Between having caught a cold, which has developed into a sinus infection, and also having a kid who has sustained a slight concussion thanks to a skateboarding accident, I have spent far too much time on the internet and on the couch over the past few weeks. Which after watching silly cat videos, reading Facebook posts, and reading up on certain topics of spiritual interest, my attentions turned to my hobby of board gaming and checking out the upcoming line of games that are due to release this year.
I've got to say, there really isn't anything on my radar as of yet. That isn't to say that I haven't gotten into some new games (which I have), but there isn't anything that I know of that I am super excited about. But what I am looking forward to are some EXPANSIONS that are coming out soon.
This brings me to a topic that, if you are new to the hobby, you probably know about, but may be unclear on. Expansions are things that you add to an existing game that you already have. Ticket to RIde for example has several different map packs that you can get to use with the "base" game that you already have. You use pieces and cards from the base game and the board and tickets from the expansion to play with using a different continent. Expansions can breathe fresh life into a game you are already familiar with.
Sometimes an expansion will simply give you "more of the same" stuff, simply giving you a greater variety of the mechanisms from the base game, but don't be surprised if things change up a bit. Usually, an expansion will add new rules, mechanisms, or even variants to the game play. This can have both positive and negative effects.
On the plus side, the expansion could add a level of depth that was needed in a game. Also, they say that variety is the spice of life and the same usually holds true in the board game world. Things may begin to get stale after a few dozen plays of a game and an expansion allows for reinvigorated excitement in regards to the game itself as a whole. Often times, it will round out the theme of a game as well, adding more characters, and specialization that gives each player a more unique way of approaching the challenges the game offers. Sometimes it simply adds the ability to have a 5th or 6th player into the mix, though that may not be a good thing.
On the down side, sometimes an expansion can just add too much to a game. It may take too long to finish now, or the rules become too fiddly to be an enjoyable experience. Thankfully though, many times you can pick and choose which parts of an expansion that you would like to use.
So, how do you decide on what to get? Different people do things differently. Many in the hobby are known as "completionists" those who are compelled to get every single last expansion and thing for every game they own. They buy these things without even a moment's consideration. Others, wait to play someone else's copy with the expansion to see how it effects gameplay before they buy it for themselves. And still others look to reviews online. Many reviewers get advanced copies and though you might not agree with their opinion, you can usually get a good sense of what it may or may not do for the base game before you get it. One such review site that I always suggest is Dicetower.com. Lot's of content and a great youtube channel to boot.
And what am I looking forward to? (in order of release date)
Jason's Board Game Reviews, Suggestions, Tips, and Stuff.
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