My initial thoughts on playing Expeditions Conquistador was that I would be playing a Spanish-centric real-time strategy game set in the “New World”. While I wasn’t very far off in my assumption of the game’s setting, I found myself playing a game bringing together a bit of Heroes of Might and Magic, some RPG elements and a small dash of strategy. I gathered a crew together and headed across the Atlantic in Logic Artists’ PC port of this Windows Phone, strategy game.
Before I set off to Hispaniola, I gave my captain a name and doled out points to six different skills. After establishing my abilities I chose the ten companions that would be joining me on my expedition to the New World. I picked from five different classes. There were doctors, scouts, scholars, hunters and soldiers. You’re able to pick ten of them and customize your team in any matter you choose. Being a fan of balance I picked two from each class and set sail.
My crew and I landed in Santa Domingo in the south of Hispaniola, which is the island that holds the countries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti now. As soon as I stepped off the boat, Captain Noriega comes up and seizes my ship. This is also my first introduction to Expeditions Conquistador’s conversation mechanic.
It works similar to many of BioWare games like Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. Most of my decisions thus far have only had immediate effects on my adventure. In a conversation with the Dock Captain, very few of my choices had any serious effect other than simply determining how I spoke to the captain. After taking offense to the action I demanded to see the governor and the Dock Captain pointed me in his direction.
Finding him isn’t all that hard considering there was a Spaniard symbol floating over the governor’s mansion. I tried to use my family name as leverage to get my goods back, but the governor pointed out in the new world, my name didn’t mean anything. I had to earn respect here. It’s a fair argument, so I agreed to help out the settlement by dealing with some natives who have been blocking trade routes with a fellow settlement.
The governor pointed me in the direction of the town’s barracks to learn a few tidbits about combat. After talking to the man-at-arms, we got into a practice match. Battles unfold in a turn based manner, usually set up in a small arena using hexagonal spaces to determine troop movement.
Turns involve moving, attacking and character abilities. You start off choosing who you want to fight for you. You might think soldiers are the main staple for your fighting squad, but more variety is good for every fight. Doctors are essential for healing your troops, scouts can move quickly across the field and hunters offer all the ranged power you need.
Also, at the beginning of each match, you can arrange your followers in any tactical position you want. There are usually several forms of cover you can use to offer protection from enemy ranged units and force melee units to try and flank you. You can also purchase your own barricades and set them up at the beginning of each fight.
With Expeditions Conquistador‘s combat down, I hit the market to pick up some supplies and headed out into the wilderness. This isn’t an empty bit of wilderness I walked through to get from place to place. There were plenty of things to find as I traversed my way through the wilds. There were chests with resources and treasure, even boars you can hunt down for food.
Finding food became essential as we traveled. After every 29 spaces my group and I must stop to camp. Before we all turned in for the night, I assigned some of my followers to some tasks around the camp such as patrolling and hunting for food. Rations are portioned out based on how much meat is allocated. Rations become essential as most of the places you head to require long travel.
We finally reached the temple where the natives are staying. Another conversation started as I attempted to speak to the head of the tribe. Seeing as I didn’t want to be a part of the colonialism and kill the tribe members, I made a deal with the tribe and asked them to leave after their ritual was complete. But the decision also had an effect on one of my followers as she scolds me for not attempting to convert these people. When I looked into my status screen, this particular character’s thoughts on me have become less than favorable. Similar to Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic II‘s influence system, your decisions will effect how your followers view you. The less they like you the more likely they are to steal supplies or refuse orders.
Expeditions Conquistador brings together some of the most unique, and usual, parts of RPG and strategy games. With their return to the PC the crew at Logic Artist is definitely showing their comfort level on the platform with the games very clear, straightforward gameplay. For those who want to check out the mobile version, you’ll need to have a Windows 7 phone and $5. PC gamers can get their hands on it at the end of the month and explore the New World themselves.