This is my first thoughts upon first playing the game. A full review will come after at least a dozen more plays.
The box is beautiful and quite a bit smaller than the original. Everything was neatly packaged, with a new rule book and an extra book for AI play. The new cards and boards are really nice, and the art matches perfectly. After slotting the new cards in with the base game, you would never know the difference.
The back of the box states everything that comes with the expansion. I got the kickstarter version, which comes with more AI cards, and nothing was missing or out of place. It was packaged very well.
And everything fits in the original box as well. In fact, you could probably fit another expansion in there - it's big enough. I like that I don't have to use two boxes to move the game around.
The new expansion isn't modular - though there are parts you can keep out should you wish. You might be happy without the use of the HQ, but love the new Event cards, and you can do that, sure. Or vice versa. The AI is a great addition if you need extra players, and yes - there is the addition of a 6th player now, making this a 1-6 game, from the original's 2-5 players. I was worried about the length of gametime due to the extra player, but it's minimal, and things still move fast enough.
Moving the stock option to the bookkeeping phase also keeps the game moving at a more steady clip, with the option of trading one stock for another, and purchasing one other stock only. No longer do you have to wait and see how someone can weigh up their values and costs. It also keeps players from hitting you hard at the end game, though it does take away that vengeance and aggression that the original could be. It's a trade-off, but it works better.
The new 6th player is a great Inventor, a philanthropist and America's first female millionaire, who has a fitting ability that when she uses propaganda to put herself forward, she can also jump on someone else's technology, provided she pays them. Being an entrepreneur and a millionaire, you know she likely did just this.
The HQ is a major game change in that it is a new action that can be done by the player. Each player has four new wings of their HQ to create, from their workshop to their laboratory, and all provide some kind of benefit. Each is unique too, for example, Walker's Studio allows the player to immediately set the AC/DC fame track all the way to one end immediately. Whereas Maxim's Studio gives the player $5,000 per phase.
It's another layer of strategy and will make the player play with Inventor's they generally avoid.
This new HQ ability does keep the buying and selling of stock away from the main game, but now that that is part of bookkeeping, it's less time-wasting and the game is a bit speedier and offers a little more depth.
The move to a Victory Point system also means that there is now a lot less riding on the stock. Whereas in the base game only the stock value is the final evaluation on a player's prowess, there are now more options in making your final score. Certainly, stock still plays a major role and the majority of your points will come from it, but it won't be all of them. And yes, you can still gain points using stock other than your own.
All the additions are smartly done - from the new Event cards, the new HQ actions, and all the other small additions to the current systems in the game. The AI is smart, and can offer a real challenge.
The only criticism I have is that there are only three player aid cards. For a game that can have up to six players, I found this odd, but otherwise I really don't have a complaint.
Tesla vs Edison was already a great game. Powering Up just makes it so much better.
Great review! My only nitpick would be that you actually CAN tell the difference between the old and the new cards, because the back of the new ones is quite a bit darker. But this has absolutely no influence on the gameplay.