How to Build a Game #12 Expansions

In the last post we talked about the cuts that you should be making from your designs and at the end of the post, I suggested that the cuts you make are the seeds for future expansions.

You should always be thinking about expansions. I say that not for the sake of releasing those expansions. You should be thinking about expansions all the time because this allows you to think about the larger universe in which you game resides. When you are in the building and framing process, you might come across an addition to the game that requires a lot of pieces or a robust mechanic. I find that it is easier to say, “that would be a good expansion” rather than saying “that is too much for the game” and scrapping the idea all together. If you build the game and expansions simultaneous to the universe of the game, the expansion will develop along with the rest of the base game. If you take the approach of scrapping the idea to begin with but you write it down for later consideration, the expansion will miss out on parallel development.

Another possibility of developing the expansion along side the base game is that you may find the expansion mechanic(s) would be a better base game that your original starting point. You might find that you are able to flesh out and make the expansion more interesting and this is an important lesson you can take from expansions. Never be afraid to fully explore your design because you always know you have to option for an expansion. The expansion never needs to become a real published part of the base game, but expansions will make the base game better if you allow yourself to think about the larger “universe” in which your game belongs.

Overall, this will lead to a richer experience for the game player and that is never a bad thing.

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at

If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

One thought on “How to Build a Game #12 Expansions

  1. Pingback: News Bits: October 13, 2014 | iSlaytheDragon

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