How Hard is Expeditions: Rome?
I don't know about you, but whenever I think about strategy games my mind immediately jumps to "hard". I don't know if that's just my brain's way of letting me know it thinks I'm dumb, or if that's a common thought, but regardless, Expeditions: Rome is a massive game, with tons of content. And yes, the strategy tag. My wife was clearly as intimidated by the game as I was and it led me to think: How hard is it?
Expeditions: Rome's Gameplay
Expeditions: Rome has a lot of complex mechanics incorporated that are meant to make the game more in-depth and full of content. Although it does a wonderful job at doing both of these things, it also does a perfect job at intimidating new players.
The game has incorporated two different forms of combat: Small-scale combat in which players take control of the characters and must meet a certain objective to finish it, and legion-wide combat in which players will have to make choices from select cards that will choose how the entire legion reacts in four different battle phases.
Small-scale combat is surprisingly in-depth with all of the different builds and tactics players can employ. With four different classes, each with three different subclasses, along with weapons that have randomised skills and tons of combinations, it can prove quite a truckload of decisions to make on how to approach each combat scenario. That is especially true when considering that up to six different characters can be taken into these battles.
Legion-scale battles include selecting cards each with their benefits and downfalls, which decides how many members of your army as well as how many of your commanders survive.
Aside from combat, Expeditions: Rome has a conquering system in which players will be able to attack enemy settlements, being tasked to appease that particular sector through a specific quest, taking control of every resource present, and making sure to manage the market with the abundance and scarcity of items.
How hard is it?
Although the legion-scale combat sounds like the most threatening aspect of the bunch, the game readily shows the player how each of the cards will affect the entire battle, showing which numbers will rise and fall. Playing smart and keeping the legion powerful enough isn't difficult, and players are capable of looking at the enemy legion's power and comparing it to their own to decide whether they should or shouldn't attack.
Small-scale battles can be a bit more complex with the mountain of options present for the player, making it a bit more staggering due to how many different characters can be brought in, being forced to keep in mind all of the weapon skills, making sure that each character has a good enough build for combat, and keeping in mind how some attacks will affect the battle, such as having the archer shoot at an enemy ready with a shield; this might sound scary, but the game's clean HUD makes sure that all of the information is readily displayed. Although I still struggle with keeping some of my less essential characters battle-ready, I haven't encountered a scenario in which I couldn't win.
Even if players should make tons of mistakes, the game has a manual save feature that can be abused infinitely, making sure that you can reload whenever you make the wrong decision. And although the game can be hard due to the several difficulty options (six in total), I have been breezing through the game at normal difficulty whilst having exactly zero strategy game knowledge.
Last, but certainly not least, resource management was scary to me at first. However, once I understood which items were better for trading and which were more crucial to keep on my person at any given moment, I was capable of getting filthy rich and not have to worry about that aspect any further. The secret mostly lies in fighting whenever your legion is ready, and you should be stocking up on some of the most difficult resources to get your hands on: slaves. Along with that, making sure to keep an eye peeled for the repeatable quests that appear, some of which have very good deals that should build up any of your resources in the blink of an eye.
Overall, Expeditions: Rome is far more complex when put on paper. The clean and intuitive HUD shows the results of everything that will happen in the battle, taking away the stressful part of having to focus on micromanaging every little aspect of the fight. If you're intrigued, but want to make sure you make as few mistakes as possible, make sure to check out my tips & tricks articles where I go in-depth on what mistakes I made, and how to avoid them.