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August 18, 2015 / Jett

Knowing When to Stop Buying Board Game Expansions

Marvel Legendary

Who doesn’t want more of a good thing? This is the logic that drives the sale of expansions of any sort. With board games, I’m not one to shy away from purchasing additional items to supplement my main purchase. Just to name a few, we have three out of four Pandemic expansions, almost all of the Marvel Legendary expansions, and hundreds of additional dice for Dice Masters.

Once you start down the expansion rabbit hole, it’s hard to stop. The urge to have a complete collection kicks in and making the decision to cut things off can get quite difficult. When is the right time to pull the plug?


1. When it becomes too expensive to keep up

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures by most accounts is a fantastic game of tactical space combat. It is also one of the slipperiest slopes in all of board games. In the main set, you’re only getting one X-Wing and two Tie Fighters, which has led many players to encourage the purchase of two starter sets. Then there’s accessories such as playmats to better reflect the actual space of battle, and storage, as the boxes that the core game and expansions come in don’t work as long-term storage solutions. After that, there’s dozens of new ships available for purchase, assuming you only want one of each new ship.

I love the idea of playing a Star Wars space battle board game. My experience of playing the ground-based Imperial Assault has only made me more excited for the inevitable day when I finally test this out. Be that as it may, my bank account is horrified at how much this will cost to get off the ground, and how much more expensive it’ll go with time as more ships are introduced. This one is so expensive that the thought of even starting it makes me cringe.


Marvel Dice Masters

2. When the content in the expansion aren’t appealing

Saying yes to the Avengers vs. X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Justice League sets of Dice Masters was easy. I love the game and those franchises. That said, my love for Dice Masters hasn’t spread to the point where I’ll buy everything with the name. I’ve skipped out on Yu Gi Oh and Dungeons and Dragons because I have no interest in those universes. Even the upcoming Marvel and DC sets don’t look all that appealing to me. The Age of Ultron set features characters that I mostly don’t care for, while the War of Light features a heavy Green Lantern influence. Sorry Hal, but I never cared for you or your corps. WizKids, call me back when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dice Masters set is out.


Legendary: Guardians of the Galaxy

3. When the main game isn’t played enough to justify the expense

Marvel Legendary is great. It’s only gotten better with time, as a number of expansions allow players to recreate some of their favourite comic book battles or create new ones of their own. With the addition of Marvel Legendary Villains, you can mix any number of bad guys with good guys for an ultimate mash-up of players vs. the game.

Sadly, I have well over 2,000 Legendary cards, and hardly ever play it. The few times I’ve been able to play it with others, the response to it has been lukewarm, making it hard to break out in the future. It does work great as a single-player game, but I just don’t feel overly compelled to play board games by myself all that often. As excited as I am for the new Secret Wars big box expansion, I’m scared that it would just collect dust while we play other games that are easier to get onto the table.


4. When you like the game as is

The Resistance has been a big hit in my gaming circles. It works so well because it supports a large number of people and is very easy to teach. The game does come with a number of additional cards to spice things up, but they almost never come out of the box. Truthfully, we kind of prefer the standard game without the extras. If we don’t even use the extras in the box, how can we justify the purchase of either of the expansions available for this game?

The Bigger Blacker Box

5. When you don’t like the game anymore

Cards Against Humanity was one of the games that drew me into the tabletop gaming hobby years ago. During my love affair with the series, I bought the first four main expansions, a few Christmas expansions, as well as the big box. Over time, I’ve discovered that its replayability is limited, as the novelty quickly wears thin. Not only will I not be buying any more expansions, but I don’t see myself pulling this game out to play ever again.

Having a complete set of something is nice, but there’s no shame in settling with what you have. I struggle with this too, but when push comes to shove, there are valid reasons for letting expansions slide.  Besides, instead of buying an expansion that you don’t need, you could use that money instead on a new game you really want. Before you rush off to buy the latest expansion out of habit, take a moment to ask yourself if it’s something you need to have right this second.


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Leave a Comment
  1. INK1ing / Aug 19 2015 6:56 AM

    Excellent points and some lessons that I have learned the hard way. X-Wing reminds me of my Warhammer 40K days, a game that makes a class-A drug addiction look like a cheap habit!

    I have been collecting the Lord of the Rings LCG cards over the past year and am loving it but before each purchase I pause to make sure it’s because I actually want it.

    All gamers should read this.

  2. Jett / Aug 19 2015 9:10 AM

    Thank you for the kind words!

    Very recently, I received a gift card with a pretty decent chunk of change. My first purchase was X-Wing. I justified it in my head by saying it was “free”. Have yet to play it, but will keep going back to this article before I decide to go back for more ships.

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