Expansion packs add depth and can extend playtime - perfect for lockdown.

Sometimes when you finish playing a game, you feel satisfied. You did what you set out to do (and you did it well, because you’re a winner, obviously). Other times you’re left wanting more. You want to immerse yourself deeper in the game world, and who can blame you when the real world is the way it is right now? That’s where expansion packs come in giving you even more of the games you love. And, now that we suddenly all have hours to fill, it seems like the perfect time to round up some of the best expansion packs on the market.

  1. Clash of Cultures: Civilisations
Credit: Z-Man Games, Inc.

In Clash of Cultures, it’s a fight to see who can work their way up from settlement to an empire. The Civilisations pack gives you even more ways to do this. With 14 historic civilisations, new buildings, new army units and, of course, pirates (who doesn’t love pirates?), what was already a very replayable game is now even more so.

  1. Root: The Underworld
Credit: Leder Games

Since launching on Kickstarter last March, the expansion for anthropomorphic war game Root has raised a total of $1,726,461 (that’s £1,412,115 for us on the other side of the pond)– almost seventy times its original goal. Now, after months of waiting, it’s finally here (well, almost – it comes to retail next month, but what’s one more?) With two new maps and factions, the covert Corvid Conspiracy and the burrowing Great Duchy, players can return once again to the asymmetric world of Root to battle for control.

  1. March of the Ants: Empires of the Earth
Credit: Weird City Games

Following 2014’s March of the Ants, and 2017’s Minion’s of the Meadow, this year’s Empires of the Earth is the third instalment of the colony building franchise. This expansion builds on what made the original release so popular, offering quick but rewarding gameplay but this time with new mechanics and an additional 18 card types. Now there are even more ways to play and, more importantly, win.

  1. The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire – Cold War
Credit: Minion Games

This expansion to the Golden Geek Board Game of the Year award-nominated Energy Empire is divided into different modules, which you can mix-and-match to customise the game to suit your needs. And, even more excitingly, it adds a solo mode to the game so that you can continue to play in home isolation.

  1. Starcadia Quest: Showdown
Credit: CMON

Starcadia Quest: Showdown adds a whole new gameplay mode to not only Starcadia Quest but the original Arcadia Quest game too. You can now battle it out in player versus player matches using 84 cards and over 70 upgrades and tokens. The battles take place on a doubled sided game board, with one side made for 2 players and the other for 3 or 4. Which crew will be victorious?

  1. Settlers of Catan: Cities & Knights
Credit: Catan GmbH

No round-up of the best expansion packs, or games in general, would be complete without mentioning Settlers of Catan. They offer four main base game expansions: Seafarers, Cities & Knights, Traders & Barbarians and Explorers & Pirates. Some of these even have their variants and scenarios. Seafarers is arguably the most accessible pack. It’s relatively easy to get the hang of as it doesn’t stray too far from the core game, and so is the best for people who are still pretty new to the world of Catan. More experienced players, however,  would do better to get the Cities & Knights pack for the added strategy and depth. It’s slightly more complicated, but even more rewarding.

Speaking of Catan, did you know it’s their 25th Anniversary this year? To celebrate, Dice Tower Magazine takes a look at this giant of the industry and explains just why it’s still gripping fans 25 years later.

Read our feature on Catan, as well as much more board game content in the first issue of Dice Tower here.