into outer space.
While in orbit, you’ll encounter both friendly and hostile ships along with ancient wrecks you can salvage for resources.
Mod: Map Reroll
Like any game that uses randomly generated maps, RimWorld is prone to dropping you in less-than-ideal settings.
One of the best RimWorld mods for combating this is Map Reroll, which lets you change your map again and again until you find a suitable one.
Note that this only affects your starting map and steam vents locations; starting scenarios, colonists, items, etc. will remain the same.
Customize Your Playthrough
Mod: EdB Prepare Carefully
The sheer amount of randomness involved with each RimWorld playthrough can lead to unavoidable problems that can’t be feasibly solved.
This has led to mods like EdB Prepare Carefully becoming one of the most popular RimWorld mods for tipping the odds back in your favor.
With it installed, you’ll gain full control over characters’ attributes, gear, and relationships while editing your crash survivors for the first time.