It can be very difficult to get the pairs into your hand, but there are plenty of support cards dealing with that problem. I'd say this makes the game a little luckier, but it seemed manageable. Thus far I prefer the Hoax, but there's some fun stuff here. (1 play)
Initially I really liked this expansion; now I am not so sure. It makes the game much longer and considerably more random. The barbarians are kinda fun, but is it worth it? On the whole, I don't think so.
This expansion adds several options, some new cards and abilities, and the possibility of playing with five or six players. Thus far, I've only tried it with for, and while some of the new stuff is nice, it is mostly very similar to the original. Some exceptions: France is a very cool addition which I like quite a lot, and the black master builder is, hmmm, goofy. (2 plays)
I think it is more balanced, particularly the Observatory, and new stuff like the Sycophant and the New Farmer is very interesting (though I am still unsure whether the New Farmer is actually worthwhile). And I really like playing with five. And the game has much the same feel as the original, though it's hard to get used to remembering the fifth player. Even without five, the game is quite different because it is longer and that changes the timing. This is great stuff. Seriously considering bumping this up to a 10. Playing with both expansions and four players increases the length and arc of the game, making it more of a gamer's game than heretofore.(4 plays)
This is one of those expansions that makes the game longer. It's harder for any player to win because you don't cycle through your tiles as quickly. However, it also adds some interesting things--the 1/2/3 paddle is a nice addition, as are the double canoes, not to mention that all-important sixth player.