This review is for an expansion for Last Will. If you haven’t already, you can read the review for the base game here.
Of the games I reviewed in 2013, one of the more interesting ones was Last Will. The reason I found it so interesting to play was the goal of the game. Players are trying to spend all of their money before the other players to win the rest of your deceased uncle’s inheritance. Recently, an expansion was released for this game, Last Will: Getting Sacked. The expansion added more cards, employment, and a new planning board. With these new bits, is the expansion worth your investment? Read on.
The expansion contains several new parts that are all designed to work together with the base game. There are quite a few new things in this expansion and I want to explain them in different sections rather than throw everything at you at once.
This is by far the altering element of the expansion. Working long hours, the lawyers have found a new clause in your uncle’s will. This subsection states that you must also be unemployed to win the competition with your fellow cousins. At the start of the game, you will draw an occupation ranging from doctor to banker to even a governess. These cards will have either four or five lines with a certain symbol and the amount of income you will earn at the start of each round, which remember, is bad. Unfortunately, you will have to work at being fired because your employer is inclined to be charitable because of your recent loss. To lose your job, you must spend your money so wildly that it makes your boss mad enough that he will give you a demotion and eventually fire you.
Each round you can earn one demotion in two ways. You can either play a card that matches one of the symbols on your employment card or place one of your errand boys to a demotion spot on the planning board. Once you earn a demotion, you place a token over the corresponding line on the card, or you choose which one if you used your errand boy to earn the demotion. Once you place this token you no longer earn the income on that line. Once you have covered all of the lines on your card, your once kind boss will throw up his hands in disgust and fire you. Players can only declare bankruptcy to win the game once they no longer own any properties and have been fired from their job.
Included in the expansion is a brand new planning board. The board is the same size and shape as the original board, but has a large rectangular hole where the plans normally go. Instead of the plans for the game being set in stone, players will choose eight double-sided plan tiles that come with the game to fill in the open space. Each tile has a specific slot on the planning board where it goes and the number of players needed to use the tile. This will change the plans in almost every game you play. In addition, there is one additional errand boy figure for each player because one of the plans allows you to play three of them. The last thing to mention with planning options is a new card offering board that has a spot for a special cards deck and a demotion spot when you play five players. Speaking of new cards…
The last addition to the game is 50 new cards. There are six additional properties and one new helper card. Some new types of event cards are introduced as well. These allow you to spend money on a fancy wedding that will be annulled as quickly as possible. Finally, a new set of last will cards that not only have your starting cash, but also the set of employment cards to use.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
As I said above, the new employment cards are by far the most game changing element. What they add to the game is a lot more focus to your actions each round. In the base game, you don’t care much about the symbols that are on the cards unless they allow you to spend more money based on the helper cards you have played. Once you have specific properties, events, helpers, or companion symbols on your employment card, it forces you to change your strategy from spending the most money on your turn, to how to get rid of this income burden. I love this aspect of the expansion. It puts another layer on the decision making that you must do each turn. You must decide if you take that big money event, or should you eliminate that extra income that will earn each round?
I found myself thinking a few rounds ahead, deciding to keep cards because they can eliminate income in the future. Before, I would not have cared to keep a low spending activity, but now I need them to stop my inflow of cash. The income does not seem like much of an issue the first time you read about it because it is not much of an increase to your net worth per round. However, because you can only eliminate one line of income per round, you will earn at least fifteen extra income during the game. Spending that extra money can take another round in the game. This new element forces games to go to the last round in each game I played. In the base game, we found that you could get down to bankruptcy by the fifth or sixth round quick easily. That isn’t the case anymore. There is plenty of variety in the employment cards. There are ten different occupations that you can start the game with and each one has different requirements to get sacked. They did a nice job of making each type of employment feel different than the others.
The other major game play change brought on in this expansion is the new planning board. In the base game, you are stuck with the same set of plans for every game that you play. Once you play a few games, you are used to them. This expansion adds a nice layer of variety to each game. With the two sets of planning tiles, 128 combinations can appear on the board. This gives each game a different feel from the previous one. This forces you to examine the planning tiles at the start of each round a lot more closely to see which one makes the most sense that turn. Unfortunately, this is where my one complaint with the components shows up.
In order to ship the game in a smaller box, the new planning board is folded in half. In Last Will, the game board is one solid piece of cardboard. Because of the crease in the board, one side does not lay perfectly flat in my game. This makes it difficult when you have to place the planning tiles in the open rectangle on the board. They often get shifted and move under the board or get covered up after someone places an errand boy. I wish they would have made the planning board connect together with puzzle like connections, rather than a folded board with a crease. This does not decrease my enjoyment of the game, it’s just annoying. Besides that flaw, the component quality in this expansion is top notch. The components look like they could be from the base game. The thickness of the planning boards, card quality, and artwork looks fantastic. I particularly like the artwork on the new employment cards. They take a humorous spin on each type of employment, emphasizing the fact that your character is trying to get out of this job. The game also comes with another top hat token for the errand boy figure for each player. Do not know why, but I love how that token looks. In addition, everything in this expansion easily fits into the original game box. This is a big thing for me when I look to buy an expansion.
Every aspect of this expansion merges seamlessly with the base game. I could introduce all of these new elements to a person who has never played the game and they would not seem like obvious additions. Even though the new planning board and employment card at a new layer of strategy to the game, they are not overwhelming. I do not plan to take any of these elements out when I introduce this game to the uninitiated.
The main thing Last Will: Getting Sacked adds to the base game is variety. Each game is different because the planning tiles and occupations change every game. This deals with one of my minor complaints about Last Will and improves it beyond what I thought it could. Besides a small component complaint, I have no issues with anything else in this expansion. If you are a fan of Last Will, you will enjoy what Last Will: Getting Sacked brings to the table.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $30
• Planning board design isn’t optimal