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Gaming Mechanics: An Overview of Exploration Games

Posted Sunday, 8-Mar-2015

Contributed by Bruce Linsey


How fun is it to excavate ancient treasure sites, explore vast,
mysterious continents, or to uncover the temples of a lost civilization!

Exploration games allow you to do just that.


Exploration Game Tikal
# of Players:  2-4

Playing Time:  120 Minutes

In Tikal, players must plow through miles of unknown jungle to discover lost temples and trade goods, all the while seeking to avoid volcanoes and opposing explorers who would steal away these valuable items.

The more recent game Tikal II: The Lost Temple goes further, pitting players against each other inside a single unexplored temple to claim its ancient goods — but not every player has a key to every door! Each of these is an excellent example of an exploration game.


Exploration Game Mexica
# of Players:   2-4

Playing Time:  90 Minutes

In Mexica, players explore the countryside around Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico.  Districts are formed and fought over, and the player who explores Texcoco most efficiently and effectively will win.


Exploration Game Elfenland
# of Players: 2-6

Playing Time:  60 Minutes

Another great exploration game is Alan R. Moon’s award-winning Elfenland.  In this game, players explore and travel through a fantasy land using modes of transport such as elfcycles, trollwagons, dragons and magic clouds.  Exploring a town is noted by removing a marker there, and the goal is to do this as effectively and efficiently as possible.


Exploration Game Africa
# of Players:  2-5

Playing Time:  60 Minutes

The exploration game Africa (currently very hard to find) starts with a face-down tile on each space, and the players’ explorers must flip these one by one to discover monuments, rare animals, trade goods, gold, diamonds and nomads. Each of these can score for you or help you in various ways.


Exploration Game Africana
# of Players:  2-4

Playing Time:  60 Minutes

Staying with the Africa theme for a bit longer, Africana also has players exploring the Dark Continent, this time with the help of guides, in search of valuable artifacts.  Movement in this game is based on playing symbol cards that match destination symbols on the board, simulating at times the difficult of movement through rough, unexplored terrain.


Exploration Game Goldland
# of Players:  2-5

Playing Time:  60 Minutes

Goldland, another fun yet hard-to-find exploration game, has players creating the terrain of a rugged fictitious landscape, racing to be first across it to collect valuable amulets and gold.  However, provisions are needed to enter some spaces, or survive the adventures waiting therein, and these supplies take up space in the backpack and slow the explorer down.


Exploration Game Thebes
# of Players:  2-4

Playing Time:  60 Minutes

In Thebes, players acquire knowledge to excavate for artifacts at
archeological sites in the Middle East, and they choose how much time to spend digging.  But for all their knowledge and time, they may still come up empty.  Such are the risks inherent in most exploration games!

While Thebes is largely unavailable and hard-to-find, it’s followup Thebes: The Tomb Raiders is a bit easier to find.

There are many more realms and worlds to explore, from fantasy lands to oceans, from the moon to other galaxies.  Exploration games cover them all!


Photo Credit:  https://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1394639_md.jpg

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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