GTM #262 - Explorers
by Ravensburger


 Become the Greatest Explorer of All Time!

Delve into a wondrous new world! Its topography, made up of levitating rocks in constant motion, has hidden it for centuries -- but now it’s ready to be explored! In Explorers, players travel through four different terrains while searching for resources like gems, fish, and more. They’ll need to plan their route wisely using their map to score the most points and become the greatest explorer of all time. 


Let’s go!

In this flip-and-write game, players traverse a beautiful landscape, tracking their progress with X’s on their maps. (Erasable maps and markers are included with the game.) Traveling through prairie, water, desert, and mountains, players will seek out villages, provisions, precious stones, animals, and more. They may also discover keys to hidden temples. Each discovery is worth points, and since all players explore the same landscape, it’s up to them to plan their route carefully and win. 

To begin, each player marks the village closest to the center point of their player board with an X. Then, they’ll choose one of the four terrain types and mark three spaces, beginning with a spot adjacent to their starting village. 

The game takes place in four rounds, and each round consists of seven turns. The rounds are simple. On their turn, players draw an Exploration card, select one of two terrain types shown, and then place three X’s on the terrain of this type shown on the map. Each turn consists of two phases. In the first phase, the active player picks a terrain type and marks it with an X. During the second phase, all players place X’s on their chosen terrain type simultaneously. They may place X’s through three spaces of a different terrain type or choose the same terrain as the active player, but only place two X’s. Players will need to think strategically about where on their maps they’d like to go. 


Tools and Treasures

Throughout their journey, players encounter different places and objects. Gemstones and Provisions (apples, carrots, and fish) award players with points, while encountering animals, like a Horse, allows players to cover more ground by placing an X on any terrain space of their choice as long as it’s next to an already marked spot. Other objects that award bonuses to players include Scrolls, which can be used to ignore the terrain types on the Exploration card, and Keys, which open a Temple space at any point during a player’s turn. 

When players encounter a Temple, they can only mark an X on that space if they possess an unused Key. They’ll cross out a circled Key on the Key track and find the Temple icon on their player board that corresponds to the quadrant in which the Temple is found. Then, they’ll circle the highest number available. Because this number goes down as the game goes on, it is important to explore the Temples as early in the game as possible. The longer players wait to explore these Temples, the fewer points they’ll be able to earn. 

While Villages are not counted as terrain and therefore cannot be marked during the game, they award players with additional points. At the end of the game, players count the number of X’s surrounding each Village space and gain a number of points depending on the number of surrounding X’s. 


What Did You Discover?

A game round ends when all seven Exploration cards have been played. Then, players count points earned with Provisions and Gemstones and record all points gained in the corresponding space for the round. Once the fourth round is complete, the game ends and it’s time to tally points! 

Once the scoring for the end of the round is done, players will add up all points earned for Provisions and Gemstones, add up points for Villages, and then do the same for Temple points, making sure to record each total in their respective space. The sum of all totals will give each player their final score. The player with the most points wins and is named the greatest explorer of all time! 


A Shifting Landscape

Although Explorers is simple to learn and quick to play, the different decisions made by players ensures the game is different every time. This, combined with the game’s scalable difficulty, makes Explorers highly replayable. 

If a player has some time to themselves, there is also a way to play the game solo! With this game mode, players follow the base rules. However, they’ll eliminate the highest available points for unexplored Temples on the player board after the first round. And at the beginning of each turn, when the top Exploration card is drawn and placed face up, the terrain type facing the player is automatically selected for the round. The game includes a Solo Explorer Rank that players can use to keep leveling up and become the greatest explorer of all time. 

Finally, Explorers includes Expert Rules and Achievements for experienced players. Using the Expert Rules, players gain points only for Provisions of the same type during each round, restrict points gained for Villages to a single Village and must choose the one with the lowest number of surrounding X’s, among other rules. And when players are ready for a challenge, they can play with Achievements. They can decide how many achievement tiles to use and gain a number of points determined by the Achievement that was randomly selected. Unless otherwise indicated, these are scored at the end of the game. 

Explorers supports one to four players ages 8 and up and takes about twenty minutes to play. It will be available at your favorite local game store in early 2022. Get ready to lose yourself in a new world!


Explore Online!

Look for Explorers on iOS and Android! The app offers a tutorial for an easy start and three different game modes with varying levels of randomization. Collect achievements and compete with players from all over the world with weekly lists of high scores!