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Subject: Expansion ratings and the Empty Box Paradox. rss

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Ben Armstrong
United States
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I was thinking about starting to rate the expansions now that they have been separated categorically. I am though having trouble coming up with a way to rate them. I will spell out my thought process so far and would love to hear everyone's opinions.

Suppose you have a base game which you give an "8". This game came out with an expansion which was just an empty box. How would you rate the expansion.

Solution 1:
= 8
Since the expansion doesn't effect the game, the rating for the game and the expansion (treating it as if they were now a new game by itself) stays the same. This doesn't actually reflect how I feel about an expansion that is nothing but an empty box. So we move on...

Solution 2:
EXPANSION = 5 (if it does nothing for the game)
+X if it adds to the game and -X if it takes away. This falls under the BGG rating criteria as well and makes some sense. Now the question becomes how do I determine X.

Solution 2a:
Looking back to solution 1 what is your new rating for the BASE GAME + EXPANSION . So under this guideline the most I could rate the expansion is a 7(5+2) since 10(8+2) is the highest rating. Another problem is even though an expansion may be really well done it doesn't change the underlying mechanics and theme of the game itself when comparing it to other games. So an expansion is rarely ever going to change peoples desirability of playing that game by anything substantial.

Solution 2b:
BASE GAME VS BASE GAME + EXPANSION. "5" there is no difference between them. X is how big of a desire I have of playing the game with or without the expansion. So anything less than a five means the game is worse with the expansion. This seems like the best solution I can come up with. Is this what everyone else does or do you do it differently?
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Oliver Cheng
United States
Rhode Island
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I just started rating board games, and I ran into this paradox. I think I go with solution 1, because it answers the question "how often do I want to play this game?" I haven't actually thought about it as logically as this, mostly because the problem gets unwieldy quite quickly. Dominion restricted to the 25 kingdom cards it has I rate a 7, or maybe 6.5. Dominion:Intrigue is a game that stands on its own, and I would probably* rate it about 7.5 or 8 right now. But the two combined I would rate even higher, say 8 or 8.5.

*I haven't actually played Dominion:Intrigue, but a friend of mine put his Dominion cards into opaque sleeves and then printed off cards he made up and sleeved them, so I've played Dominion with about 50 different cards that could make up the supply. (The first group of cards we added can be found here: .)
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