Ignorance is Bliss is a solid expansion which integrates seamlessly into the original. It is right in my sweet spot of not so overwhelming that it takes over the original, but not so light that it feels valueless. Having played a bunch of times, I would guess I choose to play Euphoria with the expansion about half the time which is my definition of a perfect expansion. Now, I would highly recommend having played the base Euphoria game or having read my original Euphoria review before continuing (it won’t make a ton of sense if you don’t!).
The new factionless recruits are awesome and my favorite aspect of this expansion! I would think twice before passing one up if you have the chance. While you do not glean the normal benefits from the allegiance track as you do for “factioned” recruits, these rogues are very powerful. My favorite so far has been Davaa the Shredder who doesn’t have to pay tunnel costs if you don’t bump a worker. She is even more powerful with fewer players or when playing with those who don’t fancy a good tunnel dig too often. Christine the Anarchist and Kofi the Hermit are pretty awesome, too.
I love the method of accumulating antiques in the new Antiques Bazaar. Instead of crossing your fingers and drawing the top antique from the deck, you can now choose from four face-up cards (only one is free though!). Being able to have a little bit of control working with antiques has made them a much more appealing option for me. The pure randomness of not knowing which antiques you would get in the original lessened my appetite for pursuing them. With the Bazaar, you can choose to sacrifice for that key antique you may need for your Ethical Dilemma or to get that pair of matching antiques for the Artifact Markets.
The new player aid card is fantastic, and I would recommend using it whether you’re playing with the expansion or not! No more reaching over arms and bumping each others morale and knowledge markers…you now track them right in front of you on your own card! No more looking around the table or mixing up piles of resources, commodities, stars, or extra meeples…you have spots for them on your personal card! I admit I still feel a little guilty for a past win when a key resource I needed was lying between my pile and the stock pile. It was about 52% on my side, 48% towards the other…so I used it. =-) No more guilt, no more confusion with this card.
Ignorance is Bliss brings a few more nuances and changes that, while not big, can make a difference and help the game feel more balanced and fair. For example, those whose active starting recruits are not in the majority faction gain two commodities to start the game. The key here is that more players will be working on the tunnels and allegiance track for the faction majority, so the others should get a bit of an advantage early on. There is also a greater focus on recruits due to some deep cleverness with some of their new abilities. And we can’t forget the ginormous commodity tokens representing five of that particular commodity! I wish I got to use them more often…
Tips & Tricks
- As stated above, don’t pass up on the factionless recruits! While you can’t have two, having one as your active recruit the entire game can give you big advantages.
- If you didn’t focus on antiques in the original, I would consider leveraging their benefits more due to the increased exposure and choices you have when accumulating them.
- Don’t pass up reading the titles and looking at the pictures of the new market tiles. You’ll simultaneously scoff and laugh at how awful these places would be in real life.
Scoring & Wrap-up
- Factionless recruits!
- Ability to select antique cards.
- New player mats (to use in the original and with the expansion).
- Awesome new recruits and markets.
- Clever dystopian humor with the new markets.
- Automa for those single-player aficionados.
- I almost put that the factionless recruits may be a bit too powerful, but on second thought, I don’t think they are. As with other recruits, if you line up your strategic approach with your recruits’ abilities, you’ll do just fine. So, no detractors from me!
If you’re a fan of the original Euphoria (which you should be!), you will thoroughly enjoy the Ignorance is Bliss expansion. It integrates very nicely and has some really enjoyable features that enhance the original gameplay without overpowering it.
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.