My Thoughts While Playing Expeditions Conquistador

8 thoughts on “My Thoughts While Playing Expeditions Conquistador

  1. Esteban is only recruitable for people who supported the Kickstarter.
    I think Isabela is always traumatized, as I got to her with 7 days remaining and she still got the trait. I’m not sure what it means.

  2. Kjuba:
    Well, interesting, i did not realised that you can finish chapter 1 even when you are defeated…wow :D
    I think you cannot recruit Esteban, he will say, that he is broken man…
    Finished game as with anti-aztek coalition, tried at seccond playtrough as Aztek Ally, but due to bug i was not able to finish game (traped in aztec city, and cannot click on the building :( ) Well still great game i must say!

  3. I just finished playing through the introductory 10 hour section of the game. I have to say it was a harrowing experience to say the least.

    I picked my team based on the idea of being idealists (both open-minded and pious idealists). I thought to myself, I’ll be a charming spanish diplomatic explorer. And then I clicked Ironman.

    You know those Taino that you managed to convince to leave the old temple. Well I killed them, my curiosity got the better of me in exploring the dialogue tree and the diplomacy check got too hard for me to succeed. So as my peaceful, open-minded idealists stand over the corpses of a dozen or so civilian natives I think, “should I stop here and restart?” But that defeats the point of Ironman right?

    So I continue.on, vowing that such travesties will not occur again. Then I get ambushed, I try to scare off the natives with a volley of fire. Half of them run, the other half, now vastly out numbered, run straight into our waiting polearms.

    I defeat Esteban, but not realizing he could join me and now having a thoroughly traumatized and increasingly cynical party – I chop off his head. Isabella is traumatized either way – I think she actually gets the trait when you wait to long to intervene.

    Then I wake up in the night to people stealing my stuff, I don’t wait to find out who. The combat screen loads, I have 6 armed warriors fighting 10 terrified native civilians. It’s a massacre.

    By this point I feel that I’m leading a ravaged group. I have high leadership so no mutinies yet, but all we’ve seen since coming to this beautiful island is death and destruction.

    I go for the showdown against Lilandra. Defending the governor’s mansion I only notice half the troops arrayed against me and plan accordingly. My troops are grizzled veterans at this point but can’t make up for that vast a tactical blunder. I lose and get the chance to regroup. The true showdown starts well. I’m ploughing through her troops with my peaceful, altruistic soldiers. Then it happens. I misclick. My core soldier runs by three people triggering attacks of opportunity each time.

    I lose. I’m shown clemency and me and my expedition are allowed to live. I find Isabella crying over the corpse of the captain of the guard. He had surrendered and they slit his throat in front of her.

    I imagine this expedition then going on to the New World. They were not the same people who arrived on that island. I click out the game and feel a sudden need for a shower.

    I think I’ll stick at that play-through, broken soldiers and all, from a role-playing perspective it only adds flavour, bleak flavour, but flavour.

    That and I’m pretty loaded for my start in the New World despite my defeat – mostly from looting the spanish rebels who pillaged the natives.

  4. “WHAT? Did this game offer me slaves? Like, actual slaves that were kidnapped from Africa after the native slaves had been worked to death? Holy hell does that leave a bad taste in my mouth! Thank god it gives me the option to take paid servants. But this game seriously lets me simulate slave-owning. Just having the option is disgusting.”

    Seriously what kind of retarded self-righteous PC crap is that?
    The game has some historical accuracy, and that offends you?

    How about having racist characters, that doesn’t offend?
    Or the religious zealots?
    Or all the killing?
    Not to ignore the killing of natives?

    Maybe you would prefer cartoon animals hugging each other instead.

    I think it’s great you have some historical accuracy.
    And I think it is much more offensive to leave things like slaves out of a game, that takes place in a setting where it is relevant.
    Ignoring historical truth.

    1. The point of this post was more to lay out a highlight reel of my stream of consciousness as I remembered the experience, not necessarily an articulate criticism of the game’s politics. That said, my reaction was not rooted in being offended; it was from the weight of the first moral choice the game offers. Before the game asks anything of the player, it asks whether it wants to exploit the labour or people whose labour was actually exploited in the real world–and not very long ago. The passage you quote is more my shock at the tone the game set. In fact, I never once said that I was offended by the content, only that I was shocked by it. The point of the then incomplete game, as I understand it, was and is to put the player in a position of undeserved and unjust power to see what they will do with it: the point of the game is for the player to observe how they will behave in a system that expects them to abuse other people.

      Using the kind power Expeditions Conquistador gives you to own slaves is disgusting. That’s the point the game is illustrating by presenting that choice as one of the first forms of interacting with its world.

      Furthermore, Expeditions Conquistador is not an historically accurate game. The game allows the player character to be a woman. While women absolutely played a role in the settlement of the New World, it was not typically as military leaders. The game hardly remarks upon a commander leading an entirely female company of soldiers. Which is a good thing, it improves the experience of the game and invites in other players to write themselves into the narrative (which, again, is necessary to achieving the game’s desired effect) but it breaks from history. But that’s the point of the game. What makes Expeditions Conquistador so intriguing is that it demands that you take your modern understanding of history and apply it to an historical massacre to see whether you, the player in all your 21st century wisdom, can fix history. That the answer seems to be “you can’t” is very potent.

      I never asked that slaves be removed from the game, it just struck me like a blow to the head that a video game would be so nonchalant in asking me to participate in one of history’s greatest injustices. And while I do believe that cartoon animals hugging is just as valid a form of expression, I don’t necessarily prefer it to Expeditions Conquistador or what Expeditions Conquistador does.

      Finally, the version of the game I played was incomplete and therefore my interpretation of the game is incomplete. The lingering issue I had with the game was that it did not leave me with a sense that it was going to solve its problematic elements. It may be the the game’s intention not to wrap everything up for me. I think someone is well within their reason to be offended by Expeditions Conquistador, but I wasn’t (of course, I’m not personally associated with the game’s targets).

      Thanks for the comment.

      1. Just a little addition to your reply , though I did think you reaction to the optional slavery was an overreaction. Just how things were back then, and it did take a while for most countries to figure out that slavery was legitimately inhuman no matter who was being enslaved.

        Rather, my point was to address your comment of ‘no women conquistadors’. A quick google search shows, while uncommon, there were a couple women who served in military roles in the 1500s, them being Inés Suárez, María Estrada, and Catalina de Erauso (though to be fair, Erauso did pretended to be a man). By no means is Conquistador absolutely accurate, but it aims for as closely accurate as possible while still allowing enough creative license for a ‘what-if’ story. Thus having a female leader isn’t that huge of a history breaker (though I concede that it would be quite unbelievable to have an entire crew of only women…which would be inadvisable given the radically different personality traits you’d have to manage on a women-only team)

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