Mark Jackson(gamemark)United States
TennesseeAm I a man or am I a muppet? If I'm a muppet then I'm a very manly muppet!
This is my portion of a much longer (and well-worth reading!) article over on the Opinionated Gamers website (http://opinionatedgamers.com/2011/04/14/what-are-your-desert...)
NOTE to Jonathan F… Anno 1503: Aristocrats & Pirates?! Really?! – That’s one of the few expansions I’ve ever traded away while keeping the base game. (I think Anno 1701: Das Brettspiel does the same thing he tried to do with the 1503 expansion, but better.)
1. Memoir ‘44: Campaign Book, Volume 1 – In a scenario-based game, it’s the quality of the additional scenarios that can make or break a game system. So imagine my joy when Days of Wonder not only published a book filled to the brim with new scenarios but also created a way to link battles together into Campaigns (4-6 battles) and Grand Campaigns (3-4 Campaigns) to make for an extended good time. I’ve played nearly every scenario in the book & am longing for Volume 2.
2. Zooloretto: Exotic – I love the base game & have enjoyed the way that Michael Schacht has freely expanded on it with simple add-on/giveaway expansions. But the expansion that turned this into a real nail-biter is Exotic – now, decisions about what to take & where to place animals have an extra level of thought… and the endgame becomes trickier as you have more things to avoid (esp. if you filled your jungle path early!)
3. Canyon: Grand Canyon – The original game is a light family trick-taking game (based on Oh Hell) with a scoring portion that is a canoe race around the bend across the rapids above the falls. Grand Canyon adds Cosmic Encounter-ish powers to the game that allow each player to bend the rules in a particular way each round – and those cards change hands depending on race position. I won’t play the game without them.
Of course, I had to leave off the games that really are nothing but expansions that I dearly love: Heroscape, Tannhauser & Summoner Wars.