For the most part expansions are not necessary, but every so often an expansion comes around and either makes a great game better or a good game great.  Some expansions just add more of the basic stuff in the game giving it more replayablility, while other expansions change the game play and add new mechanisms.  I tend to like the latter, but more of a good thing is not always that bad.  I love when expansions fit so smoothly into the game and there is no fiddly set up rules that come with it.  You usually see this with card games, I’m looking at you Evolution!!  It drives me crazy when a game comes out with an expansion and they say…..this cannot be played with previous expansions or if you want to play with these 40 cards, remove these other 40 cards.  I love when the expansion just simply slides into the base game.  That being said, here are the Best 3 Games with…Expansions!

3.  Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm by Fantasy Flight Games

Courtesy of diddle74 of BGG
Kingsburg the base game is a very solid Beginner Worker Placement game that uses dice as your workers going out to influence the Kings Advisers.  After each season, you will have the chance to build a building with the resources you acquire.  The issue with the base game is that it just runs out of replayablity….real fast.  In To Forge a Realm, designers Andrea Chiarvesio and Luca Iennaco brought so many different variations in the game that it made it even better.  The expansion brought in Variable Player Powers, more buildings, different building strips that allow you to exchange for ones that are already on your board and events.  All these things make every game unique now instead of doing the same strategy each time.  I would almost say that this expansion is essential to playing Kingsburg!

2.  7 Wonders: ALL of them!!! by Asmodee

Courtesy of punkin312 of BGG
The first time I played 7 Wonders, I was not very impressed.  It was smooth and simple, but left me wanting more.  Every time I have played it since, with each new expansion, it got better and better.  I now feel like it is a complete game.  Some people might be fine with just the base game, but I really like the expansions that were added.  Designer Antoine Bauza has put out a lot of content for this game.  The Expansions are Cities, Leaders and Babel.  Cities added more interaction between players in the form of new City cards.  Leaders added just that….leaders and also new guild cards.  And Babel adds a new element of Laws set by players when they discard a card as well as the ability to build Wonders for added benefit.  All of these expansions just add so much more to the game that it is hard to ignore them.  They really enhanced 7 Wonders for me personally!

1.  Orleans: Invasion by Tasty Minstrel Games

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Orleans is a fantastic game by itself.  It is my number 2 game on my Top 10 Games……BEFORE the expansion.  What Inka Brand, Markus Brand and Reiner Stockhausen were able to do with a standard competitive Euro style game is remarkable.  They added a story mode with certain scenarios AND a Co-operative mode.  I mean, seriously???  AND not only did they turn it into a co-op, it is just as good if not better than the competitive version.  They add new stuff for the competitive game as well, but the co-op is SOOOO good.  Everyone is working together to prepare for an invasion of Orleans.  In the mean time, you also have individual goals that you need to complete as well.  The game is fantastic as is….but Invasion kicks it up a couple notches because it turns it on its side.  If you have played Orleans as nothing more than a competitive game, and then try to play it as a co-op it feels very weird at first, but then you are like…..okay, I actually have to talk to the other players now…….that doesn’t feel right.  I can’t recommend this expansion enough!

-Tim