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Expansion vs New Game

So, when building up your board game collection, it can at times reach the point where you have so many games that you just don’t play them all that often, and that you have a core few favorites that you play all of the time, so the question always is, do you add more new games to your collection or should you get an expansion?

Now, both have benefits in terms of your game collection. So I’m going to talk about the pros to both, and probably some cons as well, but when it comes to gaming, for me getting more games you can play is never going to be a bad thing.

The Argument for Exapnsions

So the argument for getting an expansion or starting to focus more on getting expansions is that you’ll probably play their content more. For a lot of games, Small World, Pandemic, Sagrada, and others, you’ll often just find yourself always having the expansion in the game. So if you are playing those games often, you’ll get more use out of that content.

It also can increase the replayability of those games. Stuff like Pandemic and Small World are great for introducing new people into board gaming. But it can end up feeling like you are playing the same game over and over again. So getting new roles in Pandemic or getting new monsters and abilities in Small World that can create combos or new strategies to try, those things will freshen up a game for a player who plays those games a lot.

Image Source: BoardGameGeek

Sometimes you can also not increase the number of boxes for the games by getting expansions. If the expansion can be stored with the base game, or vice-a-versa, you don’t add any new boxes to your collection that take up shelf space. Now, this isn’t always the case so sometimes you’re just adding boxes like normal, but if you are tight on space, that’s one reason to consider an expansion over a new game.

The Argument for New Games

With a new game one of the big selling points is that you can try something new. Sounds obvious, but it might allow you to find a new type of game or a new favorite game by trying out something new. Or you might find an improvement upon a game that you already like, if you like something like Splendor, trying Century Spice Road or Century Golem Edition might give you a game that you like better or that people in your group will like better, even though the feel of the two can be similar.

A new game also allows you to fill in gaps in your gaming collection. Now, everyone will have different types of games that the prefer, but sometimes you might need a party game, and you might need it so that you don’t get stuck playing a party game that you really don’t like. Or maybe a euro or deck building, or whatever it might be. So filling in some of those areas that you might not have enough of for your gaming group and to keep it interesting is important as well.

The Arguments Against Expansions

While I talked about the added variability, one thing to be slightly concerned about with adding more is the addition of complexity to a game. So you might take a game that is relatively easy to get to the table and make it harder by adding in additional rules or roles to explain. So while technically the game has more replayability because of those things, it will see the table less because it’s harder to pull out with a group of new to the game players. I have a friend who has several expansions for Galaxy Trucker, but because it’s harder to teach with those in the box, they raretly get played with.

Also, an expansion might not add in that much more to a game, so kind of the opposite of the one above, but if it just adds in a few more cards or a modular board, or something like that, it might not feel like it changes up the game that much, so it doesn’t add to the game play or it getting back to the table again.

Image Credit: Game Base

The Argument Against New Games

The most obvious one is that you might not like the game, as simple as that. It’s an unknown commodity to you and there’s a risk/reward to factor in to it. Now, the more you’ve played games and played a variety of games, the odds of finding a complete miss aren’t that high, though it might not be something better than you already have on the shelf.

Speaking of shelves, space is also a concern. Because it is something completely new, it could take up a chunk of space and if you are limited in how much space you have, it might be the case where you won’t have room to store a new game. Now this can be rectified by getting rid of a game, but you might love all the games that you have, so then you have to make a choice if you decide to get any new games.

So, is there a better option, getting expansions or a new game? I don’t really think so. I think expansions can breath new life into an old game if you get them, but if you’re enjoying the base game, there’s no reason to. I think that new games can help you find things that you love and new favorites but probably have a higher chance of being a dud. It depends on how people play their games. Normally, I’m writing this mid Covid-19 Pandemic 2020, I play a lot of new to me games and a lot of different games, so having a good variety is great and something I really enjoy. But if you’re with a group who likes their handful of games, expansions are a great way to keep that feeling fresh.

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