Expansions that actually improved your base game experience
Keng Leong Yeo
Singapore
Singapore
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From time to time, I come across criticisms of board games with expansions, some of which have a whole slew of them. Some of the common criticisms are:

i) A good base game does not need expansion(s).

ii) The publisher is out to squeeze more cash out of us fans of the base games. (I am still waiting for the english CZ deck of Agricola to be released on its own, instead of part of the expensive Goodies Expansion, because I already have some of the other items and am not interested in the others.)

iii) The designer has run out of good ideas for new board games.

iv) It lengthens the base game unnecessarily without adding much.

v) It unbalances the base game, which may be well-balanced to start with. (Hive seem to be favouring the starting player a little bit more since we added both the Mosquito and Ladybug.)

vi) There may be inconsistencies between productions. (The Agricola base game animals were cubes, but Farmers of the Moor introduced horses which were horse-meeples. The first edition of 7 Wonders had wooden coins, but the Leaders expansion has gone with the coins of the second edition.)

Having said the above, I am sure there are expansions that improved on your base game experience. Which is the one that really improved on the base game experience for you? And why?
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51. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion [Average Rating:8.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.13 Unranked]
Paul W
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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This expansion feels like a refinement of BSG more than an expansion of it. The new skill and loyalty cards really add to the game without making it feel like a different game, and the cylon fleet board does a great job of making adding a feeling of constant pressure to the game (as well as giving a needed boost the the usefulness of pilots).

All in all, one of the best expansions for any game I've played.
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52. Board Game: Dominion: Prosperity [Average Rating:8.37 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.37 Unranked]
 
Bill Bross
United States
Michigan
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Out of all the Dominion expansions, this is definitely my favorite. The Platinum and Colony cards are great additions, and although some of the Kingdom cards are 'upgrades' from the base set (i.e. Worker's Village, King's Court) I tend to like the cards from this set the best. The Treasure action cards are a great addition as well and add another great element of strategy to this game.
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53. Board Game: Bitter Woods (4th Edition) Expansion Kit [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Robert Stuart
United States
Los Alamos
New Mexico
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This carries the Bulge well into the Allied counterattack. It's great for putting a seal on the whole experience (sort of like what Tolkien did when he include the 'Battle for the Shire' at the end of Return of the King.

Interestingly, if the Allies manage to hold the Germans to their historical advance in the original game, they win. If, however, they achieve their historical performance in the expansion, they lose! Just an indication that, having won the battle, the Allies under-performed in their counterattack.
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54. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Germany
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IMO the better of the two first expansions (if they make a third one).

Pegasus didn't change the base game, but expanded every aspect and added more. Although parts of it are not necessary (New Caprica stuff), everything else is.
All card decks are expanded, and the new Treachery cards make being a Cylon more fun. Then there is the Pegasus and the possibility of execution ("Airlock! Airlock!"). The Cylon leaders are fun, because winning as one is tricky.
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55. Board Game: Mississippi Queen: The Black Rose [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked]
RJD
United States
Quad-Cities
Illinois
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Mississippi Queen is a great little game, and I'm very fond of it. However a straightforward race can grow a little stale once you've played it enough, especially if you get stuck far enough behind.

The Black Rose expansion adds new tiles with obstacles to spice things up and refueling stations in case you've gotten cripplingly low on coal. Even better, it adds the mysterious "Black Rose" ghost ship to allow players in last place a chance to beat up a bit on whoever is in the lead. It doesn't just add to the game but makes it a better game.

( I just wish I wasn't missing one of the awesome newer tiles. cry )
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56. Board Game: Descent: The Road to Legend [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
Daniel Rose
United States
Orem
Utah
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Even though this game didn't add any more hero's or monster's what it did add was the ability to play as a campaign. The boxes that you can keep all of your stuff in was ingenius.

The one thing people seem to gripe about is the cost which I agree with mostly because its the same price as other expansions and you get less in what most people who follow this game want which is more plastic figures.
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57. Board Game: BANG! Dodge City [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
Gabriele Candiani
Italy
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This expansion really improves the original game, increasing the number of players (from 4-7 to 3-8) and adding new cards, some of them which add a new game mechanic (green cards), and others which finally allow the Deputy to directly help the Sheriff (Tequila whistle).
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58. Board Game: Rattus: Pied Piper [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
Liam Liam
Scotland
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Makes a good game great by offering a huge number of variations and the ability to customise the experience to fit your group.


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59. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Steve Finney
Australia
Adelaide
South Australia
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This expansion appears to be part of the original design that was stripped out to make the game appeal more to the mass market. Note the additional board that starts the scoring track at 0 (explaining the weirdness of the first base game board, Moria, starting at 10 points).


You should also include Lord of the Rings: The Black Gate To make the probabilities of a ring victory and a military victory more even. (Military victories are a bit too easy otherwise).
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60. Board Game: Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot ORANGE Booster [Average Rating:6.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.54 Unranked]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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This booster introduced a new market that allowed users to buy a bunny. If you have ever been stuck watching the game until you were 0fortunate enough to draw a bunny, you can appreciate this option.

It also added the pawns into play which for us enhanced the game as well.
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61. Board Game: Puerto Rico: Expansion I – New Buildings [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
David Reed
United States
Littleton
Colorado
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Puerto Rico vanilla started to get a scripted feel after a couple of dozen plays. This expansion saved my love of this game.
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62. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings Expansion [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Calavera Soñando
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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How am I the first person to add this?

This expansion adds PORTS, which makes fleets all the more important (otherwise, in the base game, they just sort of sit around out there in the water floating and doing nothing but the occasional convoy)/

Also adds a sixth player, which balances the south and makes it so Tyrell can't just build up and win uncontested.
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63. Board Game: Masters of Trade [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Raiko Puust
Estonia
Keila
Harju Maakond
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Raiko & Agnes Forever! Feel the Love and Feel the Warmth. Happiness is 2 hugs plus 3 kisses every hour...:D (http://mrboardgames.wordpress.com/)
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Addicted Estonian gamer with big heart and direct winning attitude. Need any help with something, just ask. Need some GG for something, just ask. Need something to be translated, just ask. Meanwhile, behave! :D (http://mrboardgames.wordpress.com/)
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This one not only change to entire game, but is very good example how an expansion should look like.

I am super pleased with this one!
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64. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Luke Stirling
Australia
Southbank
Victoria
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This is the expansion where I felt that the competing paths to victory reached a balance that made it a lot more interesting.
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65. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Martin B
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I love the added interaction Alvin and Dexter add to the base game. I always add them no matter which version I play.
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66. Board Game: Red Barricades: ASL Historical Module 1 [Average Rating:8.67 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.67 Unranked]
Andy Beaton
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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The first Historical ASL module.
It introduces reality-based maps, and more importantly, the concept of Campaign Games - games where your positions and forces at the end of one scenario are still there at the beginning of the next scenario (after refit and reinforcement). This allows for fun and realistic-feeling long term planning, force conservation and a reduced desire to go crazy in the last turn of a scenario to achieve those victory conditions.
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67. Board Game: A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Robert Lee
United Kingdom
Harrow
Middlesex
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The Echo Lake map expansion really adds to the base game , you get the uber cool monastery items , Valeria the eternal and Captain Hawkins although I wonder if his control over the Militia makes him a little too powerful.
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68. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: Growing Hunger [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Robert Lee
United Kingdom
Harrow
Middlesex
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This is the best of the LNOE expansions IMHO, more cool characters and additional map boards & cards.
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69. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:389]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Adding variety via a set of island configurations has made the base game all the more enjoyable:

Official Variant Tile Layouts

There are also some additional roles which others have tried, which I have yet to print and try that has potential for further variety to the forbidden adventure:

10 New Roles

meeple Keep playing...


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70. Board Game: The Looney Bin [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:6816]
kay starkey
United States
Indiana
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More players more therapy = more insanity!
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71. Board Game: Combat Commander: Mediterranean [Average Rating:8.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.54 Unranked]
Brice Feal
United States
Endwell
New York
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The additions of the British, French, Italian forces, and updating the Random Scenario Generator, really adds a lot to a great game.
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72. Board Game: Combat Commander: Resistance! [Average Rating:8.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.60 Unranked]
Brice Feal
United States
Endwell
New York
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This one adds a whole new world to Combat Commander. Partisans play very differently from regular troops.
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73. Board Game: Power Grid: Transformer Station [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Christina Ng
Singapore
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By increasing the capacity for an existing power station, the transformer increases its efficiency. When attached to a moderately high powered station, it may be retained by the player till the end of the game. This results in significant savings as one can avoid buying a replacement station. Of course this has to come with a reasonable price tag otherwise the benefit will be eroded.
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74. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked]
Brad Goodson
United States
Oakland
California
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I'm stunned that this one is not yet on the list! This expansion is excellent, especially for 4+ players. This map really breaks up the logjam for actions by adding many more attractive options.
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75. Board Game: Citadels: The Dark City [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Hunter Shelburne
United States
San Marcos
Texas
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Not sure how much this counts, since it was included with the base game now, but I'm counting it as its definitely listed as an expansion. I love vanilla Citadels, but this expansion just gives more options, more characters, more everything, I just really enjoy it and use elements from it in every game I play.

Out of the other games listed already, I concur with Small World (there is no reason NOT to play with Damsels, Cursed! and Be Not Afraid), and Pandemic. On The Brink is one of the best expansions for any game I've ever played, it literally improves pretty much every aspect. I also agree with Last Night on Earth, but I would say Survival of the Fittest is the most necessary expansion.
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