System of a Game
Tim Kilgore
United States
Sturgeon
Missouri
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I've always looked at games with a long list of expansions and add-ons with extreme skepticism. Maybe it is because I've almost always preferred more titles to fewer titles but with more depth. I dunno, but expansions had always seemed like a gimmick to me. I avoided games that had them but lately is seems like so MANY good games are part of a system of releases that maybe I'd really miss out on some good ones.

I started by buying Talisman. I've always managed to talk myself out of buying it or my situation in life kept me from grabbing it. I went all in and bought all but a small box expansion. I've played it a couple of times now and enjoy it as a social game with take-that moments aplenty.

So what did a large investment in a single game get me? Well, in this case, variety. The stack of cards is nigh-well endless and there are now many ways that the game can end. It should well and truly never play out the same way, but the rule system remains relatively true and constant.

Was it worth the investment? Yeah, for me it is a good fit. I am a miniature painter of modest skills and maker of geeky things, so I can take a wildly chromed-up game and push it further should I feel the urge to be creative.

So I've determined to continue with buying games that are more properly gaming systems. Two game systems that I have identified as being of immediate interest to me are Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and FFG's Descent. Pathfinder is already in mail.

Anyhow, this leaves me looking for two more game systems to add to my collection. I've identified a few that are of interest to me, but clearly have already been passed over. I am looking to you for sage advice and well considered recommendations....

Requirements: Base game that has 3 or more expansion (or is scheduled for many expansions)
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1. Board Game: Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1162]
Tim Kilgore
United States
Sturgeon
Missouri
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Talisman has 10 or more expansions and has been around since the early 1980s, spanning 5 versions (4 major, 1 minor) and it is now in the capable hands of FFG who has shown a great deal of commitment to the game. Another expansion is the the pipeline and due for release soon - the font of expansions just won't go dry.

For me, Talisman is perhaps the archetype for a good-natured "take that" game. It is more about being in the moment than making long term plans, and being able to adapt and adjust to the wildly swinging pendulum of luck is the mark of a better player. Regardless, it is not a cooperative game - it is every player for themselves.

Status: owned.
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2. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
Tim Kilgore
United States
Sturgeon
Missouri
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Pathfinder promises to deliver a deep fantasy adventure game for 1 to 4 players with no game-master needed. The base game comes with several adventure arcs and the expansions largely provide a new series of adventures for players to enjoy.

Pathfinder also has been nominated for a number of gaming distinctions and missed winning any of them - always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Paizo looks straight-up like a gaming monster to me, one that isn't content to remain limited to RPGs and I guess this marks their first venture into the domain of board games. Well, it is something of hybrid which is fine by me.

Status: in the mail
 
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3. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:78]
Tim Kilgore
United States
Sturgeon
Missouri
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Descent was supposed to follow Talisman. I thought that it would be kind of cool to have a strong take-that game and an excellent cooperative game, both made by the same company.

But I keep pushing Descent back. I busted Heroquest and Advanced Heroquest out of my collection and all the fiddly little bits and figures did not call out to me. And I know that there is a lot of those same types of pieces in Descent.

It leaves me wondering about the game system and if it is enough of an improvement to resuscitate a love that may be near death.

Anyhow, I put Pathfinder in front of Descent.

Status: unowned, next in line but not looking as strong as it once had
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4. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Master Set [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:144] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Tim Kilgore
United States
Sturgeon
Missouri
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Excellent tactical combat in the form of card game that plays quickly. It sounded good enough for me to put it on this list as a game system that I am seriously considering.

And it has 3 expansions, thus qualifying.

Status: unowned, more info wanted
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5. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:192]
Tim Kilgore
United States
Sturgeon
Missouri
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A cooperative game that seems to have "challenging" as a common descriptive term. It also evidently has luck factor which is just fine by me.

The biggest bummer about this title is that one of the expansions is and has been out of print for a while now. It has me jammed up pretty bad

Status: unowned, more info please - sell me on a copy!
 
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