Nowadays, most board games can provide playgroups with hours and hours of solid fun and entertainment. To elevate the experience, most games come with expansions that provide additional mechanics and actions or change the dynamics. It’s no surprise that some of the most popular board games have multiple expansions released every year.
Expansions, while not necessary, can make a great board game great. They offer fun surprises and twists, as well as new strategies to existing games. However, the best tabletop game expansions are so remarkable that players may refuse to go back to the original version.
8 Lords Of Waterdeep: Scoundrels Of Skullport is 2 for the price of 1
Lords of Waterdeep is a game that introduced many to the tabletop hobby and remains one of the most popular entry-level worker placement games. Set in the city of Waterdeep, players must gather resources and adventurers to complete quests and score points.
Although the base game is fun, the The Villains of Skullport The expansion offered new mechanics that significantly improved the base gameplay experience. Introducing the Undermountain and criminal haven of Skullport, the expansion brought more maps, buildings, and quests and allowed a 6th player to join in on the action. More importantly, the game included Corruption as a new resource, allowing players to lose points at the end of the game which would affect their score. The expansion has been so well received that players insist that the base game still be played with Skullport villains.
seven 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon changes things up
A sister version of the famous 7 Wonders, Duel of the 7 Wonders is considered one of the greatest 2-player games ever made. Players draft cards and compete to score the most points by building great wonders of the world.
While the original game is highly regarded by the board game community, many players have eventually discovered some basic strategies that are more successful than others, leading to predictable gameplay. The expansion changes things up by giving players more options when it comes to selecting maps, making every game feel fresh and dynamic.
6 Ticket To Ride 1910 is a 10/10
A classic game that also introduced many people to the hobby, Ticket to ride is loved by newcomers and avid gamers. Although adored for many reasons, the game suffers from players hoarding too many cards. While this isn’t a problem in most games, it happens way too often in Ticket to ride.
With players hoarding so many useless cards and limited options, the 1910 the expansion alleviates this hand issue by introducing more ticket variances, streamlining the experience. This not only makes the game less heavy, but also less predictable.
5 Viticulture: Tuscany spoils players with more choice
Revolving around the manufacture and sale of wine, Viticulture has become a favorite among some players. The game features interesting mechanics such as separating the gameplay into seasons and offering different actions within them.
ViticultureTuscany the expansion steps it up a notch by introducing more visitor cards, asymmetric starting resources, and additional actions across all four seasons. The expansion was so popular that it not only won several awards, but a number of its mechanics were featured in the re-released version of the game, Viticulture essential edition.
4 Scythe: The Rise Of Fenris featured a brand new campaign
Fake is a super popular area control game set in a parallel early 20th century Europe with a focus on mechs. The game is generally a one-session showdown to acquire the most points, but one particular expansion stands out above the rest.
The Rise of Fenris offers players an 8-episode campaign that features persistent elements, unlockable abilities, and new twists. The campaign is also fully resettable and replayable and can be integrated into standard single scenarios and combined with the other expansions.
3 Champions Of Midgard: Valhalla Is A Godsend
A fun alternative to worker placement Lords of Waterdeep, Champions of Midgard takes place in a Viking-esque world where players compete with dice and slay monsters to become the next Jarl. While the base game is fun and easygoing, its dice mechanic is very luck-based and can be frustrating.
With the Valhalla expansion, players who lose their warriors can use their “souls” to purchase powerful abilities and score more points. Losing can therefore become a strategy for players who may find themselves rolling too many misses.
2 Cosmic encounter: the cosmic incursion is a must
Cosmic Encounter has been around since the late 70s and remains one of the most beloved trading games ever created. As aliens, players must engage in diplomacy, blackmail, and betrayal to become the first to establish five colonies. Add wacky alien powers and this game becomes a crazy fun experience. During the respective rounds, players can choose to support the attacker or the defender to receive benefits.
While the base game spawned several expansions, most players agree that cosmic incursion is by far one of the best and a must. The base game, unfortunately, prompted more players to join the attacking side, making the experience a bit unbalanced. cosmic incursion mitigates this issue by introducing a 6th player into the fray and additional alien races and cards. However, more importantly, the expansion adds enhanced cards to the reward deck, making defending another player more appealing.
1 Terraforming Mars: Prelude immerses players in the action
As one of the hobby’s most popular games, Terraform Mars has delivered several expansions over the years that deserve recognition and praise. As players collect cards and build their respective engines to terraform the Red Planet, these expansions have introduced new dynamics and variables to the already popular game.
However, one complaint from gamers is that the game suffers from a slow start. Since resources are limited in the beginning and actions are expensive, starting turns can feel a bit disappointing and limiting. Prelude fixes this issue by allowing players to start and boost their engines with cards that grant resources and abilities early on.
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