Tabletop Kickstarter Alert: ‘Expedition: The Horror’

Expedition Cards and Box
The original ‘Expedition’ box, with the new ‘The Horror’ cards on display. Note: ‘The Horror’ cards are prototypes and may be different in the finished product.

Last year I wrote about Expedition, a card based, rules-light RPG. The game used an app to drive the story and carry out the number crunching. With just a few notes, the app, and the Expedition deck, you could be storytelling down a dungeon or round the table at the local inn, in less than ten minutes. Expedition is a blast. Intuitive and simple to use, it’s a great way to introduce newcomers and younger players to roleplaying without becoming bogged down in the mechanics.

The game was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and the finished product fabulous. A neat package, filled with beautiful brown and sepia tinged cards, made of excellent card stock. The app has had great support, with new content added regularly by the game’s creators and from its enthusiastic players. If you don’t have the time or inclination to build your own adventure, there are lots to chose from within the app. This brings prep time down to somewhere around a minute.

Expedition is a great little game.

Now the team is back with an expansion, Expedition: The Horror, and again they are looking for funding on Kickstarter.

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What is Expedition: The Horror?

It’s an expansion for the base game. The base box of Expedition is required to use The Horror. Don’t worry if you don’t have the base box, one of the pledge levels ($30) includes it. If you do have the original box, the new cards will set you back $10 and will fit snugly in your existing box. The project has already funded, so the expansion will definitely go ahead.

What’s in the box?

Well, strictly there isn’t a box, but here’s what you get for your $10.

  • 10 encounters.
  • 10 persona.
  • 10 Influence abilities.
  • 10 more tracking clips.
The Horror monsters
A selection of the Cthulhu Mythos inspired monsters from ‘The Horror’ expansion. Prototypes shown. Final cards may differ

Why is it horrific?

It’s not. But some of the new monsters are. They’re based on Cthulhu Mythos, so you can expect lots of tentacular fun with your new expansion. The artwork on the cards is great.

How does it work?

The Horror adds a new game mechanic into the mix, “Persona”.

Players start the game with a random Persona. These include Lazy, Nosy, Greedy, and the less well-known dwarves, Tragic and Dignified (or at least they were in my selection of cards. I was sent a prototype, so the final persona included may differ.)

Expedition Persona Cards
Examples of the persona cards. Leisurely is my default setting. Prototypes shown. Final cards may differ

Persona cards have three settings. A middle, stable setting (“base”), where no benefits or boons occur, a “Max” setting, which is good for the party, with boons, such as, “Charismatic: Remove 1 Tier 1 enemy from combat,” and a Min setting, with banes, such as, “Pompous: Take double damage from enemies this round.”

At the start of the game, each player draws an additional ability. An Influence Ability. This is shuffled into their deck along with the rest of their usual abilities. (In the full game each class of character has a different array of ability cards.)

When the Influence Ability is used, it will cause a change in the Persona level. If successful, the Persona level will (generally) go up. In the event of a critical failure, Persona will go down.

Some cards may cause other players Persona scores to go up and down too.

Expedition Influence Abilities
Example Influence abilities. Prototypes shown. Final cards may differ

At the start of given player’s turn. Look at their Persona score. If it is set to Max, something good will happen (such as, “All adventurers’ failed abilities count as successes this round.”) If it’s set to Min, then something bad will happen (“You do not benefit from others’ abilities or loot this round.”) If the Persona score is in the middle (on base) nothing happens.

And that, in a nutshell, is it. The changes aren’t earth-shattering, but they do add a nice touch of personality to your characters. If the base game has a weakness it’s that your characters are often just a bunch of abilities. This gives players something to hang a character type on, with flaws and positive traits.

Why should I back Expedition: The Horror?

If you don’t have the base game, you need to back at the $30 level.  You’ll be getting a great game that’s fun to play and a great way to introduce new players to the wonderful world of RPGs. My full review is here.

If you have the base game, for $10, you’ll be getting a nice addition. One that adds some great new monsters and a little flavor to your Expedition characters. This expansion is not overly ambitious. It won’t revolutionize your games, but it won’t break them either. Two extra quests have been opened by the stretch goals, and at the time of writing the addition of two more quests is imminent. These are probably worth $10 alone.

Backing Expedition: The Horror is an excellent way to support a great product. You can contribute to the ongoing evolution of one of the world’s easiest to pick up RPG systems.

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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

Dad of Boys, Reader of Books, Player of Games. Haven't had a 'real' job or a full night's sleep since 2005