It’s a Wonderful World is an excellent close drafting, set collection, engine building, resource management game set in a dystopian universe. To be fair, the theme isn’t that strong, or even that important. And that is because the game-play is ruddy fantastic. Tight, fast playing, and fun.
Choosing between (a) building to produce ongoing recourses (and potentially bank some scores) and (b) recycling cards for immediate resources is wonderfully tense. And given that you don’t know what’s coming back into your hand each turn (thanks to the clever close drafting mechanic), makes the decisions even crunchier!
A super pal introduced us to It’s a wonderful World quite early on into my gaming obsession and it instantly clicked. I walked away from the table wanting to play again. And again. And again. But I won’t go down that memory lane now as another super blogger has reviewed the base game here.
What I am going to tell you about is the Corruption and Ascension Expansion. And, spoiler alert; it’s so worth adding on!
Here…..And Then It’s Gone!
The big ticket moves in It’s a Wonderful World are recycling and building. Both have the effect of producing resources. When they pay out is the difference. Building generates ongoing goodies that act as your engine; cranking out goodies each round. Recycling is a quick smash-and-grab giving a single use resource. But that one resource could be just what you need to build something that produces exactly what you’re going to need each round.
But that was before the Corruption & Ascension expansion!
Now there are 48 more cards, the chance to add a 6th player, another empire card, and some extra resources and tokens. But when I say “more cards”, I mean seriously shake-it-up style cards:
- Corruption (29) – these don’t cost much to build, and you get a good slew of production value for them. But the cost is that you lose one production elsewhere!
- Super Production (3) – these are how they sound; they give loads of resources once built but their cost is equally fierce!
- Master Projects (3) – these give heaps of VPs but their cost is even higher! They run into two columns on the cards themselves!
- Pair rewards (13) – if you can build multiples of the cards shown (e.g. blue and grey or green and black) then you’ll get the VPs on the card.
Now, I’m not going to tell you how to play the game, or even the best strategies (as I play a different one every time). But I can categorially confirm that synergies is where the extra special scoring sauce is to be found. And not just synergies between your empire card, the cards you want to build, and the resources on them. That’s It’s a Wonderful World base-game 101. I mean synergies between different types of building for Pairs, as well as negative synergies in Corruption. Losing resources sounds bad. But if you don’t have any of that type to lose in the first place, then you don’t sacrifice anything to get the better production return they offer. And if you can then combine the production boom to target cards that fit a Pair reward and/or Master Projects then whooey! Your game just levelled up!
I love what the change in production and cost ratios does to my decision making. I love the give/take dilemma layer dolloped on top of base-line drafting dilemma. Do I lose to gain? Do I lose more to gain more? Do I have the time to see the long-game potential gains play out?? After all, this game is still only 4 rounds!
And whilst I always love games that focus on getting stuff, having hard earned resource production taken away adds a spiciness that really tickles my gaming tastebuds! Sometimes I get it very wrong indeed. I overreach and my ambition comes back to bite me. But knowing there is the potential for huge rewards if I draft smart and produce even smarter, ascends this expansion to auto-add in status for me!