- This article is about the theme. For the train-ride based on the theme, see Orient Expedition (LEGOLAND).
Orient Expedition was one of the various subthemes of Adventurers released in 2003 and discontinued in 2005. These LEGO sets featured Johnny Thunder and his fellow scientists and adventurers. It was unique in that every set above 100 pieces came with stat cards and/or a piece of a game board that could be added to the Orient Expedition Board Game to maximize fun. This is was the last subtheme of Adventurers.
The theme was about Johnny Thunder, Dr. Kilroy, Pippin Reed, and their new Asian friends going through Asia to find the Golden Dragon of Marco Polo and his three other treasures before the sneaky Lord Sam Sinister and his partners-in-crime did.
After the completion of their goal in the Dino Island theme and retrieving the legendary Silver Horn of Africa, Pippin Reed took Johnny Thunder to Venice. Dr. Kilroy showed them a piece of an ancient map of Asia with a riddle from Marco Polo. Soon after, Johnny found out that it fit into the other third of a map behind a glass window. The combined map formed two things. The first was the story of how upon leaving India, Marco left his golden dragon, a gift from the Emperor Khan, in Khan's palace that can only be unlocked by his three other treasures. The second was the way to the first of Marco Polo's treasures: the golden shield of Marco Polo in the Scorpion Palace, located in India. They headed off to India, but Sam Sinister, who had been listening in from outside overheard their chatter and rushed off in his car those to escape.
Their journey in India starts with the three heading down the river on a boat. After dropping off their stuff, Johnny found Lord Sinister and Maharaja Lallu interrogating Babloo for information on the sunstone. He rescued Babloo and takes him aboard their boat. After an introduction, the four camp out for the night. Dr. Kilroy sneaked off to find the stone in the temple of the Tygurah. The Tygurah showed up, but broke the bridge that connected the temple to land, and fell into a chasm. Dr. Kilroy walked away with the stone, thinking to himself that the Tygurah should have been on a diet.
In the morning, they leave the site and get on Babloo's Elephant. Lord Sinister caught up to them and tried to stop them from getting the first treasure. After a failed attempt to trick Lord Sinister into crashing, Pippin Reed told Babloo to make his Elephant make a U-turn and throw a fallen tree at Sinister. This crashes and breaks his car into pieces and they make a hasty escape.
That night, the four make it to the Scorpion Palace but Lord Sinister, Maharaja Lallu, and his minions, the Scorpion Palace Guards, capture them. Lord Sinister pulled the Scorpion statue's arms and a boulder made him, Maharaja Lallu, and his minions to flee the palace, but Johnny Thunder, Dr. Kilroy, and Pippin Reed ran into the palace after the boulder completely left it. After Maharaja Lallu was ready to leave Lord Sinister' forces, Babloo and an Elephant army stopped him and captured him. Inside the palace, the three found a glowing circle in the ceiling. Using an Elephant, Johnny opened the circle to find Marco Polo's shield. On the back was another piece of the map; the new piece led to Mount Everest. Lord Sinister again over-heard them and headed towards the mountain. Hearing his laugh, the three left Babloo and rushed to Mount Everest.
After becoming friends with Sherpa Sangye Dorje, he allowed the three to ride on his hot air-balloon, known as the Aero Nomad. The treasure on Mount Everest was Marco Polo's golden sword. Before they could find a landing spot, Lord Sinister started a battle in the sky on his black bi-plane. Sinister's first attack was to crash his plane into the Aero Nomad. Johnny quickly turned the steering wheel and dodged the attack. Lord Sinister tried his attack again, but Johnny Thunder pulled off raising the platform up by pulling a lever at the correct moment. This caused Sinister to crash into the snow because he was to curious about how Johnny pulled it off and not paying attention to the sky around him. They finally landed by the Temple of Mount Everest, not knowing that it was near, and once out of the balloon, Dr. Kilroy discovered Yeti tracks.
Pippin Reed soon found a shrine and left the group for a moment to take a look at it. She found a cabinet with an emerald in it, but discovered the Yeti as its guardian. The Yeti started after her. The rest of the group tried to save her. As she was fleeing, Pippin tripped on a rock and the jewel and her camera went flying into the snow. That sparked an idea. As soon as the Yeti came near, she picked up her camera and took many pictures of it. The Yeti became blinded, forcing it to flee. The four returned to their search, but Lord Sinister and his new partner-in-crime, Ngan Pa, the Yeti hunter, trapped them before they could go any further.
Finally finding the temple, Sinister trapped them in it so they could experience the hidden traps first and show him what he was up against. But, this caused Johnny to retrieve the sword first. A new piece of the map sent them to China to find Marco Polo's two final and greatest treasures; the Golden Dragon and the Golden Helmet. They said good-bye to Sherpa Sangye Dorje and headed off to their next destination.
Their journey through China began with a stop at the Great Wall of China on Dr. Kilroy's Buggy. There were two treasures in China; the Golden Helmet and the Golden Dragon. Popping out of brushes nearby, three Dragon Fortress Guards captured Johnny, Dr. Kilroy, and Pippin as prisoners of Emperor Chang Wu. Imprisoned, Pippin tried to take her anger out by destroying the bed in the cell. She broke it, and the leftover pieces gave Johnny an idea. It was to stack the pieces on top of each other and get Pippin on his other's shoulder to escape out a hole in the ceiling. It worked, and Pippin was on the outside again. Johnny handed her camera over to her and she beat up the guard with the keys to the cell. The three escaped, but their buggy was broken down. Dr. Kilroy found out that Lord Sinister cut the gas line. The three were forced to walk to the Dragon Fortress.
They made it to city of Xi'an at night. Jing Lee appeared to help the trio, but in exchange they had to help her take care of her sick family. Dragon Fortress Guards came to re-arrest them, and also Jing. She stopped them, then everyone ran away. The next day, the four spotted the Emperor's Ship with Lord Sinister on it heading to the Dragon Fortress. Using a row-boat they discovered, the four snuck aboard and hid in the cargo hold. They made it to the temple unnoticed, and Jing Lee showed them a secret passage. They all entered it, and Jing informed the others that they would have to face a beast within; Jun-Chi the monster. They fled, but the way out was filled with Dragon Fortress Guards. They fled to the only other exit; a dead end with a balcony that Chang Wu and Lord Sinister watched the capture from.
It had turned out that Sinister had gotten the helmet first, but also stole the other treasures from the four. Jun-Chi came bursting through the walls and scared everyone off. Lord Sinister snuck away to find the Armoured Chinese Warrior statue that would led the path to the Golden Dragon. Johnny caught up to him, but was too late to stop Sinister from pulling the switch next to the statue. The statue came to life and scared Lord Sinister away, dropping all off the treasures as he went. While running away, a trap door opened from the floor, causing Lord Sinister to fall into a pit. Johnny put the Golden Sword on the statue, Jing put the helmet on, Dr. Kilroy put the shield on, and Pippin took pictures of all of it. The Golden Shield and Sword transformed into two keys that opened the doors next to the statue. Inside were two wheels that made a huge earthquake. The statue slid away and a chamber appeared with the Golden Dragon inside. Soon, the four placed the dragon on the back of the fixed buggy. Chang Wu finally wanted them destroyed and the dragon back, so he forced the Dragon Fortress Guards to fire the catapults at them. They escaped and made it passed the Great Wall. Jing Lee promised to join their group, and they headed off for a new adventure.
The sets had varying styles, but they all had one style in common; an Asian style. The sets contained many aspects that are shown in the real life areas. For example, in the Mount Everest part of the theme, the sets had a multitude of white pieces to show the snow as seen on the real mountain. The India sets had the forest aspect that also remains looking like the real world India. The China sets were similar in style to the sets from the Ninja theme and the real Chinese places and geography.
In addition, a lot of Asian culture and beliefs are included. One example of beliefs is the Yeti, featured in the 7412 Yeti's Hideout set, in the Mount Everest part of the theme. They used the Yeti because it is believed to live around the Mount Everest Mountain and it was a stop for the characters to find the Golden Shield. Another would be Jun-Chi, who is based on the Japanese half dog half lion monster Shisa. It is unknown what belief of Asia the Tygurah was based off of. Finally, the dragon is another belief. The dragon has been used many times in Chinese and Japanese stories and legends. The actual minifigure is not based on a fictional dragon, but only LEGO designed the Golden Dragon in this new style.
Depending on each subtheme, there was a colour scheme for each. In the Indian subtheme, brown and green pieces could be found in each set. A bit of white was also spread around in the sets. White was also the main colour of the Mount Everest subtheme. Brown and light blue were too part of the Mount Everest colour scheme. China's colour scheme was gold, red, and black.
How to Play
The Orient Expedition Board Game was played using instructions in the back of the instruction booklets. You move your minifigures, overcome challenges from the set (statistics are shown on cards), and acquired items. The three skills are courage (denoted by a shield similar to a police badge), speed (denoted by wings), and luck (denoted by a clover). On challenges, you would have to choose a skill to use, but there was always one skill which had a power of x, and so that skill couldn't be used to complete the challenge. If you won, you got the golden item. The 2 players would play the sides of the Adventurers and Lord Sinister's minions. Downloadable instructions can be found here.
The game board is built from three sets. The left set is the 7418 Scorpion Palace, where the game mini-baseplates are forest green. It is then connected to the 7419 Dragon Fortress in the center. Its mini-baseplates are coloured a ground brown. To the right and connected to the Dragon Fortress is the 7417 Temple of Mount Everest set. The mini-baseplates for the set are coloured a light almost aqua blue with hints of snowy white.
Each of the stops on the game board contain a vary of mini-baseplates. The 7418 Scorpion Palace contained 7 mini-baseplates, the 7419 Dragon Fortress contained 11 for being the biggest of the sets, and the 7417 Temple of Mount Everest contained only 5.
In this Adventurers sub-theme, the Adventurers are on a quest to find all the treasures of Marco Polo. Out of the three new Adventurers, Jing Lee is the only permanent member. The three main characters are Johnny Thunder, Dr. Kilroy, and Pippin Reed. In India, Babloo joined the group but left it after retrieving the Golden Shield because he needed to stay in his homeland. On Mount Everest, the three had Sherpa Sangye Dorje join. He allowed them to reach the mountain on his air balloon. After sharing food with her, Jing Lee tagged along to stop Chang Wu. After making past the Great Wall of China with the Golden Dragon, she permanently joined them. They consist of:
The Sinister team is consisted of four members. The leader is Lord Sinister, who left the group after falling down the trap down in the Dragon Fortress. Chang Wu became in charge after this. His minions are the Dragon Fortress Guards. The two other members are Maharaja Lallu and Ngan Pa. Maharaja Lallu had his own minions, called Scorpion Palace Guards. Their purpose was to steal the treasures of Marco Polo and before the Adventures got to it. They are:
The Guardians/Creatures were monsters of Asian beliefs. They were created to guard some special object or place that lead to the retrieval of the Golden Dragon. The Tygurah guarded the sunstone that could show the way to the Golden Shield. The Yeti guarded an emerald that opened the doors of the Temple of Mount Everest. Jun-Chi was created to guard the secret entrance to the Dragon Fortress. Finally, the Dragon Fortress Statue was to guard the passage way to the Golden Dragon. They were:
There have been included several animals in the theme:
Sets by storyline
Sets inside storyline
- 7410 Jungle River
- 7411 Tygurah's Roar
- 7414 Elephant Caravan
- 7424 Black Cruiser (Kabaya Promotional, also sold on LEGO.com)
- 7418 Scorpion Palace
- 3380 Johnny Thunder (Promotional)
- 3381 Lord Sam Sinister (Promotional)
- 3382 Jing Lee the Wanderer (Promotional)
- 7413 Passage of Jun-Chi
- 7416 Emperor's Ship
- 7419 Dragon Fortress
Sets outside storyline
- K7417 Orient Expedition in Mount Everest Kit
- K7148 Orient Expedition in India Kit
- K7149 Orient Expedition in China Kit
- K7122 Orient Expedition World Travel Kit
- kaborient Orient Expedition 3-Pack
- VPorient Orient Expedition Value Pack with Backpack
- Orient Expedition at LEGO.com
- Orient Expedition at Wikipedia
- All of the Orient Expedition sets at Peeron.com
- All of the Orient Expedition sets at Brickset.com
- Most of the Orient Expedition sets at LEGO.com
- Theme Review on Eurobricks.com
- The Orient Expedition comic book