Calvin’s Commentaries: Expedition
Back in August of 2018, I reviewed Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game from designers Scott Martin (III), and Todd Medema, and like all good things these days, expansions have followed, including one taking the medieval-feel game into a more futuristic setting.
Expedition is a game that headed into new areas in terms of mechanics and even in terms of the player niche, they hoped to attract.
I have been in role-playing games for 25-plus years, but a different way. With Expedition gone are the thick play handbooks, and pages of player character stat sheets.
To get away from all the paper Expedition relies on two things, cards, and an app for your cellphone, although the latter is not strictly required.
“The Expedition app includes choose-your-own-adventure quests, with more being written by the community every day,” explains the rules. “Quests start with player’s roleplaying as characters explore the world, interacting with the environment, and making decisions about how to proceed. Each quest has its objectives and goals.”
Since the launch of the game, the website has added a veritable plethora of adventures posted, many from fans. This is a great sideline to the game, the creation of a community-building library of adventures.
Initially, Expedition fell into an interesting niche for me. I rather enjoyed the simplicity of a quick dungeon crawl, although I suspected many seasoned RPGers will see Expedition as a bit thin in terms of roleplaying and balk at it a bit.
On the other hand, the game is an easily learned entry point to what the flavor of an RPG is, so you may well entice non-role players to give this a whirl, where they would resist a full-blown RPG.
As our group returned to Expedition recently to try out the latest expansion an old RPGer not at the table for earlier play-throughs joined us. He has limited time to game these days, but in the past has scuttled through a fair number of dungeons with the group. This game was ideal. We played through an adventure, died enmassed in a battle, and had a great time. Had we started a new RPG campaign we would barely have rolled up characters, and since he fades away often they might have sat unplayed for months.
In an interview about the base game co-creator Todd Medema said creating a sort of filler game for RPGers was one of the driving forces with Expedition.
“We started working on Expedition several years ago, when our D&D (Dungeons & Dragons), DM, (dungeon master) said that he no longer had time to run a campaign. He was spending hours a week preparing and we were spending hours per week to play – often only getting through a fight or two in an entire evening given how slow D&D combat is,” he said in an interview via email. “So when he dropped out, we had some extra time on our hands to think about how you could speed up – perhaps even improve – the D&D roleplaying experience. We knew that we wanted to incorporate technology, but that we still wanted the social aspect of board games. After many experiments with different formats and technologies, we settled on the cards-plus app combination. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Well, they achieved it. The more we play the more we enjoy the option it provides the group.
As for the ‘Future Expansion,’ it flowed into the game seamlessly. It does open the game to a new range of adventures, which is its greatest strength, the new cards being a tool in the expansion more than being the key aspect themselves.
As noted in 2018, this is a game that scratches an itch for an RPGer who role-plays too little these days. The online adventures are short, many are humorous, the action is fast, and the experience generally satisfying.
For a small box of cards there is a lot to be liked here, check it out at www.expeditiongame.com
Thanks to fellow gamers Rob Ashcroft, Trevor Lyons, and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this expansion for review.