Sometimes, a game will be great, but it will feel like I just need a little bit more. Other times, games feel perfect just as they are, nothing additional needed. There are a bunch of different reasons why an expansion can feel unnecessary to me. Here are 5 games (in no real order) where I feel an expansion is not needed at all for a stellar experience.
[To clarify, I’ll still play these games with expansions included sometimes, I just don’t feel that they are needed to improve the game.]
Everdell has a whole bunch of expansions/modules which you can use together (at least some of them) or play individually. Personally, I don’t think any of the expansions make the game any better, and I just find them clunky to add in most of the time. The game has plenty going on for me, that I just don’t feel like the extra set-up for any of the expansions is really worth it.
I love the base game so much, easy 10 out of 10 for me. I like that the expansions come with more window variety, and even the placement secret objectives are pretty good. But everything outside of that, I just don’t need. I never feel a need to play at 5 or 6, and I felt that a lot of the other modules in the expansions just added unnecessary complexity without adding anything all that exciting or interesting.
I’ve cooled on Splendor over time, but when I was more into it, I was excited to see an expansion come out for it because I thought it was a game that could benefit from a little bit “more game,” so to speak. I was ultimately disappointed by the modular expansion. You can’t play them together, and I find it annoying to pick and choose every time. On top of that, I found all of the additions bland; I wasn’t excited to add any of them into the bas game after the first or second play of them. It fell flat for me, and ultimately reminded me that, although pretty light, Splendor is fine without an expansion.
Another 10/10 base game for me. Don’t get me wrong on this one, I do like what the expansions have added (the tiny dice, the additional types of cards…), but I just think the experiences of the story-driven expansions are too slow for me. You gain a little bit at a time, and it’s just a long tutorial in a way; and then some of the stuff never really gets used again. As for the 6 and 7 player expansion…. also not something I needed. This is not a game that needs to play that many people in my opinion.
I wish I could go back and experience the base game for the first time again, because it was phenomenal. The first few expansions were okay and attempted to build out the world/story more, but they quickly started going downhill, ultimately culminating in a pretty terrible ending . It was just so disappointing with every expansion to be presented with less enticing gameplay each time, and left still unsure of where the story was going. Honestly, if someone hadn’t played this one yet and wanted to, I would highly recommend the base game, and would tell them to stop there to preserve that epic experience.