This really is a great example of what an expansion should do for a game.
Theme and What is it?
The Horror is the first expansion for Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game. It introduces new enemies and gameplay elements inspired by cosmic horror such as the Cthulhu mythos. What you see and experience may lead you to acts of strength and courage that inspire your allies…or…stress and fear could reduce your abilities and weaken you in combat. How will you face the Horror?
What does it add?
Components – The Horror adds many new cards for you to use in play. There are 20 Influence abilities, 12 Personas, 10 Horror encounters, 5 Adventurers, 4 Loot (which specifically interact with the Persona system), and 10 additional tracking clips. The component quality matches that of the base game and they did a good job matching the card backs so the new cards will integrate right in. There is a small tentacle icon in the lower left corner of the new cards so they can easily be separated out when choosing to play with solely the base game.
Mechanisms – The primary new mechanism in The Horror is the Persona system which works in tandem with the new Influence ability cards. At the start of play, adventurers will now also draw one additional Influence ability in addition to whatever is printed on their card. As in the base game, the app will guide you through the process and even changes its text based on player count. It is very user friendly. Influence abilities will raise and lower your Persona which is a 5-point sliding scale from minimum to maximum with each end of the scale granting a penalty or a boost respectively. During gameplay encounters, when a Persona reaches its minimum value it immediately triggers a negative effect. However, if a player reaches maximum Persona they can elect whether to use the boon or try to save it for a later opportunity. In either case, once an effect triggers, the Persona resets to its base level.
What does it fix/ break?
Some players may feel that the base game of Expedition does not quite offer the depth that they would like. In my review of the base game I noted that there was not a lot of depth to experience mechanically, though this was not a bad thing. Expedition knows what it wants to do and it does it well. I applauded its simplicity as a great way to scratch for some classic D20 skill-check adventuring. That being said, I do not mind the extra depth of the Persona system at all. It also adds more thematic flavors when playing Expedition.
Do I want this?
As I mentioned above, if you wanted just a touch more depth when playing Expedition, then you might want to get The Horror. The Persona system is a simple add to gameplay and this expansion will get you more adventurers to use in standard games of Expedition when playing with the Personas even if you have no interest in the “horror” side of the expansion. However, if, like me, you are a big fan of Cthulhu-inspired gameplay then you will love facing off against some of the classic baddies from the mythos.
Do I need this?
If you are enjoying your games of Expedition as is and the description of the Personas does not grab your interest, then you probably do not need to pick up this expansion. It really comes back to that question of depth. I do think once the Personas are in your deck, they will be there to stay.
I was really fond of Expedition: The Roleplaying Game. It was one of the first games I reviewed as a writer for MeepleGamers. I found the system a great one for scratching my RPG itch. I grew up playing a lot of D20-based RPG systems and had been missing that in my adult life so there was a bit of nostalgia at play. Expedition has stayed in my library and regularly makes it into my overnight/party bag for playing with friends and family. The app works great and continues to see support from both the game’s creators and the community.
This brings me back to the expansion itself. While, there had already been some user-created content that embraced some darker thematic content than the official adventures found in the app, the Persona mechanism in the expansion allows those themes to blossom within the system rather than fight their way in. Beyond those themes, I really liked the way the Personas tweaked the gameplay. This really is a great example of what an expansion should do for a game. Personas are simplicity and depth both at once. Something I did not need, but also something I won’t ever take out for future plays.
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