I’ve been pretty reluctant to make a favourite expansions list because I’m not the sort of person who expands every game I like. I also don’t buy into the idea of ‘essential’ expansions. For an expansion to be essential it implies the game NEEDS the expansion ie. there is something wrong with the base game that it fixes. If I don’t like a base game I’m not going to keep putting money into it to try and make it better. For those who use essential to mean it’s just that good, then that’s fair enough and I will look into that kind of expansion for some of the games i love that need a new lease of life to get them to the table more often or with a new audience.
Here’s the Yellow Meeple’s top 5 expansions;
· Dominion: Prosperity impresses me every time we play with it. It’s hard to pinpoint why it makes Dominion so good, but the chance to do big money turns is really satisfying. These days I don’t think we ever play without it whereas our other Dominion expansions don’t get a lot of love by comparison. It really doesn’t change the base game that much, but the new treasure/action combination cards can make things really interesting and of course every new set adds variety so much that you’ll never need to play the same game twice.
· Flash Point Fire Rescue: Extreme Danger adds a huge variety of maps to the base game of Flash Point Fire Rescue. The new maps bring with them new challenges, such as exploding cars, windows which are easy to smash for easy access and multi-storey buildings where you can use ladders to access the first floor. However, the base game rules remain unchanged and overall the game balances the larger maps well. I’d happily expand Flash Point further if I ever got bored but there’s enough variety already to keep us busy and we still need to keep increasing the difficulty too.
· Pandemic of the Brink is an expansion we bought just before Pandemic Legacy was released so it probably hasn’t got the play time it deserved. We had reached a point where we needed to add variety to our Pandemic games and On The Brink definitely does this with 3 different expansion elements in the box. We are yet to try the bioterrorist as I tend not to enjoy the one versus many hidden movement style of game, but it’s definitely something we’ll try when we have a couple more players than our usual two.
· Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham is my favourite expansion to Elder Sign, having tried all three. It definitely changes the game much more significantly than Unseen Forces and for me felt pretty similar to the new expansion, Omens of Ice, incorporating a few of the same mechanics. In Gates of Arkham you fight against the forces of Cthulu moves from the museum setting to the streets. The first key change is that not all of the locations are revealed at the start and the second are the gates that open to other worlds, linking them to locations on the board so that they must be completed. Gates of Arkham definitely increases the difficulty but also changes the game enough to make it feel different to playing the base game.
· Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom and Pennsylvania is the first expansion we’ve wanted to buy for Ticket to Ride. For a long time we were happy with Ticket to Ride Europe, even though we only tended to play it with my parents. With two players the Europe map lacked a lot of interaction and the UK map seems to quit the 2-player game better. It also provides more of a challenge for gamers because of the tech tree element. The Pennsylvania side is definitely weaker, but I think it will still get played and is the right choice for an introduction to set collection or stock market type games.
What I’ve included here are the expansions we love to play with and they typically correspond with those classic games we play the most often. It’s worth noting that I’ve excluded the 3 more collectable game we own – Marvel Dice Masters, X-Wing Miniatures and Imperial Assault, all of which we’ve expanded and at least for Dice Masters and X-Wing we wouldn’t be playing without expanding.