This is one in a series of posts regarding the board game Aeon’s End: The New Age. You can access all my other “AE: The New Age” posts HERE. This post offers Hints & Tips after you have completed the first Expedition, and will contain **spoilers from all games**. You have been warned.
Now that you’ve finished you first The New Age campaign, you have all the materials required to make your own Expeditions. The Randomiser cards you received in the End deck are all you need to construct unique campaigns. The instructions in the End of Expedition Rulebook, tell you to draw the cards as you need them for each battle. I prefer to do all the setup in the beginning, so you end up with an Expedition deck, that you gradually reveal, like you did on your first play of the game.
The first step is to separate the Randomiser cards into decks, for all Aeon’s End content you have. Remove all the unneeded Randomiser cards from the game, and place them somewhere safe, until you buy the sets/expansions.
Relics and spells can have 1 deck each. However, they recommend that the market always contains at least one low cost gem. So split the gem randomisers into a pile that costs 3 or less, and a pile that costs more than 3. Then draw a gem card from the 3 or less pile, draw 2 gem cards from the more than 3 pile, draw 2 relics and 4 spells. These cards will be the market cards for the first battle. Set them aside.
Then shuffle all the gem cards together, and leave the 3 market piles face down.
Mage and Nemesis Randomisers
Shuffle the randomisers for all the available mage cards, and leave the pile face down. The nemesis are sorted into 4 piles by difficulty rating, shuffled, and left face down. There will only be 1 of each nemesis if The New Age is the only set you own. Each set and expansion you buy will add more nemesis, adding variability to your expeditions.
Grab all the treasure cards you have, sorted by number. Shuffle their decks, and leave them face down.
You are now ready to construct an Expedition deck.
Bonus Cards – After a Loss
We will deal cards from the shuffled decks, face down into a small Expedition Deck. This way, we construct the deck without seeing the cards. Then, they will be drawn, as we need them. If you have kept the Ex Deck Front and Back cards, you can place the Back Card down first. Then, deal a spell, relic and gem card. On top of those place a mage card. These are player cards you can add to your barracks if you lose a battle.
Then add a treasure 1, treasure 2 & treasure 3 card. These can also be added to your barracks if you lose a battle, after you have received these treasures in the expedition. If you lose a battle, fan these cards out, face down, from the bottom of the deck. You can then choose whether to add a market card, a mage, or a treasure. Only 1 card is added to the barracks after a loss, and it should be chosen before you reveal it.
The 4 Battles
Draw a level 4 nemesis for your final battle, and place it on the deck. If all goes well, it will be the last card you reveal during the Expedition. On top of this, add 5 random level 3 treasure cards. Then draw a spell, relic and gem. These are the market cards and treasures are added to your barracks after battle 3.
Next add a level 3 nemesis. On top of that, place 3 random level 2 treasure cards, a spell, a relic and a gem.
Next is a level 2 nemesis. Followed by 5 level 1 treasure cards, a spell, a relic and a gem.
Finally, add a level 1 nemesis. Followed by 4 mages, and the market cards you drew at the beginning. Your Expedition deck is now ready to go, and can be stored in front of the Expedition deck divider during the campaign.
Note: If you only own The New Age, you will be 1 gem short to complete construction in this way. I recommend skipping it from the bonus cards that get added after you lose a game, though you can leave it out at any level. Actually, I would really recommend buying a small box expansion as soon as you are able, but for the moment, that is probably the best one to leave out.
Playing the Expedition
To set up for the first battle, reveal the first 13 cards from the top of the Expedition deck. The first 9 are the starting market cards, followed by the 4 mages available in this expedition. Keep your market and mage randomisers face up on your deck throughout the expedition. This is an easy way to keep track of what is available in your barracks. The market is set up, and then each player chooses a mage. Players set up their mages, and the Turn Order deck is created according to the rules on page 8 of the rule book.
Turn over the Nemesis Battle 1 card, to reveal who you are fighting first in the expedition. The Nemesis is set up according to page 10 of the rule book. And the first battle begins …
If you lose the battle, choose one of the market cards, or the mage card, at the bottom of the Expedition deck, sight unseen. Add the new mage, or market card, to the face up cards on top of the deck. They are always available for use going forward.
If you win, reveal the next 3 face down cards of the expedition deck, to reveal the new cards in the market. Choose whether to keep any, or all, of the revealed market cards. Swap out existing market cards, to keep 3 gems, 2 relics, and 4 spells. They highly recommend that you keep at least one 3 cost gem. Return the unused randomisers to the box.
Then reveal the five level 1 treasure cards. These will be available for all future battles, according to the rules in the red box, on page 8 of the rule book. When packing up mid expedition, leave all treasure cards face up in the expedition deck, along with the mage, and current market cards.
Battles 2 – 4
The other battles work in much the same way. You choose the mage you’re using, reveal and fight the Nemesis, then adjust your market, and collect treasures. However, creating the Nemesis deck for battles 2 through 4, has a slight variation. Upgraded basic cards are added to make later battles more difficult. The treasures you collect during the expedition offset the increased difficulty of each nemesis.
Constructing the Nemesis Deck
The number of basic and upgraded basic cards required are on Page 10 of the rule book and the inside of the End of Expedition rule book. I have combined both of these pages into the following table.
For example, the 2 mages column, shows that you always combine the specific nemesis cards with 3 cards for tier 1, 5 cards for tier 2 and 7 cards for tier 3. And over the course of the 4 battles, the cards gradually shift from being all basic cards, to all upgraded basic cards.
Scoring an Expedition
The End of Expedition rule book awards points for each battle. 6 if you win on the first try, 4 if you win on the second and 2 if you win on the third. This didn’t seem like very much variation over different campaigns. After some research among the community at boardgamegeek we came up with the following table of points. If you fail a battle twice, you earn no points for it in the expedition. Otherwise:
+10 if you win on the first try
+5 if you win on the second try
+1 for each card remaining in the Nemesis deck
+2 if no player is exhausted
+3 if all players have 5 life or more
+1 if Gravehold has between 1 and 10 life
+3 if Gravehold has between 11 and 20 life
+5 if Gravehold has more than 20 life
You can see the system in use at Expedition-2 Into the Wild Expedition. Please feel free to play through the expedition there, and let me know how you scored.
And definitely let me know about your expeditions. I would love to try out one of your set ups. Reply here, or post in the General Forum at BGG.