Andreas Becker
United States
Los Angeles
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The additions to the game can basically be divided into two categories: More content (with some twists to the original formula) and the backstage elements. Each is discussed in turn below:

New Actors (marked with green)

There are nine new actor cards that you can incorporate into the base game, without needing to use the "backstage" elements of the expansion.

They all have some fun new twists on the powers in the base game (for both their regular actions and the costume bonuses), including:

Forcing each other player to move back one space on one of their 3 acts

Forcing each other player to lose a coin

Drawing 3 new objective cards, adding one to their hand (similar to the
Queen in the original)

Gaining a +3 costuming token

Automatically performing the first action, regardless of turn order

(penalty) Forcing the player (not others) to move back one on their ambiance track

Overall, these new characters seem like a lot of fun and will add freshness to the game! Plus, some have 2-element costumes that provide an immediate bonus, but which will make it harder to gain points/money from since you'll only be totaling two numbers, not three.

New Objectives (marked with red)

There are five new objectives, one of which is used like the normal objectives from the base game, and awards one point per assistant at the end of the game.

The other four objectives aren't really "objectives", per se. Instead, they're played at the beginning of the ambiance phase, and give you one of four benefits:

Take non-gold costume/set pieces from the discard pile up to a total of 6 value

Move your ambiance forward 3 spaces

Take one yellow costume/scenery piece from the discard

Immediately move forward one space on each act

These seem awesome, as I love the idea of having the chance of pulling a quick benefit card that you can play as a surprise, while foregoing the potential benefits from an additional goal!

Backstage Cards (marked with blue) and Theater Cards (marked with yellow)

These are really the heart of this expansion, and what pushes it beyond just being a handful of new cards applying the same formula. These are pretty straightforward actually. Essentially, you shuffle and lay out the same number of backstage cards as you do actors. Your unwagered cylinders are no longer useless, but now are used on the backstage deck (plus, if you choose, your recruitment card, which acts as a single cylinder). As an action, instead of recruiting or activating a character, you can use a backstage card by moving your cylinders onto it. You can do this multiple times per day, assuming you have cylinders left, and assuming the remaining backstage cards aren’t already occupied. They provide a bunch of different bonuses, which are usually more powerful if you use more cylinders (often 2 or 3 cylinders versus just 1 cylinder):

Placing set dressings onto your theater card

Placing a non-yellow costume element as a “hat”

Immediately activating one of your actors

Gaining new actors

Taking yellow scenery

Using one fewer rest tokens

Increasing ambiance

Moving forward on one or more acts

Taking set dressing elements

Avoiding penalties during rehearsal (at a cost)

Allow your set dressers and costumers to take elements from the discard pile

Overall, I’m very excited to try this expansion. Obviously getting more content is great, but more importantly, I love the new “goals” and the new mechanism. Specifically, I think the new use of your cylinders will really make the game more exciting, as (especially with two, my normal player count) it won’t just be a matter of trying to guess how many cylinders your opponent(s) will want to use on their cards but, rather, how they’ll want to divide their cylinders between the main stage and the backstage.
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