Expansions – What are they good for?

Another article that I wrote for Board Game Crate. This is for #blogmas2020

If you’ve ever been to a games expo or one of the better games stores, you may have encountered countless expansions of one of your favourite games. As you peruse this dazzling display you see that each one promises extra bits, more cards, alternative boards and Cthulhu.

Although many of these expansions won’t exactly break the bank, the sheer number of expansions accompanying some games can hit the bank account pretty hard.

Expansions are content add-ons (DLC, if you like) for a game that either couldn’t be released with the original game due to costs or time or are subsequent ideas that have been made available later. The base game will work fine without them, but if you are thinking about getting an expansion, consider the following:

If you already love the game as it is and enjoy the particular nuisances of it, then expanding it may well change that, and not necessarily to your liking. Try it first.

If you’ve played a game so much that it no longer has any surprises for you, then an expansion can reinvigorate your interest in it by giving you new goals to aim for or extra things to do. Dixit can benefit with more cards to talk about, King of Tokyo/New York gets monster variety with the Power Cards, Catan can be reimagined with new gameplay, and everyone needs more Cthulhu (apparently).

Don’t feel like you have to get every single expansion to a game to make it work. Pick the expansions that work for you. You don’t like Cthulhu – then don’t get that expansion. Some expansions may also be doubled up (Smash Up) for increased variety.

If other players in your gaming group also have the game, it might be worth syncing your expansion lists so that you don’t double-up unnecessarily. When they come to you, you can play your expansion, and vice versa, thereby increasing your gaming experience further.

If player limits are a problem, some change the game to support a greater number of players (Small World, Cosmic Encounter, Catan).

If you encounter an expansion of a game you particularly enjoy, it might be worth picking it up on the off-chance, you may be surprised and you may regret turning it down. I am constantly lamenting not picking up the long out of print expansion StarCraft: Brood War when I had the chance.

Once you’ve got an expansion you may wish to keep it in its own box allowing you to play the original (vanilla) untainted game – particularly if introducing to new players. Or you can fully integrate it all into the base game box (if it fits) and play the complete experience. Cards from expansions are usually marked so they can be identified and separated out again if need be.

At the end, no one is forcing you to buy an expansion but their relatively low price tags can make them idea gift ideas or even the answer to that difficult question: So what do you want for your birthday?

My Favourite Gaming Themes

Another #BlogMas 2019 blog, another list of stuff.
This time it’s my favourite themes in games
Here goes:

5. Zombies

This might be higher if I get to play more zombie games, but they’re a hit with me so far.

4. Fantasy

If nothing else, fantasy games are usually really quite stunning to look at. Good thing they’re great to play too.

3. Cthulhu

The great old ones must be appeased or they’ll come and take all our meeples away.

2. Dinosaurs

Slap a dinosaur on it, I’m game for a game.
1 Space
Cosmic Encounter
This is the clear winner. Actually, it’s almost impossible for me to resist a space game.

Games Night 17th November 2016

Tonight’s games was a 3 player outing of:

MC kicked off by spending all of his money on 8 drilling rigs, 2 gas stations and 1 refinery.
PH and EM spent more conservatively with 1 refinery, 1 gas station and numerous drilling rigs.
A surprisingly small number of doubles was rolled during this game, forcing the selling price of gasoline down to single figures with just a few doubles to push it up.
At no point was either Prosperity nor Recession reached.
PH was the first to strike oil.
By the time EM struck oil and could afford their one and only pumping station, it retailed at $90 million dollars.
MC announced their reaching of the billion.

At game end the final net worth of each player was:
EM: $795,000,000
MC: $1,967,000,000
PH: $1,895,000,000
Hooray for MC!

To round off the evening, we finished of with a game of:

EM played as Time Travelling Steampunks or Steampunk Time Travellers
MC played as Zombie Warriors or Warrior Zombies
PH played as Orc Fairies or Fairy Orcs

Final scores:
EM: 18
MC: 9
PH: 9
Well done EM, you wiped the floor with both of us.

Games Night 14th September

3 players this week:

Cosmic Encounters

Was the game of choice.

MC was black and chose the Merchant PH was green and picked the Magician PN was orange and was the Disease

MC had the honour of going first and did appalingly throughout acquiring a total of two new colonies, one of which was blown up along with the planet thanks to PN’s technology.

PN led a devastating attack and shot up through the scoreboard, before losing wind and many ships. The loss of three home colonies removed his Disease ability which further hampered him.

PH Played a deceptively conservative game, and once MC and PN had burned themselves out, calmly went on to win.

Well done PH.

With plenty of time left,

Smash Up Core Set

was brought forth (a surprisingly popular one).

MC tried out the Wizard Kitty Cats and won with 16 (but -1 for MADNESS)

PH went all freaky-mad with the Miskatonic University Elder Things. He finished with 14 (and a negative MADNESS point)

PN chose the Ghost Cyborg Apes. A contradictory hand and built up the hand with the apes but needed a small hand for the Ghosts. 8 was the finish there.