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Subject: 'Must have' expansions rss

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Rob
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There are some that say always get a new game over an expansion to an existing game in your collection. There are some who feel compelled to have every expansion for every game in their collection. There are many who feel 'it depends'.

Board game expansions either add more complexity (new rules, additional mechanisms, more involved turns, new ways to score, etc.), swap out base game material (which you may or may not have liked) for something different, or just give you more of same (expand a card set, bigger map, add another player, etc.). All of this can be exciting, but how much does it improve the base game? Or does it improve it at all? Maybe some even makes you like the game less?

I think it's safe to say that not all expansions 'improve' their base game counterparts. Perhaps only a handful of popular game expansions would be unanimously (or almost) agreed upon as being great additions to the base game. Even fewer could be heralded as 'essential' to making the base game what it should be.

In you mind, what are these incredible expansions? Which game expansions do you think **everyone** would agree are critical to getting the most out of a particular base game? Think in terms of not just substantial improvement, but which expansions made a game go from okay to totally awesome? Which expansions transformed a 'broken' game to a terrific experience? There probably aren't many of these situations, but Id like to know what you think they are.

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Daniel Harris
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The two I consider essential are:

Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport
Champions of Midgard: Valhalla

Both of these make the original game so much better! Playing without them is a major step back.

I also particularly like:

Ticket to Ride: USA 1910

The larger cards alone are worth it! But it does add quite a bit on top of that.

Finally, I also hear Clash of Cultures: Civilizations is essential, but never having played with it, I can’t verify.
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BG.EXE
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Cosmic Incurrsion and Cosmic Dominion, equally.
Incurrsion adds a 6th player and good aliens, Dominion adds AWESOME aliens and the rewards deck. These both dramatically enhance an already great game.
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Posthumous Jones
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For me, the Fire and Ice expansion for Terra Mystica is a must have. It adds interesting faction, a turn-order mechanism that's worth the price alone, and a new board that's been re-balanced for higher player counts and a B side that's just different and interesting.
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Jonathan Lam
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I would say Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm is a must-have for Kingsburg, which is probably why Kingsburg (Second Edition) includes both.
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Stuart Dunn
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Champions of Midgard - Valhalla is essential. Dark Mountains is just nice to have.

7 Wonders - Leaders is essential. Cities is just nice to have.

Orleans - Trade and Intrigue is essential. Invasion is take or leave.

Near and Far - Amber Mines is essential.

Castle Panic - Wizard's Tower and Dark Titan are essential. Engines of War is so-so.

King of Tokyo/New York - Power Up expansions are essential.

Eminent Domain - Escalation is essential. Others are nice to have.

If you can't tell, I'm a big proponent of adding new ways to play the games I love.
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Zach Nuss
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In my small collection there are a few I can note.

Legendary: Dark City is a great expansion for Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building adventure as the base game is too easy to win, just not enough tension. Dark City has resolved thay. I have lost once, tied once and won once so far with Dark City.

Carcassonne’s Traders and Builders is an expansion I prefer to Inns and Cathedrals because it actually adds new mechanics and not just bigger ways to get points without any real mechanic changes like Inns and Cathedrals. I do have both though.

Scoundrels of Skullport is a great expansion for Lords of Waterdeep that really adds a lot more to the base game with a variety of lords and new locations/quests/intrigue cards.

I enjoy Elder sign, but had the same problem as Legendary with being too easy in the base game. I picked up Gates of Arkham and boy oh boy did they fix that! One of the complaints about GoAis it’s too hard, but I have gotten nail-bitingly close to winning so I don’t feel like I’m getting crushed each time.

I will add that I personally don’t plan to get every expansion for every game I own. I don’t want any more Carcassonne expansions, maybe only a couple more Legendary expansions and that’s it for now. I think there is such a thing as too much.
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Jonathan Lam
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Dismas wrote:
Champions of Midgard - Valhalla is essential. Dark Mountains is just nice to have.

7 Wonders - Leaders is essential. Cities is just nice to have.

Orleans - Trade and Intrigue is essential. Invasion is take or leave.

Near and Far - Amber Mines is essential.

Castle Panic - Wizard's Tower and Dark Titan are essential. Engines of War is so-so.

King of Tokyo/New York - Power Up expansions are essential.

Eminent Domain - Escalation is essential. Others are nice to have.

If you can't tell, I'm a big proponent of adding new ways to play the games I love.


Yes agreed, +1 to King Of Tokyo and Power Up.

I would also assume Valhalla is a must have too for CoM. I've read as such but I'm waiting to find out myself (just ordered it yesterday).
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Tim Freerksen
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Roll Player: Monsters & Minions is kinda of a needed expansion otherwise to me the game has no point

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Pegasus Expansion While I don't like the game this expansion has my waifu Cain in it and the addition of a new ship doesn't really add much length but so many more options
 
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Justin Jensen
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Pandemic: On the Brink
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Kathleen Nugent
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The only game I use expansions with is Carcassonne. I never play without Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders.

I bought a bunch of extra player boards for The Castles of Burgundy and some new tiles, but I'm equally as content without them.

I bought the orange god tiles for Bora Bora and don't need them either.

I play my games many many times, probably 100+ for Carcassonne and 75+ for Castles of Burgundy and 25+ for Bora Bora. I will continue to play those three for years without getting tired of them and moving on to other games.

I have trouble understanding why some gamers play their games less than 10 times each yet want to have all the expansions. That's a lot of money that could be spent on other games, vacations, restaurants, a new washing machine, what have you.
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Brian Phelps
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Eldritch Horror: Forsaken Lore Is an essential expansion imo, it nearly doubles the mysteries and research encounters of the 4 AO's from the base game. Allowing far greater variability.

I would also say Scythe: Invaders from Afaris essential because I hate that there are two starting locations on the base board that are unusable without it.



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BG.EXE
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EllenCaroline wrote:
I have trouble understanding why some gamers play their games less than 10 times each yet want to have all the expansions. That's a lot of money that could be spent on other games, vacations, restaurants, a new washing machine, what have you.

Different strokes for different folks. I’d rather not play than play Carcassonne 100 times, and find variety to be the spice of life. I think restaurants are a waste of money when I can just as easily cook better (and more nutritional) meals at home.

Thankfully we can both play games and spend our money how we like.
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Bill Cook
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Put me in the camp that isn't a fan of most expansions. In particular, I don't usually like expansions that add lots of new choices, rules, special powers, options, etc. I know lots of people love those, but I feel they often enjoy the simplicity and balance of the original.

What I do enjoy are the "more of the same" expansions. Extra maps for Ticket to Ride or Power Grid for instance.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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Saint Petersburg: New Society & Banquet Expansion - The New Society ONLY, improves the imbalance in Saint Petersburg and many feel the game should ALWAYS be played with this expansion. This is for the 1st edition of the game.
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Darryl with one "R"
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You may be interested in this GeekList:

The 50 best game expansions of all time according to bgg users votes
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Peter Ward
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Tuscany: Essential Edition. The base game doesn't feel complete without it.
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Klaus Gunther Herzog
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Cuba: El Presidente

The Pillars of the Earth: Expansion Set
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Jimmy Smith
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No such thing
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Michael Coniff
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I am more likely to buy a game if it has expansions.

I do extensive research before making purchases (with the exception of Raxxon, and I was mildly burnt by that), so I already have an idea that I'll like what I'm getting. Thus, if I know there's expansion material out there, it may swing my purchase.

Also expansions are a great way to continue the collecting part of this hobby without increasing physical space that my collection is taking up (I combine expansions into base game boxes or vice versa depending on the situation).

As far as "Must-Have?"

Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham
Seasons: Path of Destiny

These are the definite two in my collection that I don't ever play the base game without. In Elder Signs case: Gates of Arkham completely changes the adventure deck and adds a few extra goodies that completely liven up the game. For Seasons, the Path of Destiny has the best cards of the two expansions but I really love the Destiny Die.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Invaders from Afar for Scythe if you like Green or Purple.

Notre Dame new people, though that's included in the latest edition.

I guess that's all I'd "must buy."

Race for the galaxy is greatly enhanced by expansions but I have still played the base game thousands of times.

Twilight Imperium 3, but there's a new edition which could just be as good.

Games I rate 10 but haven't even had to try the expansions yet because I love them so much: Keyflower and War of the Ring.

(Leaving out games that are obviously meant to be expanded, FFG)
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Jordan S.
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Dismas wrote:
Champions of Midgard - Valhalla is essential. Dark Mountains is just nice to have.

I actually don't care for the Valhalla expansion because I feel it throws the balance of the game (particularly in scoring) off a bit. It does add some neat stuff and I'll play with it if I have to...but I prefer the game without it.

deehizzle wrote:

1910 is pretty durn close to being essential in my eyes as well. I think it makes the game's balance even tighter and being able to properly and more easily shuffle the train cards is a bigger deal than it sounds.
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Dan Nace
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madslaust wrote:


I came here to say this. The bioterrorist variant is meh, the mutation variant is a little odd at first, but the virulent strain variant is great. And it is worth getting for the extra roles and events it comes with alone. If it didn't have any of the other modules it would still be a must have.

I would also say getting an expansion or two for Smash Up is a must if you play a lot to add some more variety. Doesn't really matter which ones you get as long as you get a couple.
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Todd B
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If you own Star Wars: Rebellion, then Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire is a must buy. Greatly improves the combat of the original game, and includes a lot of new content based around Rogue One.
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Mike Ellis
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Runewars: Banners of War
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