Ever since Portal Games released the 51st State Master Set back in 2016, new life was breathed into this post-apocalyptic engine building game. While the core master set was already a complete game (and included two expansions), Portal Games wasn’t content to let the game coast. We’ve already covered the first new expansions, Scavengers, and now the next one has hit our gaming table.
51st State: Allies is the newest expansion, that adds, as you might guess, allies for you to work with in the game. So, let’s dive into the expansion and see if it’s worth adding to your Master Set.
This small box expansion comes with 50 new cards and 24 tokens (of three factions). The cards introduce a new mechanic called Influence. All of the cards in the Allies expansion will let you ally with one of the three factions (Iron Gang, Sharrash, or Uranopolis for those versed in Neuroshima lore). The interesting thing about these Allies cards is that you can build them with either the standard distance tokens or using the new influence tokens that comes with the expansion (or a combination).
Many of these new Allies cards will generate influence tokens for you. So, if you want to build that new Heavy Turrets cards, you can now uses Iron Gang influence tokens do so. Alternative, should you want to raze the card, you actually need to use tokens from different ally to raze an ally card.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
As you might expect, the Allies expansion is probably the most dependent on card draw compared to any of the other expansions. If your infrastructure is generating Iron Gang tokens and you are only drawing Uranopolis cards, you won’t be building or dealing with them too easily. Yet, Portal did smartly allow you to use other faction tokens for razing, so you can always just burn those structures to the ground for the sweet rewards they offer.
At first, I was a bit skeptical of how well this new currency would work in the game, but it turned out to be surprisingly well. Players now have a whole new path to victory they can try and craft a strategy around. In addition, it allows players to not have to try and gun for those cards that give them distance tokens so much. In one of our games, a player didn’t build a single card that give him distance tokens, but he had a great engine going of Ally cards. That variety helped to make us instant fans of the allies expansion.
The downside of the Allies expansion is like all expansions for 51st State. You can’t just throw it in the main deck and always use it since the game is designed to only be played with one expansion. If you want to play with New Era cards, then Allies will have to sit on the bench. It makes sense why, as the Allies cards would be near worthless in a deck that’s overflowing with other cards.
The 51st State: Allies expansion hits all the right marks for what I look for an expansion. It gives me increased variety without requiring me to learn a whole new game in the process. I loved the new strategic options it presented, and it might be one of my favorite expansions for 51st State. Although there is the question that with 3 other expansions already available, do player’s need a 4th. If you are a big fan of 51st state, then Allies is definitely worth getting. If you haven’t even tried out New Era or Winter yet, then you can probably hold off a bit until you are ready to too see some more variety.
• More depending on luck of the draw than other expansions