In CastleVille, however, where and when you expand have a very real impact on your gameplay, as you may need to wait until your Castle's Level is hundreds or even thousands of points higher than it is currently to access a particular square, or you may need to remove the Gloom over a very specific square to complete a quest. That means that if you just go expanding into any square that looks pretty, or that you currently are allowed to, you'll end up wasting valuable Exploration Crystals, and will literally be stuck with story progression until you can earn more.
Once you have three Crystals (or eventually a stockpile of them), you'll want to then turn your Workshop into a cycle. For each Exploration Crystal you want to make, you'll need three Crystal Shards. A single Exploration Crystal takes 1.5 hours to make, or just 90 minutes. If you have the time to login multiple times per day, and have plenty of active neighbors to send you shards, you can then make a never-ending supply of Exploration Crystals in 1.5 hour increments.
Again, to be clear, these Crystals don't cost any coins to make, and the only resource you're technically out is "time." You'll just want to make sure to post requests for Shards every chance you get, and keep collecting your completed Crystals so that you can make more. It may sound time consuming, but if you form this habit early on, you'll never need to worry about not having enough Crystals for that next expansion! It would be great if we could say that about other Zynga games, but at least this is a great place to start!
Did you know that your Workshop could craft Exploration Crystals? How many times have you been able to expand your kingdom thus far? Sound off in the comments.