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Bargain Quest: The Black Market Expansion Review

Quick Look: Bargain Quest: The Black Market Expansion

DesignerJonathan Ying
Artists: Victoria Ying
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-8
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


This review is for The Black Market expansion for Bargain Quest. If you are looking for the review of the base game, click here.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me also say that this review will be much more brief than that of its counterpart, since it is only an expansion and doesn’t have as much to talk about.

To start things off, I just want to say that I think The Black Market expansion adds something good to the game. It adds new item cards and black market cards, heroes, employees, and monsters. The variety in this game was never really hurting, but now you’re pretty much set for life.

But it’s the black market itself that I really like, and it acts as an upgrade and helps you get the perfect items for your hero.


The only real difference in setup (besides shuffling new employees, heroes, items, and monsters in) is adding the Black Market upgrade (far left) and the Black Market deck (to the right of the Display upgrade).

For complete setup of Bargain Quest, please check out my review on the base game.

When using this expansion, include the black market upgrade cards to the upgrade section of the table (next to the display and storage upgrades). These black market expansions can be purchased during the upgrade phase as normal, but instead of money, you pay a point. Kind of pricey, but it can certainly pay off.

Shuffle the new items and employee cards in with their respective decks from the base game. With extra heroes, however, you’ll want to remove some before adding in any from this expansion (this is discussed in more detail in the rule book). Otherwise you’ll have a larger deck of heroes, and that just makes it harder to lose. Don’t cheat like that. Also add thee new monster cards with the others and randomly select one from each monster level. Alternately, you may simply select from the expansion monsters.


The game plays the same as the base. However, you will have a new black market upgrade to use, which gives you more cards (from the black market deck) during the draft phase, thus giving you more options. The employees may also be a bit more shady and require points to purchase, rather than actual money (because that’s how the black market works here, OK?).

One of the new...mechanics(?) added is that instead of paying for some cards with money, you pay with points. It's rough at first, but it can be well worth it. A little give and take that really adds to the illicit feeling of the game.

The rule book also includes a few variants, including playing with more than six players (by adding two new shop/player boards) and manipulating the employees in order to provide a different experience. The Gainful Employee variant makes the employees more readily available, but also more powerful in that new employees are not revealed once one is purchased, thus limiting the options for others. Not a huge variant, but new nonetheless.

Theme and Mechanics:

The theme of the black market adds some shady dealings to Bargain Quest, and is a welcome addition. Some of the black market goods are quite powerful, but some are downright useless (which can make the draft interesting).

The mechanics remain the same, other than paying in points for some things rather than hard-earned cash.

Artwork and Components:

The art on the black market-related things tends to be a bit “shadier,” which is a nice touch. Again, the components are mostly cards (other than the two new player boards), and all is well with them.

The Good:
  • Now plays up to eight!
  • More choices and variety
  • New monsters
  • Pay with points
The Other:
I think the only negative thing about this expansion is that the backs of the black market cards (black) are a little too close to the backs of the employee cards (blue). I kept dealing employees instead of black market cards, which is obviously inappropriate. But, if you separate the decks (“stop breathing my air!”) and give them their space, you should be able to eliminate this issue.

Final Thoughts:

While I found the base game to be quite fun, I think the black market aspect of this expansion really adds to the game. I know I’ll be using this expansion every time I play. I even included it for players who had never played before, and it wasn’t a difficult concept to grasp, so it’s not like you have to play a game without expansions first in order to understand what’s going on.

I also appreciate the 8-player count that comes with this expansion. Sure, it will make thee game longer and a bit crazier, but the more the merrier, I always say!

The Black Market expansion is great, but I wouldn’t call it mandatory. Personally, I love having it, and will always use it, but it may not add enough to justify the expense—unless you’d like two more players to join in, in which case you probably will need this one.

Players Who Like:
If you’re a big fan of the base game of Bargain Quest, I would certainly recommend The Black Market expansion. It really does add some fun to the game, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Check out Bargain Quest: The Black Market Expansion on:


About the Author:

Benjamin Kocher hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He's a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego's Copyediting Extension program. He's a freelance writer and editor, and covers everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Benjamin_Kocher, and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

Check out Benjamin's reviews here.
Bargain Quest: The Black Market Expansion Review Bargain Quest: The Black Market Expansion Review Reviewed by Benjamin Kocher on September 20, 2019 Rating: 5

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