by Luna Lee
Having never really gotten into role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game seems like a great introduction to them without the overhead. Primarily app-driven with individual player cards, Expedition takes the place of the dungeon master and allows 1-6 players to quickly pick up and play through quests in as little as 20 minutes. With a bevy of user-generated and rated content, there's definitely something for everyone.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, two software developers — Scott Martin and Todd Medema — stoke the fires of board games in technology. Expedition stands at an interesting intersection between technology and board games. Plenty of board game publishers have gone the board-game-to-Steam route, with Through the Ages, Dominant Species, Ticket to Ride, etc. that completely negate the need for table space and physical components. You also have the app-supported games (often player made) for tracking or scoring games, such as with Gloomhaven, Alchemists, and 7 Wonders. Though few, app-driven games have been growing in popularity, as seen with Space Alert, Werewords, and the 2nd Edition of Mansions of Madness. Unlike these games that require physical proximity to share in the app's capabilities, Expedition has recently released a multiplayer beta version that allows users to link multiple devices for non-localized and international play. Although all players still need to have a copy of the game, Expedition offers a free print-and-play version on their website, thus lowering the bar for entry even further, considering that the app itself is free!
To begin, each player needs to select their own adventurer card, which can range from The Befuddled Mage to The Fraud Psychiatrist, and a random persona to go with it. Next, fire up either a hand-held app or the web app and select the number of players participating. Under Tools, you can opt into the multiplayer version and allow other devices to link to your game or join an existing game. The group can then choose the quest they wish to play — the app comes with a handful of preloaded quests, but you can also look at the available player-submitted quests and search through them for something that fits your group. You can sort the quests by rating, number of players, minimum and maximum time, etc. If your group is itching for something long term, there are even campaigns that span multiple quests. To help keep content fresh, Medema and Martin run monthly writing contests to encourage users. You can also create your own private quests for a gaming group or run your own story with the app only supporting combat; the flexibility is endless.
Combat is quick and keeps the game moving. Players draw three cards from their deck and have 10 seconds to pick a card to use. Once everyone has selected a card and placed their fingers on the screen, they roll to resolve the effects. Players and monsters take turns dealing damage until one side is left standing. At the end of an encounter, players heal to full and collect loot. For groups who prefer a slower or faster pace, the timer and difficulty of the quests can also be modified in the app settings.
Most recently, in September 2017, their Cthulhu-inspired expansion, The Horror, was successfully backed on Kickstarter and comes with new monsters and quests. Stretch goals achieved include combat sound effects and original combat music. Medema hinted at an upcoming science fiction expansion, indicating that there's still plenty of room for Expedition to grow.
For adults who never seem to have time for lengthy role-playing campaigns, Expedition fills a niche role, allowing friends to gather quickly and get into the thick of things without all the extensive setup typically needed with an RPG. Like players who feel the need to roleplay every action in Mage Knight, Expedition can be as story rich or snappy as your group decides it to be. Whether you pick up the base game for $30 or do a print-and-play, much adventure awaits.