Expedition: Famous Explorers, Wildlife Adventure

This quiz picture is another oldie but goody.

The last quiz picture was Vivarium an interesting take on the deck building idea and initially you can draw a parallel between it and Dominion however money collected from cards is usually spent on things other than extra cards such as breeding and moving your animals around the board.

The games played this week were :-

 Kashgar - a players board (at game start) for keeping track of commodities

Kashgar - a players board (at game start) for keeping track of commodities

 Kraftwagen, a great game, this shows the "action line" on the left and the race track on the right

Kraftwagen, a great game, this shows the "action line" on the left and the race track on the right

 Thurn & Taxis early in the game

Thurn & Taxis early in the game

 Codenames - midgame

Codenames - midgame

The spotlight this time is on Expedition: Famous Explorers although I will be explaining the advanced game we only played the basic game, the board depicts a map of the world with lots of locations marked on it and these locations are joined by dotted lines to one another to represent valid routes, for each “picture location” there is a card in the exploration deck which shows a picture of the location and some text about it and its significance. In addition to the picture locations there are others represented by either red or green spots and linked to the picture locations and each other via dotted lines. The other main components in the basic game are 135 arrows (route markers) in 3 colours (45 of each) these during the game will be laid on the board on the dotted lines linking locations.  

 Some of the location cards I was dealt at the game start.

Some of the location cards I was dealt at the game start.

At the start the players are dealt some picture location cards (9 in our 4 player game) a further 6 are laid face up at the side of the board, each player also has 4 bonus markers to place on some of the locations on their cards. The aim of the game is to score points, these are obtained by reaching your various locations as given on your cards, you get 1 point for each location you reach and a bonus point if your bonus token is on it, any cards left in your hand at the end of the game are subtracted from your score as are unreached bonus tokens.

 The board with the routes spreading from Sweden

The board with the routes spreading from Sweden

The game itself is played round the table with each player taking one action of laying an arrow of any colour on the board with the following restrictions, the first arrow of any colour must start at the start location, if a coloured route has already been started the arrow MUST be placed so that it runs from the head of the last arrow of that colour played, no branches are allowed nor may a route back-track on itself or run parallel to an arrow of the same colour on the same dotted line although different coloured arrows may share the same dotted line. If due to anybody’s play an arrow reaches a location you have in your hand you may reveal it to score, this may also be done retrospectively later in the game. This is all fairly basic, you place arrows hoping to manoeuvre the route towards your locations now onto the bits that make this a more interesting game.

 The Blue route is where I got my extra turns, America to Africa in one turn (see bottom of next paragraph)

The Blue route is where I got my extra turns, America to Africa in one turn (see bottom of next paragraph)

First off if in your turn you reach one of the 6 face up location cards you can claim them for a point, secondly you can spend a maximum of 2 travel tickets in a turn each can be used to extend a route by one arrow, remove an arrow from a route end or to swap out a card in your hand for one from the top of the deck (choice from 2 cards drawn), very nice except you start the game with only 3 tickets and you can only pick up extras when you hit a red spot and then only 1 ticket. Hitting green spots allows you to place a second arrow on any route and lastly should you create a complete loop you get to place another extension (as a branch) anywhere off that loop. In this way you can place many extra arrows to manoeuvre the route in your favour (in one turn I laid about 8 arrows through completing loops alongside a zig-zag route taking the route halfway across the board to where I wanted it).

 The SE corner of te board, the red dots on the right edge are points at which the map wraps around - instant transfer from one side of the board to the other

The SE corner of te board, the red dots on the right edge are points at which the map wraps around - instant transfer from one side of the board to the other

Now for the bits we did not play, 6 cards from the “Explorers deck” are also dealt at the side of the board at the beginning of the game, these can be bought with 2 tickets but only 1 per turn, these are replaced with cards from the “Event deck” which can be similarly bought for 1 ticket, the former can give game-end bonuses if achieved. Extra rules for advanced play are that only 1 location can be retrospectively revealed each turn and tickets cannot be used to reach red dots, the last part of the advanced game is that 2 of the face up location cards are played face-down, players can look at them by forgoing the green dot bonus.

On the whole it is a nice game, and I am sure it will have wide appeal however I cannot help compare it to the original game from which this is derived Wildlife Adventure which was released in 1985, WA has lovely artwork of rare and endangered animals from around the world with interesting facts, the game-play is similar with the major difference being that a player reaching a red spot draws a chance card from a deck.

 Some of the cards from Wildlife Adventure by Ravensburger

Some of the cards from Wildlife Adventure by Ravensburger

EFE has been simplified by removal of the chance deck and simplifying the “ticket” system (this latter for the better), but if you have WA I see no incentive to get EFE. There is another version of this game Expedition  released in 1996 but never having played that game I cannot comment or compare it to either is predecessor or successor.