Gotta Love ‘Em, Gotta Hate ‘Em – Board Game Expansions

After a bit of a hiatus brought about because of moving house, Jobby is back. In this blog he’s looking at board game expansions and whether they’re a good thing…

Why I’m writing this

I have always had a love/hate relationship with expansions. Expansions can help to improve gameplay and keep folks interested in a game. However, they do seem to bring out the collector in people and can overcomplicate otherwise nice games. Here I look at the good and bad of expansions.

The Good Stuff

A New Dimension

After playing the base game for a while it can become a bit stale. The game can start to feel a bit samey and nothing surprises the players any more. An expansion can help by adding in some new rules or components that help elevate the game. New things will happen so the game feels ‘fresh’ once more.

King of Tokyo always suffered a bit as there was no difference between the monsters, apart from their standees. The Power Up! expansion fixes this with some new rules that helps to differentiate between the monsters. The new rules are simple to implement which is perfect.

King of Tokyo: Power Up! Expansion
Power Up! As well as a cool new monster, there’s now an Evolution Deck for each monster.

More Players!

Expansions can increase the number of players. The Settlers of Catan has expansions to add a 5th and 6th player, though I’ll come back to this later. Stone Age’s expansion adds materials for a 5th player to play. Carcassonne’s first expansion adds a 6th player. Increasing player count suits a lot of gaming groups.

Interestingly, The Gathering Storm expansion for Race for the Galaxy provides the components and rules for a very competitive ‘artificial intelligence’ so a player can play solo. This of course fits nicely with my interest in solo gaming so I bought a copy. 🙂

Three Expansions - Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals, Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm and The Settlers of Catan: 5-6 Player Extension
Which is the odd one out?


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