Rob Zacny

Episode 394: Expeditions: Vikings

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Three Moves Ahead 394:

Three Moves Ahead 394

Expeditions: Vikings
When is a Viking not a Viking? When he's a farmer. Or a trader, maybe? Or maybe just a really sad dude that's down on himself. Rob and Troy "How hard can it be to build a farm, guys?" Goodfellow talk about Logic Artists' Expedition: Vikings and how there's a good game in there, if you can just pillage it out.

Expeditions: Vikings, Expeditions: Conquistadors


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Very good episode and podcast. Thanks for your specialized point of view on strategy games. 

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I put something like 60 hours into Expeditions: Conquistadors, which I have to say I really enjoyed, limitations and all.


However from this podcast I'm actually a little disappointed about Vikings. It sounds like it's basically the same game with almost the same structure - it doesn't sound like there is a lot of innovation going on. There was a massive "prologue" section in Conquistadors too - you spent the first 10-15 hours or so messing around on Cuba (where a corrupt local governor impounds your ship) before you get to head to South America. Mind you calling it a "prologue" is something of a disservice if I'm honest, it was essentially a game that had two settings - one section in Cuba, the other in Latin America & the Aztec Empire. 


I have to say though it does sound like there hasn't been much development of the Vikings over Conquistadors - the same balancing of you merry band of fellow travelers and their (either) outright capitalist racism slavery values, or their remarkably visionary views of liberal democracy and equality (given the times these games are set in) It's not that that really matters I guess, but many of the choices in Conquistadors were entirely arbitrary - you were going to upset someone no matter what you did. In the end you ended up sometimes being a nice, generous invader - helping the locals and treating them as equals, or other times being the raping pillaging invader so that you didn't lose that star hunter / musketeer, the only person in your expedition who could hit anything from range but was unfortunately a racist idiot. It took any immediacy from your decision making and ended up being more like a moral game of tetris - trying to act just to balance the different views of your expedition so nobody left, rather than role play who you wanted to be (after all, why compromise your expedition members if it leaves you materially worse off in game and left at a distinct disadvantage?)


The combat in the game was always one of it's strongest point though - solid TBS although there were some scenarios I could never figure out how to beat in Conquistadors (I remember an ambush in a city - it was impossible to cover your retreat without being forced to split you forces, which just lead to you being over run, and others that were comically easy - even those camp ambushes happened with depressing regularity, on the same map, with the same enemies and an optimal strategy to defeat your attackers (once you'd figured it out) They even spawned in the same places each time............


Not sure what I think about Vikings now - probably a humble bundle purchase if I'm honest then. 

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The game (I haven't played since it was recently patched to 1.0.4) has some UI issues and some triggering issues, which I don't find too severe.


In the cast there was mention of having to slaughter an endless stream of campers in order to get some rest.  Y'all may know this, but there is a non-lethal button on the right hand end of the square buttons on the bottom.  It defies logic a bit (how are you going to use non-lethal burning arrows) but it is a helpful option for role play purposes. It presents one of those UI issues. I *think* that when the button is highlighted, the helpful skull icon means that lethality is enabled.


I get the sense that the game sometimes takes control of that button w/o signaling that it has.  A mission which would logically be non-lethal  had non-lethal effect with a glowing grinning skull.  Iconography that shows that the choice has been taken away from you would be helpful.


As far as triggering issues, I went to look for the well in the woods (the thrall quest) to the southeast of your town, camped overnight in the campsite, and nothing happened.  After I went back to town I ran into the motherly trainer...  a short chat later and I could see the icon on the strategic map.   I may have missed a quest marker which told me that the thrall quest was dependant on talking with the trainer.


Perhaps someone can tell me of something I'm missing...   I was in the the aforementioned woods, ran into a couple of groups of baddies.   At the end of those battles there were dead people on the ground, but also a number of incapacitated people.   I didn't seem to be able to interact with them after looting them.... either to explicitly let them go or kill them or enthrall them.   Are those options available to me w/o being explicitly programmed into the quest (as it is for *yet another* encounter in those woods).


*quick edit* "baddies" in the game context... antagonists.


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