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Expedition Northwest Passage - Board Game Box Shot

Expedition Northwest Passage

| Published: 2010
11 3 1

In 1845, Sir John Franklin led an expedition on behalf of the British Royal Navy to find and explore the last portion of the Northwest Passage, regardless of the cost. The Royal Navy gave Franklin two heavy Ships (HMS Terror and HMS Erebus) filled with scientific equipment, 1000 books, a crew of 128 men, and enough food to last for three years. They left England in May and encountered whalers along the west coast of Greenland in August. There, they waited for more favorable weather conditions for the crossing of the Lancaster Sound. Once the weather improved, they sailed into unknown waters, and no one ever heard from them again...

Their disappearance provoked a great deal of turmoil in public opinion, and numerous British and American expeditions attempted to find their trail. As leaders of these expeditions in Expedition: Northwest Passage, players must venture into these hazardous Arctic waters in order to discover Franklin's fate and succeed where he failed – by finding the Northwest Passage. Players allocate their crewmen in their ship or in their sled to perform various actions such as exploring, moving, or gathering clues on the whereabouts of the Franklin expedition.

As the game progresses, the seasons will pass and parts of the sea will be frozen, blocking the way for the ships. Players acquire victory points by gathering clues, mapping the area, and – of course – discovering the Northwest Passage. However, in order to claim victory, one has to come back home to the Greenland on time!

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Smirk and Dagger Games fan
24 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“A Rich Thematic Experience”

Expedition Northwest Passage is a game for 2-4 players which should take you about 60 minutes and that’s about right. Players start their journey in Greenland and place tiles as they go to form a map leading to the Northwest Passage.

This is a tile-laying action selection game where players will be forced to make difficult decisions. Making discoveries along the way will help you win the game and sometimes finding the Northwest Passage will cost you your life. You see, you don’t just have to find the Northwest Passage, you have to make it back.

The rules are simple, each round you have 7 crew-members to distribute among various actions. Player boards show the actions you can take each round and how many crew-members it will cost to take that action. The first person to pass each round is the first player for the next round. The sun disc travels around the board and you move on to the next round. That’s it.

Expedition Northwest Passage has one of the best thematic mechanics I have ever seen. There is a disc painted blue and yellow that travels counter-clockwise around the board each round. This disc shows you what parts of the board are navigable by ship and what parts are completely frozen.

It’s this freezing of the board that really makes the game. Eventually, your ship will become locked in place forcing you to launch your sled. You must chose how many of your crew will go onto the sled. The problem is, once the ice melts you have to have someone left on your ship in order to keep it moving.

The one hiccup in the theme is the tile placement. It doesn’t quite work thematically but it does add an element of fun as you force your opponents around a giant iceberg. This is how the Titanic sank, folks.

I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys tile-laying games. This is an absolute buy if you have any interest in Arctic expeditions.


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