Product– Belfort: the Expansion Expansion
Producer– Tasty Minstrel games
Price– ~$20 here http://www.amazon.com/Belfort-The-Expansion-Board-Game/dp/1938146832/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414638034&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=belford+expantion
Set-up/Play/Clean-up-2.5~3 hours (2 to 5 players)
TL; DR– Some great things, some ok things 93%
Basics- Belfort was one of my favorite games (reviewed here https://throatpunchgames.com/2013/12/10/ring-side-report-board-game-review-of-belfort/). I loved to play it, but I wanted some new options to spice up a classic. The Expansion expansion enhances the game by adding new building expansions (hence the expansions expansion) that add on to your current building as well as providing assistants who help you throughout the game. The building expansions provide new ways to get points at the end of the game while the assistants provide new powers like preventing other players from building in an area to avoiding paying taxes all together. Other than these additions, the game is played exactly the same.
Mechanics– This is a (semi)mixed bag. I love the addition of the assistants. They provide new powers that really shake up the game. The assistants change each turn with the players with the fewest points choosing first and working up the point scale to choose each assistant. You might get stuck behind the eight ball on who gets what assistant if you run away with points, but the assistants help prevent the runaway point problem happening through some elegant game design. That I really liked. However the building additions are a bit more cumbersome. I like the expansions in theory. But, you have to have the base building, and most of the costs to build are a bit too cost prohibitive. It makes a player do more calculations to decide if building an expansion is worth it, but I feel most of these costs are a bit too much to make them worthwhile. Also, building expansions are collected when a player doesn’t use an assistant’s power. However, if you’re playing smart you won’t have a turn where your assistant isn’t hard at work. 4/5
Theme- The addition of the small elements in this set really does hammer home some themes missing from the first one. All the assistants do things that their fantasy races would do. It makes a ton of sense and does draw you in a bit more. The building expansions also all make sense like an inn getting a pool. The costs to build some of these items are a bit off (sacrifice a token to build some buildings). But overall, this expansion has a ton more theme than the original game. 4.5/5
Instructions– These instructions are short and to the point. Also, each part of the expansion gets a write up to help you understand the finer points of how the building and assistants works and how to build and use them. I love when instructions answer the difficult questions that will come up during game play. There is some humor in this book, but it’s all in good fun as well. 5/5
Execution– This is small box, but not an empty one. The box comes with several cards for the expansions, cards for the assistants, and wooden blocks for some of the assistant’s powers. In fact, this expansion fits into the original box. I’m not complaining. For the cost, you’d be hard pressed to pick up other expansions out there that are done as well! 5/5
Summary-Overall, I like this expansion. The best thing this expansion does is enhance the theme of the original game. The game does feel more fantasy now with the addition of the assistants. Before, the theme was there but a bit too dry. What I don’t like is the building additions. I don’t think you get enough bang for your buck for building them. Maybe if you play smarter than I did, you will see some combinations I didn’t. I had fun, but the random nature of the buildings you can build means the starting buildings in your hand and their additions will dictate how you must play the game. That’s not horrible, but it can be a bit of a pain. Nothings in bad here, and if you want some added life and strategy in your Belfort, this is a great expansion. 93%
2 thoughts on “Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Belfort: the Expansion Expansion”
Thanks for playing and for the review!! I understand your comments about the expansions being tough and expensive. We wrestled with the costs a lot through development. In the end we decided on these costs because if they were any cheaper then that became the dominant strategy and the area majority took a back seat. As it is now – if you play with someone who really focuses on expansions – they will get points that no one else can contest with – and they have often pulled ahead in our playtests. In your next play – I challenge you to focus on expansions and really get one going for the first scoring round (as you score expansions at EACH scoring – not just at the end)!!
Again, thanks for playing and taking the time to write this review!!!
I’ll give that a try. Love the game, and I’m gald to have a new reason to bring it to the table!