Games that are best without expansions.
Austin Andersen
United States
Berrien Springs
Michigan
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Just as there are games that are made better with an expansion. There are games that are best without expansions. More is not always better and many sequels aren't as good the original.

It is my attempt to create a list of games that are best without any expansions or where the expansion doesn't added enough to the base game to warrant it's extra cost.

Please check the list before adding as someone may have already added the expansion you were thinking.

The opposite - Must have expansions:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/170150/must-have-expan...
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1. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Chris Willett
United States
Minnesota
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Farmers of the Moor is neat and adds some variance to how I play Agricola, but I don't like how much longer it makes the game. Something else about it just doesn't go as well with me as the base game. I love base Agricola, but Farmers doesn't hardly get played.
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2. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
Stephen Sanders
United States
Henderson
Texas
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This is all I have ever been interested in. Just don't think it needs anything more, for what it offers. The wall building of the base game itself separates the "men from the boys" and you don't need to add any more complexity to a medium light game like this.
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3. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
George Ramos
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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There are a few thousand expansions for this game (at least it seems that way). Many of them are annoying and needlessly complicated. They increase the "bookeeping" and don't add too much to the game, they just make it longer and make end-game scoring take longer. The base game is perfect, the expansions are wholly unecessary and often detract from the game. Imho, of course.
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4. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Tim Koppang
United States
Westmont
Illinois
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This may be an unpopular choice for this list, but I think basic Settlers is the way to go (preferably with exactly four players). I'm not saying that expansions like Seafarers are bad*, but I think the basic game is much more robust than contemporary players give it credit for. Often the expansions add nothing but time to the game, without any significant bump in strategic options. Especially with a group who knows the power of making good trades, Settlers right out of the box is my preferred way to play.

* Okay, I actually do think that the 5-6 player expansion is bad.
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5. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:95]
Austin Andersen
United States
Berrien Springs
Michigan
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I don't know personally as I was so convinced by the players that played CitOW many, many times, both with and without the expansion that the expansion ruined the enjoyment that the base game provided that I never bothered to pick up the expansion.
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6. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:583]
Andrew
United States
San Francisco
California
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The expansion adds
* Luxury containers, which make the game longer but make inferring your opponents' colours less important;
* Economy-of-scale cards, which don't seem necessary;
* Monopoly rules, which are a minor rule-change that rarely seem to be the best move; and
* Financier cards, which are nice but minor.

The base game is excellent, the expansion seems to fiddle with the edges to little effect.
 
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7. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:216]
Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
United States
Mountain View
California
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The base game is a classic, but the two expansions are fiddly junk. Dune: Spice Harvest adds a tedious Junta-like card game in front that just manages to make the setup of the main game wildly unbalanced, and Dune: The Duel adds overpowered leaders and a grindy dueling mechanic that bogs down the flow of the game and drags it out far too long.
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8. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:180]
Felix Goldberg
Austria
Vienna
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The expansion adds pets, bards, special events, better paladin, more monsters and rooms, which all sound good on paper but don't really work out in the end.

The original Dungeon Lords is a great game and works perfectly on its own.
The expansion never feels natural or filling something I've been missing about this game.
 
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9. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:30]
Dave
United States
Summerville
South Carolina
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Not a huge fan of Eclipse: Rise of the Ancients. It adds more stuff, but I'm just as happy playing the base game.

 
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10. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:534]
Jerry Wilkinson
United States
New Castle
Indiana
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Both my wife and I would rather play this without the Finca: El Razul expansion.
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11. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
Michael Carter
United States
Marion
Iowa
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The game is perfect as it is and even though several people in my group have the special edition with the expansions included, we never pull them out.
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12. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:277]
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Amazing game. Amazing game with Echoes of the Past (have yet to try the second expansion). A better game with Echoes? Heck no, just different.... but with more rules and more cards.

Innovation never needed anything to improve it.
 
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13. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:227]
Julian Vickers
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The Power Up expansion adds some really nice things, but in my experience, it tends to add too much time to the game. People constantly trying to roll hearts in order to gain evolution cards really makes the game outstay its welcome in my opinion.

What started out as a perfect 20 minute take-that game often becomes a snore fest when you add the expansion. Not to mention, the evolution cards really aren't balanced between the characters.
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14. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:698]
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I don't think there are many gamers that share this sentiment, but I tink Lord of the Rings is best without expansions. The expansions only add more of the same and make the game way too long for what it is.
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15. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:487]
Felix Rodriguez
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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The original game is a fascinating positional game with a variety of play but very little chaos.

The expansion adds a bunch of blind-draw cards with random effects and varying degrees of power. As well as more powerful offensive tiles that you may or may not get out of the bag. Basically, it adds chaos, and not a whole lot more.
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16. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:230]
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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Other than providing a few replacement cards for the base game, I don't think the cards in the expansion set add much, if anything, to the game. When the new cards show up on the board, my wife and I rarely draft them and they end up in the discard pile.

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17. Board Game: Shogun [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:127]
Stephen Sanders
United States
Henderson
Texas
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This game has a great mechanic of selecting your 10 actions for the turn. The rest is minor and it doesn't need tweeking. Also love the cube tower.
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18. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1668]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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Expansion #1 was pretty good. #2 & #3 sucked and it went downhill from there.

But I'd rather have no expansions than all of them.
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19. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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I do own the Stone Age: The Expansion expansion, but since the trading rules are still vague with no definitive response from the author makes playing without it result in a less convoluted game. The game is actually tighter without the trading rules, since gold and stone is much easier to get through trading.
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20. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:349]
Stephen McHale
United States
Winchester
Virginia
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I love expansions but this is the only game I can think of that after playing with Thurn and Taxis: All Roads Lead to Rome expansion we just went back to playing the base game only.

Just a simple and elegant game that really doesn't need anything else.
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21. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Does anyone even use the 'advanced' bits that come with the most recent addition?
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22. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:68]
Jude Mapp
Ireland
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Troyes is a fantastic game that eliminates the bad luck if rolling by letting you know that the dice are not yours and can be taken by other players. The Ladies of Troyes expansion ruins this balance by having a purple Dice which can not be bought and is useable as any colour of dice. To me, this ruins the very balanced play and adds in an element of luck that Troyes did not need. The other parts of the expansion are ok, but not in anyway necessary.
 
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23. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:37]
Pouria
United Kingdom
London
Greater London
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I think there is some fun to be had with the prophecies, but the rest of the expansion seems pointless. I especially object to the tribes dictating how you play and breaking rules taking away from some of the tension on the wheels.
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