Game expansions can change everything! There's nothing better than being ravenous for a game and discovering that yet more tantalizing treats await you- rife with new variations, strategies, and lore! We've gathered the APN team's favorite board games with expansions here for you to feast upon.
Century: Eastern Wonders
Josh: It should be stated upfront this is not REALLY an expansion- it’s a standalone game. However, I want to list it here because it also connects with Century: Spice Road, giving you essentially a third game called From Sand to Sea. This adds a lot of play value to games that already highly re-playable.
Dragonfire in general has settings and themes (Dungeons & Dragons) along with mechanics I like (cooperative and deck building), so the Dragonfire adventure expansion chapters just add to that. There’s a couple out already, but I’m looking forward to Ravaging Sword Coast this year just because I’m a fan of Baldur’s Gate.
Jayme B.'s Pick
Legends of Andor
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love a good co-op game! There is something deeply satisfying about beating a campaign united as a team – especially when the game AI proves to be a formidable adversary. I was originally intrigued by the Legends of Andor series because of the stunning artwork, but quickly discovered (after several losses) that the trying gameplay motivated me to want to play more in order to hone my skillset, as well as develop new strategies with each group of people I played with.
The expansions released so far have added new campaigns, items, and even characters to not only further the main storyline, but to drive replay-ability by changing up the original experience. I am particularly excited for Dark Heroes, which is releasing this fall. It introduces brand
Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave
I love, love, love me some solo board games and Hostage Negotiator is one of my favorites. Crime Wave expands on the already awesome base game with more Abductors, Terror cards, Pivotal Moment cards, and Conversations. It also has enough room in the box to fit the original game plus future Abductor Packs as they become available!
Smash Up: Cease and Desist
Smash Up is an amazingly fun, incredibly easy to teach card game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It was really hard choosing just one expansion, but Cease & Desist really stands out for me. Satirizing four of the most famous pop culture franchises in the world with hilarious cards makes the game even more enjoyable. Plus, even my friends that aren’t deep into geek culture instantly recognize what’s being made fun of in this set!
Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk
Why do I love Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk? Two words: more stories. I’m a sucker for horror and I love a good story, so that’s why Betrayal at House on the Hill is still one of my favorite games. The Widow’s Walk expansion adds 50 new haunts to add to the story, as well as 20 new room tiles, 30 new cards, and 78 new tokens. For someone like me that went at Betrayal wanting to know the outcome of every story, this has keep the horror going strong.
Okay, I really like Tokaido even thought it’s totally not horror. The first expansion I played for it was Tokaido: Crossroads (Tokaido: Matsuri is good, too) and it added a lot to the game. Tokaido is a beautiful, fun, and relaxingboard games I’ve ever played; the goal of Tokaido is to travel across Japan, and the one who wins is the one who has the nicest time. While competitive, it’s a very soothing win that doesn’t leave you feeling defeated (or dead) if you loose. Crossroads adds new strategies to each stop along the way, and therefore more ways to win by having the nicest time. With that strategy, how can you lose?
Clank! The Mummy’s Curse
This one’s pretty simple for me - One of the best deck-building games for me, just added one of my favorite settings. Renegade took Clank! and dropped it in a fantasy Egyptian setting, complete with a new map, cards, a DOUBLE-SIDED board, and a wandering mummy! This isn’t just a pasted-on theme, either. The new maps provide very different challenges, so your old stand-by strategies won’t be good enough for The Mummy’s Curse. As far as deck-building games go, Clank! was made for me. This expansion pushes the entire experience farther up my list.
Scythe: The Rise of Fenris
The Scythe base game might be the perfect game for me: As an artist/designer, the artwork hooked me before the game was even released. As an agriculturalist, I acknowledge the struggle of the inhabitants of the world. As a fan of ‘weird war’ or ‘alternate history,’ the world-setting of the game makes me feel right at home. And it’s just my style of board game. But there was one element that kept it from being ‘complete’ for me: Story.
The Rise of Fenris is the final chapter in Scythe’s story, and as an expansion, it harvests a bounty of goods to add to your table:
This expansion has several mechanisms that you can add to your game, but you don’t have to add them all. YOU build the game of Scythe how you want it, each and every time. Akin to other ‘Legacy’ games (originally conceived by Rob Daviau, Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, et. Al.) The Rise of Fenris offers unlockable secrets and spoilers, in a campaign-type setting. Rumor has it that one of the scenarios in Fenris has everyone playing cooperatively. For me, Scythe just added another favorite mechanic to its gearbox. Scythe always let me play solo, but now I can play solo in an ongoing campaign. In real life, it means I’m going to spend a lot more time playing Scythe.
Jayme C.'s Picks
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle – Deck Building Game and The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion
Cooperative gameplay with deck building that adds in the magical setting of Hogwarts from the Harry Potteruniverse? Perfect! This is a favorite of mine as well as being able to loop in others who are fans of the Boy-Who-Lived. The Monster Box of Monsters keeps the adventure going by adding new creatures, encounters, villains, and now you can play as Luna Lovegood! Grab your wizard robes and get ready!
Happy Salmon: Blue Fish
If you didn’t know, Happy Salmon has an expansion! Happy Salmon: Blue Fish allows you to up the fun from the original 3-6 players to 7-12 players total! I’ve always had a blast with Happy Salmon and now being able to get a larger group all around just adds to the excitement! I regularly fish this out to get a group of friends quickly breaking the ice and laughing within minutes!
Roll Player: Monsters & Minions
Every time I taught the original Roll Player game to a new person, they inevitably asked some variation of this question: “So once we’re done rolling these characters, what do we do with them?” Designer Keith Matejka must have anticipated this when designing the game, because the Monsters & Minions expansion tackles that very concern. The expansion adds to each play one of several “big bad” monsters that the players must each face individually at the end of game with their finished characters, as well as a menagerie of minions to slay along the way. A must own for Roll Player fans!
Great Western Trail: Rails to the North
While it isn’t quite out yet (soon!!), I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to Rails to the North. Great Western Trail is such an absolutely STELLAR game that combines so many elements and mechanisms incredibly well to create a wonderful puzzle of strategy and counter-play with other players. This first expansion to the game sets out to add a variety of new destinations to where players will ship their cattle, including Chicago, Detroit, and NY among others, as well as new challenges to face along the road, new tiles & buildings, and more. I don’t think there’s a single other game expansion I’ve been looking forward to more in all of 2018.
Thornwatch: The Dark of the Wood
The world-spanning forest of the Eyrewood holds so many mysteries that they would not fit into one box! While the base game of Thornwatch gives you the chance to play the summoned archetypal heroes who protect the denizens of the wood when they are in greatest need, The Dark of the Wood expansion brings new lore to bare, allowing you to explore darker adventures that deal with the tainted magic that encroaches on verdant glades of the original game. You get 5 new heroes with powerful skills and curses to match, new storyboards and campaigns, 2 new Judges, new terrain cards, and new rewards for completed quests. I’m a huge fan of the original comics by Penny Arcade and this expansion is a must own when it comes to exploring new stories and aspects of this world. Odds are, if you can’t find me, I’m deep in the Eyrewood! Join me when the game and its expansion launch in stores July 31st!