This is a must-have for anyone who owns Twilight Imperium Third Edition. The addition of two more colors to allow eight-player games (and extra systems to expand the game "board" along with other extra pieces (like trade goods) to fit the extra players) is alone worth the price of admission. Then they add four more species, all of whom are as balanced as the original species are (which is to say, mostly balanced). There are also scads of new concepts, from shock troops to artifacts to species-based technologies! But if the new concepts and expanded gameplay weren't enough for you, they also put the errata from their website into the expansion's rulebook, and they reprinted a bunch of cards to replace the originals! In some cases, this was to fix poorly worded cards; in other cases it was to open the card up to the new tech or concepts in the expansion.
Mixing the expansion with the original game is a tiny bit complicated (keeping track of which cards are to be added, which are to be set aside as optional, and which are replacements), and if you care enough to do it right, it does take some time to make sure you are not just jumbling everything all together. Fortunately, the rulebook lays out for you exactly what is replaced, and what is new and optional. And even if things *do* get all jumbled together, they made it incredibly easy to separate out the expansion pieces by putting the expansion's logo on most cards and tokens in the expansion! And trust me, putting this game away in a proper manner is a key to playing it again. When you feel like playing, you don't want to spend an hour separating out everything; you want to have done that after the last game, so it's ready when you are.
There is enough room in the original box to fit all the original parts and the expansion parts as well, but the expansion box does not fit inside the original box unless you are willing to remove the original game's inner cardboard divider (with very nice art on it). There's nothing to removing it; it's not glued in or anything. I just find that the divider works very well for keeping the expansion and original pieces that should be separate, separate.
So, here's a rundown of everything that's new in this set:
28 new system tiles
2 new sets of plastic units in orange and gray (the ships, ground forces, PDS units, Space Docks, etc.)
4 new species sheets
64 command counters (16 each for the new species)
88 control markers (14 each for the new species, and 2 additional markers for the 10 original species)
12 leader counters (3 each for the new species)
8 new variant strategy cards (not to be mixed in)
1 variant Imperial strategy card (optional to mix in)
8 new trade contract cards (2 each for the new species)
28 new objective cards (some to mix in, others not)
40 new action cards (5 are replacements, the rest are to be mixed in)
32 new political cards (to be mixed in)
98 technology cards (two full sets for the new colors, some replacement cards for the original decks, and additional cards to be mixed in)
14 species-specific technology cards
28 new planet cards
16 facility cards (8 colonies and 8 refineries)
8 unit reference cards
12 shock trooper tokens
12 space mine tokens
2 Mecatol custodian tokens
8 artifact tokens
1 High Alert token (for use with the variant strategy cards)
22 domain counters (including new counters for more variety in the "Distant Suns" option)
12 fighter supplement tokens (in +3 denominations)
12 ground force supplement tokens (in +3 denominations)
12 trade goods
3 wormhole tokens (including new wormhole Charlie)
In short, this expansion is *absolutely* worth purchasing. You will get even more enjoyment from a game that already has nearly unlimited replay value!