Most social deduction games benefit completely from expansions. With larger strategy games extension content can sometimes bloat the experience and ruin the purity, but with games like Mafia de Cuba it’s all about additional variety and spicing up the metagame. The Revolucion expansion succeeds mightily because it seamlessly integrates into the original without skewing its identity.
Physically this is of course on par with the gorgeous components in the base game. We have lavish poker chips in a nifty little box that slides apart like an old-school smokes container. The attention to detail in all parts of the package is exceptional and the product connects with your emotions immediately.
Mafia de Cuba is all about sussing out the truth while facing a hornet’s nest of uncertainty spread by your fellow gangsters. Revolucion ups the ante by adding a touch of complication and more advanced play, a feature regulars will appreciate immensely.
The Revolutionaries are my favorite new inclusion as an alternate to the Agents in the base game. Similar to their peers, they act as Werewolf Tanner-esque traitors that want to be called out as hoodlums. If accused of thievery, these two brothers in arms win together along with the thief who stole the least amount of diamonds. While the rules sphere is not very different from the Agents themselves, this results in absolutely crazy play with a whole new dimension to the game – more on that later.
The Diamond Lover is a sly individual that wants to be chosen by the Godfather. If she is called out as a Thief she immediately wins along with the player who currently has the most diamonds. This will either be the Thief who stole the lion’s share or the Godfather if he’s nailed a majority of Thieves. This shift in dynamics is equally bananas.
The unusual suspects.
Shifting gears, let’s talk about the bright-green fake diamond. A Street Urchin or Thief may take this new form of loot in addition to whatever other diamonds they may have filched into their pocket. If called out by the big boss they reveal the fake diamond first. The Godfather will need to call them out again if he’s feeling confident, but if he nails the Urchin it of course can cost him the game. A not-so-subtle additional layer of intrigue is provided by one new little component.
This expansion is all about the mind games. The crooked Lawyer will join whoever suits his interests and the Traitor/Minion combination act as a trap for the Godfather. If the Godfather makes a mistake which would bring about the victory for the Thieves, the Traitor immediately replaces him with his Minion becoming the equivalent of a Traitor’s Henchman. That is as dramatic and swingy as it comes.
Subterfuge and vindictive social jousting win the day. Revolucion gets there by dynamically assigning mired teams to the various participants at the table. In the base game the lines were relatively clear with the Godfather/Henchman versus the Thieves and a little bit of tomfoolery mixed in via the Agents.
Here you have Diamond Lovers posing as Thieves and then switching it up mid game and posing as Diamond Lovers if the Godfather recovers a substantial amount of the Diamonds, because of this you have Thieves and Revolutionaries pretending to be Diamond Lovers. Additionally there’s Thieves making temporary alliances with players who they think provide them alternate victory conditions – taking a single diamond and trying to help the Revolutionaries get accused is totally legit, and the whole thing is absolutely crazy.
What is really confounding is that the table talk takes a more aggressive and sideways slant than the base game as the rabbit hole gets deeper. Once the implications of these new roles starts to become clear, you quickly realize how difficult it may have been for some groups to assimilate these additions if they were included in the base game of Mafia de Cuba. Pulling these out into a separate expansion was undoubtedly the correct move.
Because of this increase in complexity there is a larger risk in the game going pear-shaped as players stumble about remembering what their roles do and who they win with. That is a tradeoff I make 10 times out of 10 for the jacked up depth this expansion provides. The nuanced social situations and head nods across the table as you try to make subtle secret handshakes is unbelievably intriguing.
This is a fantastic expansion every Mafia de Cuba gangster will want. It increases tension and dramatic flair while extending the metagame a hundred fold. It’s the type of expansion that melds perfectly with your ongoing experience, evolving as you play and blossoming as time wanes.