So I’m a “little” excited about this month. You might even say my excitement is “Mini”…
Yeah… I’m rolling with it.
Mini-Expansions. Those micro boxes with extra-content. While they normally don’t introduce new mechanics – they add additional variety to what’s already there. Firefly: The Game – Breaking Atmo’ we reviewed in our first year was a Mini-Expansion.
This month, we’re adding Mini-Expansion Mondays in May to our regular schedule. I’m a bit of a sucker for alliteration (Goof’s Guide to Gaming might have given this away already). But what I’m an even bigger sucker for is mini-expansions.
What I love about Mini-Expansions is the ability to pick up something cool and new for a game you like. I don’t know how many times I’ve wandered through a Games store checking out cool stuff I can’t afford to buy, only to spot a cheap mini-expansion and walked out with a disproportionately large grin on my disproportionately large face… wait.
One of the things I miss from my Magic: The Gathering days is the ability to purchase $7 booster packs when we went shopping. Mini-expansions help me recapture this small purchase feeling. And often in more exciting ways because you know you’re going to get something you can use over and over (no randomness to these purchases). In some ways, I actually prefer mini-expansions to their overblown counterparts.
Look, I LOVE opening up a massive box filled with cool new things to add to a game. But generally speaking, you don’t get to appreciate everything in the box as much as you do when it comes piecemeal. So much stuff means something is going to get overlooked or not make the same impact. I’ll talk about this more later in the month but when I picked up several of the Mini-Expansions for Robinson Crusoe I honestly loved each part so much more than if I’d picked them up in a big box. I got to open them individually, I got to look them over and see how they worked, and then I got to introduce them into the game in a way we saw fit but all within the rules of the game. It’s a focus you don’t get in bigger game release models.
There’s also something to be said for increased variety without increased rules. A new faction for this game, a couple extra scoring cards for another. Even sometimes replacing a few cards in a deck, or having more variety of spells. Every time you add a new mechanic, you’re making it harder to teach, harder to keep a track of everything, more convoluted, and more often than not increasing the amount of time it’s going to take to play. But increased variety doesn’t have to mean increased complexity. And this is really driven home in mini-expansions.
I honestly think we’d be doing the FLGS industry a big favour if more games released content in mini-expansion format. Something in the $20 AUD price range or under. When you can’t afford the bigger boxes, sometimes you go away and think about it before life gets in the way and going back to drop $100 on a game becomes less likely or less frequent. I guess what I’m saying is the gaming industry is making it harder for me to impulse buy as a general rule. And where’s the fun in that?
I really want to hear from you though. Tell me what you think about my points above. Do you think Mini-Expansions would be better for Friendly Local Gaming Stores? Do you like Mini-Expansions? What are some you’ve liked? Or not liked? I’m excited for Mini-Expansion Mondays in May (can you fit anymore M words into this title? I think I’ve maxed out at 4).
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Please comment, lets get the conversations flowing!