Last year, I spent a good amount of time singing the praises of the G.I. Joe Deck Building Game from Renegade Games. This enjoyable card game took me by surprise and was definitely one of my favorite games from 2021. I closed out last year with a review of the Shadow of The Serpent Expansion, which was a worthy add in my opinion.
Only a few months later, here we are checking out the newest expansion for this card game: Coldsnap. Is this another hit or will players be left with frostbite?
Much like the Shadow of the Serpent expansion, the Coldsnap expansion gives us more variety and also introduces some new concepts. On the hero’s side, players now have Towables that they can bring on missions. By discarding a number of Joes equal to the cost, players will be able to tow along an asset like a Flak Canon or a Howitzer. These usually provide powerful bonuses on the missions.
To balance things out, the Dreadnoks have joined the Cobra side. These 12 cards are all unique side missions that will make life difficult for the Joes. However, unlike normal side missions, they also provide a reward when defeated.
Much like the previous expansion, Coldsnap also comes with new main deck cards, complications, 2 new leaders (Snow Job and Gung-Ho), 2 full missions, a new set of Cobra Troopers (Snow Serpents), and one Cobra officer: Crystal Ball.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
One thing I like about what designer T.C. Petty III is doing is not just giving us more of the standard cards (although I do like that), but branching off with new innovative mechanics. Yet the new concepts aren’t so far out in left field that I feel like it’s a chore to introduce them into the game. The Towables, while probably the most unique, really aren’t that hard to use. In fact, I like how you can use Joes as a currency to bring a towable on a mission. Instead of taking a Joe on a mission to simply be culled from your deck after, they can actually help you win now by giving you access to a powerful resource.
On the villain side, the biggest change comes from the Snowblind cards. These are special cards placed in between each mission card. Once revealed, you have the opportunity to defeat the Snowblind mission before the regular, in-play mission. Facing the Snowblind missions are optional, however defeating them not only grants rewards, but also prevents a potentially bad thing from happening when the next mission is revealed.
Just as with Shadow of the Serpent, the rest of the content in the expansion is focused around these two new concepts. Gung-Ho makes it easier to bring a towable on a mission, while SnowJob focuses on snow aspects of missions (shocking right?). The two missions themselves follow suit, with Mission 5 being an arctic one, and Mission 6 taking place in Dreadnok Country. Overall, while not a pushover, it did feel like the missions were slightly easier than the ones in Shadow of the Serpent.
Rounding out the expansion is the Snow Serpent trooper. They join the Cobra battalion, trooper, and ninjas as fodder for the Joe’s missions. Their ability is being attached to the story missions as a +2 difficulty complication. Not terrible, but not great either. The new officer is Crystal Ball, who is just a jerk. You either have to buy the leftmost uncovered card during your buy phase, or threat goes up by one. We definitely did not like facing him.
For fans of the G.I. Joe Deck Building Game, there is little reason not to buy the Coldsnap expansion. You get more main deck cards, 2 new leaders, 2 new missions, and some new mechanics that integrate easily into the base game. While I do worry a tad about the mechanics creep in the game, overall the new concepts here aren’t that hard to throw into the mix. However, much like the previous expansions, there is also nothing here that will change your mind if you don’t like what you’ve seen before. The core gameplay is still pretty much the same, with just some added variety thrown at the players.
• Where do I store everything!