Vincent Darlage
United States
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Review of Incredible Expeditions: Lovecraftian Mini-Expansion

This little packet of goodies packs a lot of punch for its size. It's a great addition to the base game (Incredible Journeys: Quest for Atlantis). This mini-expansion is very much in the vein of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft (although that is pretty obvious from the name of the expansion). I've played this expansion twice solo (lost one, won one), and used the cards in all of my multi-player cooperative and competitive games.

New Expedition Leader
The new expedition leader is Dr. Psyrri, Heir to a Twisted Legacy. He's an interesting leader. He can choose to sacrifice crew if his hand size is larger than two. If a Crew is sacrificed (for any reason), he gains that crew's Heroism and Skullduggery Skills in tokens - but his hand size is reduced by 1. Clearly, his ability to be clever and use his resources diminishes as he spirals down into the madness of sacrificing people to see his goal to fruition. Well done here. Perfect blending of game mechanics with Lovecraftian atmosphere.

New Destination
Of course, the new destination is the nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh, where Cthulhu lies trapped and dreaming. This destination is brutal if a supernatural encounter is drawn, because it gives random Crew the Curse of Possession, which is a harsh curse to bear. Indeed, all curses already extant upon the crew becomes Curses of Possession. One better hope he is playing Dr. Psyrri so he can sacrifice Cursed Crew before entering. Again, this is a nice blending of atmosphere with game mechanics.

New Consequence
A new consequence card is offered in this mini-expansion, Minds Were Broken. If you fail to defeat an encounter while this is the Consequence, a random Crew member gains a random Curse. This consequence is appropriate to this atmospheric mini-expansion.

New Peril
The new Peril card is Cursed Voyage. Peril cards are only used in solo and cooperative games, but this one causes Curses on Sacrificed Crew to be assigned to random Crew on the same ship. This one really devastates Dr. Psyrri's power. Better hope you have a Cat on board, or a Luck or Auspicious Signs card in your Resources. Brutal, yet really appropriate to this setting. It adds to the atmosphere of madness. I like it.

New Encounters
There are already several Lovecraftian encounters in the base game; for example, Descendants of Profane Gods, That Which Cannot Be Described, and Crawling Chaos, but this mini-expansion adds more of this kind of wonderfulness. First up, are the Deep Ones. This one gives a Random Crew the Curse of Possession, and transports them to R'lyeh where they act against every Encounter faced by every ship at that location. *shudder*. I haven't had to come up against that one yet in my games.

The next one is Dreams of the Depraved Pharaoh, which remains in play even after being defeated, making any Curse of Nightmares more difficult to remove from your Crew... plus a Crew gains the Curse of Nightmares upon Facing.

Then we have the mighty Shoggoth. Upon Facing, you have to Sacrifice 3 random cards from hand or Lose a random Crew! However, if defeated, you can remove a curse from a Crew member of choice.

The next one is the Society of the Deranged. This one is brutal. It starts out as zero Difficulty, but a random Crew gets possessed, and all Crew with a Skullduggery Skill higher than their Heroism skill is immediately exhausted - and the Heroism skill of all Cursed and Exhausted crew create the new Difficulty. I have not yet had the pleasure of encountering this one yet, either.

My favorite of the new Encounters is The Awakening. This one is awesome. When drawn, the final location is changed to R'lyeh (if it isn't already), and all discovered Locations are replaced with new ones. I've had this pop up in two games so far, one cooperative and one competitive. It wreaked havoc, but the cries of "ARgh!" by the players were also cries of players excited and having fun as the whole game changed around them.

New Resources
I really like the new resources. The Aetheroscope is really useful, giving you tokens when facing Supernatural encounters, or you can sacrifice it to avoid the "Upon Facing" consequences of Supernatural encounters. Or you can just play it to get 1 of each temporary tokens. The other is the Madman's Journal, which allows a player to emulate Dr. Psyrri's Invoking the Ritual power if a Cursed Crew is aboard. If Dr. Psyrri plays this card it doubles the impact of that power! Both new Resources fit perfectly into the overall atmosphere targeted by this expansion.

New Crewmen
There are two new Crewmen. The first is the Graverobber Archaeologist, who allows a player to take a Supernatural encounter from the discard pile and Face it immediately, and then Sacrifice the encounter. I've had this card in my crew a couple of times now, and never used that power. The other is a Musician (the Music of Erich Zann, anyone?), who can be exhausted to avoid the Upon Facing effects of Supernatural encounters, or he can be used to move Curses around your ship (or an ally's ship in a cooperative game), but not to an enemy's ship in a competitive game. Both additions to the Crew decks seemed appropriate to the atmosphere of this expansion.

All in all, this is a top-notch mini-expansion. It stays within the theme of the game while staying within its own mini-theme at the same time, and increases the overall fun of the game. If I don't use the R'lyeh as a destination, I just keep it in the Locations deck as a random location at times - and it certainly can pop up as an unintended final destination due to the impact of The Awakening encounter. I'm pleased to have bought it, and I think it adds a surprising amount of value to an already great game.
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