Cody & Shawn look at the For the Crown Expansions

Shawn: Cody, I've got to tell you....

Cody: Shawn? Why are you covered in pudding?

Shawn: That's... a completely unrelated story. I have to tell you something else.

Cody: Okay. What is it?

Shawn: I can't get For the Crown 2nd Edition from Victory Point Games out of my head. It's just a great game!

Cody: I know. That's what I said in episode seven.

Shawn: It's like chess- but better, more intense.

Cody: I know... did you see our video? You sang a song in it.

Shawn: There's just one problem with For the Crown, as far as I'm concerned.

Cody: Oh, what's that?

Shawn: I wish there was more of it! This is a great game and Victory Point Games has really dropped the ball by not making any expansions.

Cody: Shawn! Shawn! You couldn't be more wrong. Victory Point Games has released two expansions for For the Crown, and a four player variant.

Shawn: Whaaa?

Cody: I can't believe you didn't know this!

Shawn: Wait a second. I am talking to Cody, right? You're not Evil Cody in disguise, trying to toy with my fragile, perfume scented emotions?

Cody: Not at all. Victory Point Games has released For the Crown: Shock & Awe, which adds new and powerful units to the board and their corresponding cards. There's For the Crown: The World is Round, which boasts pieces that can actually move from one edge of the board to the other. And then, there is the aforementioned variant, All the King's Men.

Shawn: Wow! Tell me about some of the new pieces, Cody.

Cody: Shock & Awe introduces some of my favorite pieces in the game. You can use the Ephemera card to train the Ghost, a unit that can move to any empty space on the board, but which cannot attack.

Shawn: Cannot attack? What's the use of that?

Cody: It cannot attack, but it can block your enemies line of sight and ability to attack your units- since it can move anywhere on the board, you can really screw with your opponent's intentions.

Shawn: Hey, that is cool. What else?

Cody: The Portents card can train the Lightning, a unit that can move two spaces forward or back, and two spaces left or right from there. It acts kind of like a knight does in regular chess. Then there's the Caravan, a unit that actually gives you gold when you deploy it, the Golem, a unit that zigzags about the board every other space until it hits something, the Amazon, a powerful unit that combines the movements of the Bishop, the Knight, and the Rook.

Shawn: That sounds amazing!

Cody: My favorite card, however, is the Doppelganger card. First of all, it can train the Changeling, a unit that can emulate any piece it's touching, making it very versatile and potentially very powerful. If the chess board were the ocean, I like to think of the Changeling as my U-boat, moving in stealthily for the kill.

Shawn: That is a really bad analogy, Cody.

Cody: Whatever, the Doppelganger card...

Shawn: I mean seriously, U-boats don't become aircraft carriers just because they pull up alongside an aircraft carrier. “Oh hey everybody, the U-boat's out there somewhere- I guess Jerry's gonna bomb New York!”

Cody: Can I continue?

Shawn: Sure, but no more stupid analogies. Stick to the facts.

Cody: The Doppleganger card also has a special treasure ability. Instead of giving you gold, it allows you to take a second card from the supply. What that means is that you will want to hang onto the Doppelganger cards for the deck building part of the game, then start building up Changelings as you transition to the strategic game on the board.

Shawn: Far out!

Cody: Shock & Awe also introduces the Surge order, a powerful card that lets you capture all of the units threatened by one of your units at the cost of putting your offensive unit back into your barracks.

Shawn: Shock & Awe sounds amazing! Tell me about The World is Round.

Cody: New units in The World is Round include the Raider, which zigzags forward or back every space, the Magister, who boasts a T formation of movement in any direction, the Nomad, which moves three spaces in any direction, and the Visionary, which moves just like a Bishop.

Shawn: Just like a Bishop? Don't they already have a name for a piece that does that? Oh, yeah, it's called a Bishop!

Cody: That's just it Shawn, all of these new pieces have something really special. For The World is Round introduces cylindrical movement.

Shawn: Cylindrical Movement? Wasn't that a progressive rock band in the early 80's?

Cody: No, cylindrical movement means that these pieces can move from one edge of the board and continue on from the other, as though the whole board was folded over on itself. It allows for dynamic new surprises.

Shawn: Dynamic New Surprises, I'm pretty sure that was Cylindrical Movement's first #1 hit in the U.K.

Cody: The World is Round also boasts new card abilities, such as the Land Lore treasure, which allows you to count up your foot soldiers in every rank, compare them with your opponent's, and gain gold. The Vantage action gives you three gold instantly, but you must move one of your pieces backward. The Far Sight action allows you to guess a card in your enemy's hand. He must then discard any of those cards from his hand. And there are many, many more new abilities.

Shawn: Okay, so what's this deal with All the King's Men? Four players? Seriously?

Cody: It's great. Two players form a team on one side of the board while two others form a team on the other. Each player has their own draw deck. There are two supplies, one for each side of the board, and players can only purchase cards from their side of supply. Each side still has the four core cards, of course.

Shawn: Of course.

Cody: Play goes back and forth in an hourglass pattern, so that each turn a different team is allowed to go. One thing that is really cool is that each player on a team controls his own units (you can rotate your units to keep track of player control), but Kings and other sovereign units, the most important units in the game, are under shared control.

Shawn: You are blowing my mind!

Cody: There is also an extended play scenario, in which players can choose to draw out the game by manipulating the supply and start decks with special cards and a little light math.

Shawn: Cody, this all sounds so cool. But you've played all of these expansions, what are your thoughts?

Cody: Obviously, some of the cards and units are better than others, but both Shock & Awe and The World is Round bring amazing new abilities and aspects to the game. The key word here is variety, if you like the variety of the base game, you'll love what these expansions bring to the game. For the Crown is a simple game with deep and complex strategies. Shock & Awe and The World is Round take the best things about For the Crown and run with them. The best part, of course, is that such variety allows you to customize the game every time you and a friend sit down. It is said that no two games of chess ever play out the same way. If that is true it is true x 1,000,000 for For the Crown and its expansions.

Shawn: I know! How could more of For the Crown be a bad thing! But what about the four player variant? What do you think about that.

Cody: I like it. It adds an engaging new element to the game, and getting more people involved is always fun. I really like how the sovereign units are controlled by both players, meaning that they have to negotiate and strategize with each other. Ultimately, All the King's Men adds a new human element to the game that I really enjoy.

Shawn: So do you prefer the four player game to the two player game?

Cody: No. At its heart I think of For the Crown as chess on steroids, and I really like the one on one competition that if offers. Still, the four player game is a fun way to play occasionally, and a great way to get new players into it on game night.

Shawn: Though I'm still upset about the whole U-boat analogy, I have to tell you that you brightened my day with your glad tidings of For the Crown expansions. Am I right in assuming that your recommendation for all three is buy it?

Cody: You would be correct. My recommendation for For the Crown: Shock & Awe, The World is Round, and All the Kings Men is: Buy it! Buy it! Buy it! But if money's tight and you need to know which one to get first, I'd say get Shock & Awe. It offers the most bang for your buck. Though when payday comes around, if you love For the Crown, you'll want to pick up the others.

Shawn: Cody, for your services today, I dub you Sir Cody the Cool.

Cody: Okay. What is your For the Crown name?

Shawn: Sir Shawn... the... Screw it! Let's go play the game!