Do you ever want to have the experience of a tabletop RPG without doing any of the work behind the scenes? If so, you should seriously consider Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game. It's a short, light RPG for 1–6 players, and it's good fun.
Expedition runs by using very simple cards in conjunction with a free app. Each player picks a character/class and creates an action deck based on the character they chose. Character options include your standard soldier, mage, and ranger, but you can also play as the "hungry chef" or the "alcoholic diplomat." Cards in your deck fall into the standard RPG categories of ranged, melee, magic, and music. Each card tells you what die roll is required for your action to succeed, as well as the consequences of a critical success or failure. While Expedition has no art to speak of, it does have cool iconography and very clear instructions. That's really all you need. An RPG is all about imagination, anyway.
Your adventure and combat sequences are run using the app, which I found to be very well integrated with the analog components. The printed rules for Expedition are super short because all of the most important information is introduced clearly and concisely within the app. Everything you need is explained right when you need to know it, and you don't have to do a ton of setup to start playing. The app also manages Expedition's unique combat system. You have a very limited amount of time to choose the ability you want to use on a given turn, and the app manages both your timing and the enemies' actions. This keeps the adventure going at a nice clip.
While the app is very good at what it does, it is also my biggest concern for the future of Expedition. While you could theoretically use the cards to create your own simplified pen-and-paper tabletop adventures, the app is what makes this game shine. The adventures published so far are relatively short and shallow, but also highly entertaining. The writing is good enough that you can enjoy the adventure either alone or with your friends, and the current scenarios offer some fun choices for players to make.
Unfortunately, however, there isn't that much "official" material readily available in the app. I've already blown through the starter scenarios, both alone and with friends. That leaves me with material written by the community. While allowing players to create and share their own adventures is a fantastic idea, there are also bound to be problems with quality control. As of this review, are only six homebrew scenarios available for solo play, and I noticed glaring typos in two of the descriptions. (More options are available for larger player counts, but the quest pool is still pretty limited.)
The other thing to keep in mind if you acquire a retail copy of Expedition (PnP available here) is that you really should sleeve the cards. While you play, you track stats by placing clips along the sides of some cards. Within moments, my cards were getting shredded. I have only ever sleeved Lord of the Rings LCG and Mage Knight cards before, but for this game it was crucial.
Expedition is a blast to play as long as you want the experience it offers you: A light, fun RPG without deep combat strategy or character development. I can see some good story-driven campaigns emerging from this game system, especially if more people get into writing content for it. I can also imagine some fun and easy dungeon crawls to try when you want to hang with your friends as much as you want to play a game. But Expedition is still running on potential. I am very much hoping to see it grow. (Hey, maybe I'll write up a campaign myself!)
My name is Liz, and I play a lot of games. By day, I am a teacher. By night, I am an avid gamer.