I've played the base game and the expansion, and I enjoyed both. However, I've found that many of my female friends prefer the BASE GAME FAR MORE than the expansion. Part of this is that the expansion lengthens some things out to the point that the game becomes more about WARFARE or has more WARFARE in general then the base game. In the base game, due to the way it's built, it ends right as conflict seems to be beginning. Hence due to that, trade and other areas in trying to achieve a secret objective, as well as dealing, strategizing about how to get the card with the 2 victory points, and the politics of the entire thing seem to play a bigger role...plus...can I say that too much warfare seems to turn off a LOT of female players...
In fact, it seems a majority of sisters, their friends, prefer the base game. However, when it's just guys, it seems they really like and prefer the expansion. Is the majority that clamor for the expansion ONLY and say that the base game is broken whilst the expansion fixes it...Guys?
I ask, since some of the girls I play with would say just the opposite...ironically.
I enjoy both, but the irony of it all seems to indicate that a majority of players here would be guys?
I know one of my friends who was a guy absolutely HATED the Imperium Rex and how the base game ends...and probably will only play with the expansion now. On the opposite end of the spectrum are two or three of my friends of the opposite gender who say the expansion goes on too long, has too much conflict later on, and really diminishes the vying for purely objectives, because the guys always seem to want to fight it out, instead of aim for other areas.
In an interesting parallel, the guys who enjoy the expansion seem to also be the same ones I play A&A with and other games, whilst the girls seem to hate those types of games, but are HUGE Eurogamers (or after the Germanic type dynamics in games such as Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan, and other games of that manner) when I narrow down who likes what in the various groups. Normally however, it seems to go between guys = expansion or both, and girls = base game.
This is playing BY THE RULES IN THE GAME AND EXPANSION and NOT houserules not found in them that others may play with on the boards.