Board Game Expansions

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.

Floodgate Games has announced the next 3 expansions to their hit dice drafting game by Adrian Adamescu and Daryl AndrewsSagrada (2017). Sagrada, which has 1-4 players draft colored dice to specific patterns on their stained glass board, had its first expansion this year. The 5-6 player expansion added more players, private objectives, and new window patterns. The next 3 expansions, deemed the Great Facade Expansions, will be called Passion, Life and Glory, after the three facades of the Sagrada Familia. A little is known about the Passion expansion, due out “next spring”. Passion will include inspiration cards, which allow once per round or once per game special abilities when drafting or placing dice. New glass dice are clear, wild colored dice, which come with special rule cards. Although the glass dice are extremely powerful, players can only have one on their board at a time. Public objectives specific to the rare glass dice will also be available. Finally, new symmetry public objectives require players to create symmetric patterns on their board. Keep an eye on Floodgate’s website for release dates and more information.

Nemo’s War is a fantastic solo board game from publisher Victory Point Games and designer Chris Taylor, originally released in 2009, but which Kickstarted a breathtaking second edition in 2015 featuring new art from Ian O’Toole. After a successful first expansion last year, which added upgrades to the Nautilus, the publisher has now started a new Kickstarter Campaign for expansion pack #2 Bold & Caring, and #3 Dramatis Personae. In Nemo’s War, players take control of Captain Nemo and his crew from Jules Verne‘s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, exploring the oceans in the Nautilus, fighting war ships, discovering treasures, inciting revolution and overcoming story obstacles. One of the main mechanisms in the game is taking on a motive for Nemo, giving each of these actions more or less weighting in the final scoring. Bold & Caring adds two new motive cards to the game, essentially creating completely new ways to play and score high points. Nemo can now be motivated by Adventure, prioritizing exploration, collecting gemstones and taking further advantage of lull turns.

Alternatively the new Humanist motive gives Nemo a Hospital Machine, and allows “diplomatic attacks” on vessels rather than traditional destruction. Dramatis Personae gives more flavor and abilities to the crew with new adventure cards and a new finale. The Kickstarter Campaign for Nemo’s War Expansions #2 & 3 continues through December 18, and is expected to deliver in April 2019.

Portal Games,  Ignacy Trzewiczek‘s Polish gaming paradise, has announced a slew of new expansions for 2019 at the Essen Spiel currently going on in Germany.

51st State: Allies is the second expansion for the popular Imperial Settlers variant game 51st State (2010). In Allies, new mechanisms are introduced to ally the factions together, gaining unique bonuses and features. Additionally, this expansion adds 3 new factions to the game – The Steel Police, Uranopolis, and Sharrash! Play to unite the varied factions in the Wasteland, or take control as a lone wolf, the choice is yours.

Breakthrough is the second expansion for Alien Artifacts, the 4x card game released last year. Breakthrough includes “new threats uncovered in the famous Discovery, and new challenges for the space faring factions”. This expansion includes 20 new technology cards, 10 new ship cards, and 10 new planet cards, from the expand category. “Humanity solved the mystery behind the alien technology, and is ready to seize its powers!”

Fans of the award winning 2012 game Robinson Crusoe (#40 on BGG) may need to sit and take a deep breath. Mystery Tales, the second expansion for this thematic cooperative survival game, is coming in 2019. Mystery Tales includes a campaign game, The Lost City of Z, as well as a slew of components which can be added to the base game. This expansion includes 10 new characters, and 300 new cards, including new beasts, a new event deck, new mystery cards and new adventure decks. The game also introduces a new mechanism of SANITY, which can push any game of Robinson Crusoe into the realm of gothic horror. Also included are 5 new scenarios in the campaign, as well as 2 new general scenarios.

Stronghold: Undead is the stand-alone expansion to the acclaimed 2 player game Stronghold (2009), and just like the original, this expansion is getting the second edition treatment. Once again the Stronghold is under seige, with one player attacking and the other trying to survive the onslaught. This time though, the deadly Necromancer throws his unflinching forces against the walls, and each player has 8 turns to break through, or to repel the invaders.

L.A. Crimes is the first expansion to the new hotness, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. In Detective, players use a unique combination of web pages, internet searches, information cards and props to solve an intricately crafted detailed story of crime and greed. The expansion has 3 new cases taking place in sunny California, in the crime riddled Los Angeles of the 1980s. The expansion includes 2 new mechanisms – observation and stakeouts.

Finally Portal Games is prepping a magical Lootbox, with 6 unique mystery promos. Pre-orders for the Loot Box start on November 1. For more information on this, and all the announcements, check out Portal Games’ press release here.

Spirit Island (2017) by designer R. Eric Reuss has been one of the more interesting cooperative games in recent years, going so far as being a 2017 nominee for multiple Dice Tower Awards, and Golden Geek Awards. Greater Than Games has just started a Kickstarter Campaign for the second expansion to this great game, Jagged Earth. In Spirit Island, 1-4 players control Nature Spirits on a small island, influencing the native Dahan population to rise up and overthrow incoming invaders. And there are invaders aplenty – every round explorers show up on the coast of the island. These remaining explorers will build towns and cities if left alone, eventually creating a blight on the island, eading to the players’ demise. Each spirit type (and there are many) works in a very different way, having their own innate powers and abilities, income of energy, and power cards to instill fear in the unwanted explorers.

The new expansion, Jagged Earth, adds a number of extra features to the already challenging and thinky coop. Jagged Earth adds 8 new spirits to the mix, including Volcano Looming High and Grinning Trickster Stir Up Trouble. 2 of the new spirits come with new play mechanisms, including Badlands and Isolation. The original Spirits are given new life through “Aspects”, a way to swap in new innate powers for old ones. 5-6 players are now supported, using 2 new included island boards for a 6 piece giant board. Tokens are included for increased player count, 2 new scenarios, 2 new adversaries, 50+ new major and minor powers, 30 new events, 6 new fear cards and 6 new blight cards. For fans of Spirit Island, Jagged Earth adds more of what players love with enough new pieces to keep it interesting.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Spirit Island: Jagged Earth continues through November 16, and the expansion is expected to deliver in May 2020.

Santa Maria by designers Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby is a well regarded dice drafting and tile laying game from 2017, and now the designers along with publisher Aporta Games have started a Kickstarter Campaign for the first expansion, American Kingdoms. Briefly, in Santa Maria, 1-4 players draft dice, and slide them down or across the associated row or column on their personal board, activating every building the die moves over. However, the last building activated in this manner holds the die, effectively shutting that building down for the round. Players can also buy new tiles for their board, adding buildings, and individual buildings can be activated using money instead of dice. The game emphasizes the timing of when to draft dice, what order to activate rows, and the puzzle solving nature of designing the perfect engine. Santa Maria combines resource collection, racing down tracks for points and bonuses, end game goals with scholars and bishops, and set collection via shipping tiles.

American Kingdoms adds a couple new features, and 4 new modules that modify play. Cacao is a new resource in the game, used for new expensive shipping tiles, but mostly for modifying the dice. New scholars and bishops provide abilities and end game scoring. New 3×1 building tiles can be purchased for player boards, but come with a prohibitive 4 coin cost.

The Governor Module adds a… governor to each player’s board. The governor starts in the upper left corner of the player board, and moves one space whenever a die is used. Governors activate buildings, gaining resources when they land on buildings, but can move back off later, opening the building up again. Players lose points at game end if the governor has not moved far enough, and gain points if he makes it to the lower right of the board.

The Specialists module adds specialist tiles, which are randomly associated with dice. When the dice are drafted, the player can buy the specialist, gaining resources or buildings, but at a cost. Upgraded buildings are expensive, but players get a discount if they replace another building.

The Ambassador Module changes the dice mechanic of the game slightly. Players start with less dice, but there are 2 ambassador dice available each round, one white and one blue. These special dice can be drafted, but all players will be able to use the number when one player drafts. The drafting player is the only one able to modify the die number.

The Mayan Module is by far the most involved. With this addition, the game can play up to 5 players, with one player taking on the role of the native Mayans. The Mayan City has curving roads for each drafted die, rather than the regimented grid of the standard player boards. Mayans have several changes to their game play, and their main goal is to use resources to build multi-level pyramids. The higher the pyramid (up to 3 levels) the more points they earn. Additionally, the Mayan player has a hand of cards for trading with players, changing resources, and generally getting their monuments built. The game even changes the conquistador track, adding a back and forth of Mayans gaining gold and conquistadors stealing the gold from the Mayan player.

Finally, the Kickstarter Campaign also contains a mini-expansion for the original game, the Exploration deck. This deck provides 5 nationalities with varied starting resources for each player, and 21 achievement cards with secret player goals.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Santa Maria: American Kingdoms is set to continue through November 11, and the game should deliver in March 2019.

Stonemaier Games and developer Jamey Stegmaier have announced a new small box expansion for their mega hit Scythe (currently rated number 7 on boardgamegeek). Scythe Encounters started in June 2018 as an invitation to fans to design encounter cards for the game, those random events players find while wandering the countryside. The response was overwhelming, and Encounters represents the best 32 entries. Scythe Encounters is due for release December 8, 2018, however Stonemeier went one step further and had one palette shipped over to the US, so the first 1900 pre-orders will receive their boxes significantly earlier. Check out the Stonemaier Games Newsletter for more information, and as always, a great chart on the progress of new additions from the company.

Steve Jackson Games has announced in their latest newsletter the first expansion to Munchkin Warhammer 40,000Faith and Firepower.  The original gave us Munchkin-esque card game insight into several factions from the iconic miniatures game, including Ultramarines, Necron, Aeldari, Ork, Death Guard and Tyranid. The new expansion adds two more factions to the mix, the Sisters of Battle and the T’au. The new expansion, like the original, is being designed by Andrew Hackard and features classic Munchkin art by John Kovalic. Munchkin Warhammer 40,000: Faith and Firepower will contain 112 new cards, and should be available in Spring 2019.

2016’s A Feast for Odin took the gaming world by storm, not only because it was the latest farm building, feed your people masterpiece from Uwe Rosenberg (Agricola, Caverna: The Cave Farmers), but also because of its unprecedented number of worker placement slots (60+), and brilliant integration of Uwe’s new tetromino placement mechanism (Patchwork, Cottage Garden). Z-Man Games has just announced the first full sized expansion for Feast for Odin, The Norwegians, and it adds more of what we loved in this worker placement magnum opus. First, Norwegians adds more worker placement slots – There are now more ways to breed animals, craft, trade and hunt, as well as a fifth column of actions. These new actions come on several new boards tailored to the player count. New actions come with new tiles, and Norwegians comes with 95 new goods tiles, from elk and pigs to horses and antlers, as well as 6 new special tiles. Additionally, Norwegians comes with personal artisan sheds, small boards which provide individual player powers, such as better whaling or wood storage, helping further to guide your strategy: something especially useful in a game with so many options. And of course, the expansion comes with new islands to explore, and updates of the old islands, incorporating the new rules and tiles. Read more on Z-Man’s website here, and expect A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians in stores at the end of 2018.

Compass Games, a leader in historical wargames,  has announced some new releases coming later this year.

First is LEBENSRAUM! The War For Europe 1941-1945, designed by Stephen Newberg. Lebensraum is a “grand strategic, moderate complexity game of the war between Nazi Germany and the Allied Nations” for 2 players, and plays in 3-16 hours. Players can play either east or west fronts, either individually, or as a campaign, and gameplay focuses on leadership, playing at an army group level. The game contains 3 50×35 inch maps, 3 sheets of counters, rules and dice, and is expected to deliver in 3rd quarter 2018. You can read more about Lebensraum on Compass Games’ website here.

Compass Games also announced The American Revolution War Expansion Kit 1 – The French & More! This is the first expansion for Command & Colors Tricorne by Richard Borg, and adds the French army as expected, and 10 new battles. Award winner Command & Colors is by nature a card and dice driven, slightly simplified wargame, and affords the flexibility to portray large scale battles as well as small skirmishes. The new scenarios include large land battles Savannah and Yorktown, as well as the Battle of Brandywine, Springfield, King’s Mountain and Pell’s Point. This expansion contains 3 thick punch boards, new larger molded battle dice, cards, labels, rules, charts, and over 100 wooden components. Look for The French And More! in the 4th quarter 2018. You can read more details on Compass Games’ website here.