Every Expedition yields some loot items as depicted on the "Expedition loot" Overview card. There are a number of Action spaces on which you can undertake an Expedition with an armed Dwarf. Expeditions have one of four different levels (1-4).
The Expedition level determines how many different loot items you may choose from the Overview card. (Choose the loot items one by one in any order).
Each space with a loot item on the Overview card has a Minimum strength value. When choosing an item from the list, you may only choose items with a Minimum strength value lower than or equal to the Weapon strength of the Dwarf undertaking the Expedition.
The "Expedition loot" Overview card lists a lot of different goods and bonus actions. Each space depicts one loot item. Each such item may only be chosen once per Expedition.
One of your Dwarfs with a Weapon strength of 1 goes on a "Level 3 expedition". As a result, he can get the loot items "All weapons +1", "1 Dog" and "1 Wood". He was not strong enough to get better items (for now).
At the end of each Expedition, the Weapon strength of the Dwarf undertaking it will increase by 1 as a result of the experience gained (regardless of the Expedition level).
Only newly forged Weapons are limited to an initial Weapon strength of 8. You can increase this strength beyond 8 with Expeditions.
As a result of the "All weapons +1 " loot item and the end of the Expedition, the Weapon strength of your Dwarf has been increased by 2 and is now 3.
The Play Order Of Dwarfs
As mentioned on page 8, you have to place your Dwarfs in the order of their Weapon strength. You have to place unarmed Dwarfs first, then your armed Dwarfs in ascending order of Weapon strength.
You can spend a Ruby to bypass the play order for a specific Dwarf.
Two Dwarfs are left in your cave. You would like to undertake an Expedition. Unfortunately, you have to place the Dwarf with the Weapon strength of 3 next.
Obviously, it would be much more efficient to use the Dwarf with the Weapon strength of 14 instead.
In the example, you could spend 1 Ruby to place the Dwarf with the Weapon strength of 14 before placing the weaker one.
Details On Weapon Strength
Each Dwarf can only bear a single Weapon.
You cannot use the "Forge a weapon" action with an already armed Dwarf. Especially, you may not spend Ore to upgrade his current Weapon or to replace it with a new one.
Weapons are "bound" to their Dwarfs. You cannot forge a Weapon with one Dwarf and hand that Weapon over to another Dwarf. An armed Dwarf cannot actively get rid of its Weapon. (A Dwarf by grace of God loves his Weapon. He would never ever let it go).
An unarmed Dwarf cannot undertake an Expedition.
You cannot use your Weapons to attack other players.
The highest possible Weapon strength is 14. You cannot further increase this strength.
In the extreme scenario that you have four unarmed
Dwarfs and one Dwarf with Weapon strength 14, you could pay a single Ruby to place that armed Dwarf before any of your other Dwarfs.
Choosing the right loot items is quite crucial. We recommend the other players continue playing while you are picking loot.
The Weapon strength of your Dwarf will be increased after the Expedition: therefore, the other players may place the next highest Weapon strength marker next to your Dwarf undertaking the Expedition to indicate that you are not done yet.
Once you have finished picking loot, you can exchange the current Weapon strength marker of your Dwarf with the new one. (Exception: You pick the loot item 'All weapons +1'). The following example illustrates this recommendation.
Do not underestimate or overrate the importance of Expeditions. The game is designed in a way that you can win it with a peaceful approach, but also with one relying on heavy weaponry.
I can tell you this, though: With 4 or more players, if a player is the only one going after Weapons, he will most likely win. And if he is the only one to ignore Weapons, he will also most likely win.