I’m a big fan of games that give my brain a workout. I love it when a game provides tough choices, whether strategic, tactical, or both. The Lost Expedition by Peer Sylvester (art by Garen Ewing) is a game that fits the bill. This (mostly) cooperative game is published by Osprey Games and plays 1-5. I got a chance to play a few solo games and I can tell you, the game is quite challenging. Now I’m champing at the bit to try it out with more players.
The game is simple. All you need to do is get a meeple (representing your 3-person party) from one end of the Brazilian jungle to the other. This requires only moving forward 7-9 times depending on your difficulty level. But the jungle is full of surprises, many of them deadly, and surviving isn’t easy. So far my groups have all died – fevers, mudslides, unfriendly natives, and even a heavy downpour have done us in. The game takes place over rounds that alternate days and nights. Each day and night, cards are played into a row in the middle of the table. In the solo version there is a set pattern of how cards must be played (a combination of the deck and hand) and in multiplayer, players take turns playing cards from their hands.
During the day phase players draw a fresh hand of cards. Players then take turns playing cards such that half of their cards end up on the table in a row. Once all the players finish playing half their hand, the played cards are resolved from left to right. Most cards result in losing a resource to avoid getting wounded or some other calamity. For instance, a card may require you to build a shelter (and remove a resource marked as such) to avoid a wound. Or maybe you’ll need to spend a compass resource to move the meeple one space closer to victory. Once all the cards are resolved, you remove one food resource from the party and move to night time. At night, players will play the rest of their cards, resolve them, spend a food, and move to day time, where they will draw a fresh hand of cards and do it all over again. The game continues until either all three members of the party die, or the meeple makes it to the last card. It is also possible to lose if the party has gone through the card deck twice and still hasn’t made it out of the jungle.
The descriptions above might make the game sound a bit mechanical. And maybe it would be. But the theme and art marry perfectly with the mechanics to make The Lost Expedition an immersive experience with tough decisions which are quite rewarding when made correctly. Each set of cards played during the day and night phases create a puzzle to be solved. Some decisions are tactical, as you have to deal with the immediate problem …read more