The Lost Expedition
The Lost Expedition is an exploration game using cards by Osprey Games. The premise is that you play a group of explorers following the trail of Sir Percy Fawcett who disappeared into the Jungle seeking the lost city of El Dorado.
In the game, you control three explorers, each of whom has a skill (Jungle, Navigation or Setting Camp) which can help alleviate the ravages of the Jungle. Along the way, they will encounter a number of challenges which may help but usually hinder their exploration. All the time, your food supply slowly runs out and there is only a limited number of bullets.
Each turn requires difficult decisions to be made. Do you run from the Jaguar and take a few wounds or use one of your precious bullets to kill it? Perhaps the Jaguar pelt can be traded with some friendly locals later? Do you take the new trail, which will bring you closer to your goal, but may unleash some unpleasant surprises?
Six encounters are drawn at a time and placed down in numerical order. Players then have to decide how to approach each encounter. Some cards allow the next encounter to be skipped, so the thunderstorm (forcing you to either take shelter or take damage) might mean you miss out on some angry natives.
The game is one of clever strategy management, and perhaps, a bit of luck too. No dice are involved. Each of the cards is lavishly illustrated, which really aids the storytelling. I can see this game being a bit of fun if you have a spare hour (maybe your game finishes unexpectedly early). It might also be of use for pulp and Cthulhu gamers as a scenario generator when they go exploring for lost cities.
Playing time is 30 to 50 minutes, but our first game took an hour - but that included reading the rules! The game can be played solo, as a cooperative game or as two rival factions racing to the treasure. We played the easy game and just managed to reach the end with each explorer barely alive and with only half a day's food left... The game is priced at £21.99.
I really enjoyed this game and would recommend it for fellow intrepid explorers. I wonder if they'll release a sequel?