Relic Expedition is a game designed by Randy Hoyt, published by Foxtrot Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players are explorers who have set out to find 4 relics hidden deep inside the jungle. Along the way, they will encounter lots of dangerous terrain and wild animals. The player that is best able to traverse the jungle and come away with 4 relics will fly away to victory.
To begin, each player will choose a color and receive an explorer and a matching backpack tray. The large base camp tile is laid out. Players place their explorers on an empty helicopter clearing area on it. The starting hexagon tiles are then randomly placed adjacent to each explorer. All of the remaining tiles are placed face down next to the play area, as are the animals, board supplies, feature boards, relics and curse markers. The draw supplies are placed in the supply bag. The first player is determined and play can now begin.
On a player’s turn, they will roll the two dice. One die has animals while the other has numbers. If an animal symbol is rolled then that particular animal, if it is on the board, is moved first. Afterwards, the player takes a number of actions based on the number rolled. The player has two main activities that can be done; drawing a supply and moving. Drawing a supply takes 1 action and it allows a player to reach into the supply bag for a random supply. He then places it on his backpack tray. If a player ends up with more than 8 items, he must choose to discard any extras.
The other action that can be taken is moving. Normally moving your explorer only costs 1 action. However, there are some movements that require more. Moving across the side of a tile that has jungle on it uses 2 actions, unless the player has a machete in their backpack. Flying from one helicopter clearing to another or at the end of the game when the player has collected 4 relics, costs 3 actions. If a player moves on to a poison ivy tile, their turn ends and they lose their next turn. If a player doesn’t have a vine, they can’t move across a quicksand tile. If a player moves onto a tile that has a relic on it, they can pick it up and add it to their backpack without using an action. Some tiles have more than one relic on them. In this case, a player may only take one of the relics, the others are cursed to that player and a curse token is placed on that area to signify this. Basically it is to remind the player that they may not pick up any more relics from that spot. If a player moves onto a tile with an animal, their movement stops and they must deal with the threat before proceeding.
When an explorer is moved onto a tile, the player chooses an adjacent space and places a random tile there. Sometimes those tiles will bring in animals, relics, supply items or one of the three special features; the river, cave or mountain. Explorers can be moved around the river tiles like normal. However to move on the river and to navigate the river, they must have a raft. The cave can only be entered from one place and requires that the player have a headlamp. To climb the mountain, they must have climbing gear.
Animals can affect movement as well. They are moved before a player performs their actions and are moved 1 to 2 spaces. The different types of animals are snakes, boars, panthers and monkeys. Snakes cause a player to lose a turn, unless they trash a first aid kit from their pack. Boars cause a player to lose a turn and also knock the explorer unconscious, unless they trash a tranquilizer dart or trap with a boar symbol on it. Panthers are the most dangerous. They cause a player to lose a turn and also injure the player so severely that they have to be evacuated from the jungle, leaving behind all their gear. He does however receive a panther trap and is then able to place his explorer on the helicopter clearing on the turn he lost. The player is then able to play like normal when it becomes their turn again. This can all be avoided if the player trashes a tranquilizer dart or trap with a panther symbol on it. The last animal is the monkey. They are used in more advance play. They will steal a random item from either the board or the player’s backpack. If they get a relic, they are removed from the game. Monkeys can be avoided by trashing a banana or monkey dart. This all continues until a player has collected 4 different relics and then move onto a helicopter clearing. They must then use 3 actions to fly away, winning the game. The first person to successfully do this, is the winner.
This game has lots of really amazing looking pieces. The explorers, animals and backpack trays are wooden and brightly colored. I love how the explorers look like little single colored Indiana Joneses with a backpack. Each of the animals actually resembles the animal that it is supposed to look like. All of these wooden pieces are absolutely gorgeous. The craftsmanship is truly amazing. The dice are well made and are really neat as well. The one dice with the animals is unique and looks really cool. The rest of the pieces, tiles, supplies, curse markers and relics are all thick cardboard. They are all really sturdy and thick. The artwork on them is really cool and has a great jungle feel to them. The theme definitely comes through in every piece. I’m really thrilled and how amazing this game looks. Top notch all the way.
10 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is actually divided up into 2 pieces. There’s the quick start guide that gives you the setup and all the basics of how to play and then there’s the field guide that explains everything else including the more advanced rules. Let’s start with the quick start guide. This thing is really large and explains things well enough for a basic understanding of the game. However, at least one player needs to have read the field guide to understand the more complex movement, animals and other features of the game. The field guide is really awesome looking. It reminds me of the old Foxfire manuals that my Dad had when I was growing up. You could find anything that you wanted to know about the outdoors from these things. The artwork inside is reminiscent of those old guide books as well. There’s color as well as black and white art throughout. Lots of examples and pictures. I’m really amazed at the thought to details that was put into these guides. I have to say that this is another part of the game that is top notch.
10 out of 10
This game is a really fun adventure game. It reminds me of Indiana Jones when I play it. Hunting for those hidden relics deep within the jungle, fighting off ferocious animals and dodging danger. It doesn’t take that long to learn how to play, which is a good thing. The game takes around an hour or so, depending on how things play out and how experienced the players are with the game. I really like the tile laying aspect of the game. You never know what is going to appear on the next tile. It could be a relic, or it could be a wild animal. Every movement has a bit of a press your luck feel to it. It can be really tense, like Escape: the Curse of the Temple. There’s not a lot of player interaction other than moving the animals and taking supplies and relics. That’s not really a big deal though as the game is great at what it does. There is definitely some strategy involved with what supplies to take as your choices are limited to only 8 items. You really have to be thinking ahead. I really enjoy playing this and would never turn down a request to play it.
9 out of 10
Relic Expedition is a medium weight game of action and adventure. There is a lot of fun to be had with this game. Fans of games like Escape: the Curse of the Temple, Relic Runners and Temple Run should absolutely LOVE this game. The adventure is definitely there. I’d also say that those fans of the Indiana Jones movies would enjoy this game as well. The pieces and artwork are really top notch. The theme is absolutely dripping from every piece and part of the game. It looks absolutely amazing and is a lot of fun to play. I highly recommend this game. My only hope is that there will be expansions for the game. I’d really love to see an expansion that adds more types of animals or even natives to the game. I’d like more tiles for desert, snow or even marsh lands. Relic powers that allow you to do different things, like allow you to pass through jungle terrain without a machete for only 1 action or see in the dark, so there’s no need for a head lamp for the cave. I’m interested to see how the missions expansion works with the game. The idea of that intrigues me. In any case, the game is great. Buy it!
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Foxtrot Games at their site.