Expeditions is a series that is spread across multiple settings, and in this new title, we will be taking a close look at the history, politics, and the culture of the great Roman Empire, steering its destiny as we see fit. Conquer foreign land and navigate political intrigue in this political turn-based RPG. Choose your warpath in a story where every decision matters. Fight with your party of praetorians and lead your legion to victory and shape the future of Rome.
You will be leading three war campaigns across Greece, North Africa, and Gaul, and apart from the combat, the dialogue and the way you react to certain situations adds to the overall in-game experience. The story is quite linear and accurately shows off Roman culture and the intense political atmosphere, including sexist dialogues if you play as a woman character.
Rest assured, Expeditions is living up to the hype, and in this beginner’s guide, you will learn the basics so that you can start playing right away. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Getting started with the game
- Character creation – At the beginning, you will have to create an avatar for the entirety of the campaign. The character maker is quite basic, with limited customization options. Simply pick one and proceed to the next stage.
- Perks/Rhetorical style – Unlocks different dialogue options to persuade others in any given situation. Ethos is the art of using power and authority to get your way. Logos is the art of convincing someone with reasoning and logical arguments. Pathos is the art of winning over individuals with emotional manipulation.
- Class selection – After the first tutorial, you will have to pick a class that determines your playstyle. Each class also has three subclasses.
||Weapons and other perks
|Princeps – Heavy armor and sturdy tower shields. Front line infantry with unparalleled survivability.
||Defenders – Focuses on survivability and protecting allies.
Provide an extra bar of hitpoints.
|Vanguards – Charge into enemies and use shields as a weapon.
|Veterans – Lockdown enemies and resist enemy attempts to do the same.
|Veles – Light infantry. Specializes in speed and unpredictability.
||Assassin – Good mobility and high single target damage.
Can be dual-wielded.
|Duelist – Evasive fighter that dodges and weave between attacks.
|Brawler – Versatile fighters that excel in penetrating the enemy line.
|Sagittarius – Archers, ability to damage from a distance. But weak to shields that block incoming arrows.
||Marksman – Defensive archers that deny enemies from approaching a specific area.
The range is determined by accuracy.
|Hunters – Close-range multi-target shooters.
|Sniper – Capable of taking enemies from a great distance.
|Triarius – “Third line” of the Roman legion that further reduces the effectiveness of enemies while buffing/supporting allies.
||Medics – Heal teammates and remove negative effects.
||Pike and Staff
Two-handed weapons shred armor.
|Flag Bearers – Control battlefield by buffing allies and removing enemies.
|Destroyers – Delivering devastating blows that greatly damage enemy armor.
- Simply press V to see all of the intractable objects in the scene.
- Equipment crafting is an important skill. Click any equipment on the table to collect the contents or dismantle it for Salvage and use it to craft new equipment.
- The game rewards you with skill points that you can use to unlock new and improved skills. You cannot refund skill points once they are spent. So make sure to hover the pointer over each skill to see that it does and hold left-click on an unlocked skill to learn it.
- EQUIPPING SKILLS – Active skills must be assigned to the skill bar before they can be used in combat. Drag the newly acquired skill into a slot in the skill bar to try it.
- ITEM SKILLS – You also get additional skills based on the weapon you are currently using. Hover over any in-game item to see a list of all the skills it’s offering. At times you will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of skills. Note that you can only activate a limited number of skills. When you drag a new skill on an already occupied slot, the old one will be replaced by the new one.
It will take a while for you to learn all of the skills and well they synergize with each other.
- PREPARATION PHASE – During the preparation phase, you will have to organize your soldiers and place them in key strategic positions. You can do so within the blue highlighted area. Simply click on one of your praetorians, and then click where you want to place them.
- ORDERING CHARACTERS – During combat, characters can take actions in any order. For example, you could move a ranged character a few hexes towards an enemy, shoot, and then move back again.
- CHARACTER ACTIONS – The icons at the bottom of each character’s portrait highlight which action points are available to that character. The red diamond represents the Attack action. The green dot represents Movement points. The number displayed on the Movement dot shows how many hexes a character can still move.
- SHIELDS – Shields can block a certain amount of damage every turn. Unless a skill states otherwise, shield damage does not overflow to the character’s Health. Some attacks will be deflected entirely by shields, which means the target will not even lose the shield.
- ARCHERY – Ranged attacks require a clear line of sight to your target, unobstructed by enemies or allies. If an enemy is adjacent to the cover, you cannot target them from a wide angle in front of that cover.
- FOCUS – Focus is unique to Light Infantry characters. Many of the skills of this class cost Focus to activate, and that Focus is spent when these skills are used.
- ARMOR – Armor is displayed as gold bars at the end of a character’s Health bar. Every bar of Armour reduces Health damage taken by 1 point.
- COVER – If a character is adjacent to cover, they are protected from attacks within a 100-degree cone from the other side. Cover blocks attack completely – you’re either in cover, or you’re not.
- ATTACK OF OPPORTUNITY – If you move out of a hex that is adjacent to an enemy wielding a melee weapon, they will get an Attack of Opportunity. Watch for a red arrow along your path to see if you’ll get attacked. Each character can make 1 Attack of Opportunity per turn.
- GLANCING BLOWS – Weapons can deal one of three different types of damage: Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning. Armour and helmets grant resistance against some of these damage types. Whenever a character is hurt, their resistances determine the percentage chance that the attack is reduced to a glancing blow.
Any status effects applied to a character will show up in their tooltip. The number indicates the remaining duration in combat rounds, whilst the bars indicate how severe the effect is.
- UPGRADING ITEMS – You can upgrade your favorite items, so they keep up with scaling enemy levels. Upgrading an existing item works a lot like crafting a new one, except that it happens instantly. The upgraded item’s stats will be improved, but the weapon’s skills will remain the same.
- RECRUITING CENTURIONS – When recruiting centurions for your legion, pay attention to their class and their command specialization (the diamond-shaped perk). Each battle may be suited for a centurion with a particular class or command specialization.
- CRAFTING – The Armoury is where you can craft new equipment or tactical items and upgrade or modify existing equipment.
- CHOOSING YOUR COMMANDER – The first step of a battle is to choose which centurion should command it. Different outcomes are predicted for each centurion based on their class and their command specialization. Make your choice based on these predictions.
- STRATAGEMS – Each phase of a battle starts with the selection of a stratagem. When you hover over a stratagem, its predicted effects will be shown on the numbers in the top bar and on the strength bar.
- WORLD MAP – The world map shows all the locations you’ll be traveling between known.
- PAUSING – Click the Play button or Space Bar to unpause time. Characters and legions only move when time is passing, but you do not have to move to pass the time.
Playstyle Guide: Aggro vs. Defence
- Depends on your strategy characters and their classes.
- Keep an eye on the scatter threshold, which is marked by a little skull icon on the strength bar. One of your main goals is to reduce the enemy strength beneath that threshold; otherwise, the surviving troops will retreat and join the nearest allied army. Adjust your strategy accordingly. Play more safely when you’ve reduced the enemy strength and vice versa if the scattering threshold is still above the recommended limit.
- If you have a ton of money, then go aggro because you have enough to replenish your manpower. Otherwise, always pick the defensive because recruiting new soldiers is a costly affair.
- Morale is an important aspect of battles. Prioritize it until you reach the cap (100). Even consider sacrificing people for morale.
What exactly do the legion aggression and defense stats do?
Aggression increases the amount of manpower the enemy loses from challenges. Defense reduces how much manpower you lose from challenges in the Legion Battle. So in the Attrition/Attack/Defense pop-ups during Legion Battle, the manpower values in those are modified by aggression/defense.
Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks
- Most random encounters and a few of the more nasty random world map events cannot happen when your party is inside regions that you control.
- Are you tired of getting glancing blows? Try flanking your enemies to reduce all their Resistances to 0, guaranteeing that your attacks will deal full damage.
- You can change the difficulty settings during the game; you can even change them in the middle of combat, although not all changes will immediately take effect. Difficulty only modifies the Army Strength of enemy armies. Loot from Legion Battles gets more abundant as your centurions unlock more specializations and as you unlock loot-related stratagems.
- Once you’ve established your tent in the camp, you can either spend resources to replenish the charges on your tactical items or assign a praetorian to that tent to earn free replenishes. The maximum number of free replenishes you can accumulate at one time is determined by the building’s upgrade level.
- Try playing around with different weapon skill combinations to see what suits your playstyle best.
- Don’t forget to use tactical items. They can be used without spending action points and are often powerful enough to turn the tide of combat. Once crafted, you can easily replenish their spent charges in your tent.
- The difference between an attack and a defense is that if your commander succeeds at an attack, something good will happen (the enemy will lose manpower or morale, or you’ll get more loot, etc.), but nothing will happen if you fail. On the other hand, if your commander succeeds at a defense, nothing will happen, but if they fail, you will lose something (usually manpower but can also be morale, loot, etc.)
- You unlock more color schemes as you play through the game, and they carry over between playthroughs. If you’re looking for a white scheme with red accents, all I’ll say is make sure you don’t skip any side quests.
- You’re free to roam the world map as much as you please, but you only have access to one region at a time, so once you leave Greece, you’re never coming back to Greece. So be careful.
- Keep an eye on which resource is abundant at a certain market and which is scarce. Resources lose value while they are abundant and become more valuable when scarce. The abundance and scarcity at a given market change weekly.
- Keep a close eye on the health of your praetorians while you travel. Untreated injuries may deteriorate and ultimately kill a character.
- After the battle, all incapacitated characters will be able to stand again. The Revive skill is the only way to get an incapacitated character back on their feet. It can be found on Row 3 of the Triarius’ Medic skill tree.
- Only bows are affected by accuracy. Accuracy also only affects the maximum range and the range at which the bow damage falloff starts to occur.
- Make sure to keep your rations well-stocked while traveling, as your praetorians respond poorly to starvation.
- You’ll have quite a few battles in the game, and they’re not supposed to be your main source of resources – the loot is just a little bonus thing and something you can shoot for maximizing based on your stratagem choices and upgrades. Once you’ve conquered a region on the world map, specific legion missions become available for you, which you can use to grind resources if you’d like (e.g., send the legion to collect tribute from the locals).
- Hold down Left Ctrl to compare items.
- Unarmed damage scales purely based on your level and on higher levels; you also unlock new unarmed skills based on your class. There are no player-specific unarmed skills; the player only gets their class skills.
- The dagger is the only one-handed item that can go into both hands. You can also equip a dagger in your off-hand in the secondary weapon set.
- Take Your Time. War can take years. There’s no time limit, so go ahead and take as much time as you’d like to explore the world map, craft items, and talk to people. What kind of terribly designed game would put a time limit on that?
- Treating your praetorians in camp does not cost medicine. You can treat up to three characters at a time there.
Expeditions: Rome has its ups and downs. It’s a collection of lots of different game mechanics, and although the developers managed to pull it off and create a truly impressive game, there are times when I felt some of the features to be incomplete or straight out boring and half-baked.
I would suggest you take your time with the tutorial phase and learn everything there is because, at times, it becomes a tad overwhelming.
The combat system is great, and every encounter taught me something new. However, the legion mechanic seemed kind of boring, and I would much rather prefer an RTS-type approach, but that would have made the game even more complicated and harder to balance. But they could have made it a little better because, as of now, the only thing that is challenging is the resource management factor, which gets old quickly.
However, there is plenty of in-game content to explore, so rest assured you will have a good time.