Top 10 Cooperative Board and Card Game Expansions of 2021!

What’s better than playing a game you like? Adding an expansion to make it better! This is a list of our Top 10 Cooperative Expansions for 2021. So, is a list of expansions you buy for a game you already have. Interestingly, this year these expansions seem to come in three varieties:

  1. Stand-Alone Expansion: Some games you thought might be on the Top 10 Cooperative Board and Card Games of 2021 might have just ended up on this list because they are stand-alone games that can be played without a base game, but at the end of the day they also expand a base game!
  2. Makes The Game Cooperative: Some expansions take a competitive base game and make the game cooperative with the expansion! We saw a number of these type of expansions on the Top 10 Games That Can Be Played Fully Cooperatively!
  3. More Content: Some expansions just add more content (more cards, etc.) to the base cooperative game!

As we go through our list of games, we’ll notate each entry with the expansion type!

Honorable Mention. The Shadow Creatures: Lost Ruins of Arnak Cooperative Expansion

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Expansion Type? Makes The Game Cooperative

We discussed Lost Ruins of Arnak here, discussing how the Disparity of Experience problem ruined this game (no pun intended) for some of my friends.  We posited that cooperative mode could alleviate that problem.  Putting our money where our mouth was, we presented a free print-and-play cooperative mode for Lost Ruins of Arnak here (as well as uploading it to Board Game Geek here).

10. Detective: City of Angels.  Cloak and Dagger

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Expansion Type? More Content

Detective: City of Angels was our favorite cooperative detective game (see our Top 10 Cooperative Detective Games) and our favorite cooperative game of 2019 (see our Top 10 Cooperative Boards and Cards Games of 2019).  The only real problem with Detective: City of Angels is that cases are one-and-done, so you constantly need new content to keep the game alive!  The Cloak and Daggered expansion simply adds another case for the detectives!  

9. Agropolis/Combopolis

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Expansion Type? Stand-Alone Expansion

We reviewed Agropolis here, realizing it adds just a touch more to the original Sprawlopolis game.  It’s essentially Sprawlopolis with cows and chickens.  Agropolis is essentially the same game, and it could be swapped out easily for Sprawlopolis from our Top 10 Small Cooperative Games.  But, Agropolis also came with Combopolis expansion, which allows the player to combine both Sprawlopolis and Agropolis into one game!!  I think I had more fun playing Combopolis than the original two!

8. Gascony’s Legacy: Man in the Iron Mask, Count of Monte Cristo, Terrain Pack

Expansion Type?  More Content (and stuff!)

We absolutely adored Gascony’s LegacySee our review here!  This swashbuckling game made the top spot in our Top 10 Cooperative Swashbuckling Games and our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021! This is a bit of a cheat in many ways!  First of all, the 3D Terrain expansion is not game content per se, it is more just cosmetic stuff for the game, but it does look really cool!  Also, we are grouping both The Man In The Iron Mask expansion and The Count of Monte Cristo expansion in here as well!  This game has really flown under the radar, but I think it’s a fun cooperative romp in the swashbuckling universe! These expansions just give you more content!

7. Chronicles of Crime: 2400

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Expansion Type? Stand-Alone Expansion

The Chronicles of Crime system is an app-based framework for delivering all sorts of different type of detective games: players use their phone to scan cards in the game: the cards have people, locations, objects, and “specials”.  This scanning is how you move a story forward.  We loved the original Chronicles of Crime when it first came out, and it made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2018, and it has since made our Top 10 Cooperative Detective Games and our Top 10 Cooperative Board Games With Apps2400 presents a new take, where you are an investigator in the year 2400 in a dystopian future with a Raven as a sidekick.  One of the more interesting new features of this incarnation is that you can explore cyberspace!  Locations in the game represent you logging in and “hunting the web” for info.  This stand-alone expansion was a fascinating new take on the Chronicles of Crime series!

6. Endangered: New Species

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Expansion Type?  More Content

We reviewed Endangered here and liked it, but had a little trouble with the randomness.  Having said that, the game still seems to come out on our table a lot!  It’s a beautiful game with lots of really interesting ideas as a cooperative dice placement game.   This is the truest kind of expansion: giving more content and taking a game you like and extending it.  The games is gorgeous, and adds some very new animals for the players to save: 7 new animals and 6 new scenarios, including saving the Sea Turtle, Polar Bear, and California Condors to name a few!  

5. Wildlands: The Ancients

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Expansion Type? Makes The Game Cooperative

This expansion take a very competitive game and adds quite a lot: two solo modes, a fifth-player mode, a team vs. team mode, a new map, and most importantly, a cooperative expansion!  The cooperative mode (called The Awoken) pits one or two players cooperatively against the Ancients.  The minis for the Ancients are really nice, and the cooperative mode is very different.  It basically adds an AI of sorts to the Ancient (and his minions): they attack the players as you are looking for 5 crystal shards.  It’s weirdly only a 1 or 2-player cooperative mode, and it can have some randomness, but we had fun taking this competitive “beat each other up” game and turning it into “beating up the bad guy” game!

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4. Marvel Champions: The Mad Titan’s Shadow

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Expansion Type?  More Content

The Mad Titan’s Shadow is very similar to the The Rise of Red Skull expansion for Marvel Champions in many ways (which we reviewed here and that expansion did make our Top 10 Cooperative Expansions for 2020).  This expansion adds 5 new Villains to fight, 2 new Heroes, and “nominally” a little set of adventures.  If you were missing an epic campaign from Marvel Champions, this won’t change your mind.  But, like The Rise of Red Skull, it does give you a framework to try out out all the content (with some minor upgrades/changes after each episode).  My favorite part was playing the new Hero Warlock (who was MUCH more important in the Infinity Gauntlet comic book)!

3. Valeria Card Kingdoms: Darksworn

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Expansion Type? Makes The Game Cooperative

We spent a lot of time getting through all the solo and competitive modes of  Valeria: Card Kingdoms to get to the cooperative expansion Darksworn: see our full review of Valeria: Card Kingdoms and Darksworn here.  In the end, even though it was a bit fiddly for solo play, we had a nice time in cooperative mode with this little adventure!  The fact that the cooperative mode was just an extension of the solo play from Valeria: Card Kingdoms made it easy to jump into.

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2. Set A Watch: Swords of the Coin

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Expansion Type? Stand-Alone Expansion

We absolutely adored Set A Watch when the original game came out: check out our review here!  It was so good it made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2019 and our Top 10 Cooperative Dice Games!  It was a game that seemed work in both gamer and non-gamer groups pretty well.  

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This stand-alone expansion can be played without the base game, but it also adds ways to play the two games together.  Honestly, one of the best things this expansion adds is the sheer number of different characters you can play!  The expansion allows you so many choices for new characters ! And new monsters!

Overall, the new characters, the new monsters, and the new coin/”buy stuff” makes this a definite must-buy if you liked the original.  Honestly, if you can only buy one, I might recommend the original Set A Watch for newer gamers and the expansion Set A Watch: Swords of The Coin for more gamery gamers.  

1. Marvel United: X-Men

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Expansion Type? Stand-Alone Expansion

X-Men: Marvel United is an expansion to the Marvel United base game that came out this year. We reviewed Marvel United in Part I and Part II and X-Men: Marvel United here and adored these games! This expansion adds 10 X-Men Heroes and Villains (some both!) to the Marvel United universe and allows the two games to intermix.

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One of the cooler new features is that some Villains can also be played as Heroes! Blue figures are heroes, and red figures are villains … so characters that are both are purple! See above! Do you love Magneto when he’s a hero running the X-Men? Play Magneto as a hero! Do you love Magneto when challenges Charles Xavier? Play Magneto as a Villain! The game also expands the game to a one-vs-many option where one player can play the Villain!

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X-Men: Marvel United would have easily made the Top 10 Cooperative Board and Card Games of 2021 list, but since it’s strictly an expansion (albeit completely standalone), it tops this expansion list! We really loved being able to play the X-Men and Avengers characters in one game!

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