Board games that I find average, but with great potential, that get an expansion always grab my attention. 3000 Scoundrels is no exception. Our very own Andrew Smith reviewed the base game in August of 2023, and I couldn’t agree more with his overall conclusion: “Generally, I’d say 3000 Scoundrels is a well-produced game with some great ideas. But it doesn’t have enough depth to the gameplay to really make it worth keeping around in my collection…” So, does the new Double or Nothing expansion help it find its footing? Let’s find out.
3000 Scoundrels: Double or Nothing has two big additions to the game: advanced safes, and loans. At its heart, 3000 Scoundrels is a game about the players trying to steal the highest valued safes, as that’s where the majority of your points will come from. The expansion modifies some of these safes with the same type of clear modifier cards that exist to modify the scoundrel cards. These modifiers can be “When Stolen” abilities that can modify your actions in-game, or “End of Game” abilities that grant extra victory points if the conditions on the modifier are met.
The other major addition is the ability to take loans. These loans exist for two reasons. The first is to “Hire Reporter”, which lets players gain 1 debt in order to scout a safe at any site. Again, it is these safes that are your victory points, and it’s quite hard to find the most valuable ones since they are face-down for the entirety of the game. The ability to scout is a main action that you can take on your turn, but by adding this as an additional option, this gives players the flexibility to scale up their operations quickly and still scout, or double scout in one turn.
The other half of the loan action is to get money for taking a debt token. The scoundrels that assist you with improving your actions can be quite expensive, and the base game economy can be slow to recover from if you overspend without a plan. By introducing loans, players can much more easily purchase the scoundrels they want at the cost of victory points.
Finally, the expansion adds new scoundrels, a new area to scout scoundrels from, and some set-up changes to force players to lie about their action selection from the start.
It is incredibly frustrating to me how great this expansion is. Each and every decision that Corey Konieczka and the team at Unexpected Games made toward improving the base game makes so much sense.
I wanna start with the most basic change to the game: the Starting 0 card. At the start of a turn, each player plays a poker card from their hand into a slot in order to do an action. If you play the 3, you get $3. If you don’t have a 3 in your hand, you can play any card in that slot and do that action, but if someone calls you out on it and they’re correct, then they get some victory points. Each player has the same deck of cards, and each player has a 0 card. That card has no assigned action, and to play that card would inherently require lying when it’s placed down.
What the expansion does is simply change the set-up to say each player must start with the 0 card. This encourages players to immediately start second-guessing and attempting to read and card count their opponents, as in the first round each player is guaranteed to lie. This forced focus onto this aspect of the game was desperately needed, as it was underserved in the base game.
I also wanted to clarify the spotlight on loans. Cash in this game is so tight, and it feels almost cruel how tight the cash is in this game, considering it is the limiter from experiencing the titular scoundrels. Giving people flexibility to adjust their strategy to get more scoundrels, more quickly helps the game feel much more vibrant as the game state moves along just so quickly. I’m often the player who enjoys games that make you come to them, but with 3000 Scoundrels being such a chaotic game both in its mechanics and theming, it makes so much more sense to me for players to be able to make these wild swings.
I could go on and on about the implications of these expansion ideas. Mavericks are a type of scoundrel that let you get extra actions if you try to call out a player’s lie, encouraging people to interact with that system even more than starting with the 0 card does. Modifying the safes leads players to make gutsy calls, risking taking a value 3 safe with an ability over a higher valued safe, leading to all sorts of extra layers of bluffing. Adding more Saloon space lets players use more scoundrels, thus making the possibility space much grander. There are no changes that this expansion brought that I dislike. Though, the solo mode simply doesn’t make sense to me, since most of this game is about reading the table and bluffing people, but to each their own on that. I certainly don’t think it’s a poorly put together solo mode.
At the end of the day, this game still isn’t my usual cup of tea. A random, light-medium weight, bluffing game is just not in my wheelhouse. With that said, though, the Double or Nothing expansion refines each and every flaw that I had with the game to the point that now I don’t think I’d turn down a game, and could maybe even consider bringing this to conventions for a loud, goofy time. If you’re a fan of the game, absolutely pick up the expansion. If you’ve never played it, I would not recommend playing it without it.
• Feels like a “Second Edition”
• Solo ruins social interaction
• Gotta bluff and lie