Quality Game Stores, My Must-Have Expansions, & Awards - Your Board Game Questions Answered! - cutlassboardgame.com

Quality Game Stores, My Must-Have Expansions, & Awards – Your Board Game Questions Answered!

Watch It Played
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Matthew Answers YOUR questions about board games and tabletop gaming!

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00:00 – Introduction
00:18 – What makes good game store GOOD?
05:23 – Does the Spiel des Jahres matter?
10:00 – What are your most necessary expansions?

#watchitplayed #boardgames #Q&A


  1. The Spiel makes millionaires. Of course it's relevant.

  2. I also need a welcoming aire from any store, games or not. I also want an aire of genuine helpfulness, a "here's what I can recommend", not a "oh you sweet, summer child" attitude. Somehow as the hobby grew, Hannibal Lecter level of elitism feels to have crept in, as if we are a godsend for being experts at this. 😔

  3. I work on the 1st Board Game Rental place in Cuba, well what you rent is the table and we teach you to play the game, getting the license to sell food is kind of hard, but we love teaching games and seeing everyone enjoy themselves

  4. I will never play Troyes without the Lady Dice and extra leaders, never play Dune Imperium without Rise of Ix, will never play Gugong without the peasant revolt module from Panjun.

    100% with you about drink-pestering in game cafes (im also a Brit though so maybe were just grumpy) 😁.

  5. For Five Tribes I always play with the Artisans Expansion and for Tokaido the Crossroads Expansion is a must too

  6. We always play with the quacks of Quedlinburg expansions

  7. For me, Architects of the West Kingdom is best when played with the Age of Artisans expansion. It really should have just been in the base game to start with.

  8. Necessary expansion would be Prelude for Terraforming Mars.

  9. Game Stores – if I’m looking for something specific I can find it in an online store or marketplace, I really want the store to be interesting to browse, the best store I went to had games grouped by sometimes whimsical categories. The worst one looked like a warehouse, and most of the ones in between are nice enough but don’t really have a lot of board games and are more into the trading card games (I know that’s how they make their money so I don’t have a problem with that, but 1 single trading card game I actually play most of them don’t sell anyway).

    Spiel – It does not affect me at all as a gamer and many games that win don’t interest me, but that’s okay, I don’t need an award to pick out my games.

    Necessary Expansion – Tuscany OR World are the only way I will play Viticulture. It was a good game but the expansion elevates and completes it for me. After trying the Euphoria expansion I will probably never play without that either since it takes a great but slightly clunky game and smooths it out. I never expect an expansion to “fix” a game I don’t like but they can and do sometimes sell me on a game to bring it from “like to play once in a while if it’s in the cafe / con” to “need to own.” Curious whether Aquatica’s expansion is that way for me but I haven’t played it. Will at least always change out the goals since the ones recommended for the first game felt a little odd for pacing.

    I love expansions and would rather replay my favorite game with a new expansion than play a new game so I seldom play without expansions anyway except on first play.

  10. Star Wars: Outer Rim by itself is incredibly mediocre, but the expansion Unfinished Business turns it into one of the most balanced and best competitive/narrative board games I've ever played. It's truly amazing what a single expansion can do, I'm so happy they released it and I hope they release more. I'll never play the base game again.

  11. A Spiel ensures between +300k and +500k copies. For editors, it is for sure relevant 😊

  12. 1. There are two dedicated board game shops close to me, and I don't really got to them very often because they really only have MTG cards with some games to appeal to new hobbyists (Coup, Munchkin, Catan, etc.), or they have a limited selection of games I'm interested in generally. People aren't really playing in the stores much either, at least when I visit, so I don't see too much of an appeal locally.
    Also, the nearest board game cafe to me has a bunch of greasy food (e.g., fried chicken) on the menu and have very small tables, while having games that take up a lot of space on the shelves. Just a recipe for disaster. It has basically turned me off to the whole idea of board game cafes, but I'd love to try going to one that actually works.
    All this being said and to actually answer the question, I think variety is needed in board game stores, and the place needs to be inviting to play. I miss the store around here that closed down that allowed you to rent games and then buy them with a discount if you liked them, since they also were willing to demo a game for you.

    2. If the game wins Spiel des Jahres, it'll get a look from me to see if it's a good fit. I tend to like lighter Euros, so it's typically a good measure for me, but there are some winners that I just really don't like, too, so it's not a guarantee.

    3. There are two kinds of necessary expansions for me: difficulty (but not complexity) bumps (e.g., On the Brink making Pandemic harder, or Exiles and Partisans making Root a little easier), and variability in roles (e.g., new factions in Root, or new characters in Lost Ruins of Arnak). Expansions that just tack on something for extra complexity bother me a bit too much, kind of like how Dominion started adding new player mats, types of cards/tokens, and things that just remove it further from the "it's just a deck builder" game that I thought was well-refined.

  13. I do agree for Tuscany for Viticulture.

    I would add some expansions: Orléans needs Invasion. Rise of Fenris for Scythe is greatest. I can’t play Race for the Galaxy without Gathering Storm anymore.

  14. Great video! Top 3 dream jobs would be running a successful board game cafe. I feel like it’d be one tough business to get off the ground and become profitable

  15. The asymmetric powers in the expansion for tzolkin make the game SO much better, never playing without those.

    100% agreed the Tuscany board is a must play.

  16. I wouldn't play Elder Sign without Unseen Forces now. The extra Blessed Die is essential!

  17. When I tell someone about the hobby whose first response is, “oh like Monopoly” I mention BGG and YouTube and they have no idea how vast that is but basically they can find any game they want.

    Your QR code to a learn to play video for a shop is genius.

  18. Runebound 3rd Ed. is my all-time, absolute favorite game and I always play with at least parts of the Unbreakable Bonds expansion. It adds battle boards for the enemies that make you think, how could they have not included this with everygame?

    I also never play Campy Creature without the expansion and then mix and match the decks.

  19. Wingspan with the oceania expansion brings new player boards that are way more flexible and balanced than the original one.

  20. Rise of Ix is a must have expansion for Dune Imperium. My game group has really loved the expanded game play and technologies. We're really enjoying the new cards — lots of great Dune-esque cards.

  21. Ill never play Eldritch Horror with out all the expansions. If those card decks aren't a mile high, I'm steering clear

  22. I will not play the regular USA ticket to ride without the 1910 expansion for the extra tickets and the normal size of train cards.

  23. Thank you, Matthew – I second all your answers. You are also right about expansions, but I am not able to restrain myself 🙂

  24. Games that I play with expansions:
    Dune Imperium
    51st State
    Castles of Burgundy
    Terraforming Mars
    And then there are factions and additional content
    Cthulhu Wars
    Solomon Kane
    Modules we might add
    Taverns of Tiefenthal
    Planet Unknown
    Foundations of Rome
    Heat pedal to the medal

    This is not a complete list… lol

  25. I look for a few things, 1) a variety of games (I really don't need to see 30 versions of Monopoly and Uno, I can get those at Wal-Mart.); 2) Knowledgeable staff (They don't need to know every game but they should be able to identify the basic mechanics and themes); 3) a play area where you can meet and play with other board gamers or have demo games; 4) willingness to order or at least research games that they don't have or never heard of and; 5) a courteous but firm staff (they need to treat everyone with respect while shutting down bullying/poor sportsmanlike behaviors).

  26. Most important thing about boardgame stores: Good selection of games, with lots of rotating new games to keep me coming back. Used game section. Comfort in heating/cooling levels. If it’s too hot, I’m not staying to browse. If you want me to stay and play, the chairs have to be comfortable. Most stores just have horrible folding chairs and tables. You should also have beverages like coffees or alcohol and snacks.

  27. My favorite SDJ winner is Carcassonne, but Ticket to Ride & Alhambra are excellent. Essential expansions… similar theme… TTR 1910–or else you have tiny cards & all the routes memorized. And Carcassonne 1, the giant is essential & double/triple or nothing Inns & Cathedrals add a lot of drama.

  28. Great video! Great questions! Great answers!

  29. I don’t think I’d ever play Lost Ruins of Arnak without the Expedition Leaders expansion. I’m a big fan of asymmetry!!

  30. The Power Up expansion for King of Tokyo is a must have expansion.

  31. I'll always play the Quacks of Quedlinburg with the Herb Witches expansion, and Roll Player with the Monsters & Minions expansion.

  32. Your pronunciation of "Spiel des Jahres" is spot-on, Matthew. 👌I'm not a native speaker, but I've taken German for 4 years, including Advanced German courses at college, and it sounds just right to me.

  33. I love that Matt describing his perfect board game store is basically Goldilocks describing what kind of porridge she likes hahahah

  34. Everdell with the Bellfaire expansion for me.

  35. For the board game cafe, as here in Chester there is a pub which has a board game night… It's nice if people in these places actualy spoke to new people who come in and show an interest, rather than carrying on with there game and just looking at you as if they'd just stepped in you on the pavement. But your ideas are right up there, like 'em. As for expansions… the original Galaxy Trucker with all the expansions is blisteringly mental and so much fun. Yet to play Auztralia and the expansions, on the shelf waiting in another dimension.

  36. Every store should have a consignment shelf. Great way to encourage community and get more foot traffic. I wonder why this isn’t a game store staple.

  37. As an introvert, I feel very awkward when the clerk comes to me 20 times and I usually leave right away.

  38. Spiel is interesting…using it as a global award is not going to represent a lot of places…but for Germany it's great.

  39. For me the game I simply will not play without expansions is Parks. I absolutely adore the Wildlife and Nightfall expansions. They make the game so much more than just the base.

  40. I really don't want to play Great Western Trail without of Rails to the North. It adds some more flavor to a great game. It's more to love and it meshes well with the original.

  41. Two required expansions… Prelude for Terraforming Mars and Valhalla for Champions of Midgard.

  42. The most important feature of a game store to me is the variety of their selection. Followed by friendly and helpful staff.

    The winner of the Spiel des Jahres isn't relevant. The nominees are what's important. I usually see at least one game that interestes me among the nominees, but rarely do they win. So, I've stopped caring about who wins and started paying more attention to who is nominated.

    The games I won't play without expansion(s) are Concordia, Legendary, and Spirit Island; but mostly for variety. The expansions that I need because they enhance the gameplay include Lords of Waterdeep, Raiders of the North Sea, and Village.

  43. Elder Sign with Unseen Forces expansion … 100% always in when I play, no matter what else is included. 👼 😈

  44. Talisman. Always play with the four corner expansion. Ive also mixed in all the characters and spells. Its so good.

  45. For me a necessary expansion is prelude for Terraforming Mars; New Discoveries for Underwater Cities; at least one of the Wiz War expansions; and The Gathering Storm for Race for the Galaxy

  46. Excellent stuff as always Mathew. I find any store that asks you if you need anything ever few minutes to be annoying. I agree, I think the SDJ is relevant for what it is but I've started to move away from it as well as move away from the Dice Tower awards as they don't offer anything I'm looking for or are just to predictable. Everyone will say prelude of Terraforming Mars as an essential expansion but we never play without 1910 for Ticket to Ride and we've also added in and never play without all the expansions for Obsession.

  47. Some expansions I can't live with out? Dune Imperium Rise of Ix and Immortality. Champions of Midgard Dark Mountains and Vahalla. Furnace with Interbellum.

  48. I would say Prelude for Terraforming Mars and Tuscany for Viticulture are the two expansions that are required

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