Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Big Game Hunting - Are expansions really worth it?

Instead of reviewing one expansion, I thought I'd do something a bit smart and focus on what expansions bring to games.

Well, aside from the obvious.

We own several (many lots) board games, for which Proud Lion has furnished us with expansions. In fact, we have a standing order for both Death Angel, Battlestar Galactica and Mansions of Madness expansions. I'm going to be reviewing Death Angel later, but I thought I'd focus on the other two this time - Mansions of Madness and Battlestar Galactica.

Mansions of Madness has several expansions, from small to large (in fact, Fantasy Flight the company that makes the board game sent us the fix for the latest large expansion). Some come in boxes, and are quite hefty. Others are smaller Print On Demand expansions - simply cards and little quests. Both contextually add some solid dimension to the games. Season of the Witch, the first expansion, has been amazing. We have really gotten a great deal out of it - and it's the smallest of the expansions.

So, in the case of Mansions of Madness, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up the extras - it doesn't just add to the value of the game, it really does give it new depth.

Battlestar Galactica on the other hand has two expansions. With the first one, Pegasus, the gameplay remained remarkably unchanged. Though new characters were introduced (something MoM hasn't done - yet), there wasn't anything ground-breaking, mechanics wise, other than the Resurrection Ships and infiltrating (something which I've never understood tactically - once people know you're a Cylon, you're going to get killed whenever you wreak havoc on the ship. Sabotage comes down to luck at that point).

While the expansions have brought extra pieces, gameplay areas and more to the game, once you get the basics of Battlestar Galactica, bar one new mechanic, you've got it all, in my opinion. Be devious, or don't - either way, you can predict how a game is most likely going to end at the halfway point and none of the expansions have changed that. It may just be the style we play, but you CAN do without - though, that said, the expansions do bring some kick-ass characters. The second final expansion had three different options - one of which brought an interesting mechanic, something I'll be discussing in a later review, but for now I'll just say 'it's nasty'.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that expansions are great - some are better than others - and it depends on the game. If you're bored with the regular play, pop down or find out if the game has an expansion - you might reinvigorate your love for your board game - or discover that there's a new tactic to learn.

This week, Kai is very, very tired but working on the next article - 'The One Ring'.

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