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The Manhattan Project: Second Stage is an example of an expansion that I enjoy. These boxed expansion that adds a little here and a little there are really growing on me. It gives you a lot of different options and a lot of different ways to play the game.
This expansion gives you a few component upgrades for the base game. In addition, we get 4-5 new ways to play the game with differing levels of success. I likely like the new nations the best and I like the characters you can grab. These give you variable powers which I enjoy. The H-bomb is something new to grab and build.
While not a necessary expansion, I love this expansion and love adding it to a game I really like. This makes Manhattan Project a better game. I can add what I like to make the game fit my taste better (less Air Strikes).
The components are really good. First, we get player aids for the player. This was so needed. We get some mats to put the bombs and factories. The chits included are all very thick and have great art work on them. We have cardboard (flat) holders to keep all the resources (so unnecessary and not very useful). We get a set of orange cubes and small nation cards. Everything is very useful and made with great quality components.
The rule book is full color with plenty of pictures and examples. The first page is a list of the components with pictures (so useful!). The rules are printed on just three pages and only includes the new rules for this expansion. The rules are easy to read and you really only need to read the components you are using for this game (you can pick and choose what you want to add for each game).
Flow of the Game:
I'll go through the different things you can add:
1. H-Bomb - This is a new type of bomb to build. It requires the new orange cubes and a lot of workers. These bombs double the VP of another bomb you have.
2. Rockets - You build this up like fighters/bombers. Rockets act like bombers, but they cannot be blocked.
3. Nations 2 - This is a new set of Nation cards. They give each player a unique power but it still requires workers to activate. ex: North Korea - the players must pay him/her $3 or he ges a cube
4. Personalities - when you retrieve workers, you get to take one of these available (if you have one already, you must put it back and get a different one); these allow you to break the rules (maybe immune to a spy, use a worker as a scientist, etc)
5. Air Strike - you can change the number of air strike available (1-3)
Should I buy this game?:
This is a module exapansion, that I like. I'm not sure it is necessary but mainly because the base game is so good. Even so, I would highly recommend this expansion as it does add quite a bit of fun stuff to the game. I don't know that I would add a lot of it in with new gamers or new to the game. Even so, in my mind, a must buy.