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Subject: So many expansions, why bother? rss

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Ben B
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Yakima
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I have been tempted by Galaxy Trucker for the longest time, but I can't bring myself to buy it. There are several expansions which, as I understand, make the game a lot better. Yes, there is a big box, but I don't want another big box sitting on my shelf (looking at you, Kingdom Builder). And now it seems that there are more expansions for Galaxy Trucker that would have to be purchased outside of the big box. See, I'm starting to feel overwhelmed just typing this!

Alien Frontiers is another game that comes to mind. This one has been off my wishlist for a while but mostly because it doesn't seem like something my wife would enjoy (and I hear the two player is lackluster.)

Does anyone else ever feel like some board games have so much extra content that it's not even worth the hassle buying the base game?

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Chris Talmadge
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Oh yah! I missed out on Heroscape. So many expansions and they all look great. Seems like my kind of thing too.
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Joke Meister
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Personally, I've never had a problem with only playing the base game. For me, the question is more around whether the base game is good and worth the price of entry on its own. If yes, then I can be perfectly content with just the base game. Naturally, if I really enjoy the base game and want to expand it, then I will start looking at the various expansions. However, I don't really feel the need to have everything that is available for it.

By way of example, I only got into Lord of the Rings LCG last year. I started off with the core set and loved the game which is why I started to buy the extra AP. I currently only have the first cycle and won't be getting any more expansions until I get bored with playing the first cycle. At the rate I play, FFG are releasing expansion packs quicker than I can play them.

Realistically, I will never have a complete set of the game. And that's fine. That doesn't bother me. I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have that completionist streak.
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I feel that way too when I look at some games. I know you obviously don't have to buy the expansions but I feel like just because they exist I need to get the "complete" experience and would feel compelled to buy them if I had the base game. To avoid this I just don't even bother looking at the base game and move on to something else. I make exceptions if the game is something like Krosmaster where everything is on clearance and you can get a good amount of stuff for cheap, but something like X-Wing or CMON games I just block out of my mind before I even start looking too heavily at it.

I prefer an expansion model like Twilight Imperium 3E. It's been out for a while, the company has shown they aren't going to cancel it on a whim and the expansions they do make for it are very comprehensive and are released every few years. That seems like a much more natural progression in expanding a game.

A lot of games now seem like they appear unto the market, shotgun blast expansions and add-ons all over the place, maybe squeak out a second or third printing, and then are off and gone to a new edition, or just disappear altogether before you even get around to checking them out. It just seems like a weird sales model.
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Brent Mair
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No. For many games I eventually want them all but I'm pretty content to start with the base game.
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Dan B.
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Lately it seems like buying expansions actually make me want to play the game less for some reason. I just don't get the games to the table enough to warrant the extra rules, price point, etc etc...
 
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Nathan Clegg
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You don't have to buy the expansions, you know. Just play the base game and be happy.
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Reed Dawley
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ct5150 wrote:
Oh yah! I missed out on Heroscape. So many expansions and they all look great. Seems like my kind of thing too.


Heroscape definitely fits the bill for me. But that did not stop me from tracking down a base set. I know there are a ton of expansions I will never get to play with but with the heroscapers community I can use heroclix or other minis from other games and still play.

There are LCGs like this as well, I look at Netrunner and think, so many data packs. I picked up a couple base sets and the big boxes and am running with it. Am I missing out on some cool cards, yeah I bet I am, but I'm not playing competitively so who cares. I can always look up a card and pick up a single data pack if I want or even just proxy a card or two if needed.

I think Galaxy trucker stands on its own, the extras may add cool stuff but I don't own them so I don't know. I'm happy with the base game. If I see a deal on the add ons I'll most likely pick them up but I am pleasantly happy with the base game.

This may be different for completionists. I have definitely been afflicted with this, I spent the last two weeks procuring every GW/FF game and expansion that was not in my collection because I am a crazy person. So I get it, but if games are in print I like to experience the base game as is and then go from there. I'll check out the threads and see if there are any expansions that enhance the game to the point of being almost necessary to play the game. Eldritch Horror's first expansion comes to mind, people said it rounded out the game nicely and that while not required it added a lot and was worth picking up. Try to find the balance and it'll all be ok, after all they are only games.
 
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Shawn Harriman
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I like Trucker base game only. To me a great example of an expansion adding complexity and game length without improving the game or making it more fun.

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James Cartwright
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My family and I have the base game of Truckers and enjoy it but this is only because I haven't managed to trade for or buy any of the expansions yet.
 
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Dostradamas wrote:
I like Trucker base game only. To me a great example of an expansion adding complexity and game length without improving the game or making it more fun.


Totally agree with this. In fact just last week I went through and pulled out all expansion tiles from my base set so I could start playing this game again.
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J J
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I can assure you that neither Galaxy Truckers nor Alien Frontiers suffer without the expansions. I like the expansions to Galaxy Truckers that I've played, but I don't consider them necessary. I do prefer Alien Frontiers with the Factions expansion, but the base game is perfectly good on its own.
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Russ Williams
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benchilada wrote:
Yes, there is a big box, but I don't want another big box sitting on my shelf (looking at you, Kingdom Builder).

The Kingdom Builder base game + Nomads expansion together fit in the Nomads expansion box, so you don't need another big box sitting on your shelf. If you do this, you will have a smaller box sitting on your shelf!

(And as many upthread have said, you don't need to buy all the expansions to enjoy a game... I have many games which I enjoy and play often for which I've not bought all the expansions - in many cases, I've not bought any expansions.)
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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I buy expansions if I

1. Want a good game to get a bit more complex and longer OR
2. Want good parts of a game to be less utilized because of new parts OR
3. Want to spend my time and money on an expansion instead of a new game.

Come to think of it, I stopped buying expansions decades ago.
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Chris
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As people up above have mentioned, the big fallacy to bear in mind is the assumption that expansions automatically make the game better. They don't.

What they indisputably do is make the game more expensive, more profitable and often bulkier. The 'better' part modulates on a case by case basis -- and to a certain extent is subjective: Is making a game crunchier really an 'improvement'? Granted it may better satisfy the palates of people who play Lacerda games on a weekly basis, but you may have just prevented your friends and family from playing.

Philosophical question: If a game really needs a particular expansion, is it actually that good a game?

Chris (removed 'Ambassadors' from his copy of 'Among the Stars' and sold it on because, despite making the game meatier, it was f*cking-up the simple elegance.)
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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I understand the urge to buy/own all the expansions. I wish, however, that I didn't share it. Most of the time expansions do not add that much to a game. The Istanbul expansion was fun but not needed, the Suburbia expansion was ok, the Castle of Mad King Ludwig expansion was barely ok, and so on. There are exceptions: I think the Salsa expansion really helps Concordia (although it was already a great game).

As for Galaxy Trucker, I don't have any of the expansions and I think that games is a complete hoot. (Er, translation, it's fun.) Of course, I'd probably get the expansions except that the wife doesn't like the game so what's the point, eh?
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The Apostle Green
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moramis wrote:
You don't have to buy the expansions, you know. Just play the base game and be happy.




(just kidding, Nathan!)
 
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Chris Willett
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benchilada wrote:
I have been tempted by Galaxy Trucker for the longest time, but I can't bring myself to buy it. There are several expansions which, as I understand, make the game a lot better. Yes, there is a big box, but I don't want another big box sitting on my shelf (looking at you, Kingdom Builder). And now it seems that there are more expansions for Galaxy Trucker that would have to be purchased outside of the big box. See, I'm starting to feel overwhelmed just typing this!

Alien Frontiers is another game that comes to mind. This one has been off my wishlist for a while but mostly because it doesn't seem like something my wife would enjoy (and I hear the two player is lackluster.)

Does anyone else ever feel like some board games have so much extra content that it's not even worth the hassle buying the base game?



Every now and then I kind of feel this, and I get it. However I can tell you that I have enjoyed Alien Frontier as the base game. And Galaxy Trucker I actually didn't like the first expansion. More on that:

When I first played Galaxy Trucker's first expansion, I only had a few games under my belt. Some aspects of the expansion make it much harder, and that is great if you get good at the game, but its much better to ease yourself into that game. I'm now much better at it, but I'm still happy just doing a pretty good job at playing with the base game. Go figure.


My suggestion is this - Don't worry about expansions.

Sure you might want them eventually, but you also might only like the game occasionally, in which case you won't burn through what you find is enough content. There are a few games out there where I *cannot* get enough of them. But for each like that there is a game with an expansion that I'm good without.

I do look for expansions as cheaper purchases for impulse buys as well. So some of them are saved for that.

Sometimes a game feels lacking without the expansion, but I have found that to be relatively rare. I also don't want to say which one I am thinking of, because I think the "problem" I had with them is that I played them a ton of times. If you play a game something like 50-100 times, you might feel the desire for an expansion. But at least you got your money's worth.
 
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Jamie A
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benchilada wrote:
Does anyone else ever feel like some board games have so much extra content that it's not even worth the hassle buying the base game?

Yes. There have been some games I've decided to ignore after viewing the list of expansions and thinking, that's just too much work.

Also, the percentage of games with expansions (even just promos) is leading me to wonder more often if expansions are just a lazy industry crutch - we don't have to worry about balancing the game, we'll just release expansions later. Or just as bad, preplanned unbalancing as in - we know this game works best with 80 cards, but let's release it with 60 and charge nearly full price again if they want the other 20.

Probably watching the situation with Kickstarter games and stretch goals is what has really spurred to me thinking more along those lines, being more cynical about intentions.
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Josh
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I've learned the hard way an expansion can be a big negstive impact on a game.

If a game has n+1 expansions it is either modular, or you csn probably find another gsme thst does whatever the frankengame does better.
 
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My favourite game Eldritch Horror should really have come bundled with the Forsaken Lore mini expansion but I have bought the rest and don't regret it, money well spent in my view, even if no more are released I have a game I like with enough variety to last me forever.
If a game sells well its hard to blame a publisher/designer for trying to make more out of it, it could be their one big hit so why not try and maximise its potential. If the expansions don't add anything worth having it will very quickly become public knowledge so no harm done.
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Drew
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Arkham Horror was that way for me and that's why I went with Eldritch Horror.
 
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Shaun Morris
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I recently got into Smash Up which has quite a few expansions and has a big box available. Rather than buy all the expansions though, I asked a reviewer who had played all of the various expansions which ones he felt were probably the best. He ran through and explained the various themes in brief and whether they changed the game mechanics. I've now decided to buy 3 expansions for the base game so we can have more variety as well as play it up to 6 people.

With Firefly, I've purchased every expansion because I absolutely love the game and the expansions add so much more to the base game. The base game is perfectly fine on its own, but the expansions really add to the Firefly universe by bringing in more of the locations and lore from the show.

Shadows of Brimstone I want the expansions because they add to the story. The game campaigns and you can take the characters that you started with an continue the story across the various expansions. Well, really it's 2 combinable core games and 1 expansion so far.

I think at the end of the day, you just shouldn't feel obligated to buy EVERYTHING unless you REALLY LOVE the game. Buy the base, play it a couple times, see how you like it, and if it's something you really enjoy then start looking into the expansions to find which ones do the most to improve or add to the game.
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Asher Kennedy
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For what it's worth, I bought the base box of Galaxy Trucker for my birthday this year. It was worth it.

I have not been tempted yet to buy any expansions for it.

Because it was readily available, I bought the Enchanted Kingdom expansion for Seasons when I picked it up last year. I have not yet played it with anyone though because teaching the base game has been tricky enough and it hasn't made multiple showings at the table.
 
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Ben B
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moramis wrote:
You don't have to buy the expansions, you know. Just play the base game and be happy.

I could also just not buy the base game, which is what I've chosen to do in many instances, as mentioned in the above post.
 
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