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The best Banished mods

This classic survival city-builder can be turned up to 11 with the right mods. Good thing we're here to show you the ropes

A town view. Most of the houses have smoking chimneys.

Looking for a list of the best Banished mods? Modding is a great way to breathe new life into a game that you’ve learned inside and out, but depending on a game’s popularity and how active its mod scene is, sometimes it can be tricky figuring out which mods are the best ones.

Often it can come down to what you want – mods can do everything from fixing specific little things that hamper gameplay, to overhauling the base game completely and turning it into something completely different. Like our Rimworld mods guide, there can be a breadth of options worth working at – some essential, some optional depending on what you enjoy.

For this guide we’re looking at Banished, a gritty city-building game released in the distant past of 2014 which focuses on survival. It was a bit flawed on first release, but it quickly became a classic – now, with the benefit of time and a still-active community, there’s never been a better time to jump in and take the game for a spin. Below is a modest collection of mods covering must-haves, nice-to-haves, and then some of the more popular collections.

the best Banished Mods

These are the best Banished mods:

  • More Terrain Mod
  • Fix Field Placement Mod
  • Fishing Dock + 25 or 50% Mod
  • Nomad Zero Pop Mod
  • UI Improvements Mod
  • Wildlife Mod
  • Fences and Decorations
  • Celtic Buildings
  • Jetty and Bridges
  • Colonial Charter Mod
  • Megamod

A view of a much larger map that adds additional terrain options. Here we see what is presumably the 'Big Lake'.

More Terrain Mod

The base selection of Banished can wear a little thin after a few dozen playthroughs so why not spice it up a bit? Build a swamp village, or combine this with the Jetty and Bridges mod to recreate Esgaroth.

More Terrain also adds ‘Larger’ and ‘Huge’ map sizes which are welcome additions if you want to build a real city.

Fix Field Placement Mod

As we’re all aware, in real life it is impossible to farm on anything other than perfectly flat ground, Banished simulates this very well but sometimes realism can be frustrating.

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Fix Field Placement changes the field placement so you can farm wherever your settlers can walk. It also fixes issues like fields flattening hills, unreachable squares, and increases the max field size, orchard density, and worker slots.

Fishing Dock + 25 or 50% Mod

Pescetarians everywhere rejoice! The fishing dock in vanilla Banished is a little underwhelming and rarely pulls in enough to feed a sizeable village but thanks to these handy little Fishing Dock mods, you can finally feed the people. As they say on the tin (get it?), you have the option of a 25% increase or a 50% increase, depending on how much you want to empower the fishing dock.

A prompt has appeared on screen asking if the player wishes to allow six Nomads to become citizens of Pickstow.

Nomad Zero Pop Mod

Failing in Banished is a gutting inevitability. Disease, starvation, or just plain ol’ freezing to death, your settlers are all going to die off eventually (in my experience, though maybe I just suck). Nomad Zero Pop still requires the necessary buildings to draw/allow nomads but allows you to continue playing your town after a complete wipe.

UI Improvements Mod

UI improvements fixes some of the smaller issues (including one I forgot was an issue) and gives you longer town names, a larger toolbar to fit mod items, and a larger town hall inventory.

Wildlife Mod

We’ve got bigger fields, better fishing, it would be sacrilege to not mention the improved hunting/gathering. Wildlife increases the radius by 50% for hunting lodges, gathering huts, woodcutter, herbalist, and forester as well as increasing the worker slots for these buildings.

Wildlife, like the rest of the improvement mods, will make food gathering a little easier, so keep that in mind when choosing your difficulty settings.

A whole bunch of fences all displayed on one image. None of them are connected, but some have gates that show when they're open and when they are closed.

Fences and Decorations

Town doing well? Little Timothy eating enough this Winter? Great, now you can work on making the streets look less barren. Fences and Decorations adds a bunch of stone and wood walls/fences as well as crates, barrels, lamp posts, lanterns, and carts to bring some more life to your town. It’s kind of like a model train set except with more death.

Several villagers off to work in the fields outside their Celtic village. The village itself is full of houses with thatched roofs, and a fire pit is smouldering in the town centre.

Celtic Buildings

Take the vanilla Banished experience to ancient Scotland with standing stones, palisades, and Celtic roundhouses. Like most DS mods, this one adds a bunch of well-integrated items that just add a lot of flavour to the base game. Lugh’s Stone also allows nomads to join at 0 population.

A collection of bridges and jettys. Only a few are connected to land.

Jetty and Bridges

A massive DS mod that adds the ability to build jetties and bridges as well as stilted versions of most buildings and a few new additions like the mollusc farm. It also adds a few decorative canoes which, like a true Sims veteran, I really appreciate.

Having the ability to build out over the water changes the vanilla experience a lot more than would be expected and is something I really recommend you try. Make your own little Venice or Esgaroth.

Colonial Charter Mods

Ever wanted a more colonial feel for Banished? Well you’re in luck, Colonial Charter puts you in the buckled shoes of a disgraced European noble who has been set to the new world to found a colony only to find they’ve been understaffed and ill-equipped, just like the vanilla game.

This is one of the biggest mods for Banished and has been likened to a DLC in scope and quality, definitely one to look into if you’re feeling like trying something fresh.

a medieval looking village covered in snow

Banished Megamod

Modding can be a real pain as you fight through mod conflicts, unexplainable errors, and sudden failures. If you want a modded experience but want to avoid the possible headache, the lovely folks over at Black Liquid Software have compiled a massive pack that adds lots of new buildings, crops, items, and tools.

How To Install Banished Mods

Before we dive in, there are some differences this time. Banished, unlike Rimworld, seems to have a bit of an issue with the Steam Workshop, especially with copy-cat mods and other clutter. So most of the mods on this list instead come from Nexus Mods or Banished.info which take a little bit more effort to get working.

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Thankfully the Banished website has this handy tutorial:

To install a mod for Banished, you just need to move the mod file (modname.pkm) into the WinData folder. The default locations are:

  • With Steam: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Banished\WinData
  • With standard install: C:\Program Files\Shining Rock Software\Banished\WinData

If you’ve ever modded Minecraft, this is essentially the same. If you’re completely new to this, don’t worry, even if you make a complete mess of it (which we all do the first time), just clear the folder. If that doesn’t work, reinstall and you’ll be right as rain again. Let’s go!

We’ve kept this list to the Nexus, Banished.info, and Steam Workshop as those are the most known and beginner friendly but there are a ton of mods over at the World of Banished forums. Once you’re ready, drop on by and fall even deeper into the modding rabbit hole!