At first, Renowned Explorers: International Society comes on a bit strong. There’s an extensive amount of information given that builds the foundation of the gameplay, which most of it kind of fumbled around in my brain and then vanished minutes later. The tutorial, though helpful, seemed to drag on and had me questioning, “When do I actually get to click past all of this reading and collect some treasure?” I will admit, I did have mixed feelings about Renowned Explorers at first, but as soon as the ball got rolling, I was hooked. I wanted my treasure hunters to be the best treasure hunters there ever was.
Renowned Explorers: More to Explore is the latest expansion to the Renowned Explorers: International Society, revealing new expeditions as well as the Campfire feature. Though simplistic, the Campfire is actually a wonderful addition to Renowned Explorers, for there’s nothing I enjoy more than getting free perks just from choosing one of four cards I randomly obtained by finishing a campaign. Okay, so what is this adventure game all about?
Renowned Explorers, developed by Abbey Games, is a strategy adventure game offering a diverse set of skilled voyagers that must use their unique abilities to become the most prestigious explorer. Two modes are given to choose from: Discovery Mode and Adventure Mode. Discovery Mode is meant for beginners while Adventure Mode is typically for the more hardcore treasure hunters, for once you run out of Resolve (which are basically lives), the game is lost and there is no redemption.
Since I didn’t really have the slightest idea what I was up against, I took the easy road so I could experience Renowned Explorers for all it was before failing miserably. I began by choosing my three voyagers at random – one captain and two crew members. Sure, maybe Agatha was pretty old, but she was brilliant and knew how to handle even the most stubborn people. I came to realize that these character traits came in handy when choosing my crew members due to the variety of encounters I stumbled upon.
Like I had previously mentioned, there is a lot of material to take in which can be confusing at first, but it’s all incredibly useful. The entirety of my victory depended on how much Renown I gained, which was possessed through various treasures found randomly during my journey or assets attained by concluding an expedition.
The new areas available to visit invited me more into the gameplay, because duh, new is always exciting. With various places to choose from, I had my pick of where I wanted to put my strategic skills to the test. Each area offered their own difficulty and unique assets, and being as indecisive as I am, it was overwhelming at times deciding whether I wanted to be lazy or challenge myself.
Let’s be real, a challenge is always more invigorating.
The best feature of Renowned Explorers revolves around how the crew members’ personalities and moods reflect how conflicts are solved throughout the various expeditions. During an encounter, players are given the option to be aggressive, friendly, or devious. My personal favorite is being a conniving soul and torturing my opponents with insults to get what I want. Okay, so maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s better than slaughtering them, right?
It’s actually pretty cool, because before the encounter even begins, I was presented with information regarding what each strategy would result in. For example, being devious usually led to acquiring a boat load of Status points, which were initially building blocks to my campaign and altered my reputation.
In addition to acquiring Status, enhancing other economic factors is very important. Insight, Gold, and Research also became significant in my adventure, and collecting handfuls of these throughout each expedition would ultimately boost my Renown. Thought the amount achieved wasn’t typically substantial, every little bit helped along the way, for attaining the most Renown would crown me the most triumphant treasurer of all.
Additionally, the humor that was present in Renowned Explorers made the extensive amount of reading that had to be done a bit more enjoyable. The dialogue was colorful and the decision to sometimes be “mean” or “friendly” established some interesting reactions. Another key factor was building a reputation based on how I saw fit to claim the title of a victorious treasurer. Fame is the goal, but being a Manipulator, Diplomat, or anything I wanted to be was based entirely on my decisions.
Unfortunately, my first playthrough didn’t result with me as a champion, but I did not cry. I wasn’t so heartbroken discovering I unlocked more stories for the Campfire as well as other additional features that would help me prosper in future voyages. That’s what’s so great about Renowned Explorers – the adventures aren’t incredibly lengthy and boring and the outcomes are different every time. The possibilities are almost endless, which keeps me coming back for more. Though Renowned Explorers isn’t for everyone and often lacks thrill, it offers a unique experience unlike any other.