FDQ: Expansions or new games?


Board gaming is a pretty great hobby. You get the benefits of getting away from a screen for a while and interacting face-to-face with friends and family. You get your brain a little exercise. And you have a whole variety of experiences to jump into and out of for a few hours at a time.

Not only can you buy new games to get this variety, but you can often buy expansions to your favorite games to change up or deepen the experience. Of course, most people have pretty tight wallets and can’t just buy whatever they want. So today’s question… which do you like the most—buying a new game, or buying an expansion to one of your favorites? Answer in the comments!

(P.S. You’ll definitely want to check back for next week’s FDQ. It’s a super special surprise, and I don’t think you’ll regret it. And I’m not giving any hints; you’ll find out what it is next week!)

@Futurewolfie answers:
 This is probably a tough answer for most gamers. The call of new games is always strong, but at the same time, my favorite games deserve a little love as well, and most of the time new expansions add variety and excitement to an already great game. With limited money, it’s always a tough choice between buying an expansion or going for something totally new. Not to mention the fact that I’m somewhat of a completionist, so when I have a game I love I feel like I want to get every expansion just to complete the collection. I bought waaaay too many Heroclix in high school for that reason. Still, I think at least at this point I prefer buying new games. There are a lot of unique experiences out there that I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on, and as a blogger of games, I’m pretty willing to risk my money on a game that I don’t know much about just to try something new. Whereas with expansions, it’s just a variation on a familiar experience; not necessarily a bad thing (Dominion expansions, you rock my world) but just not necessarily my first priority.

@FarmerLenny answers:
This is a tough question. Buying new games can be a mixed bag, whereas expansions to a game you already like generally seem like a safe bet (except maybe some Carcassonne expansions, which seem to have jumped the shark). Because I like new shinies, I usually opt for new games (after copious research), but I’m rarely disappointed when I decide on expansions. For Dominion, I think the expansions are what keep the game so exciting, but there are other games that seem more complete in themselves, making expansions less necessary (Agricola, for example). Really, I’m open to any purchase that brings exciting plays to the table.

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

Discussion7 Comments

  1. I’m afraid I’m on the boat that complains about expansions. While certainly not true in EVERY case, there are too many expansions that should have been in the base game (i.e., Quarriors with an expansion less than a year after its base release) or that come out ad nauseum on popular titles just to rake in more and more money (see: Days of Wonder).

    We’re on a limited budget, especially these days where the economy stinks. I will invest my meager gaming money on something fresh. And in fact, I lean towards buying games that specifically DO NOT have expansions – though this is not 100%. We have Dominion, and we’re getting Intrigue for sure at some point, because it just seems “needed.” I don’t want to get lured in by other titles! I’m a huge Star Trek nut, and would really like Fleet Captains. But I will not buy it because I know it is on its way to never-ending expansions and add-on sets…

  2. I can get behind that. It is frustrating to buy a game only to find that it’s “incomplete” in some way. I find expansions much more forgivable in card games, mainly because I used to play CCGs, and it’s much easier to acquire new cards in board game expansions than in CCG expansions.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I think it also depends on your mindset going into the game. I bought into the Lord of the Rings LCG knowing that if I liked it I would spend a lot of money on expansions – but that, unlike a CCG, I would actually have control over what I got in those expansions. I don’t know that I can think of many games that feel “incomplete” without the expansion – except for maybe The Resistance, but then the expansion comes with the base game, so it’s ok and more of a play variant than anything else. For the most part, I play new games (so that I can review them), but on some of my personal favorite’s (like Knizia’s LotR co-op game), I will also chase after expansions.

  4. If the base game is good on its own I usually pass on the expansions. For example, Battlestar Galactica is so good by itself that the expansions hold no power over me. And, I’m with FarmerLenny, new shinies are too hard to pass up.

  5. Both! Can we say both?

    Actually, I like the new games a lot. But my completionist nature has me fawning over expansions. If it’s a game I really enjoy, I will often grab the expansion first thing before I think about new games. Of course, while I’m shopping, I might as well pick up a new game too…

  6. I’m definitely a mix of the two. The main difference in my case is that I will almost never buy a game without trying it first but I am much more likely to pick up an expansion to a game that I like without trying it out first. I usually follow expansions closely before they’re released so their generally aren’t any surprise when I do pick them up.

    My generally philosophy with game buying is to get games that I know are going to get played. For this reason I’m very likely to pick up expansions for games that I play a lot with my wife or family because it’s a lot easier to add an expansion than teach a new game.

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