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Expansion Overload
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Sunday, Feb 22, 2015
Recently, I’ve been analyzing the unplayed board games in my collection, to determine why they keep getting passed over, and how to rectify it.

Today, I’ll be looking at Among The Stars. When I discovered this game, it was out of print here in the states. But I was so excited to get a copy of it, that I ordered direct from Artipia Games in Europe. Soon after which, it was made available again in the US by Stronghold games.

Now, I’m not saying Stronghold Games is on my Enemies List, but they may have received an anonymous angry letter.

So, after being so excited to obtain the game, and going through so much trouble to get a copy of it, once I had it in my possession, it sat on my shelf, unplayed, for months. I’m happy to say I have played it, but slightly less happy to admit that it took nearly a year to do so. What caused this delay? The reason? Expansion Overload.

You see, in my fervor to obtain Among The Stars, I didn’t just purchase the base game by itself. My order also included The Ambassadors expansion and all the promos I could find. And then, after they arrived, I giddily unwrapped, punched and dumped everything into the box. All together. Then, on game day, we took it off the shelf, tried to learn the base and expansion rules simultaneously, determining which cards and components went with the which set, got overwhelmed, and ended up playing 7 Wonders instead... again.

Now, I’m not saying 7 Wonders is on my Enemies List, but they may have received an anonymous angry letter.

Among The Stars went unplayed until several game sessions later, after I’d painstakingly extracted the expansion from the base game’s components, and put it and its rules aside, so we could concentrate on mastering the base game first. Trying to enjoy too much too quickly was actually prevented us from playing it at all.

And I know I’m not the only person who has suffered from Expansion Overload. Why, just last week, on The Dice Tower’s Board Game Breakfast show, Tom Vasel, Sam Healey and Jason Lavine discussed this very thing. Just... one week before I was planning to.

Now I’m not saying those three guys are on my Enemies List, but… oh, actually, Sam Healey is already on here.

Among The Stars wasn’t the first time that I’d gotten so excited over a newly discovered game that I scooped up all the content for it I could find, only to become so overwhelmed by trying to simultaneously absorb not only the base game, but also all the modifications introduced in its expansions, that I, inevitably, had to put the game away and write an angry letter.

Not every game with expansions is susceptible to Expansion Overload. But it may be nice if someone started a Board Game Geek GeekList of games that are susceptible to it. Which someone did. Let’s work together to list games that should be mastered prior to introducing its expansions, and help prevent others from suffering this version of Analysis Paralysis.
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