After playing New Bedford the other day and compiling my list of upcoming expansions from Gen Con, I got to thinking about the expansions that I really enjoy when I play the base game. I left New Bedford off the list since I so recently talked about it, but it probably would have made this list, so I encourage you to check out Rising Tide if you own the base game.
Yes, I know 11 is a weird number, but I just could not narrow it down to 10!
Number 11 – Kingdom of Solomon: Chronicles of the King
Kingdom of Solomon was published in 2012 by Minion Games. The game was designed by Philip duBarry, The artwork for the game was provided by Clay Gardner and Ricky Hunter. The game was reissued in 2018 as Wisdom of Solomon.
For us, there is a lot to like in Kingdom of Solomon. The Biblical theme is one that exists in very few games without being preachy. The theme is well-implemented in this game, but even for players not interested in the Biblical theme, this is a good worker placement game. It is a worker placement game that plays quickly, both pluses in our books.
Why I like this expansion: This expansion makes the 2-player game a much better game, in my opinion. I do not think the game is really playable as a 2-player game. It was much too easy for players to pick up the resources they need for building with just the base game and I think this expansion is needed to enhance the 2-player experience.
Number 10 – 7 Wonders: Leaders
7 Wonders was published in 2010 by Repos Production and this expansion followed in 2011. Both the base game and the expansion were designed by Antoine Bauza. The artwork for both was provided by Miguel Coimbra.
7 Wonders is a terrific civilization building, card drafting game in which players are trying to compete with the other civilizations being built in military, science, and commerce in order to make their civilization the best.
We realize that a lot of people disparage the two-player game of 7 Wonders, but we will respectfully disagree with that opinion. The 2-player game is essentially a 3-player game except that one of the players is a “dummy” civilization controlled by the players. The strategy that is involved when it is your turn to decide what you are going to give the dummy player and thus not give to either your opponent or keep for yourself can make some of those decisions agonizing, especially as the game progresses. We love it!
Why I like this expansion: The Leaders expansion adds, as one might expect from the title, leaders to the game. This adds another draft to the game and allows the players to decide on a strategy from the outset of the game because if you have leaders who concentrate on the military, you are obviously going to try and focus on the military portion of the game. I like the fact that you can tailor a strategy to some degree rather than just have to adjust to the luck of the draw.
Number 9 – Pursuit of Happiness: Community
Pursuit of Happiness was published in 2015 and the Community expansion was published in 2017, both by Artipia Games. The designers of the base game were Adrian Abela and David Chicrop. The expansion also included designer Vangelis Bagiartakis along with the 2 base game designers. The artist for both the base game and the expansion was Panayiotis Lyris.
Pursuit of Happiness is a worker placement game in which players live out a vicarious life. They can get jobs, have relationships, buy items, take on projects and raise a family. You get to take your character from birth to death and live the life you have always wanted. The Community expansion adds an entirely separate board to the game, representing the community in which the players characters live and allows them to interact there.
Why I like this expansion: I like the idea of the players being about to have community experiences – things like joining the PTA, taking part of a local city cleanup, running for mayor, etc.
Number 8 – Fantastiqa: The Abandoned Abbey Adventure Expansion
Fantastiqa was published in 2012 by Eagle-Gryphon Games and the expansion came out in 2014. Both the base game and expansion were designed by Alf Seegert. The artwork for the game was provided by multiple famous artists such as Claude Monet.
Fantastiqa is a deck builder with a whimsical theme – ordinary objects such as toothbrushes are transformed into magic wands, which will help you recruit fairies into your hand. There are peaceful dragons who want to do nothing other than drink tea – and gum up your deck. You can pursue additional quests, recruit powerful allies, and buy artifacts that can help you out too.
The game also has a board with locations that the characters can travel to and encounter statues that allow them to purchase additional cards for their decks. These statues feature artifacts, creatures, and more quests that the players can pick up on their turns. Fantastiqa is a quest-based deck building game that features tongue-in-cheek humor and inside jokes that will appeal to board gamers.
The Abandoned Abbey Adventure Expansion adds a press your luck element to the game. The expansion is only a small deck of cards, but it adds an interesting twist – players can now go to that location on the board and attempt to overcome the challenges there – as many as they think they can beat.
Why I like this expansion: I like the fact that now not only can you get quest points to win the game but Abbey points as well. I like the press your luck element that the expansion adds too.
Number 7 – Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm
Kingsburg came out with its first edition in 2007, published by Fantasy Flight Games here in the United States. The second edition came out in 2017 and was published by Z-Man Games in the U.S. The game was designed by Andrea Chiarvesio (one of the designers behind my loved Hyperborea) and Luca Iennaco. The artwork for the first edition of the game was provided by Mad4GameStyle. The artwork for the second edition was provided by Mario Barbati, Davide Corsi, and Roberto Pitturru.
Kingsburg is a dice placement game that game works very well with 2 players. Before rolling their own dice each round, the two players roll dice of non-player colors and place them on the board to simulate blocking by other players. That is all there is to the upkeep for two players.
The To Forge a Realm expansion, which is built into the second edition of the game, adds five modules to the base game and the players can pick and choose those that they want to play the game with.
Why I like this expansion: I very much appreciate modular expansions that you can add to games. Beth and I use all but one of the modular expansions for the game in every game we play of Kingsburg. To us, this is an essential expansion as we love the alternative rows of buildings that we can add to the game as well as the events and characters.
Expanding is always good, right?
Paring down this list to 11 was a hard thing to do. After all, more is better, right? We already like the base game so expansions are more of a good thing. I wish I could say that every expansion worked for us, but that is not the case. Luckily, the disappointing expansions are the exception rather than the rule!
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