Takes CitOW to a 10! I find the new cards to be better balanced and more fun to play with. The Chaos cards are more subtle, but still as thematic for each character. Conversely, the upgrades are now somewhat more powerful and all are useful now. Basically the more powerful effects have been shifted from the Chaos cards to the upgrades, which I think works better from fairness and game pacing standpoints.
If you have played Dice Town and enjoy it, you really should get this expansion. It makes a very good game great.
The secondary prizes are nice all around, both because they give you a choice of actions and they minimize the times you get frozen out entirely.
On the other hand, the secondary rewards make it very hard to get to Dr. Badluck when you want him, so fortunately that is now an action you may chose at the general store. Even with just the base game it is hard to get to Badluck with lower numbers of players, so I think this was a needed fix.
The outlaws let you preset some of your roll, and add some nice strategy, and trying to capture them for rewards is just fun. I like the way they are all worth an odd amount of $ - this makes that odd dollar in your hand worth something in VP!
The gold cards give you a nice option when you limp into the gold mine with a single 9, and the alternate bank action helps keep a player from getting stuck with no money.
Overall, the expansion adds a lot of options and strategy and fits very nicely into the existing framework of the game. It is nice that these options where kept as a separate expansion, as I think the whole package would overwhelm many casual gamers.
This is a nice little expansion that gives you some nice new Gather cards you can use in any game, and also an alternate set of Craft cards for a faster game. The new Craft deck is easier to build, so you'll need to invest less time and thought into building your dice pool, but you'll be crafting items faster (and more often more than one per turn).
This is a really rare type of expansion - one that speeds up and simplifies the game. However, I think it is a good idea, because as much as I love KF, it can take a while with 4 players. With this new deck, you can reign the game down into the superfiller category and perhaps play with more casual gamers who want more dice rollin', less Gather Phase strategizin'.
At first I was afraid this would complicate things too much, but it actually integrates very well and adds a nice additional layer of choices. It will prolong the game a bit, but the game is one I love, so that's fine with me.
Just four cards, but they really improve the game. No longer can you easily guess which colors your opponents need. It almost seems like the designer had a better idea for scoring that he was able to add with these cards.
I was very surprised how much more interesting the game becomes with the addition of these new cards. The expansion definitely creates a host of new potential strategies, and makes me wonder how I ever felt the game was complete before. this expansion has definitely slowed things down for me, and I find myself changing strategies more mid-stream. However, I do enjoy the added depth and options.
I am not a fan of the takeover mechanisms, however. Too much bookkeeping for too little gain! From an interaction standpoint, I'd rather see ways to stop your opponents from taking particular phases.
I was skeptical about this expansion for quite a while, but after 50+ plays with my wife I finally decided to bite it off. Adding to RftG is not a no-brainer for me, despite how much we play the game. We don't play with takeovers. That whole thing seems like a mess to me - way too much bookkeeping for too little effect.
I was worried that prestige might also be a bridge too far, but after playing with BoW I do not find that to be the case. BoW is very much meant for experienced players, but the added rules burden is not too bad. I mainly like 3 things about the expansion:
1) The prestige mechanism gives you another interesting victory strategy to peruse. I don't find it overpowering as some have commented here; there are many other strategies that can also yield at least a point and a card every round!
2) I like the prestige super-ability one-shot. It is frustrating to get stuck at the midgame or even early on, and this feature gets you around that at a cost.
3) Green strategy gets some help. I felt that the green engine was relatively under-resourced before.
I could have lived without this expansion. I need to remind myself how prestige works when I pick up the game after a while, and I still need to look up some of the trickier BoW cards. Search also slows down the game quite a bit. However, it is hard for me to go back now, because BoW does introduce some interesting strategic options.
UPDATE Sep2012: Alright, dangnabit, I need to admit that this expansion completes the game. It definitely slows things down, but it also easily doubles the number of strategies possible. It's really well positioned at the end of the RftG line. When you're ready, get it, and you will come to appreciate it greatly. I take back what I said about being happy to live without this expansion - there's no going back for me now.
Solid adventure card expansion. Challenges are a bit harder than average, with some interesting effects. Adds some new Events that could be potential huge pains in the butt, but that makes them meaningful. I like the encounter that allows you to attempt to loot a dragonlord.
The best part for me are the new Blue challenges that can only be damaged in a single combat phase. I like when you occasionally get something like this, and realize you need to run away for now! Also includes some Encounters that basically give you an extra hero to use just for stalking your opponents. I don't think PvP is a strong suit of Runebound (we usually avoid it), so these didn't do much for me. The other monsters are decent.
I would say that if you've played Runewars a couple times and like it enough to keep playing, you should get this expansion. The new cards are great, and I also really like using the more powerful cities. I am not sure the commanders are worth the trouble though. Nothing here changes the game too much, but the added variety is great to have.
This expansion does just what a good expansion should do: adds more variety and choices. I am especially impressed with the prophecies. They make it harder to do a certain action, and then reward (or punish) you based on how well you manage to do that action anyway.
The Quick Action tiles variant for two players tightens up the game nicely by putting more dummy workers on the board. Now blocking becomes more possible, and Start Player all the more valuable.
Some of the base game expansion elements are great, while one or two are just OK. Overall, they make the game much less scripted and I will always use the expansion unless teaching someone new!
The great ones: Gladriel: In the base game, killing off Gandalf at the first opportunity is practically a non-choice. With Gladriel, you have some more options.
New Witch King: I like having this alternate Witch King that you can bring into play to harass the Fellowship without activating everybody, I do wish there was some way to switch him over to the fighty Witch King later in the game, though. This would also follow the books' narrative nicely.
Ents: It is nice to have these as figures on the board, as it adds a lot of interest to the action around the Fangorn/Orthanic region.
Dunlendings: These give Sauron something to do rather than just bang on Rohan for a while then get creamed by the Ents.
The good ones: Siege Towers: Give a little more options around siege combat, and a place to spend musters that might otherwise be wasted.
OK: Smeagol: Not really sure what he adds to gameplay. It is nice for the fellowship to have that extra harmless tile in the bag (kinda balanced by the new Witch King). I think his main purpose is to mix up the Fellowship and prevent the FP player from following the same companion strategy every time. His guide ability is strong, and if the SP can't kill him, will likely save the FP a turn on their trek to Mt. Doom (but if the SP does kill him, get a nice reward - the card that lets them redo a tile draw).
Corsairs: Move too slowly to be of much use. I wish there was a card or two that would shoot them up the coast so that you could use them to dump a bunch of Southrons in the Shire. UPDATE: I have to upgrade my opinion of the Corsairs after my last game. I planted one in Umbar and one in Dol Amoroth, and they were very helpful in helping me quickly shuttle Southron reinforcements into Gondor. They are a bit of an investment to get into place, but once established they are nice to have. Still wish they moved faster or there was a card like Ciridain's ships that would teleport them along the coast.
The stand-alone battle games are decent. They are a nice, more tactical version of the WotR combat system. However, for that type of tactical game there are others I prefer. I would rate the battle games a 7 (could possibly go to 8 with more plays).