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Writing (for) Expansions

Expansions can be a great thing for a small designer and producer. They allow you to continue the tail for sales of your game and increase the possible value of a re-print, additionally allowing you to launch a small game and build on it as resources and interest become available. However, there are some things that can go wrong with expansions and disappoint the fans you’ve gained. I suspect that when they go wrong its due to a lack of forethought in the original design, so in this blog I’m trying to lay out some things to consider when putting together a game that you might want to expand in the future.

To my mind the best reason to do expansions for a game is that you’re a small developer and you want a game that has tons of content but aren’t confident that people will pay out for a high-cost game from an unknown. I think that mostly because that’s what I did with SSO, which I’ll end up using as an example here, so I’ll just take a second to explain how it works.

In SSO the players are a rescue team trying to save the S.S.Omega from a disaster that has befallen it. The base set of the game lays out the ship and provides the crew and rules along with a deck of cards that drives the disaster in question. What I wanted was a game that would let you play through a range of sci-fi horror survival/space disaster tropes, but I also wanted a game that I could sell for £10 and mail out in a standard large letter. The answer was to build the base set with one deck of cards that told one story but that could be slotted in and out to tell other stories with expans