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Subject: Is having just the "Base Game" enough for you? rss

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mortego
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Of course, the ultimate answer is, "It depends..."

So, make that part of your reply as well.

For me, it depends....I have many games that have expansions available but I rarely buy them the a few exceptions: Elder Sign: Unseen Forces, Eldritch Horror: Forsaken Lore and.........I think that's it.

I have nothing against expansions it's just that I just never consider getting them unless I think it's really important like the ones I mentioned above.

Carcassonne: The River and this one, too.

What say you?
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Pete
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As a general rule, I find expansions add variety but muddy the design of a well-constructed game. I own a fair few, but I don't consider expansions to be priority, and I'll usually seek out a new game more than an expansion.

Pete (doesn't play any of his games so often that the "need" expansions to keep them fresh)

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Matt Brown
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Outside of expandable games which are built around the idea, useful expansions tend to max out at 1.
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Eddy Sterckx
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In general I dislike expansions, but on very rare occasions they do make the base game really better.

Farmers of the Moor for Agricola
German Railroads for Russian Railroads
Fire & Ice for Terra Mystica
East expansion for Hansa Teutonica

That's it.

All other expansions I've played I've rated 6 or less.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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I feel the urge to buy the darn things but Pete's right, they often muddy an otherwise great game. Innovation doesn't need expansions (but I have them). Istanbul's coffee expansion is nice but not necessary. Then again...

The Salsa expansion for Concordia is pure awesomeness.
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Garth Tams
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Roads and Boats is a great game, but without & Cetera is only a great game. With & Cetera, it is by far the best game I have played.

Kingsburg is unplayable without the expansion.

But I think the percentage of great expansions actually pales in comparison to the percentage of great games.
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adam wilson

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The Ticket to Ride expansions add a lot to those games. Some of the Catan expansions make the game playable better.
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mortego
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Mabuchi wrote:
Kingsburg is unplayable without the expansion.


I believe Tom Vasel said the same thing. I have that game and would consider getting an expansion for it.
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K S
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If I like a game, I will usually want all expansions...unless the expansion(s) add/change something that very particularly will make me like the game less.

If I am meh on a game, I will usually not want any expansions...unless the expansion(s) add/change something that very particularly will make me like the game more.

Luckily for me, few of my most favorite games have very many expansions so far.
 
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Ken Lewis
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If I feel a game isn't "complete" without an expansion then I will buy it, if it just adds things that aren't necessarily needed, just for the sake of adding them, I will usually pass.

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Marina SC
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As you say, It Depends I tend to not like module-based expansions that you take in and out of the game, because I don't like separating out bits or remembering different rulesets. Expansions that fundamentally change the base game are fine, depending on whether the change is for the better or not.

However, expansions that just add more content/variety without changing the game do sometimes make me feel a little completionist-y. For example, the new Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn faction decks just arrived in my usual store, and while it's a game I sadly don't get to play often, I WANT THEM.
 
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Bruce Gazdecki
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No, I must have all expansions for a game, even if I don't use them.

The drawback of being a completionist.

The only exception is if the expansion is OOP and really pricey, then I'll wait until I find a deal (but it drives me nuts just the same).
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Bryan Thunkd
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Does the expansion actually improve the game? If so, buy it. If not, then don't.

I don't understand why anyone would make the decision based on any other factor.
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John
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I usually look at expansions for games I own and buy some but not all of them. I wonder if there's some metric for "how expanded your collection is"?

I have expansions for 4 games (Carcassonne, Race for the Galaxy, Star Realms, The Resistance), for those the only one I have all available expansions is The Resistance, though I'm sure I'll eventually get the remaining two expansions for Race for the Galaxy). I have a couple of games which include expansions Carcassonne, Citadels, Hive Pocket). I think Catan & The Rivals for Catan are the only two games with big expansions where I only have the base game. I know there are minor expansions for some other games I own.
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K S
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Thunkd wrote:
Does the expansion actually improve the game? If so, sure. If not, then no.

I don't understand why anyone would make the decision based on any other factor.

Well, not to be argumentative, but it's not always clear whether or not an expansion will improve a game before you play it. And "try before you buy" isn't always a viable option for everybody.
 
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John
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Thunkd wrote:
I don't understand why anyone would make the decision based on any other factor.

Same, unless trying out the expansion is a problem. I've never tried an expansion before buying it. I probably could but it's not really worth the time/money/effort to do so.
 
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Bryan
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I have to admit, I'm a little OCD about needing everything related to a game that I like. If an expansion is available, I'm going to be eyeing that thing up until I can get my hands on it. I tend to focus more on specific games rather than having a large variety in my collection. I'm not one to spend a lot of money on things, so if I own a game, it's because I love it. I don't really own any games that I find just ok (except maybe some children's games that my daughter likes).
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Michael
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Yes, in my opinion it depends on:

1. if the game is 'complete' as it is so that additions will take away from the game - e.g. Dungeon Petz and Hawaii

2. if the game is lacking something like replayability because of lack of variability or because it's too simple - e.g. Caverna or Among the Stars, Lords of Waterdeep and Ticket to Ride

3. if the game is not really lacking anything - it's a good game - but would be made more fun by an expansion - e.g. Nations and Fleet
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K S
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If one lives with folks who don't appreciate the space that games take up, expansions can be a nice way to get the thrill of shiny new toys, but also plausibly deny accusations of "getting too many games".

...or so I've heard.whistle
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Chris
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Just checked my records and the only expansions I currently own (out of 60+-ish games) are:

1 + 2.) Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders.

I think these are "somewhat" necessary. Base Carcassonne kind of tires-out after a few dozen plays. Having the first two enables you to mix and match some of the options just to keep it interesting. After Expansion 2, I think they got kind of silly, though.

3 + 4.) King of Tokyo: Power Up! and King of Tokyo: Halloween

Neither of these is strictly necessary, but Power Up is verging on it; the evolution decks add an extra level of strategy to a strategy-light game, and the Panda is cool. The other one is complete garnish; the orange dice are nice, but it's eminently skippable. I only got it because it was half price at the time.

5,6 and 7.) Hive: The Mosquito, Hive: The Ladybug and Hive: The Pillbug.

Not strictly necessary to play, but verging on necessary to break out of the strategic limitations of the basic game. Many of the resources online and in book form 'sort-of' assume you have them. That said, the game can be strategic enough without them. The Mosquito's probably the most interesting.

8.) The Resistance: Hidden Agenda

Three expansion modules for the base/cyberpunk version of Resistance. In my opinion this is critical if you have the cyberpunk version as it gives you the Avalon roles as well as two other (good) modules. I think base Resistance + Hidden Agenda gives the best of all worlds, but if you only wanted one box, Avalon's the one to get.

9.) Coup: Reformation

This one is critical, IMO, as the allegiance system solves the endgame triangulation problem with Coup which can often result in one player realizing they can't win and effectively kingmaking.

That's it; I don't own any other expansions. My preferences tend towards games that don't really need them: small-ish games, some card games, some abstracts, medium-weight Euros (often self-contained) etc. My collection is fairly short on the type of games where they give you just enough to get going and then milk you to make the games awesome in the long-term. The only 'big box' FF games I have are Mission: Red Planet and Fury of Dracula, and neither of them either has or needs an expansion. If I owned Eldritch Horror, Descent, Cutthroat Caverns or Cosmic Encounter (which I will pick up one of these days), I'd be expanded up the *ss.
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Bryan Thunkd
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wamsp wrote:
Well, not to be argumentative, but it's not always clear whether or not an expansion will improve a game before you play it. And "try before you buy" isn't always a viable option for everybody.
Okay. But I can research the expansion... read the rulebook, watch a few videos, etc. and form a pretty good idea of what it adds to the game. Based on that I either buy or not based on the expectation of whether it will improve the game or not.

The important part of my comment was that you should buy expansions for the purpose of improving the game, whether you know it for a fact or merely suspect it. As opposed to auto-buying expansions for games you love without bothering to research them at all (just because the base game is good doesn't mean the expansion will be) or buying expansions to be a completionist or collector (the value of having games, or expansions, is to play them, not owning them for the sake of having them.)

So yeah, you may not know for certain if an expansion will really improve a game without playing it, but that should still be the reason you're buying it.
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Ron
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When I have played a game enough for it to get stale, but still like it, I'll strongly consider an expansion. Takenoko is such a game. Because it was on Boardgamearena, my GF and I played it pretty much while she was on an internship in China, but it got stale. We haven't actually played the expansion yet, but I'm excited to play the game again with Chibis added

Other scenario is the 'player count' expansions. Blood Rage won't play five without it, so I got it. Age of Steam isn't known for its awesome three player gameplay, so I bought Age of Steam Expansion #3: Scandinavia and Korea

Expansions that might clutter the base game or destroy the elegance? I'll give those a pass if I can
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Phillip Harpring
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I own very few expansions, and they're ones that I feel enhance the base game so well that I wouldn't really consider playing the core game without them: King of Tokyo: Power Up!, Elder Sign: Unseen Forces, and to a lesser extent Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham.

Expansions that add more scenarios or variety are a really tough sell for me, because I don't really get to play any one game enough to need them. It's why I've yet to pick up Elder Sign: Omens of Ice. I'm getting close to that point with Eldritch Horror and Colt Express, though, so Eldritch Horror: Forsaken Lore and Colt Express: Horses & Stagecoach could be in my future.

ETA: I do have Star Realms: Colony Wars, which is a "variety" expansion considering the fact I already had two sets of the base game to get the player count increase.
 
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Joe Salamone
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If the expansion adds something new to the game (e.g., different factions, different cards, different tiles, different rules), I will often (but not always) buy it. If the expansion just adds components for another player, I don't get very excited about it. Also, if a game has many expansions, I will usually buy some, but not all of them (I think the law of diminishing returns kicks in for most expansions). For example:

* I have all of the Alhambra expansions. If another one gets released, there's probably a 50/50 chance I will get it.
* I have several of the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game expansions, but I may not buy many (or any) more. So far, I have played this exclusively as a solitaire game and I have enough variety for that purpose. Same is true for Sentinels of the Multiverse.
* I have several Dominion expansions. I probably won't buy any more, except possibly Dominion: Seaside.
* I have only the base game for Cyclades and Kemet, but I would like to get the expansions at some point.
 
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Geoffrey Burrell
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I like having the expansions because it usually adds another player. I prefer a gaming group with 5 to 6 people in it.
 
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