Superclub Expansions are going to change your game, for the better. I know, you read my review of Superclub and realised this is the best board game ever made so how could it get any better?
I know I was very concerned about changing the flow and balance of the game. It’s a genuine worry when a game is good because, in my opinion, we had a balanced game that was usually quite tight when it came to the finish.
I was worried about adding player cards and expansion that would change that finely honed experience.
Thankfully, my Superclub Expansion worries turned out to be unfounded and in reality, the game is improved by the addition of expansions and in some cases, I cannot imagine playing without these expansions now.
So before I go on I want you to know that Superclub sent me the Top Six and Powerhouses expansions specifically to review, however, they also included a managers kit. Everything else was purchased from my own pocket and I will let you know now, I intend to purchase everything.
Let’s start with potentially the least necessary expansions:
Club Player Packs
Player packs are not essential but that is like saying I don’t need radar-guided cruise control, of course, I don’t need it, but life is better with it because it’s so nice to have right?
To date, I have purchased Arsenal, PSG and Man City packs. The worry I had was that these packs would be hard to integrate but that is far from the truth.
The majority of the cards have the same back as the standard cards meaning you can install them into your game with no issues. The developed players have the club’s backs and make them easy to spot.
Initially, we kept the cards separated but the table was starting to overflow with decks so we integrated the cards fully. It’s still easy to find developed players but there are a lot more cards to go through.
Each pack has a good mix of players but by adding these player packs you are adding far more 5 and 6-star players than in the original Superclub so we decided to house rule a 4-star max draft which means no 5 or 6-star players can be taken during the draft and if any come up they are shuffled back into the deck.
We found that playing with lots of high-ranked players upset the financial balance at the start of the game and this rule helped a lot.
There is a “special” card in each pack too which makes getting that player who you can develop into a 6 gold star player all the more exciting when you are scouting.
Player packs may not be essential additions but they add a unique flavour to the game and make every scouting trip an exciting treasure hunt, now we have another season looming we have been discussing using only real players from the packs so I will let you know how that goes.
Manager Kits are an interesting expansion. On the one hand, you are only getting a few dice, a new folder, some cards and tokens but they also add another element of realism to the game.
Firstly the branding, I will use the Arsenal Manager kit as an example as it’s the one I purchased. My son was very kindly sent the Manchester City Manager Kit by Superclub. The main problem with that is that they are the wrong team and my son only supports them to spite me.
I am from Bristol, I support Bristol City. He should support Bristol City. Am I wrong in this? Maybe but this isn’t therapy this is a review so if I supported a Premiership side it would be Arsenal, why? I have no idea, I followed them through a championship once and I like Ian Wright.
Sufficed to say there is not a Bristol City manager kit so that is why we are talking about the Arsenal Manager Kit.
The kit adds something to the game that is hard to put my finger on, I think we are conditioned by advertising, branding and the modern world to value names. To put an intangible value on names like Emirates or Etihad Stadium because they are real places, we have been to them, we know them and it gives Superclub an authenticity that Red Valley Rovers will never capture.
I have in my collection Man City, PSG, Arsenal, Chelsea and AC Milan Managers kits and I can say from experience that even a Man United fan would rather play with a Man City Manager Kit than Red City Rovers.
To be honest, I am not sure a “Real Fan” would but if you support Man United because you are a glory hunter, then, well, you know what I am saying Ian.
The Wild Cards Expansion is potentially the most impactful in terms of gameplay. I say potentially because the next two definitely do change the game but on its own Wild Cards Expansion will not only add to the fun of the base game but also will force you to change your decisions during the game.
Essentially the Wild Cards adds more players but some of these players are Veterans. A veteran is the exact opposite of a developing player.
They are differentiated by their Black stars. At the end of every season and after an injury, you have to “Train” a veteran. All veterans go through training at the end of a season but they can never gain stars, you are training them to keep stars.
It works like this, during the training section of the off-season you roll a die for a veteran. I will use Bibi as an example because I have an image of him from the Superclub site. He has 5 stars, three white and two dark.
To keep him playing as a 4-star player you need to roll at least a 4, if you roll a 5 or 6 he remains a 4-star. If however, you roll, 3,2 or 1 he loses a star. He becomes a 3-star player. In one season Bibi could go from 4 stars to 2 stars if he was unlucky enough to get injured and then also lose stars during the off-season.
This is huge, it means taking a 5-star veteran is great but it’s also a gamble because you are always thinking about when to cut your losses and get that player traded out.
It also means that your squad’s starting position can shift dramatically from one season to the next if you have a lot of veterans and are unlucky with all of them. During one game I lost 4 stars at the end of one season on veterans and didn’t manage to develop any players. I told you dice hate me.
There are new roles too, the first is Utility players. These purple-faced cards are a very good pick, you can play them in any position without penalty and they can help to open up your choices without giving too much away in your picks.
There are two new classes of midfielder, an attacking midfielder (lime green) who can be played in Midfield or Attack with no penalty, if you play him in defence you lose a whole star and the Defensive midfielder (orange) who can play Midfield or Defence without penalty but again, if you put him in attack you lose a whole star.
On top of the new positions, we have three traits. Enforcers, Tacticians and Comeback specialists. The Enforcers protect players on either side of themselves from injury. This is huge considering what an injury could mean to the veteran players and it makes the grey matter tick while you decide what you need for your squad and where to place players and vets.
The Tactician’s trait triggers if you win midfield. A tactician in attack adds a +1 to your dice roll for the attack or defence depending on where you have played them. Win midfield and lose the attack but you have a tactician in defence you gain +1. It can make the difference between a win or a loss.
The Comeback Specialist works in the same way as the Tactician trait but triggers only if you lose midfield.
The Wild Cards Expansion is a real game-changer in every sense of the word. This is without a shadow of a doubt an essential addition to an already incredible game and I wouldn’t want to play Superclub without this expansion again.
What can I say about Powerhouses Expansion? This is a 6-player expansion when there are only two players. This is adding an AI to the game that can play for other players and whilst it can complicate the game and slow it down a little it is a trade-off I am happy to make.
The way it works is by adding 4 new teams, Black Lake, Brown County, White Peak, and Orange Beach whose difficulties are ranked Very High, High, Medium and Low respectively.
The function of these teams is to replace the Sim matches by making things a little less random. It does mean that you will have 5 games per season, which in turn means, like playing with 6 players, you will naturally face more injuries and come up against, as well as gain, more game changers.
The Powerhouses Expansion comes with a new board, you place this at the bottom of the main board and keep the powerhouse players separate from the other players. Shuffle the powerhouse staff into your staff deck, then place the season cards on the board, they are the green cards with trophies on them. Then you add Powerhouses teams, if there are two players you add all four, 3 real players you add three and so on so that you always have a full 6 player count to match. There are also powerhouse-developed players that you should keep as a separate deck.
So, there are two modes of play and I have tried to explain them several times however, I have failed, I have to admit that my explanations were so confusing that I have decided to take the rules from the Superclub website. The site is linked in this review but here are the rules if you need them to get a mental picture of the Powerhouses expansion.
*edit Thank you to Superclub for picking up a rule error that was previously stated on this page. You also have to separate your Powerhouses cards from your main deck as I now do, I am sorry, I read lots of rules every week and I am bound to make errors.
I will be better I promise but it was hard to explain that in a way that made sense or even simplified things.
It’s a lot less complex in practice but it’s like trying to explain how to speak Chinese, it’s easy when you know how.
Powerhouses expansion is without a doubt one of the most essential additions to the game. I couldn’t play again with the randomness of the sim games. Whilst there is still an element of luck in gaming, adding the Powerhouses with Wildcards expansions means Superclub is one of the best games you can own right now.
Top Six Expansion
I’ve left this till last, not because it’s the best or even the most essential addition but because without it, you are limiting a game that is almost perfect with 6 players.
In the expansion you will get 2 new teams to manage, Pink River City and Green Hill Rangers. Not only that but you will also get more players and if this is the only expansion you buy, then you will get your first utility players.
These purple cards are included in the Wildcard expansion too and they are the Utility players that you can play in any position. They are extremely useful and add another dimension to your strategies.
But the best thing about the Top Six expansion is that you can now play a 6 player game.
Believe me, when I tell you that a 2-player game is great, it’s the game I have played the most because my son and I are addicted to playing Superclub, however, after a time we started to enjoy the 4-player games because there was a lot more strategizing. When you add 6 human players in the mix the game becomes a phenomenally fun experience.
I don’t say that lightly. A 6 player game of Superclub has delivered the best experience I have ever had in board gaming.
No one moment stands out but I could feel my skin tingle whilst we played and there was a distinct “start of the World Cup” feeling in the air when we began the game.
My Nephew, Dad, Father in Law and Brother in Law have a mixed interest in football and have played a fair few games, I am a far more experienced gamer so I thought I would have the edge over them but my main competition was my son.
He is 11 so I had hoped that managing so many other players, watching what they were doing and tracking their picks would be too much for him and would let me get the edge in team selections for the games.
Not only did he track everything and everyone exceptionally well but my son also told me I should focus on building an attack because at the moment I could field a max of 12 stars so couldn’t beat my Dads defence, that was irritating, to say the least. It meant he also knew the chemistry I had available.
I was pretty much defeated by that statement but I was also proud he got into my head and everyone else’s by demonstrating how much he could cope with.
The end of the game came when, after about 3 hours of laughing, joking and fun my son beat the Superclub and we handed him the little trophy that is included in the expansion.
He spent a moment or two Lording it over us, he was not raised to be a gracious winner, at which point we all got up from the table, grabbed drinks, and checked in with the women who were all still chatting about something to do with houses and we set ourselves back down for another game. We played all day.
The expansions available for Superclub are not essential until you have used them. I cannot imagine a game now without using Wildcards. It will feel like a part of the game is missing.
The Manager kits are the least necessary expansion however, they imbue the game with an intangible quality that is just “better” than without.
A 2 player game without Powerhouses now feels too fast and too reliant on luck, adding player packs gives you recognisable players to focus on. For me it’s easier to track other managers’ strategies when I know who the players are in real life, the same is true for my opponents but I just don’t want to play Superclub without these additions anymore.
I will eventually have 6 manager kits that will replace all the originals, that said, it does mean that a 12-player game could be possible!
We have a huge family gathering at Christmas. We are away for a week with my family, my wife’s family and her brother’s wife’s family. There are a lot of us together for a week and I have been given the task of making sure we have some good games.
Naturally, I will be taking Blood on the Clocktower, the whole One Night collection, Codenames and more games that everyone can play together, but, I have been forced to swear a blood oath that I will bring Superclub and all the Expansions. Superclub officially supports 6 players but my son has a way for us to play with more.
There will be 10 of us who want to play in total and we think it will work, we have enough player cards, and by the time we go, I will also have Chelsea and AC Milan manager kits as well as more team packs so I will report back.
I think Superclub was one of the best games I own. I felt that it couldn’t get any better and I have to admit that before I integrated the expansions I was worried that it might spoil such a great game.
Thankfully nothing could be further from the truth as the expansions add more than just the sum of their parts to Superclub.
* I want to report back that we indeed managed a 10-player game recently and it just did not work as well as we thought it would. The game became an extended match of shouting and arguing over trades and it’s the first game of Superclub I did not enjoy. We had worked a way out of scoring games and using captain boosts but in practice, the entire game failed. There may be a way to increase to 10 players successfully but we have not cracked it, yet!
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