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Back in 2012, when we were all naïve enough to believe that publishers were the big bad and crowdfunding was the future, it wasn't unusual to see millions of dollars go into projects that would inevitably overpromise and underdeliver.
This enthusiasm for crowdfunding, however, allowed Logic Artists, a small Danish studio, to narrowly hit their humble Kickstarter goal of $70,000 and finance Expeditions: Conquistador - a historical RPG that invited us to explore the newly-discovered America as a squad of Spanish conquistadors.
The game launched in 2013 and was successful enough to warrant a sequel - Expeditions: Viking. That one was released back in 2017, with the third game in the series, Expeditions: Rome, currently scheduled to launch later this year, but with how things are these days, we probably should expect it sometime around 2022.
So, at this point, it's safe to say that following that original Kickstarter success, Logic Artists was able to carve out a fairly unique niche for themselves, one that's all about historical RPGs with a strong focus on exploration.
But that's a pretty wide umbrella. The actual games differ greatly from one another. Conquistador took after King's Bounty in its general structure, only with individual units instead of recruitable troops. Viking was closer to a traditional isometric RPG with its overworld map dotted with self-contained locations and a more story-driven adventure. And now Rome promises to shake things up again.
And while we've already reviewed Viking and are eagerly awaiting Rome, up until now, the original game in the series was somehow able to avoid a closer examination. To remedy this oversight, we offer you our review of Expeditions: Conquistador.
Age of Exploration
Expeditions: Conquistador puts you in the shoes of a young Spanish noble with a seemingly simple mission - set sail to the New World and bring back riches and glory for both the Crown and yourself. Now, how you go about this task, is very much up to you.
And to help you decide how you're going to be approaching things, the game will ask you to create a character and assemble a crew of up to ten followers.
Your main character serves the "hero" role and doesn't directly participate in battles. Instead, he or she (and in Conquistador this choice affects a reasonable number of dialogue options and even some quests) has six attributes that include Tactics, Diplomacy, Healing, Survival, Scouting, and Leadership. All of these have clear uses for an aspiring conquistador and can be manually raised all the way up to ten.
Your starting crew will then include a combination of Doctors, Hunters, Scholars, Scouts, and Soldiers, with other, predominantly native classes like Shamans becoming available later in the game.
Followers will not only act as your main fighting force, but also improve your character's attributes, with Soldiers making you better at Tactics, Doctors improving your Healing skills, and so on. Leadership then, is the odd one out, as you can only increase it by promoting your followers to officers. More on that later.
Your followers aren't mere cannon fodder or stat boosts, though. They all come with a small bio section, weapon proficiencies, and three personality traits that run along the lines of Greedy or Altruistic, Racist or Openminded, and so on. With each character having three traits, it's pretty much impossible to assemble a party that would agree on everything, resulting in frequent clashes and confrontations.
Managing your followers' expectations then becomes an integral part of the game, as acting in ways they disapprove of lowers their morale, and that reduces their combat efficiency and can even lead to a mutiny. This forces you to walk a tightrope between the kind of conquistador you want to be and what your crew expects of you.
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