Preliminary Survey: Charted Areas

The Charted Areas is a free download meant to accompany The Quiet Year by Avery Alder and is available on the Buried Without Ceremony.charted areas

Theme: This expansion hints at, but does not limit players to, a few regional themes. Urban/Subterranean, Oceanic/Seafaring, and Coastal starter maps are included.

Price: $0, which puts in range for all but the most frugal geeks.

Artwork: Maps are hand drawn by Tony Dowler, whose old-school hatching reminds me of Dyson Logos’ work. Some art is repurposed from the original book and ties it together nicely. The maps and symbolic illustrations used to mark them are evocative on their own and easy to match up with the Abundances / Scarcities they correspond to; they also hint at further places to explore and threats lurking just beyond the first mapping pass.

Length: This booklet only includes 3 maps, and I would have liked to see more. This isn’t a criticism – I just enjoy the cartography that much! I’d love to have a folder of these maps on hand to lay out for a Convention game.

Replayability: Unless you’re going to play with completely different groups, I’d suggest only using each of these maps once or re-arranging the elements. The Abundances and Scarcities will shape the story as much as the landscape will, so by shuffling them you may be able to re-use the maps for another game with the same group.

Overall: If you’re going to play The Quiet Year, I highly recommend at least taking a peek at these. The Charted Areas provide a good sense of the scale a community should take on the map and provide some excellent starting ideas if you’re just cherrypicking ideas. And if getting the session off to a quick start is important, choosing one of these maps will help shave 10-15 minutes off the beginning and provide enough structure to prevent early meandering.