Board Game Expansions

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (2013) was one of the early award winners to come from Stonemaier Games, and the studio has just announced the first expansion, Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss. In the original Euphoria, players used dice as workers to manipulate the three factions in the Euphoria world: the Euphorians, the Subterrans and the Wastelanders. The numbers on the dice represent the intelligence of your workers: higher numbers allow them stronger actions, but in this world, you want dumb workers, because the smart ones run away. In Ignorance is Bliss, by designers Morten Monrad Pedersen and automata-masters Nick Shaw and David Studley, the once lofty Icarites, who lived among the clouds selling bliss, have now descended to the peons, imposing a new way of life. For more information, keep an eye on the Stonemaier website here, where they will continue to provide more information on this expansion all February long.

Bunny Kingdom (2017) is a well regarded (BGG #456) card drafting and area control game from the magical designer Richard Garfield. In Bunny Kingdom, players draft cards to place resources, bunnies and buildings on the board, trying to create fiefs with the most influence. Iello has just announced In the Sky, the first expansion to Bunny Kingdom. In the Sky adds a new Sky board to the game with ways to link fiefs to the main board. Additionally, this expansion adds a new larger 5-tower building, the Carrothedral, supplies for a 5th player, and some new mechanisms to the base game. Bunny Kingdom: In the Sky is due to hit stores in April 2019, perchance timed to a certain rabbit themed holiday…

Splotter Games, the undisputed masters of all things economic, heavy and euro, have just announced an expansion to their hit game Food Chain Magnate (BGG #29), called The Ketchup Mechanism. In Food Chain Magnate, by designers Jeroen Doumen and Joris Wiersinga, 2-5 players collect employees for their growing fast food company, then use each employee to cook food, set up advertising, hire and promote employees, build restaurants, etc. Automated customers then see advertising, get hungry, and drive to the closest/cheapest location where they can buy what they want. The first players to achieve certain milestones in the game gain permanent bonuses, but money determines the winner of this heavy, no luck involved, economic wonder. The Ketchup Mechanism is a modular expansion, adding a number of small changes to the game. The company states that the expansion is still developing, but we can expect a sixth player, new milestones, coffee shops and baristas which customers visit on the way to a restaurant, new buildings, new food types, new employees, and… ketchup. I have to comment on the brilliance and humor behind the expansion name – when people critique Food Chain, or Splotter Games in general, their first comment is about runaway leaders and the lack of … Ketchup. Splotter Games is taking pre-orders for The Ketchup Mechanism, and are aiming for a late 2019 release. For more details, check out the Splotter web page here.

Portal Games recently hosted PortalCon 11 in Gliwice, Poland, where they celebrated 20 years of the Board Games that tell stories. At the celebration, owner and Portal head honcho Ignacy Trzewiczek announced several new games and expansions coming from this amazing company in 2019. There are a ton of new announcements, all of which can be read in the press release from Portal, or seen live in the Keynote Address given at PortalCon.

Several new games set in the Imperial Settlers (BGG #145) universe were announced. First on the list is Empires of the North, a standalone card game designed by Ignacy, featuring Scotsman, Inuit and Vikings. Each faction comes with 2 unique card decks allowing a variety of game play styles. 2-4 players can each try to lead their faction to victory by dominating the opposition, developing their economy or defending their land. Also from the big man is Imperial Settlers Roll and Write. Just as the name implies, this new roll and write game takes place in the empire building world of Imperial Settlers, and focuses heavily on engine building, with each big move giving bonuses towards the next. The game includes two modes, one a traditional 2-4 player competitive point scoring challenge, while the second is a new adventure mode. This single player game comes with a pad of 48 unique challenge sheets to complete, each with its own starting points and goals. And just to round out the Imperial Settlers fervor, Portal Games has announced the Imperial Settlers Big Box, a 5 year anniversary of this award winning game, complete with all of the factions and expansions. The Big Box will be exclusively available direct from Portal Games, and includes a plastic insert to hold everything, new commemorative anniversary cards, as well as oft requested single piece faction boards for the Amazons, Aztecs and Atlanteans.

Also coming from the President of Polish Play is a reprint of Prêt-à-Porter, the 2-4 player surprisingly brutal fashion industry board game. Players take turns hiring new employees, gaining managers, designers and models, all in an effort to destroy the competition. This third edition is coming to Kickstarter in 2019, and features new art from acclaimed illustrator Kwanchai Moriya (Dinosaur Island, Catacombs).

Portal also announced new armies for their arena combat board games Neuroshima Hex and Monolith Arena, both from designer Michał Oracz. The Sand Runners are the latest army to dominate the world of Neuroshima Hex, and are a “specialized army of veteran warriors who clashed with the Moloch in the early days of the war”. The Sand Runners feature a double sided HQ tile for versatility, and come with a new Sand Storm tile type. The new army for Monolith Arena are the Academics, focusing on runes, upgrades, and the ability to dramatically weaken their enemy – in fact, their banner directly slows enemy tiles. The Academics armies are few in number, but devastating in ability.

One of the biggest hits Portal and Ignacy had in the past year was the web-integrated Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, and the first campaign expansion, Detective: L.A. Crimes, is coming soon. Detective is one of the most engrossing, slowly enfolding, experiential crime story games made, and L.A. Crimes promises to bring more real life sleuthing, this time in the drug infused world of 1980’s Los Angeles. L.A. Crimes is due to be in stores March 2019, with the new mechanics of Stakeouts and Observation, 5 new characters, and 3 new cases. Also announced was Detective: Alexa Edition, wherein players can complete the 6th case in Detective, all narrated and run by the Amazon Alexa. Portal games has stated the Alexa edition is “part of an effort to bring board games to new players”, making the experience akin to an interactive radio drama. Finally, the world of Detective will be expanded even further by the Detective Signature Series. Portal Games has invited celebrated designers to use the framework of the Detective board game to create their own narratives. The first two master designers picked to frolic in the gritty world of suburban crime are Rob Daviau (Pandemic: Legacy, Betrayal at House on the Hill) and Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Lords of Vegas, Betrayal at House on the Hill), both masters of story telling in their own rights.

Board & Dice, who recently merged with NSKN Games, made several expansion and reprint announcements recently. One of the company’s recent hot games (BGG #223) is Teotihuacan: City of Gods, an impossible to pronounce, but critically acclaimed rondel-driven worker placement game in the Aztec Empire by designers Daniele Tascini and Dávid Turczi (Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar). Just announced is Teotihuacan: Late Preclassic Period, a modular expansion coming at GenCon 2019. This expansion adds asymmetric player powers, a 4th temple which unlocks powerful abilities, seasonal effects before eclipses, and new variants of some of the rondel boards.

Dice Settlers, the recent dice driven civilization building game by designer Dávid Turczi, is also getting a modular expansion – Dice Settlers: Western Sea. This expansion adds 17 new custom dice, envoys, enclosures and advisors to the game. The advisors are particularly interesting, as each one adds its own unique die and special ability. As the name implies, Western Sea also allows players to sail and fish along the shores. Look for this expansion at Essen 2019.

Finally, Board and Dice are coming out with Exodus Chronicles by designers Rainer Ahlfors and Andrei Novac, a reimplementation of their popular space opera game Exodus: Proxima Centauri (2012). Proxima Centauri is a 4X game complete with all that entails – hidden movement, bidding, tech trees, politics, and engine building both literal and figurative. Exodus Chronicles promises to be a new streamlined design, not simply a reprint, yet still including the two expansions Edge of Extinction (2015) and Event Horizon (2017). Look for Exodus Chronicles later in 2019.

Everything Epic Games has just announced the first expansion for their 2018 dice driven adventure board game, Big Trouble in Little China, by designers Christopher BatarlisBoris Polonsky, and Jim Samartino. BTiLC: The Game brought the world of old Jack Burton and friends to life, as players rolled dice to work on their Chi and abilities, trying to build up enough Audacity to find and defeat the evil Lo Pan. The Legacy of Lo Pan continues the adventure, telling the story of what happened after the classic 1986 movie. This expansion increases the player count to 6, previously only available with the Deluxe Edition of the game, as well as adding a new story campaign. The 40 page mission book tells the story of Jack Burton’s travels through time, using the Tardisian Hourglass, an ancient artifact kindly supplied by Egg. Not only that, but the new expansion comes with the famed Six Demon (Dice) Bag. Look for The Legacy of Lo Pan in stores in March 2019, and for more information, check out Everything Epic Games‘ webpage here.

Schmidt Spiele has announced the first expansion for their Kennerspiel Award winning board game, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, called Die Kräuterhexen (The Herb Witches). Quacks blew up the board game world when it hit in 2018, not only for being a simple yet engaging push your luck bag builder, but because it was super-designer Wolfgang Warsch‘s THIRD nomination for Spiel that year, joining The Mind and Ganz Schön Clever. In Quacks, players pull ingredient tokens from a bag and add them to their cauldron, knowing that too many cherry bombs will make the cauldron explode. When a player stops, they earn points and money to buy new ingredients. Kräuterhexen adds a much requested fifth player to the game, as well as higher value pumpkins, new ingredients such as the variable value “fool’s herb”, and the ability to request help from the witches. Players are given 3 Witch’s Pennies, which are worth points at the end of the game, but can be spent to get special powers, such as the ability to drink a potion after blowing up the cauldron, or reducing the drop advance price to a single ruby. Look for Die Kräuterhexen later this year, and for more information and images check out Schmidt Spiele’s webpage here. No information is currently available for the English version, expected to come at a later date from North Star Games.

Also from Schmidt Spiele and the ludological deity Wolfgang Warsch is the just announced title Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal (The Taverns in Deep Valley). This dice game takes place in the deep valley, where players need to attract new wealthy patrons, hopefully gaining enough money to expand, and go for the big fish – the nobles. Is it better to focus on a nice tavern, or to keep the beer flowing to keep the regulars happy? And which expansions are the best to build first? Players need to choose the correct dice, and develop their personal deck of cards. Five included modules allow each player to set their own difficulty. Given Mr. Warsch’s track record, Tavern should be an interesting game.

Bézier Games was excited to announce a collectors’s edition of their popular tile-laying game Suburbia will be released this fall. Players can expect the same fun hex-shaped tiles in a larger size with new three-dimension art. There’s also a giant tile tower which the company used images of to tease the game last week.

Suburbia Collector’s Edition will come with ALL previously released expansions, as well as a brand new expansion called Nightlife. In this newest expansion players will utilize buildings and locations that are more active at night.

To keep everything neat and organized, the game will also game with custom Game Trayz for easy set up and storage.

Keep an eye on Kickstarter later this month. Bézier Games plans to initially launch this game on crowd-funding platform January 14th, with retail copies expected to be available this fall.

Stronghold Games is starting 2019 off with a bang, and has announced 5 new games coming soon in the new year.

Ganz Schon Clever is a fantastic (BGG #295) roll and write game from wunderkind designer Wolfgang Warsch, which took the gaming world by storm last year. In Clever, 1-4 players roll dice in order to fill in spaces from 5 different tracks. Each track has checkpoints which allow bonus fills on neighboring tracks, allowing for some amazing combination moves. Ganz Schon Clever was nominated for the 2018 Kennerspiel des Jahres award, but unfortunately for Mr. Warsch, of the 3 (!) nominated games he designed, the only win that year was Quacks of Quedlinburg. The new english version coming from Stronghold Games will be called That’s Pretty Clever, and is expected to release in April 2019.

CO2 (2012) is a well regarded (BGG #585) heavy worker placement game from designer Vital Lacerda (The Gallerist, Vinhos, Lisboa), and Stronghold is bringing the remastered CO2: Second Chance to stores this March. 1-4 players take on the role of corporations trying to make the planet a greener place, correcting the pollution made standard in the 1970s. The second edition includes a new rulebook and iconography, a more balanced gameplay, a new events deck, and upgraded wooden components. Stronghold has stated that this edition will be printed once, then not reprinted, so get it while it is available.

Astro Drive is a “fast paced card driven spaceship racing game” from designers Mikko Punakallio (Dokmus) and Max Wikström (Space Freaks). 2-4 Players secretly pick movement cards from their hands, then simultaneously reveal. The cards have an initiative number, determining who moves first, movement points, compelling their ship to move forward, and control points, allowing side to side wiggle. Players also have a limited number of energy cubes, which can be spent for either 2 extra movement or control points. Players race over map tiles, avoiding crashing into obstacles, until someone crosses the finish line. Expect Astro Drive in stores in April 2019.

The Violet Morass is a new expansion for the skirmish board game Space Freaks (2017). In Space Freaks, 2-4 players combine different body parts to create the perfect team of freaks, then lead them into the arena for battle. The Violet Morass adds 2 new arenas, the perilous waters of the planet Azorax 5, multiple new head and body parts, as well as some terrifying equipment. The Violet Morass is tentatively scheduled for an April release.

Another anticipated expansion is the Meteo Expansion for the card driven bicycle racing game Flamme Rouge. Flamme Rouge has 2-4 players controlling the speed of their 2 person team up and down hills and around bends, trying to manage cards and jockey for position most efficiently. Meteo adds weather and wind management into the mix, adding more options into this strategic racing game. The Meteo Expansion for Flamme Rouge is expected in stores February 2019.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has recently announced the first expansion to Space Base, the popular 2018 dice rolling, card drafting game from designer John D. Clair (Mystic Vale). In Space Base, 2-5 players roll dice, gain resources off of the numbers rolled, then use the resources to buy new cards. All cards go on a cleverly designed player board, taking up the numbers 1 through 12. As players collect new cards, they can gain further resources on other players’ die rolls. This mechanism of income generation off of dice rolls has been used effectively in Machi Koro (2012) and Valeria: Card Kingdoms (2016), but many feel that Space Base has just done it perfectly. The first expansion, The Emergence of Shy Pluto is teased as a “Saga Extension”, and promises to add story elements to the admittedly somewhat themeless game. Pluto includes a series of story based scenarios, which trickle new cards and elements into Space Base “via a narrative structure”. Once all of the stories are added, they become a permanent part of the game for further replays.

Look for Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto in March 2019.