Review: K2 Broad Peak Expansion

A few days ago we reviewed K2, a mountain climbing game with some very tense moments of gameplay as you made your way up and down the infamous K2 mountain. But as if the base game by itself wasn’t enough, we also had the chance to take a good look at the Broad Peak, giving two new ways to play the game with whole new challenges to enjoy.

The two new scenarios on offer manifest themselves as two sides of the new board which comes included in the box. There isn’t much else, a few new tokens and the new rule book, but as you’ll need the base K2 game to play this you’ll already have all of the meeples and cards that you’ll need in order to play. You’ll be ditching some of the tents this time round, but we’ll come to the reason behind that in a moment. Both scenarios continue to offer single player versions as with the original game, so if you’re struggling to get a group together you can still challenge yourself; I did this a few times and it’s a surprisingly enjoyable solo effort. It’s better with others, but the expansion continued to make this a very solid one player game.

The first scenario, Race to the Top, replicates the 1984 success of Krzysztof Wielicki who managed to get 8000m up Broad Peak with no tent and only a light pack of equipment – he got up and back in just over 21 hours, which is pretty impressive. This side of the board is similar to the original K2 with its vertical layout, and the route up the mountain is mapped out to be similar to that took by Wielicki 30-odd years ago. With Race to the Top, you won’t be able to pitch any tents along the way – you don’t have enough space in your bag for that. Instead you’ll be finding your shelter in a slightly more natural way; that is, digging holes in the snow. The problem with that is that they don’t last long, and after a couple of days your shelther is pretty useless and won’t protect you any more. But who wants to spend two days in a snow hole anyway, right? Less weather tiles are used in this game, meaning the game time is also reduced thanks to having less turns over all. It really is a race against the clock, and my main criticism of the base game (being that it felt like it was dragging on occasion) is severely reduced with this mode, giving you more reason to rush your climbers instead of taking your time and gently wandering your way up to the top.

The other option, a more horizontal layout pictured above, is called Broad Peak Traverse, again based on the real life exploits of Wielicki and Jerzy Kukuczka who were the first people ever to traverse the 8000m peak, reaching three separate summits over the course of 3 days. This variant plays out in a very similar way to the main K2 game; you’ll only get one tent instead of two, and there are three separate peaks to aim for instead of just one, but generally it’s a mission of getting as high up the mountain as you can, trying to be the first to reach the various peaks for extra points and getting back down before you turn into a human ice pop. The three peaks does mean you can’t quickly dash up the mountain at the end of the game and claim a cheap win (a method that someone in my group worked out during our last game of K2); staying high up the mountain to make your way across the peaks is going to earn you far more points than a quick sprint in your last couple of turns, so that’s a good tweak. If you played the original K2 though this is similar enough that it’ll slot into your brain straight away and make sense from minute one. It’s different enough to be enjoyable, but there’s no confusion about the rules at all.

Broad Peak then adds two really enjoyable game modes to K2. There’s the back stories in the rule book to give you a sense of purpose behind the games, and at such a low price point it’s not a huge commitment if you’re just after some new ways to play the original K2 game. If you played and enjoyed K2 then this is a no-brainer and should be added to your collection. If you weren’t overly keen on the original then this probably won’t do a huge amount to change your mind (unless it fixes one of your gripes as explained above), but for most this should be added to your set without a doubt.

K2: Broad Peak
Available Now, RRP £19.99
Find your local stockist here

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