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The Expedition

Designed by Jon Lowman, The Expedition is a small-box game for 1-3 players published by Lowtek Games. It has a notional space theme, in that you are 'exploring' (moving between) planets and moons but the game could just as easily have adopted any setting.

There are nine location cards and these are shuffled and laid out in a 3 x 3 grid. The cards have different points values (1-3) for the purposes of end-game scoring but their planet or moon illustrations are purely for flavour, tho' they do give us some splendid examples of Lyndsey Little's artwork. There are also nine expedition cards. These set individual scoring objectives; for example, 'have markers in three corners' and 'have four markers adjacent'. They have points values from 2-4. Players are each dealt three of these as secret objectives (you reveal an objective and score it when you achieve it).

Players each have their own explorer meeple and cubes to lay out as markers. After players' initial placement, they must on their turn move their meeple to an orthogonally adjacent location, placing out one of their markers on the location they've just left. When a marker is placed out, all other markers are removed.

That's pretty much the entirety of the rules, so this is a simple easy-to-play game where players will be moving from card to card and placing out markers to try to meet the objectives shown on their expedition cards, often frustrated by the movement of other players and their cube removal. The game ends with a final turn for each player once any player achieves two of the expedition objectives or places out all six of their markers. In our plays at Board's Eye View, the latter was a rare occurrence but we usually found a player managing to achieve two objectives after around 5 minutes of seemingly chaotic movement and cube placement. Objectives can overlap, so if you are lucky you can find you've been dealt expedition cards with objectives that can be met simultaneously; for example, you could score 'have three markers not adjacent' and 'have markers in three corners' with the same three markers.

Because the location cards vary in scoring value, players are likely also to compete to have their markers on the 3-point cards at the end of the game. The fortuitous or otherwise initial placement of the location cards can therefore also have an impact on how hard or easy it is to achieve your expedition objectives. Again, taking the 'three corners' objective, it may be more difficult to pull off in the random set up shown in our Board's Eye View because three of the corner cards happen to be 3-point cards, so more likely to be contested by other players.

The game comes with a deck of automata cards for solitaire play. If you pick up a copy of The Expedition, an additional variant you might try is to play with open objectives that any player can take. It was a suggestion that came up in our Board's Eye View plays and we found it made for a more tactical, albeit longer, abstract game, especially with just two players.

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