A colorful strategy game for 2 to 4 players, where each player leads an expedition in search of the world's most precious gemstones!
A colorful strategy game for 2 to 4 players, where each player leads an expedition in search of the world's most precious gemstones!
This is Gem Expedition, first of many exciting strategy board games that we want to bring to life through Kickstarter. Our goal is to make Gem Expedition a reality, a game that you can see on the shelf when you walk into your local game store. But we need your help. So come on in, and see if Gem Expedition is the project for you!
In this project description, you will find 4 sections:
- OUR STORY: How Gem Expedition got started.
- THE GAME: An in-depth description of Gem Expedition.
- THE PROJECT: Details about the project like our timeline.
- THE GOODIES: Description of the game variants and expansions that are offered as rewards.
On a trip to the mountains of North Carolina over two years ago, we spent a few hours at one of the local mines sifting buckets of red dirt through a tray in a flume in search of the elusive ruby and sapphire. The excitement of finding a small chip of precious gemstone was exhilarating and when the manager came by he flashed his ultraviolet laser pointer on the tiny gem making it fluoresce brilliantly. That day marked a new love in my life, the challenge and anticipation of finding gemstones and the brilliant beauty and self-satisfaction of mined gemstones.
After extensive research about gem mining I created a simple strategy board game centering on the excitement of finding and mining precious gems. My son, Will, stepped in and with his logical mind quickly devised a challenging and exciting strategy board game that is fun to play. Then came months of test play, honest criticism, refining and retesting until the game mechanics were solid.
We have spent the past year working with our talented Graphic Artist, driving him to his wits end I’m sure, until the artwork was exactly as we envisioned.
Our hope is that Gem Expedition will whet your appetite for gemology. Who knows, maybe someday we will see you in the wilds of Utah mining topaz!
Gem Expedition is a colorful tabletop strategy game designed for 2 to 4 players, with stunning artwork and high replayability. The game takes about an hour to play and will appeal to a wide variety of game players as it contains a fair blend of both strategy and chance.
In the box you will find 3 separate game boards, 4 individual player boards, a plethora of cards, tokens, tiles, and pieces, and best of all, 125 gemstones and 4 galvanized gem buckets. Now, even though we aren't talking real gemstones here, we think you'll like these glass gem-like pieces all the same. And just wait until you hear that exciting clink as your first gemstone drops into your galvanized bucket!
Note: A complete list of everything in the box is provided at the end of this section.
During the game, your expedition will lead you to to exotic destinations as you set up camp to mine Topaz, Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, and Diamond - five of the most precious stones in the world. Your expedition will begin at the fictitious Institute of Gemology where you, as the expedition leader, will outfit yourself for the journey as you best see fit. Besides mining gemstones, there will be plenty of other things to do if you want to come home as the victor, like purchasing resources, managing unexpected events, and polishing and cutting your rough gemstones. There's nothing quite like a beautifully faceted ruby or diamond!
Before the game begins, each player receives two objective cards (or just one for the beginner's version). These cards contain various goals and award victory points if achieved by the end of the game. Since there are many ways to earn victory points in Gem Expedition, these cards can help you determine your strategy before the game even begins, but you're certainly not bound to them and can still win without completing them.
The Outfitting Stage
Before launching on the expedition, players first compete to best outfit themselves for the journey. In the outfitting stage, players spend coins in order to gain Team Members, Equipment, Provisions, Tents, Mining Permits, and Trading Tokens which they will need for the expedition. This stage is played on a separate outfitting board.
The game includes 12 outfitting cards, 6 that belong in the top row of the outfitting board, and 6 that belong on the bottom. When setting up for the outfitting stage, each row is shuffled and the cards are randomly laid out on the board as you can see below. This makes for a unique game each time you play.
Each player chooses a gem color and grabs 3 gemstones to use for the outfitting stage. During each round of this stage, players take turns placing gems on top of these cards to purchase the items shown on them. But there is a catch! No one can place a gem more than 3 spaces beyond the furthest occupied card. So, players must count the cost between grabbing a good item and opening up an opportunity for their opponents to go farther down the board.
In the example below, the player with the green gems has gone first and placed a gem on Tents, the 2nd card on the outfitting board. The next player can't place more than 3 cards ahead, or on a card that is already occupied, thus leaving 4 options.
As you acquire these items, you immediately place them on your very own player board (shown below). There are several things that you will be keeping on your player board.
- Mining Permits (left side)
- Team members (top)
- Equipment (below team members)
- Provision track (below equipment)
- Tents (right of provision track)
- Trading tokens (right of tents)
- Coins (top right)
- Resource tiles (bottom-right)
- Polished, Cabbed, and Faceted gemstones (center)
- 4 Event Card slots (bottom)
Your current number of provisions is marked by a disc on the provision track. All the other items are physically added and removed from your board.
There are 5 team members available in the outfitting stage. Everyone starts with 1 Miner. Each additional Miner increases the amount of regions that can be mined in a single action. The Gemologist helps you to mine gems from difficult regions, the Lapidary can cut gems to greatly increase their value, the Investor supports your ventures by giving you additional money throughout the game, and finally, the Doctor can often aid your team in many ways by preventing negative events or enabling positive events to occur.
There are also 4 types of equipment available while outfitting. Everyone starts with 1 Polishing Tumbler. Each additional tumbler increases the amount of rough gems that can be polished in a single action. The Cabochon Cutter and the Faceting Machine are used for cutting polished gems, which greatly increases their value. In order to operate either one, you must also have a Lapidary on your team. Faceted gems are worth slightly more than cabbed gems, but you may find the Cabochon Cutter more convenient to acquire! Finally, the UV Light aids your team in finding gems, giving you an extra gemstone during each income and often increasing the number of gemstones yielded during a positive event.
There are five different Mining Permits available in the game, one for each mining region. They represent the type of gemstone that is mined from that area, beginning with Topaz (left) which is the least valuable all the way to Diamond (right) which is the most. Mining permits are required in order to set up camp. Therefore, you must have permits in order to mine gems!
The Expedition Stage
Now that you have selected your team and outfitted yourself for the journey, it is time to begin the expedition! In the expedition stage, players embark on their travels to the far reaches of the globe in order to mine, polish, and cut precious gemstones. During the expedition, players will also purchase valuable resources, earn an income for their labors, and be confronted with both helpful and not-so-helpful events along the way.
The expedition stage consists of 12 rounds. At the beginning of each round, the starting player rolls the 8-sided die to determine the mining productivity for all players that round. In clockwise order, each player takes exactly 2 actions. Then, the starting player privilege moves to the next player for the following round, and so forth.
On your turn, there are 9 possible actions to choose from. Each turn, you must choose 2 different actions and do them in any order.
Travel: Use your provisions to travel to a new mining region and set up camp. It will cost you 1 provision for every 5,000 miles you travel, and each camp requires 1 tent. Also, you can only travel to regions where you own a Mining Permit! So, take time to plan out your route well in advance and be sure you have sufficient provisions for the journey.
Mine: Mine rough gemstones from one or more regions where you have set up camp by taking them from the region on the board and dropping them into your bucket. Clink! The number of regions you can mine from depends on the number of miners on your team. For example, if you have 2 miners on your team, you must choose 2 mining regions from which to mine even if you are camped at more than 2. The amount of gemstones you gain depends on the region as well as the die roll for that round. For example, on the mining key below, we see that if a 4 is rolled, that means you can mine 2 Topaz, 1 Sapphire, 1 Emerald, 1 Ruby, or 0 Diamonds. Making the decision when to mine and when to focus on other aspects of the expedition can be critical to success.
Having Gemologists can come in quite handy while mining because for each Gemologist on your team, you are guaranteed 1 gemstone from a mine of your choice, regardless of the die roll. For example, if a 1 was rolled but you have a Gemologist, you can mine 1 gemstone from any region.
In the below example, the blue player is camped at the Topaz, Emerald, and Sapphire regions. Let's say she has 2 miners, and a 4 is rolled. By looking at the mining key above, we can see that she can mine 2 Topazes, 1 Sapphire, and 1 Emerald. She only has 2 miners, so she must decide to mine only two of those three types on her turn.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that while mining, any player who takes the last gemstone in a given region, is awarded the Exhausted Mine Token of that color, which is worth Victory Points at the end of the game.
Polish: Take rough gemstones from your bucket and polish them to slightly increase their value. This also prepares them to later be cut. In a single turn, you can polish 1 gemstone per Polishing Tumbler that you own plus an additional gemstone if you have a Lapidary on your team.
Cut: Use a Cabochon Cutter or Faceting Machine to cut your polished gemstones and greatly increase their value. In a single turn, you can only cut 1 gemstone for each piece of equipment. So, if you owned both, you could cab 1 gem and facet 1 gem at the same time. Also, in order to do any gem cutting during the expedition, you must have a Lapidary on your team. For this reason, many players will opt out of cutting gems so as to focus on other aspects of the game. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, but this is a great example of how Gem Expedition includes many different paths to victory.
Event: At all times, each player will have a hand of 3 positive event cards. You can use an action to play one of these cards and reap the reward it brings. Usually, this means acquiring coins or gemstones, but also includes other benefits such as gaining team members or cutting gems. These cards get passed to the left every round, so if you see one you want, snatch it while you can! You can play up to four of these events during the game and after the event, the card is slid underneath the next available "tab" at the bottom of your player board.
Buy Resource: Purchase resources that are worth high amounts of Victory Points, such as the Gravity Washer, the Sifting Tray, and the Flume. These tiles are laid out in a row at the bottom of the game board (as shown below)
Restock: At times, you may find it necessary to purchase additional Provisions or Tents during the expedition. You can purchase any number of either Provisions or Tents in a single action, buy paying 2 coins for each.
Trade: Use one of your Trading Tokens at the Miner's Market to exchange items you no longer need for items that can be useful for the rest of your expedition. To make a trade, you must return 1 Trading Token and at least 1 tradable item. Tradable items are found on the Miner's Market key card (shown below) along with their worth at the market. You can trade in multiple items, but you may only receive 1 new item in return. For example, you can trade in 1 Provision (worth 1) and 1 UV Light (worth 3) to receive 1 Lapidary (worth 4). You can also make up the difference in coins if you wish.
Take 2 Coins: If all other options fail, or you desperately need money, you can use an action to simply take 2 coins. If you have one or more Investors on your team, gain an additional coin for each.
At the bottom of the game board, some of the squares on the round tracker display symbols in the top left corner. These symbols show that prior to playing those rounds, something exciting (or flabbergasting) is going to happen!
Before rounds 3, 6, 9, and 12 of the expedition, you'll receive a well-earned income for all your hard work - 1 coin per camp that you have set up. Additionally, if you have one or more Investors on your team, gain an additional coin per camp for each Investor! On top of that, if you have a UV Light, you get to take 1 rough gemstone from any of your mining camps.
But, exciting as that is, every expedition also has its fair share of not-so-happy incidents. Before rounds 5 and 10, a Negative Event card is drawn for each player. Maybe you will only have to pay a few coins, or maybe you'll lose a piece of equipment. Who knows what could happen? Make sure that you are well prepared before reaching these rounds, because if you are unable to pay the cost of a negative event, you'll be required to return gemstones.
End of Game & Scoring
After all 12 rounds of the expedition are complete, the score is tallied in three categories: Development Score, Gem Score, and Bonus Score.
The Development Score includes the victory points earned for travel, remaining coins, and resource tiles acquired.
The Gem Score is the cumulative score of all gemstones in your possession. Each gemstone's value is based on the type of gemstone as well as the level of refinement (see the scoring key below). For example, a Topaz is worth 1 Victory Point when rough or polished, 3 when cabbed, and 4 when faceted.
Finally, the Bonus Score includes the victory points earned for each completed objective plus 5 additional points if both objectives are completed, as well as 5 points for each Exhausted Mine Token.
The player with the highest number of total Victory Points wins Gem Expedition!
What's In the Box?
- 1 Main Game Board
- 1 Outfitting Board
- 1 Supply Board
- 4 Player Boards
- 24 Positive Event Cards
- 12 Negative Event Cards
- 15 Objective Cards
- 4 Action / Trading Key Cards
- 4 Mining / Scoring Key Cards
- 12 Outfitting Cards
- 50 Coins (25 fives and 25 ones)
- 22 Resource Tiles
- 20 Mining Permit Tokens
- 30 Team Member Tiles
- 22 Equipment Tiles
- 20 Trading Tokens
- 1 Score Pad
- 1 Instructions Booklet
- 1 Eight-sided die
- 5 Exhausted Mine Tokens
- 1 Stage Tracker
- 1 Round Tracker
- 4 Provision Trackers
- 4 Expedition Leaders
- 20 Tents
- 4 Galvanized Buckets
- 125 Gemstones
Disclaimer: Some artwork is not yet final and and may be subject to minor changes.
We have already been in communication with our manufacturer and have received a final quote on the costs. We decided to go with Shuffled Ink, a quality game manufacturer based in Orlando, FL.
The artwork for the game is complete except for a few final touches and the instruction manual. All the text for the instructions is finished, but we need to lay it out in booklet form, inlaying graphics and examples.
Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, we will get to work right away on making Gem Expedition a reality. Here's our plan of attack, as far as we can determine it from this point. And also note that if we end up with far more backers than expected (which would be a great thing!), it may result in a longer timeline.
- Notify the manufacturer that our campaign was successful and that we will be sending them all the graphics within a couple of months.
- Make final touch ups to the artwork.
- Create the instruction manual (text already finished, but it needs to be laid out in a booklet form with graphics and examples).
- Send graphics to the manufacturer. They'll probably get back to us with some sizing or resolution issues that need to be fixed. We'll fix them and send updated graphics.
- Manufacturer begins creating 1000 games.
- Design and Print Postcards.
- Send Postcards to backers.
- Design artwork for both expansions. This means designing new cards and tiles, 2 new player boards, 2 new boxes, and 2 new instruction manuals.
- Send graphics to manufacturer for both expansions and get that all squared away.
- Manufacturer begins creating expansions (number depends on number of backers, but probably somewhere between 100 to 400 of each)
- Create PDFs for Print & Play Expansions.
- While the manufacturer is working on the games, we will create our own Posterity Games website and create an Amazon marketplace account. We plan to sell the game initially from these two places. We will also begin contacting some board game stores at this point and possibly look for someone we can pay to help us with packaging and shipping once the games are finished.
- Once the games are finished, we'll have them sent to our climate controlled storage unit.
- Once the expansions are finished, we'll have them sent to our storage unit.
- Package the T-Shirts, games, and expansions and ship them to backers.
- Start selling our brand new strategy board game. Gem Expedition has become a reality!
- One day, you'll walk into the store, and see Gem Expedition, the game you helped create, on the shelf.
Gem Expedition T-Shirts
For backers supporting us at the $40 level or higher, a PDF containing instructions for several different game variants will be included:
- Solo Game: Try to beat your personal best score in this variant for one player.
- Team Game: Work together with a teammate to guide your expedition to greater success in this 2 vs 2 variant.
- 4 Objective Variants (Objective Sale, Objective Race, Objective Swap & Objective Draft): Try out these four alternatives to randomly choosing your objective cards at the beginning of the game and see which one you like best.
The Characters Mini-Expansion
This mini-expansion includes 12 character cards as well as its own set of instructions and 5 additional gems of each type. In this version, each player draws a character card at the beginning of the game rather than drawing objectives. Each character has a unique ability as well as a special action that can be taken on your turn in addition to your normal actions. For example, a character might have the ability to gain an additional gem under certain conditions, or to buy 5 resources throughout the expedition instead of 4. Every character has the potential to greatly benefit your expedition in its own way and will make for an exciting new way to the play the game. This expansion pairs nicely with the game variants mentioned above because once you get the hang of it, you can try incorporating objectives along with characters by using the objective variants.
By backing our project at the $50 level, you will receive a downloadable PDF of this mini-expansion that you can use to print and play. At the $75 level, along with all the other goodies, you will receive a hard copy of The Characters Mini-Expansion box!
If you back our project at the $750 Diamond Level, then you will become one of the 12 characters! Our graphic artist will take your very own likeness and draw it as a character in The Characters Mini-Expansion.
The Players Expansion
The Players Expansion allows you to play Gem Expedition with up to 6 people. It includes all the necessary components to make this possible. But, it doesn't stop there - this expansion also adds new objectives, events, and resources to the game!
Here's what you'll find in the box:
- 12 brand new positive event cards
- 12 brand new negative event cards
- 14 brand new objective cards
- 9 brand new resource tiles
- 2 player boards
- 2 action / trading key cards
- 2 mining / scoring key cards
- 30 coin pieces
- 10 mining permits
- 15 team member tiles
- 12 equipment tiles
- 10 trading tokens
- 50 gemstones
- 2 expedition leaders
- 10 tents
- 2 provision trackers
- 2 galvanized buckets
- 1 six player scorepad
- 1 instruction booklet
A couple of new elements are introduced into the gameplay with this expansion:
First of all, 9 of the new objective cards are of a very different kind than the rest. These objectives are revealed immediately upon completion, and score a variable number of points, usually based on the number of rounds left in the expedition after the objective was finished. At the beginning of the game, we recommend each player draws one of these objectives and one of the standard end-of-game objectives. The instructions that come with the expansion will include several different ideas for how to use these new objectives in fun ways.
Secondly, some of the new resource tiles not only are worth victory points but give players a bonus effect, such as immediately taking 1 tent or gaining an additional 3 coins during each income.
We hope you'll enjoy these new twists as well as the ability to play Gem Expedition with six! If you support us at the $60 level, you will receive a downloadable PDF of The Players Expansion that you can print and play. We recognize that some of the pieces are not ideal for paper, but the PDF will include images for every piece all the same. And of course, you can always use pieces from other games and get creative.
If you support us at the $125 level, you will receive a hard copy of The Players Expansion box!
There is a lot more to Gem Expedition, but hopefully this overview has whetted your appetite for the real thing. We would love for you to be part of this, our first project on Kickstarter. If successful, there will be many more exciting strategy games to come. You can support us at various levels, so make sure to take a look at our fun rewards. We hope you will team with us to bring Gem Expedition to life!
Beyond Gem Expedition...
As we've mentioned, Gem Expedition is the first of many games that we want to bring to life through Kickstarter. Of course, this project is primarily about Gem Expedition, but what comes next is certainly on our minds as well. If you like what you see here, we just wanted to encourage you one last time to support our project. Not only will you be helping this game become a reality, but you will be giving us the jump start we need to go full speed ahead doing what we love, creating fun and exciting games. At the moment we have 6 more games in the works, at various levels of development. Some of them are quite close to being finished and others still have a long way to go. But suffice it to say that if our campaign is successful, you'll see us back here soon...
Risks and challenges
As this is our first game, we know that we still have a lot to learn, and that unforeseen obstacles are likely to arise along the way. Nonetheless, we want you as a backer to feel fully confident that we will give all our effort to make this project a reality.
Gem Expedition has been through several prototypes, and tested thoroughly by many friends. The very first version of the game dates back to July of 2015 and we have hardly stopped improving it since. All the artwork is completed and awaiting final touches before handing to the manufacturer for production. The only exception is the instruction manual, which is completely written, but has yet to be laid out in booklet form.
Our main challenge, if the campaign is successful, will be getting the finished games from our hands into the hands of game players. We're not talking about fulfilling rewards to our backers, but about getting the game out there, to your local game store. We know this will be a learning process, but our goal is to begin by selling online, via Amazon and our own website. We also have a few connections with local game store owners who are excited about putting it on their shelves. Once Gem Expedition gains some repute, we will then see about getting hard copies into as many stores as possible.
We are so thankful for all our backers and their support. We will definitely be keeping each one of you informed of all our production milestones and any issues that may arise along the way.
Gem Expedition © 2017, created by Posterity Games, LLCLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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