We have not played Dungeon Petz for ages and have never tried the Dark Alleys expansion, which I received for my birthday. During the week Elaine and I tried the game/expansion to refresh our knowledge. We are not convinced the 2-player version works particularly well; it just seems a bit clunky and takes too long to finish. Anyway, we played again, using the Dark Alleys, when Val and Chris visited this weekend, and the 4-player game is much better. Chris emerged as the clear winner.
I have a mixed view about Dark Alleys: Some elements simply expand the base game (extra cages, add-ons, artefacts, customers and competitions), but the best additions are the large range of additional monsters! A major flaw in the base game is the limited number of Petz available. I think these new Petz are really good and quirky, especially the House Vampire and My Little Pony. The alternative turn tracker is OK and I doubt we will ever play the extended game tracker. The Black Market board works with 4-players, allowing all players the chance to buy a Pet in the first turn (solving another criticism of the base game). No-one has yet bought the Bodyguard, nor the extra add-on or artefact, but the food and cage options are good. The ‘slug-shop’ is fine and was used, as was the ‘fortune teller’ when things got tight. The ‘industrial zone’ was not used by most players, but I can see it could be useful. Overall, I don’t think Dark Alleys is an ‘essential’ expansion and I don’t think it will always feature in our game sessions, but it is worth getting simply to add those important extra monster options.