Expanding the World of Belfort

Belfort Expansion Expansion

Belfort is a Euro-style worker placement game from Tasty Minstrel Games with a good dose of humor. You’re all competing to build the city of Belfort, but for whatever reason there are several architects, and only one Key to the City. It made our list of Best Board Games of 2012, and now Belfort is expanding!

The Expansion Expansion is now seeking funding on Kickstarter, but the world of Belfort is also expanding in another direction: a comic book! First, a brief word about the comic, and then I’ll tell you about the game.

BelfortCover Jay Cormier, a co-designer of Belfort, wanted to create a comic book set in the world of Belfort, so he wrote one with Tim Reinert and then got Rob Lundy to illustrate it. (Lundy later became the art director for Tasty Minstrel’s Dungeon Roll.) It’s a short comic, just 10 pages long, but it’s pretty funny even if you haven’t played Belfort.

In case you’re not familiar with the game, though, here’s what you need to know: in the game, you send workers—elves and dwarves—out to collect resources, which you then use to construct various buildings within the city. Dwarves are better at collecting stone and elves are better at collecting wood, but you could send an elf to get stone if you really needed to.

Belfort comic excerpt

The comic is told from the point of view of a young elf who’s been sent (with a dwarf) to get some iron ore from the mine. He’s writing a letter to his mom, sort of glossing over the truth and painting a rosy picture despite what’s actually going on. Click here to read the entire comic.

(The team behind the comic has other things planned as well. They’ve already got a short time-travel comic called Seconds posted, and they’re planning to tackle other genres as well.)

Belfort assistants
Some of the King’s assistants from The Expansion Expansion

So, on to the game!

The King has decided that the city of Belfort isn’t beautiful enough: inns should have swimming pools, gardens should have pavilions, and libraries should have archives. But of course you can’t do all this extra construction in the time allotted, so the King has given you his assistants.

Basically what this adds to the game (which already involves both worker placement and area control) is role selection. Each of the assistants has a special ability: Gargoyles let you take extra blueprint cards; Giants are great for collecting resources; Halflings let you cheat on your taxes. Or, instead of using the ability, you can get an Expansion permit, allowing you to build those beautification projects the King so desperately wants.

Belfort Expansion Permit card
The expansion permit card has a nice interface design.

I really like the design of the expansion cards, too. As explained on the Kickstarter page, you tuck the card under your existing building card—it shows the workers required and resources required to build that expansion (and the associated reward). Once you’ve built it, you slide the card over, revealing the picture and the reward, and covering up the costs.

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The Expansion Expansion also includes five new guilds for use in the game, some of which are specifically for use with the assistants and expansions.

I haven’t gotten to actually play the expansion yet, but it looks like a lot of fun. I think the designers did a great job with the original game, and this looks like it adds some interesting gameplay while retaining the humor of the original.

You can pick up the expansion for $20 (in the US; higher for international shipping). If you don’t own Belfort already, you can also get both the base game and the expansion for $65 (plus international shipping). Visit the Kickstarter page for more details, including how the original game works!

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit.