It’s time for another d20 List. This week, I rolled 12, which was a relief because we’ve had a few longer lists. I wanted to do something different, so this week, I chose something that is near and dear to my heart: Expansions!!
Whether I’ve played the game 20 times, or I’m just going “all-in” I love games that include ways to change up the base game or add additional functionality/gameplay. I, like many of you (I assume) am also a completionist, so there are some game systems where I own more expansions than times I’ve played the game.
A few ground rules I set for us to define expansion for this list:
- Standalone expansions are okay (Trains and Trains: Rising Sun, for example)
- Reimplementations are not (Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries)
- Game systems are not (Piecepack/Ice House)
So with that being said, here’s my top 12 expansions (in no particular order) [Author’s Note- Many of my entries count for ALL of the expansions for that series, I just picked the one I prefer the most]:
- Memoir ‘44 Campaign Book 1: It’s no surprise I love Memoir ‘44. The Campaign Books give you a way to link together multiple scenarios where there are ramifications based upon if you win or lose. It also provides an extra layer of strategy as you can get reinforcements or special abilities to use throughout the campaign.
- Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport: This adds two new boards and a new mechanic (Corruption) to Lords of Waterdeep, which really made it fresh to me again, after playing the base game quite a bit. Corruption really adds another layer of interactivity between players which can make things really, really interesting, especially at higher player counts.
- D-Day Dice: Operation Neptune: I am a fan of all things D-Day, and Operation Neptune (as many of the expansions) add a ton of extra maps, items, and other things you can use to storm the beaches.
- Ambush: Move Out!: This one can be hard to find, but Ambush! Is probably one of my favorite wargames of all time. Move Out! (along with the other 2 expansions, Silver Star and Purple Heart) adds more story based missions that you can take your squad from the base game through.
- Alhambra: The Thief’s Turn: While I enjoy many of the Alhambra expansions (especially the Treasure Room), using the “Change” module from this expansion added an extra oomph to the game that was missing. This is probably the base game I’ve played the most, so I’m looking forward to adding more and more of the modules.
- Sagrada: 5 and 6 Player Expansion: This gives official rules for modifying the dice bag based upon the number of players, as well as adding some interesting new goals.
- Lock n Load Tactical: Solo: This allows you to play any of the Lock n Load Tactical games solo; it’s versatility to work with any game in the system is amazing, and gets you a ton of use for the price.
- Roll Player: Monsters & Minions: In the base Roll Player, I was always a little frustrated that you couldn’t do anything with the character you created. In Monsters & Minions, you get to take your character and gather information and eventually fight the monster. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something with my character, instead of just building them and then returning them to the box.
- Combat Commander Battle Pack 1: Paratroopers: I love Paratroopers, and Combat Commander, so this was a no brainer. Each CC expansion adds something a little different to an already amazing game.
- Clash of Cultures: Civilization: This is the one expansion on the list that I think really improves the base game. Civilization adds leaders and unique Civs to a 4x Civ game that was missing them. Oh, and war elephants.
- Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans: Imperial Settlers is in my top 5 games of all time (most days) and so any expansion that adds a new mechanic or civilization (usually the big expansions do both) is awesome in my book.
- Viticulture: Tuscany Essential Edition: Viticulture is amazing on its own, but Tuscany kicks it up a notch. Instead of two seasons to allocate your workers, Tuscany includes all four seasons. It also includes the Mama’s and the Papa’s (not the band), a way to randomize and asymmetrize players’ starting resources.
So there you have my top 12 expansions. Now we’ll see what Ryan chose.
I’m going to admit, I don’t play with expansions that often, but I own a lot of them. I also am really bad at evaluating how much they bring to a game. You’ll likely notice a pattern to some of my choices…
- Marvel Legendary: Dark City: This can pretty much apply to all of the Marvel Legendary expansions. This was the first big expansion to what’s currently my favorite game. The main thing it brings is variety. More of everything makes this game a lot of fun. Although sometimes you get some bad combos.
- Ticket to Ride 1910: The best thing about this game to me is the full sized cards, but it also brings a lot of nice variety in additional route cards.
- Star Realms: Frontiers: A really good, fully playable game on it’s own, it’s just a different implementation of Star Realms, and it adds a lot of solitaire options. You can mix it with the base deck too, although I haven’t done that yet.
- Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm: This adds solitaire play to one of my favorite games. And it works really well too. You add most of the cards to the deck, so I’m not sure what exactly they do. Oh, and it adds the ability to have more players too.
- Fleet: Arctic Bounty: Great art from EricJ Carter, and another expansion that adds solitaire play that works really well. I haven’t played with much else from it. I need to just play Fleet more often in general, I always enjoy it.
- Power Grid: Benelux/Eastern Europe: Another one that encompasses a bunch of maps, although I’ve only played this one and France/Italy. They add variety to another of my favorite games.
- Patchwork: Automa: This one only changes a great 2 player game into a really good solo game. Admittedly I’ve only tried it once, but I thought it did its job extremely well.
- Time Stories: The Marcy Case: Another place holder for a full series of expansions, they are literally required to play the game without spoilers. The intention is to only play each module once. I haven’t even played any of them yet, but I enjoyed the game so much I know these will be fun too. They’d likely be ranked higher.
- Runebound: The Island of Dread: Yet another placeholder for a large amount of expansions to one of my favorite games. These apply to the 2nd edition only for now, although I am hoping to play the 3rd edition soon. There are a TON of expansions, some just a deck of scenario cards, some just extra weapons, and some have maps and change everything. While most work well, I’m not really sure I like the character decks.
- Formula Dé Circuits 23 – 26: USA Track Pack #1: Guess what? Another placeholder for several different expansions, for both Formula De and Formula D. More tracks equals more variety. I’ve played on several, and own 5 track sets.
- Pitchcar Mini Extension: This applies to a few different expansions too. It basically adds things like multi-lane corners, jumps, and criss crosses. Just more variety for a great game.
- Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals: This adds some variety of tiles, pieces for another player, but the best thing is the big meeple. The big meeple counts as 2 meeples, so placing it can break a potential tie because he’s around. Plus, those big meeples look awesome. The Traders & Builders expansion also adds some interesting things to basic Carcassonne, but no big meeples.
So there you have it. Our top 12 (times 2) expansions. Do you have any expansions that you HAVE to play with when you play a certain game? Did we completely miss the mark? Let us know in the comments!