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Subject: Top 10 games...WITHOUT expansions. rss

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Kevin Garnica
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Okay, let's try this exercise. What are your top 10 games without the usual "this includes all expansions" nonsense. Let's just pick 10 games that you could live with if it was *just* the game, no expansions etc.

Here's my list at the moment (it might change, haha), in no particular order:

1. Tigris & Euphrates
2. Paris Connection
3. Gold West
4. Isle of Skye
5. The King is Dead
6. Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
7. 1960: The Making of the President
8. Beyond Baker Street
9. Elysium
10. Parade
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Michael Gonzalez
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1. Castles of Burgundy
2. Notre Dame: 10th Anniversary Edition (cheating, cuz the expansions are included...).
3. Viticulture: Essential Edition (kind of cheating).
4. Among the Stars
5. Tokaido
6. Raptor
7. Mission: Red Planet
8. Chess
9. Eclipse
10. Kingdomino
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Andrew
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I feel like with most games, I'm chary of the expansions and prefer the base game as it was designed. With that said, here's my list:

10. Twixt (a very deep abstract that couldn't even take expansions if people wanted them)
9. 7 Wonders (yes, base game alone is a triumph, no need for expansions)
8. Vast: the Crystal Caverns (very innovative game, even without expansions)
7. Concordia (maps seem nice, but hardly crucial to the game's success)
6. Dixit (I would play this even with just the base cards -- my favorite party game. I would also suggest that Dixit's expansions are unlike most other games as they add absolutely no complexity to the game)
5. Century: Spice Road
4. Terra Mystica (fire and ice didn't grab me, base game is amazing)
3. Lancaster (again, totally complete without the expansions)
2. Russian Railroads (though I enjoy the expansions, I would happily play the base game until the end of time)
1. Glory to Rome (the perfect game!)

The only game which falls off my top ten when you take expansions out of the picture is Smash Up (usually my number 6). I honestly couldn't play that game with just the base. That said, I think a good number for Smash Up is 2 or 3 extra expansions, as so much of the metagame comes from the picking/drafting phase (that is the game!) -- with all the expansions, the game is totally bloated.

A
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Mike Jones
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Live with (without expansions):

1. El Grande (no need for any of those expansions, best on it's own)
2. Imperial
3. Die Macher
4. AoE III, (I wish they would have never made the builder)
5. Jenseits von Theben
6. Black Vienna
7. Sun, Sea and Sand
8. Belfort (I am one of the few [in my group] that dislike the expansion for this one)
9. Hollywood Blockbuster
10. Um Reifnbreite

Basically my Top 15 with 5 games dropping out.

Nuclear War - what's the point if it's not to have a HUGE stack of cards to draw from?

Power Grid - ok, I admit it, I like having differrent maps to choose from.

Container - well the expansion does help with new players.

Russian Railroads - does it NEED the expansions?, no. But, I like that they are there.

Ginkgopolis - I do like some of the expansion modules.
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Kenny Felts
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1. War of the Ring (Second Edition)
2. Cosmic Encounter
3. The Battle of Five Armies
4. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
5. Mechs vs. Minions
6. Star Wars: Rebellion
7. Viticulture Essential Edition
8. Ghost Stories
9. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
10. For Sale

Many of these have great expansions (War of the Ring, Cosmic Encounter, Viticulture, and Rebellion especially) but the base games are so good that they don't require the expansions.
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Patrick McNamara
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1. Twilight Struggle
2. Mystery of the Abbey
3. Pillars of the Earth (expansion not needed, IMO)
4. Die Macher
5. Earth Reborn
6. Manila
7. Roads & Boats
8. 1960: The Making of a President
9. Troyes (have the expansion, but haven't played it yet)
10. London

 
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Nick Vallina
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if I'm Andy, is Zack April? seems right...
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1 - Aeon's End
2 - Salem 1692
3 - Ghost Stories
4 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game
5 - Eldritch Horror
6 - Abyss
7 - Mysterium
8 - Valeria: Card Kingdoms
9 - Dominion
10 - Betrayal at House on the Hill
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Jason
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In no particular order...

1. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
About as close to Pandemic with expansions as you can get. Plus, I enjoyed the Legacy aspect and story driven campaign a lot.

2. Gloomhaven
The tactical card combat is great. It's co-op so I don't have to play overlord. Plus, there's so much content.

3. Inis
The card drafting, area control, and win condition create such an interesting mix of gameplay. Plus the art is gorgeous.

4. Star Wars: Rebellion
I don't even own it (yet). But, it only took one play to sell me on this. It's just so tense and thematic.

5. Specter Ops
For the most part, this killed Letters from Whitechapel for me. Fits in a great place of adding complexity without being fiddly.

6. Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Fun mix of deck builder and push your luck. I enjoy the expansion, but it doesn't need it.

7. Dark Moon
My go to for a social deduction game.

8. Cry Havoc
Assymetrical factions, interesting combat resolution, and lots of conflict.

9. Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game
Plays well with 2-5 players. It has a few variants to change things up. Plus the missions and characters can be mixed up for replayability.

10. Junk Art
Probably the best dexterity game out there.
 
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Alexandre Santos
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This is cruel, since my favorite game, Race for the Galaxy is a goner following those criteria shake

So here's my top 10 vanilla games:
- Chicago Express - great elegant shared auction and shares incentives game that plays in under one hour.
- Hanabi - very deep and simple coopertive game
- Lisboa - early days, but smooth play and so many possibilities!
- Troyes - a lot of strategy and replayability packed into a great dice management game.
- The Great Zimbabwe- elegant and relatively fast network building game
- Inis - great drafting dudes on a map game
- Ghost Stories - simple coop game that provides a great challenge
- Fields of Arle - very strategic worker placement game
- Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - a great stratego-like game
- Navegador - a great rondel game with a market sub-system
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Kevin Garnica
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AlexFS wrote:
This is cruel


It's just a fun hypothetical.
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J. Goard
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Most of my top games, I prefer playing base. The only exceptions would be Summoner Wars (if you call extra factions "expansions"), Scythe (pretty much designed for 7 from the outset) and Trains, where new boards and cards are mostly all great. Some games with expansions that I strongly prefer base:

- Race for the Galaxy
- Innovation
- Castles of Burgundy
- Le Havre
- Takenoko
- Seasons
 
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Derry Salewski
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Keyflower
Napoleon's Triumph
Hammer of the Scots
War of the Ring
Twilight Imperium 4th edition
Twilight Struggle
Battle Cry 2nd Edition
Antiquity
Endeavor
Dominant Species

In no particular order.
 
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AJ Cooper
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Puerto Rico. The original design is sewn up so tight that it doesn't need any expansions at all. After all these years and plays, only two small balance changes suggested by the designer.

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Tomello Visello
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aaj94 wrote:
I feel like with most games, I'm chary of the expansions and prefer the base game as it was designed.

By continued reading at this site I have to suppose I am an outlier. I join you.

If I really want to play something different, then I play a different game.

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Steven Davies
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Koneko: A PvP worker placement game set in a very Feline Feudal Japan........
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Castles of Burgundy
Jump Drive
Terraforming Mars
Pandemic
The Networks
Quadropolis
Warhammer Quest
Ticket to Ride
Waggledance
Port Royal
 
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Alexandre Santos
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TVis wrote:
aaj94 wrote:
I feel like with most games, I'm chary of the expansions and prefer the base game as it was designed.

By continued reading at this site I have to suppose I am an outlier. I join you.

If I really want to play something different, then I play a different game.


Sure, but there are reasons to get into expansion creep:
- additional content, if it's a content-based game, instead of a player-centered game (TIME Stories vs chess, for instance)
- sometimes the expansion makes the game. I bought Orlean's base game, because I wanted to play the Invasion cooperative module.

And then there are more debatable reasons:
- game is defective without the corrective expansion
- you are a completist
 
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John
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AlexFS wrote:

Sure, but there are reasons to get into expansion creep:

There are also games that were designed with (some of) the expansion content but some content was split out into an expansion either to make the game easier to learn or more commercially viable (I think Race for the Galaxy and Catan are both examples). I'm guessing most of these would fall into one or both of your other categories too (at lest for some people).
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John Smith
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I'll go for games where I actively DON'T want an expansion. The game is just bang on the money for me as it is.

1) King of Tokyo (apart from, I wouldn't mind a few more characters with cool art, but I don't want the mechanics added to)
2) Patchwork
3) Summoner Wars

Just kidding about that one.

Erm.

3) At the Gates of Loyang
4) Biblios
5) Chess
6) Love Letter (though I do enjoy Lost Legacy)
7) Valley of the Kings (I own all three sets but not to expand them, just coz I love the game. One set is fine on its own)
8) Limes (a nice little puzzle as-is)
9) Hey, That's My Fish!
10) Fleet Wharfside
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Alexandre Santos
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blackmeeple wrote:

7) Valley of the Kings (I own all three sets but not to expand them, just coz I love the game. One set is fine on its own)


Sorry, but that's cheating
 
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Gilbert L.
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I don't have many games so my choices are easy except for the order

1)Chess - Only game I will play all my life, my rating 1900 ELO
2)Patchwork - So many games with my wife, still enjoy it
3)The Castles of Burgundy
4)Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure - fun and I love dragons
5)Carcassonne - Better with some expensions but still a very good game
6) Arboretum - New acquisition, strong
7) 7 Wonders Duel - Fit well in 7 spot :-)
8) Catan (1995)
9) One Deck Dungeon (2016)
10)Jaipur (2009) - Wife loves it

What to buy next ? :-)

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Zach Pasqualetto
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10ish in no particular order:

Scythe
Robinson Crusoe
Clank!
Cry Havoc
Glory to Rome
Jump Drive
Five Tribes
Exodus: Proxima Centauri
Blood Rage
51st State Master Set (unless this is cheating since there are expansions decks in the base game)
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Nigel N
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Surprised to see that Jump Drive got mentioned more than Race for the Galaxy. Though I love AA (the only expansion I own and have played), base game of RftG is really great.

And while Chess is mentioned thrice, abstract games (most of which are without expansion) seems to be absent.

Given that I'm still new and have fewer than 50 games, I will list fewer than ten games below (in no particular order):

1. YINSH
2. Fields of Arle
3. Race for the Galaxy
4. The Castles of Burgundy
5. Trajan

I suspect that with more plays, I will add Keyflower and Twilight Struggle to the list, also other filler games which I recently acquired and haven't played, like Battle Line, Parade, Pax Renaissance.
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Andrew Watson
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AlexFS wrote:
TVis wrote:
aaj94 wrote:
I feel like with most games, I'm chary of the expansions and prefer the base game as it was designed.

By continued reading at this site I have to suppose I am an outlier. I join you.

If I really want to play something different, then I play a different game.


Sure, but there are reasons to get into expansion creep:
- additional content, if it's a content-based game, instead of a player-centered game (TIME Stories vs chess, for instance)
- sometimes the expansion makes the game. I bought Orlean's base game, because I wanted to play the Invasion cooperative module.

And then there are more debatable reasons:
- game is defective without the corrective expansion
- you are a completist


Other reasons:
- the expansion expands the player count range. Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm is the best example: it expands the range to 1-5, from 2-4 for the base game.

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Alexandre Santos
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AndAgainMA wrote:

Other reasons:
- the expansion expands the player count range. Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm is the best example: it expands the range to 1-5, from 2-4 for the base game.


True, and that is why I couldn't mention RFTG. I find the solo mode amazing.
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Jimmy Smith
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There's an expansion for chess?!
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