The One Ring RPG

I threw in the towel on D&D (3, 3.5 and 4, plus Pathfinder) a couple years ago and switched my roleplaying energies to Gumshoe, a decision I’m quite happy with. But, as is usual with these things, I didn’t bring along all the friends I game with. For players who like the tactical combat, detailed character building, and the die-rolling of D&D or Pathfinder, Gumshoe is not going to be in their wheelhouse.

So I’m always on the lookout for somewhere we can meet in the middle. A game, probably a fantasy game, that has interesting combat with plenty of die-rolling but doesn’t get bogged down in minutia and can be enjoyed more in the quick-playing, systems-light style. Something that has plenty of skills and feat-like-things, but that still taps into the more improvisational RPG aesthetic.The One Ring looked perfect.

Not that I came to that conclusion right away though. I picked it up after it got some buzz from GenCon 2011 despite the fact that Tolkien roleplaying games in general have a rather sorry history, mainly because of my Tolkien fandom and because it was through Sophisticated Games, which has a good track record with licensed products. Unfortunately, The One Ring’s two core books are incoherent: rules presented in almost random order, topics split between sections and between both books and fully explained nowhere, paragraphs that give up their meaning only after intense textual analysis – it’s really terrible. After doing my initial read I shelved it feeling like it was making the right noises, but having little idea what the game was trying to do. It was only once I picked it up again six months later and plowed through it on a mission that I figured out what the game was about.

It’s a nice blend of ideas. The skill check system is straightforward: you roll against target numbers with a single d12 Fate die, plus one regular d6 for each rank you have in the skill. There are a few nuances built in to the custom dice: the d6s have a Tengwar rune for an exceptional success on the 6, and the 1-3 faces are shaded and count for zero if you are weary. The big variance on the Fate die makes it possible for more or less anyone to succeed (albeit rarely) at many things, but it takes skill to get the exceptional successes that trigger bonuses. The probability curve is rather nice and gives you real flexibility as the GM with target numbers; there are big differences between how characters with various ranks in skills will feel about targets of 10, 12, 14, or 16. The rules for Weariness, zeroing out your d6 rolls of 1 through 3, are very clean but impactful, and make tasks a lot harder but don’t make impossible anything you could accomplish when well-rested.

This solid skill check system then works quite well in combat, which is abstract but has good texture. Each combat round you choose how closely you are going to engage, which affects both how easy it will be for you to hit the enemy as well as how easily they hit you. Each range bracket has a special action associated with it (intimidate, rally, protect, aim), and there are other standard combat options (called shots, accepting knockback) which provide some choices and are thematic. Additionally, it’s nice to see attention to workable rules for disengaging and fleeing from combat, a common occurrence in the books. Also nice is that enemies have a Hate rating which both powers their special abilities and is a proxy for morale, giving the GM an explicit cue for when the bad guys break and run away themselves. Still, despite the solid mechanical support here, combat is still pretty abstract and nowhere near as tactically detailed as many would probably like. Gumshoe has always relied on the players to be a little more imaginative than just saying “I shoot him. I’ll spend 2 shooting points. I hit. I do 6 points of damage”. You don’t need involved narration for every combat roll, but it’s in the hands of the players to bring the action to life. The One Ring gives players much more support than Gumshoe does in terms of structure to hang some narration on, but it will still get repetitive and feel flat unless players can engage with it and flesh it out through colorful description.

This is all good and well-designed, but where does the players’ real narrative authority kick in? Characters in The One Ring have Traits (which can be Specialties, which are like backgrounds, or Distinctive Features, which are more like personality traits), which serve some of the same game functions as FATE’s Aspects or Gumshoe’s investigative skills. They are little bits of description that if you can integrate in to what you’re trying to accomplish with a skill, you get a significant bonus – sometimes an auto-success, sometimes an extra experience point. There is no token economy backing this up as in FATE – you can earn the bonus as often as you can do it – and neither is as integral to the system as Trail of Cthulhu’s Drives which have a hard link to a character’s Sanity. It’s more akin to the Technothriller Monologue and similar cherries in Night’s Black Agents. Give a little narration that invokes your trait and pleases the GM and the other players, and you get a bonus. My only complaint is that I think a number of The One Ring’s pre-packaged Traits can be problematic. Some of them are just hard to work into adventuring sorts of actions without straining something (Fishing?). Others, while perhaps thematic, are problematic from a game perspective as they can feed bad group dynamics (Secretive, Suspicious, or Wilful will be grabbed immediately by your player who enjoys hosing the party or abusing the gaming social contract).

In practice, while Traits are simple, work, and I like them, nonetheless they didn’t exert much pull on the imaginations of my fellow-players. Perhaps the off-the-shelf ones were too vague and not generally useful enough, or the benefits of using them are not as crisp and clear as FATE’s Fate points. I suspect a combination. If you have a group that likes and has some experience with these sorts of player narrative hooks I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I suspect for groups trying to make the switch form D&D, GURPS, or Call of Cthulhu there might not be enough direction here.

More practical and useful I think are a few conventions and pointers for GMs. One key bit is that skill checks are resolved in a somewhat non-traditional way: first, as a player state what you are trying to accomplish; second, roll the dice; and finally, narrate your character’s actions and the outcome, maybe with the help of the GM. This is a simple thing but makes for a much more satisfactory narrative, especially for social skills. How often have you framed, say, a Diplomacy check by narrating a suave approach and a persuasive argument only to fumble the die roll? It becomes hard to climb down at that point and narrate an interesting and plausible failure. This is a good habit to get into with any game I think, but The One Ring’s easy skill check details for extraordinary successes and fumbles supports it especially well. It also allows the characters more narrative control over both how they succeed and how they fail, which can be fun. Watch out though for the players who are too possessive and have a hard time narrating failure for their characters, instead trying to twist a failed die roll into an uncomplicated narrative success, but I suspect we can agree not to blame the system for that.

Beyond these core ideas, The One Ring provides a lot of mechanical support for adventuring in Tolkien’s world. There is a nice journeying sub-game for long trips which folds into the weariness system and provides a good way to hook in “random” encounters along the way when players blow rolls. Hope gives a way for characters to boost rolls, but spend too much Hope and you may gain a Shadow-Weaknesses, a Trait that works more to your disadvantage. The mix of wounds, weariness, and loss of hope inflicted by combat is much more thematic and interesting than just tracking hit points. The advancement system is point-buy, but the way experience points are awarded is quite clever – you get them for skill checks, but you can’t rack them up for using a single strong skill, you need to use a range of skills of different types. While the game is definitely what I’d consider lightweight, there is some detail to it. Unfortunately, I have to come back to the wretched books which make the game seem far more complicated than it really is. The first time we played, we were frequently flipping pages (and thrashing with the useless index) to find simple concepts. I ended up having to read both books cover to cover a third time, taking notes, to build up a reference card with a summary of all the systems just to make the game playable. It was only one page front and back in a large-ish font – this is a simple game with a truly terrible ruleset.

The last thing to talk about is the inherent difficulty associated with gaming in the worlds of J R R Tolkien. I think The One Ring has done a good job in hewing to the feel of the books, and I think focusing on the period and style of The Hobbit more than The Lord of the Rings is the right choice. The Hobbit makes more fertile ground for lighter, fun, action-adventure games, while The Lord of the Rings is complicated by its truly epic scale and the fact that anything you might do is vastly less important than whatever the Fellowship is up to. Still, even focusing on The Hobbit, the problem is that like the Cthulhu Mythos every reader finds something different in Tolkien and decades of bad knock-offs have polluted the environment, so it can be hard for everyone to be on the same page style-wise. How many battles do the heroes of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings actually initiate? None as far as I can remember – they’re all defensive engagements, or running battles with the heroes trying to escape. But a million D&D set-pieces where dwarves and elves and men take the battle to the bad guys (and loot their stuff) makes balancing expectations complicated. I really enjoy reading the parts of the Ashen Stars and Night’s Black Agents rules where Robin Laws and Kenneth Hite talk quite specifically about how stories are structured in their game worlds, what the themes are and how to keep the characters moving. Something along these lines for The One Ring would have been hugely helpful, as the modules provided in the rulebook and the Tales from Wilderland sourcebook are mediocre. Tolkien is not about escorting hapless two-bit merchants through Mirkwood for a flat fee. Perhaps an equivalent of the Cthulhu Mythos’ “purist” vs. “pulp” would be helpful here.

Bottom line for me: as a person intrigued by game systems and how they tweak players and enable different play styles, I liked The One Ring a lot and it overcame my inherent skepticism about the gameability of Tolkien. The dice system is terrific, the combat system is light-ish but thematic and interesting and with some subtlety, and the game is faithful to the books. Unfortunately the supports for the good game mechanics are not very good. The books are atrociously put together. The adventures are at best OK. The vital Traits are a mixed bag. There is little help for the GM in terms of the nitty-gritty of designing adventures, and crucially little practical guidance on the complicated questions of style and how to game Tolkien in a way that’s fun. As good as the game system is, and as I much as I hope The One Ring can find a niche in my roleplaying rotation, these practical obstacles are significant and I fear I need to keep looking for something reliable to fill the gap between D&D and Gumshoe. Maybe 13th Age will fill the bill.

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Trail of Cthulhu, games as stories, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and why Mansions of Madness doesn’t really work

I’ve finally had a chance to play the Trail of Cthulhu role-playing game, which uses Pelegrane Press’ GUMSHOE game system. The GUMSHOE system is very interesting, for both boardgamers and role-players. To explain why, I need to back up a bit and lay some groundwork.

What differentiates the sorts of games we like, be it RPGs or boardgames, from other sorts of games is that they tell stories. They may be boring, short, or thin stories, or the story may not be the most important element of the game, but if stories weren’t important, we wouldn’t get pasted-on themes, nice art, or miniatures. The story can be something that is more abstract and visceral, as in Knizia games like Ra, Through the Desert, or Ingenious, but these games still have a narrative arc of buildup, tension, and release that is the stuff of storytelling. Plus of course, there is a large segment of the hobby – which Fantasy Flight is trying to corner – for which the story the game tells is the key thing.

The Cthulhu Mythos is well-travelled thematic ground, with many board and role-playing games trying to capture the flavor of Lovecraft’s popular creations. As always, trying to take a literary story and re-tell it in game format is not an easy proposition, and failures vastly outnumber successes. To see why it’s hard, let’s look at one particular game system that, while popular, is to my mind clearly not a success: the RPG Call of Cthulhu.
Call of Cthulhu is, at a system level, a very traditional roleplaying game. Ever since D&D, the core of role-playing games has been a task resolution system. While the details may differ – the game may use a d20, 3d6, d100, or a pool of d6 or fudge dice – the vast majority of popular RPGs are set up such that whenever players interact with the world of the game, it’s a conflict or a task at which they succeed or fail with measurable probability. When a character wants to accomplish something, we pick a character trait to use, figure out a difficulty number, and roll some dice. The variance between the systems is in the choice of what skills to define and what kinds of probability curves to use.

This is great, but this core system of task resolution simply can’t tell a wide range of stories that people who play RPGs happen to like and desperately want to game. The most obvious are, unfortunately, mysteries, horror, and epics (I use the term “epic” as Stephen R Donaldson lays it out in his monograph Epic Fantasy in the Modern World).

The problems with telling mystery stories are straightforward, and fairly obvious if you’ve ever tried to run a mystery in Call of Cthulhu. The narrative structure of a mystery story is that there is a trail of clues that the characters must gather and piece together to figure out what’s going on. That trail of clues drives the narrative arc. The characters start out with a hint, follow the leads, and over time the truth is revealed. There are all sorts of conventions to the mystery genre which allow readers or viewers to engage with them, but this is the core. This is an incredibly common narrative format, used by H. P. Lovecraft, Stephen R. Donaldson, the X-Files, and Law & Order as well as many – probably the majority – of the episodes of Star Trek or Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Even the Harry Potter novels are, from the point of view of narrative format, actually mysteries.

The problem of course is what happens when acquiring a clue requires success at a task which the players repeatedly fail? What if there is a witness holding out on them and the players can’t make their Intimidation check to save their lives? Or if there are documents hidden in a room and the players can’t pass a search check? The GM then has to resort to ever-more-improbable ways to get the players the information they need to follow the trail of clues. OK, you blew your search, maybe the contents of the documents was known by an NPC and you can try diplomacy. Blew that too? OK, maybe the documents were in another location. Still not making that search roll? Eventually the documents end up lying in the middle of the road where the PCs trip over them. This is immensely unsatisfying because a) why are we rolling all these dice and jumping through all these hoops when the conventions of the genre of story we’re trying to tell requires us to get this clue?, and b) in the system we’re using, which is all about tasks and succeeding and failing at them, why are we not being punished for all these failures? Because the players are failing all these checks, they can clearly see the hand of the GM coming in and granting them the information they require. To look at it form a narrative point of view, you never have a scene in Law & Order where the detectives execute a search warrant and no information comes out of it. Searching the apartment was a scene in a sequence, and the narratively interesting thing is not whether or not the detectives’ skills were up to the task of finding anything, but what they found, how they went about finding it, how illuminating the information was in light of other clues already gathered, and what they do with the information to move the narrative forward.

This is not to say that good mystery stories have not been told by many talented GMs using the Call of Cthulhu game system. But their success in doing this is in spite of the system, not because of it.

To divert briefly into epic tales, you don’t have to go very far into Tolkien to find story elements that stymie RPG-standard tools of skill checks and difficulty levels (or traditional boardgame tools of resource management, risk, and positional tactics). The epic confrontation between Eowyn, Merry, and the Witch-King cannot be gamed using any sort of task-based system. Tolkien has just spent the last three books building up the Witch-King and the Nazgul as terrifying and powerful, so in gamer-land no rational player who can look at their character sheet and know their odds of succeeding at various tasks is going to resort to direct conflict to take him down. And if they do, and win, does it feel like a victory, or like the GM resorted to fiddling the dice or making stuff up to let them do it, a far less satisfying outcome given the entire structure of the game is based around tasks with predictable odds? There is something else going on here. This is an epic scene where characters go beyond themselves, tying in with previous plot hints, and as such is hard to imagine how it could satisfactorily be done in a games which are driven by probabilities and specific knowledge of capabilities.

To get back to the main topic of mysteries, the GUMSHOE system sets out specifically to tell mystery stories. It recognizes that to do this, a systemically different way to define characters and drive narrative is required. So it defines characters partially in a traditional conflict-based way (because mysteries have fight scenes), but simultaneously in a more narrative-focussed way. Your skill with firearms will be familiar, but your rating as a forensic accountant is different. If you have skill in accounting, the system says that you are sufficiently skilled that no narratively critical clue that can be unearthed using accounting will elude you. Your rating in these skills are not skill points, but narrative points, and reflects the importance of that skill to your character’s narrative. If you have some rating points to spend in accounting, your character can move the narrative a bit if the player can come up with a way of weaving the skill into the story. If so, the character can unearth clues which, while not the core clues that allow the players to solve the mystery in a baseline sort of way, will expand the character’s understanding of what’s going on and perhaps make piecing together other clues easier. It’s important to mention that the GUMSHOE system is not a collaborative storytelling system like Fiasco or Polaris; 3 points in accounting doesn’t give you narrative prerogative to skip the suspect interview and hit the books. But it does allow you to weave the storyline if the GM can figure out how to get you interesting information from your proposed course of action, the more detailed and persuasive the better (perhaps you could use Legal to get a search warrant for a suspect’s banking records, then Accounting to track down information that the GM had originally intended to come out via Intimidate or Reassurance in an interview).

Because it’s such a different way of looking at characters, and because task-based systems are so ubiquitous, this definitely takes some getting used to. A 3 rating in Evidence Collection is not more capable than a 1 rating in Evidence Collection. Instead, the character with a 3 rating has a little more latitude to expand the narrative – the rules refer to it as “spotlight time” – than the player with a 1 rating, if he can effectively weave it into the story. Either character will discover the clue that will get the group to the next scene, but the player with the 3 rating can spend some points to try to direct the narrative a little bit and gain information that, while not critical, will be helpful later or give more detail to the grand picture. So, for example, Evidence Collection may turn up three shell casings, some fingerprints, and a bloodstain, but a 1-point spend might additionally tell you (with some narrative associated) that that the shell casings have been sitting there for four days, even though the crime scene is only a day old. In both cases the players get the two critical plot hooks, leading them to identify the fingerprints or take the shell casings to the lab, but the player who had the spend has some information which may make the picture make more sense as it develops and will make the scene more narratively satisfying. So, we have a systemic way to develop the story in interesting ways that relies on player ingenuity in the application of their skills, but not on crude skill checks. This means that GUMSHOE is very good at the specific types of stories it is trying to tell. It focusses on information, how (and not whether) it is obtained, and what the players do with it, which is the stuff of mystery stories.

Boardgamers actually have had something analogous to this for some time: Tales of the Arabian Nights. In this game, the players choose what skills and traits their characters have – Appearance, Weapons Use, Magic, Piety – and then how to respond to encounters, whether by Negotiation, Robbing, Courting, and so on. Then through the magic of a lot of cross-referencing and a book with 2500-odd paragraphs in it, the narrative of the encounter emerges. Instead of choosing how to use your resources and abilities to navigate an existing narrative successfully, your choices (along with a dose of luck) define the narrative which allows it to be, at times, epic in nature. Like in Trail of Cthulhu, Seafaring is not going to get you out of an encounter with an angry Djinn if there is no water in sight, but your skills and your choices nonetheless help shape the story. This is what makes Tales of the Arabian Nights narratively satisfying, while Betrayal at House on the Hill just feels like a fire-hose of disjointed random events.

This brings us, finally, to Fantasy Flight’s most recent weighty box of plastic and cardboard, Mansions of Madness. I’ve only played it once, so I’m not going to judge too harshly. But, like Call of Cthulhu, Mansions of Madness is trying to tell stories that are narratively mysteries while using the standard boardgame tools of conflict, risk, and resource management. In my opinion, this is a case of “when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. The common core mechanics we have in boardgames (and RPGs) are simply not amenable to mystery stories, and Mansions of Madness ends up being a nail, in this case a glorified dungeon crawl. Which is fine, but all the trappings of mystery – the extensive intro text, the flavor of a path of clues – are squandered and can actually detract from the gaming experience, since they may misdirect you into thinking the story is something it isn’t.

If we want to tell different kinds of stories, we need to expand our toolbox. Arkham Horror is not a tale of mystery or horror, it’s a tactical game of resource management with the narrative structure (to the extent it has any, which is not great) of an action-adventure with characters being led through set-pieces over which they have no control. By contrast, Castle Ravenloft – which is fundamentally the same game as Mansions of Madness – may not be a classic game, but it’s more narratively satisfying because the tools it uses are appropriate to the story it’s trying to tell and it gets the critical structural bits (pacing and tension management primarily) pretty much right.

Worlds like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and H. P. Lovecraft’s mythos are notoriously hard gaming problems, done badly so many times, and these are the reasons why. The very few great games we have work because they’ve limited themselves to portions of the story that can be told with the mechanics available. The brilliant bit of the classic CCG Middle-Earth: The Wizards was to focus on the years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, when stories could be adventures of risk and reward and not epics. Knizia’s Lord of the Rings works in part because it focuses in tightly on the hobbits, who are modern characters who become immersed in an epic world which is not their own, and also of course because Knizia is a design genius who is keenly aware of how tension management and tight pacing can produce strong narrative structures in games. What success Lovecraftian boardgames have had, they have when they focus on the pulpier, action-oriented face of the mythos at the expense of the core stories that the readers love (it’s interesting to contemplate how much of the veering of Lovecraftian material into pulp is a direct result of a gaming fandom which lacked the conventions to tell the real stories). Clearly there is room for innovative new systems and mechanics that will help us tell these other kinds of stories in enjoyable and satisfying ways. RPGs are leading the way with serious, envelope-pushing titles like Trail of Cthulhu, Polaris, and Fiasco, all designed to tell specific types of stories that would be extremely challenging (at best) to do using more traditional systems. There is no reason these trains of thought can’t be extended into boardgames where the differences between the two blur.

Games, Theme, Lord of the Rings, and Lost Cities

So, a hypothetical question: Let’s say you’re a gamer, and you’re trying to decide whether you like a game or not (I know, I know, what are the odds?). Let’s also assume for the moment that games can be cleanly divided into two parts, theme and game-play. Which of these two halves is easier to get one’s head around?

The answer I would have given, prior to last year anyway, was that theme is easier. You can easily tell if a game is evoking a certain feel just from playing it, right? What’s so hard about that? It’s almost not even worth thinking too much about. Most game discussions seem to me to spend far, far more ink on game-play than on theme.

Or is it really as obvious as all that?

If you step back a bit and think about it, it seems otherwise everywhere else. Literature, for example. Take the Lord of the Rings, a perennial favorite of mine and, it seems, of many gamers. It’s easy to appreciate these books for their obvious craft: the use of language, the narrative flow, the easy and economical but exceptionally vivid characterization, the incredible attention to detail, the visceral struggle between good and evil. But to understand and appreciate the themes that run through the books requires digging deeper. What is the nature of the evil Tolkien is portraying? Is the Ring in itself a force of evil, or is it simply the power of it that corrupts even the stoutest of hearts? Tolkien uses the language of both, and that ambiguity in exploring the theme of good vs evil is what makes thinking about the book deeply rewarding, and gives the theme strength and subtlety beyond the Manichaeism traditional to fantasy. This is just one of the themes of the book that can be understood more fully only after appreciating the simple excitement of a well-told story.

And so it sometimes is with games, I’ve come to understand.

Take Reiner Knizia’s classic Lost Cities. For the couple readers who may not have played this game, here is a game-play summary: Lost Cities is played with what is essentially a 5-suited but otherwise standard deck of cards. On your turn, you must play a card on your side of the table, onto one of five columns, one for each suit. You can only play cards in ascending order; once you’ve played the 6, you can’t go back and play a 5. If you want to get that 5 out of your hand, you have to play it to the discard pile, but then your opponent can pick it up instead of drawing from the deck. At the end of the game your score is simply the sum of all the cards you’ve played in a column, minus 20. The face cards are not numeric, but are doublers: you have to play them before you play a numeric card, and they double your score for that suit (not always a good thing!).

Most players will be immediately struck by the constant, wrenching choices the game throws at you. There are rarely obvious plays; you might have a 2 to start an expedition with, but nothing to back it up, or a couple high cards and you have to decide whether to play them or hold them waiting to fill in some lower-valued cards. Figuring out where and what to play is never easy.

But is the game thematic? I think most players (including myself) would instinctively say no, it’s just another basically-abstract Knizia game with a theme of pretty pictures and nice presentation. The game gives you no sense of exploration or adventure. You’re just playing cards.

Well, maybe. But if you take a deeper look at the choices that drive the play of those cards, you discover that Lost Cities is a game of risk management. How risky is it to double an expedition given what you know about it so far, i.e., what cards you have in hand? Is it worth it to set out early and leave drawing the rest of the cards you need to chance, or do you want to wait and do more research, see what the draw deck gives you? Do you want to start an expedition which you know has a small risk of a negative score, but no chance of a big positive score, or do you take a risk on an expedition with a greater upside but also a greater downside?

Although I’ve never put together an expedition to a lost city personally, in my mind I imagine that it would be primarily an exercise in managing and mitigating risks – knowing when you’ve done all the preparation you can expect to do and it’s time to get going, or when there are too many unknowns and more preparation is required. Knowing which expeditions have good prospects and which don’t. And in the sense of getting right at that idea – of planning and managing risk – Lost Cities does, in fact, carry the theme wonderfully. And almost by definition this thematic success simply cannot be appreciated until you have fully grasped not just the rules, but all the subtle nuances of the game-play, and not just how to play but how to win.

So now I consider Lost Cities, along with a number of other Knizia games I hadn’t fully appreciated before, thematically compelling. It’s a different way of presenting a theme – not as visceral as being shot at in Battlestations or dodging incoming asteroids in Galaxy Trucker – but to me arguably every bit as successful.

This all came up recently because I played one of Knizia’s latest releases, Keltis. This is basically Lost Cities with room for 3 or 4 players, and a few additional touches – there are now bonus points for reaching certain checkpoints in the expeditions before the other players, which introduces a race element and makes the game-play even more exciting and interesting. Alas, we’ve lost the theme of expedition, replaced with generic Celtic art and no plausible thematic tie-in that I can discern. The game-play is still there, maybe even more interesting than it used to be, but I don’t see any theme to strengthen the story. Perhaps it’ll take another 6 or 7 years for me to have the aha! insight that illuminates this one. For the moment, though, if such things matter to you, you might want to wait for Rio Grande’s version of the game (Lost Cities: The Boardgame) which  sticks with the original expedition theme and hews more faithfully to the original card game.