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  • Writer's pictureAndy

Expansions! Expansions! Expansions?

​We are lucky enough to have thousands and thousands of tabletop games available to us today. With as many games that have been published, there seems to be almost as many expansions. I admit to being sucked into buying an expansion simply because I already own the base game, even if I haven’t ever played it or haven’t played it in a while. Expansions can bring excitement to old favorites or make a base game more enticing to purchase if it has a bunch of additional content released with additional expansions. I know several people who feel that many expansions can bog a game down, or simply aren’t as fun as the base game. I most assuredly do not fall into that category. I will say that there are games that I feel took elements away from the base game during development only to add them back in as expansions (my eyes are wandering in your direction Champions of Midgard). Games that seem incomplete are at times fun, but can be a bit vanilla, or even frustrating, because they feel like they should be fun, enjoyable games, but they aren’t.

​I don’t want to rag too much on Champions of Midgard. It is a game that I truly enjoy playing. I love the different dice that represent your warriors and the strengths and weaknesses that are given to each warrior type. The worker placement is solid, and I really like how everything ties into the theme so well. However, I admit that I did not like the game when I first bought it. My favorite video game is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, so the Viking theme is right up my alley. I love worker placement, and I had been looking for a dice game that was unique. I played it several times, and kind of felt like I wasted my money. I was incredibly bummed. I was scanning through posts in one of my Facebook groups and found out that Champions of Midgard had some expansions out. At first, I wasn’t willing to take the risk of wasting more money on this game, but after reading about other players’ experiences I felt that these expansions might change my mind about a very disappointing game. I bought both The Dark Mountains and Valhalla and have thoroughly loved the game ever since. I feel that with this game you should never play without the expansions.

​Now, another game that I feel falls into this category is Colony. Colony is a post-apocalyptic game where each player is using scarce resources available to be the first player to build up their colony by hitting a certain point threshold based on the number of players. You build buildings and draft resources (dice) to activate your buildings. I love the concept of this game. It is unique, and I feel, had such great potential. Bottom line is Colony either needed an expansion or two...or five (because I love expansions), or maybe just additional content in the base game. It only has 166 cards and 42 six-sided dice (pip dice). Ultimately, this game needed more meat. It has a great basic structure but needed to be fleshed out a bit more.

​There are many other games that have come out with expansions but haven’t sated my appetite. Most of these aren’t because the games are lacking in anything, but simply because I enjoy those games so much that I would love to see the publishers release more content. I know Descent: Legends of the Dark is set to release this year, and I know there are purists out there that dislike the app integration in 2nd edition, but I would love to see more digital content for the 2nd edition app, especially more campaign stories. I would also like to see Libellud come out with more content for Dice Forge. Others that I wish had expansions are: Sewer Pirates, Abomination: Heir of Frankenstein, Monster Menace America and Gizmos.

​What games do you feel could use an expansion and which expansions do you think vastly improved their counterpart base game?

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Douglas Stewart
Douglas Stewart
Sep 08, 2021

I completely agree when it comes to Champions of Midgard. Valhalla in particular felt like it "fixed" the base game. While I don't think it should ever be the intent of designers and publishers to "fix" or "finish" their games through expansion release (I'm looking at you kickstarter projects), I do appreciate the opportunity expansions provide to correct missteps from base games.

My favorite expansions are the ones that add so much fun content you don't think you could play the game without them. Controlled Chaos for Dinogenics and, more recently, The Alchemists for the Quacks of Quedlinburg, are two great examples that come to mind. The digital expansions for Journeys in Middle Earth are also excellent.

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