Where are you going to keep all those?

Expansions for board games are a trap. You shouldn’t buy them for you’ll never satisfactorily recapture that magical first encounter with the game you love. Never.

*Buys 800th Killer Bunnies expansion even though they stopped being good with the Green Expansion*

Why would you want even MORE bits and pieces to manage? More rules? Yuck. Worst of all, yet another awkwardly shaped box for you to store. You don’t want to live in a house MADE of board games do you? Well, where else are you going to keep your tenth Arkham Horror expansion? That’s your bed now.

Arkham Horror Board GameBoard game expansions are a funny thing. I can count on one hand how many I’ve purchased and didn’t regret. The problem is that it’s hard to let go of a game that I love to play but have played so often that I’ve essentially “solved” it. I want to keep my enjoyment going. I can bring in new opponents to trounce and they might introduce a new perspective, but it’s rare for a game to be deep enough for that to be long lasting. Purists will put forward certain games like Chess or Poker, but, blasphemously, the fun of playing those games isn’t the lifetime experience that the hopelessly addicted claim them to be.

I find it interesting that expansions for board games are generally only produced for “good”, or at least, popular games. It makes sense, board games aren’t necessarily cheap to make and most are published by small companies, some comprised of just one person. If a game is a flop there’s no reason to throw good money after bad. I mention it because in the world of video games, now that digital downloads of games are commonplace, it’s common for “patches” of games to come along. These patches fix problems and often introduce new features. Even bad games can get another chance at fixing small problems.

A Few Acres of Snow Board Game. Photo by Joseph Forster on BoardGameGeek

That said, you do occasionally see a “patch” to board games but not as often as you probably should. The second edition of A Few Acres of Snow comes to my mind where its rules were tweaked from the first edition after players discovered a particular, unbeatable strategy.

I’d rather see more attempts at fixing flawed games than adding more “things” to bloat games that already work well. It’s a silly and impractical thing to say. It would take a special level of introspection among game developers that’s just not realistic to expect of any creative field. Few people are willing to admit that their baby is ugly.

I recently bought the first expansion to Machi Koro, the game that has been our household go-to as of late. An attempt at solving the problem of, once again, my wife and I had “solved” the game, necessitating the addition of new cards to keep the love going. Should we have instead put Machi Koro back on the shelf while giving it a nice pat, whispering a thank you for the memories?

Nah, we’ll run this love into the ground. Machi Koro is a good game, although, now I have the tough decision over whether I should merge the two boxes or try to store yet another stupidly sized box. One obstacle at a time.