Expeditions Review by Brad

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Review: Expeditions

Designer: Jamey Stegmaier

Solo Designer: Morten Monrad Pedersen
Artist: Jakub Rozalski
Publisher: Stonemaier Games 
Year Published: 2023

No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 90-115 minutes.
Find more info HERE.
I’d like to thank Stonemaier Games for sending me a copy of this game for review. As I thoroughly enjoyed Scythe, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try Expeditions which was released as a sequel to Scythe. I’ve seen a whole bunch of chatter about that exact connection and the overall theme seemed to be that many expected Scythe 2. However, this game is a completely unique, stand-alone title that is simply set in the Scythe universe. I wanted to clear that up right away, because even though I wouldn’t consider it as Scythe 2, it is an exceptional title that I would play again and again! I think that it outshines its predecessor, and even at lower player counts, it still delivers a huge experience that is not typical.
From the Publisher:

The sequel to Scythe sends players on a new adventure into Siberia, where a massive meteorite crashed near the Tunguska River, awakening ancient corruption. An expedition led by Dr. Tarkovsky ventures into the taiga to learn about the meteorite and its impact on the land. Itching for adventure, heroes from the war privately fund their own expeditions to Siberia, hoping to find artifacts, overcome challenges, and ultimately achieve glory. Expeditions has completely different mechanisms than Scythe, though the goal was to capture some of the same feelings that Scythe evokes, with a slightly darker, more supernatural theme.

Expeditions is a competitive, card-driven, engine-building game of exploration. Play cards to gain power, guile, and unique worker abilities; move your mech to mysterious locations and gain cards found among the tiles; use workers, items, meteorites, and quests to enhance your mech; and use power and guile to vanquish corruption.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided the copy of Expeditions. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own. 



Initial Impression/Components:

The game comes with an impressive bundle of components as shown in the image below, copied from publisher’s website. Stonemaier is famous for setting the bar for quality components that are well thought out, functional, and the highest quality design. The 5 Mech miniatures will be the favorite of many gamers, and for good reason, but my favorite component was actually the location tiles. When you also consider their function in the game, it made them an easy choice.



I got to do two for this but the true favorite is the action selection mechanic. You have 3 core actions and one action cube to cover 1 and you get to perform the other 2. On any turn, you may do neither of these core actions, and choose to refresh, returning all workers and cards back to a ready position. Another cool part of this is immediately following a refresh, you get to perform all 3 core actions so it doesn’t feel like a punishing turn to refresh because you get an empowered turn on your following turn.

The use of deck building/hand management to also create layers and combos through the use of different color workers was great. I especially liked how it limited a run-away victor because no one could quickly get access to all workers and/or cards they needed to pull off satisfying combos or overly rewarding turns. In a similar fashion, the corruption tokens created another limiting factor that could hold control over the pace of the game and give players a feeling of growth and climax finish.

Least Favorite:
I enjoyed the exploration aspect and uncovering new spaces. I do wish there were additional ways to use map tokens once collected. Especially considering that there were other ways to earn them. Presently, their only use is that they share a space to create 1 of 2 ways to unlock a glory (star token), the other being having 7 workers.
– Action Retrieval
– Deck, Bag, and Pool Building
– Grid Movement
– Hand Management
– Melding and Splaying
– Modular Board
– Multi-Use Cards
– Solo / Solitaire Game
– Variable Player Powers
– Variable Set-up
– Victory Points as a Resource
– Worker Placement
– Different Worker Types
The rules for the game are surprisingly light from what I had expected. A general turn consists of 2 of the following 3 actions or a refresh action.

Move: Move your mech to another unoccupied location within range (1-3 locations).

Play: Play 1 card from your hand to gain the core value at the upper
left of the card; you may place a specific worker on the bottom left
to activate the card’s special ability.
Gather: Gain the exposed benefits at your mech’s location.
Refresh: Return all workers placed on active cards to your mech mat;
then return all active cards to your hand.

The full rulebook, solo rulebook, and acheivement sheet can be found on Stonemaier’s digital drop box here

Areas they did well:
– Action selection!
– Controlling the pace of the game
– Lots of cards and combos to create
– Exploration of new tiles
– Sense of growth
– Close games and exciting finish
– Component quality and visual appeal
– Clear ruleset that feels lighter than the amount of game experience you get in return
– Unique player powers
Areas they could have improved:
– Some kind of use for map tokens
– Ability to cycle out cards in the collection spaces within the map
– Harder to get onto spaces you need with higher player counts
– Can get trapped if other players block you in though it wouldn’t be beneficial for them in the long term.
Interesting moment:
I know this will sound odd as an interesting moment, but for sheer humor purposes on the slim odds, I had a lot of fun laughing at what my opponent referred to as “non-bo’s” which were opportunities to create a combo but the powers of the face-up card next to a map tile (that the tile allowed you to activate) kept lining up to not work with the tile location and/or what we needed. It should have been one of the most powerful locations but it just never got a card that was beneficial.
This game gave me all the good feelings that I wanted from the title and then some! I admit that I was expecting more in common with Scythe, but this title stood on its own two, sturdy legs and I loved it. The action selection, growth and combos (in addition to the added layer of bonuses from specific workers) as well as the keen use of refreshing your workers and deck was all accomplished very smoothly. I have not had a game that felt drab or repetitive, it is engaging, interesting, and keeps a good pace. Since you aren’t overloaded on choices, and only have a couple of simple things to do each turn, it moves along nicely.
Final Thoughts:
I haven’t played it with 5 players, but honestly, I’m not confident it would hold up with the extra player as good as I think it would crowd the map. When I have the opportunity, I’ll still make the attempt as I had several great experiences with the game and I’d welcome an excuse to play it again. I think this game is fantastic and I’m so happy I got a chance to check it out. Thanks again to Stonemaier Games for sending me a copy and continuing to produce exceptional titles that are finely crafted both visually and mechanically.
I’ll see you next time, back here at The Game Table,
Brad Hiscock, aka Zerility
Here’s a link to the game on their website:


After reading Brad’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Expeditions is currently out of stock. But go HERE to get notified once it’s back in stock.



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Check out Expeditions and Stonemaier Games on:


Brad Hiscock, aka “Zerility”, is a construction project manager and electrician by trade who was the owner of a 6-time award winning electrical company. His passion for board games has led him from playing hundreds of original titles to creating a design and publishing company of his own, Convivial Games. As an up and coming collaborator on many projects, he is always eager to try new games and meet new people.

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All of Brad Hiscock, aka “Zerility”‘s reviews can be found HERE.


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