Renowned Explorers expansion adventuring to Indonesia

Cheery globetrotting adventure Renowned Explorers: International Society [official site] will visit Indonesia in its next expansion on May 10th, developers Abbey Games have announced. The Emperor’s Challenge will see The International Society’s explorers adventuring across the Indonesian archipelago to find a missing person, bolstered by four new characters. It’ll also add a new mode, the eponymous Emperor’s Challenge, where players race to complete specific objectives and best a rival.

Here’s what Abbey Games say about the new mode:

“Instead of aiming for collecting as much renown as possible, in this expansion, you can also choose to play the game in a new mode called ‘The Emperor’s Challenge’. In this mode, emperor Guāngxù of China challenges you and your rival Rivaleux to complete a wide variety of objectives for him. In return, he’ll reward you with just as varied a set of porcelain awards. The explorer who claims the most rewards from the emperor by the end of the game, either you or Rivaleux, wins!”

The expansion’s Steam page says more about the new expedition and new characters, and these moving pictures show some of it all:

For those who’ve not played Renowned Explorers, here are some of Adam’s words:

“In a just world, this game would have found a huge audience and plenty of critics willing to write opinion pieces about its wonderfully inventive and thoughtful combat system. I should call it an encounter system really because fisticuffs and firefights are rarely (if ever) necessary. Encounters are all about controlling the mood of your party and the creatures or people that they come into contact with. You might be able to befriend a bully or embarrass an assailant.

“As well as providing non-violent solutions, this system allows for a diverse set of skills and a pleasing back-and-forth during encounters, which often demand careful attention to the knock-on effects of any changes to the overall mood. Irritate somebody too much and all the charm in the world won’t go very far, whereas if you attempt to mollify a furious villain and make no progress, you might have weakened your own hand when it comes to threats and bluster.”

Good stuff!


  1. LearningToSmile says:

    I love the concept of the game, the characters, and some particular mechanics, but the core gameplay loop was just a chore for me. I’m still glad it found enough success to warrant an expansion, I’m sure a lot of people will be happy to have more of it.

    • mgardner says:

      Agreed! Personally, I enjoy everything except the combat – it is so repetitive, takes too long, and can quickly (and unexpectedly) turn sour and end the game. But nearly everything else is delightful – the characters, story snippets, artifact hunts, advancement, etc are great.

  2. Gothnak says:

    I got this in the latest Humble Bundle and have been enjoying it. Finished it 3 or 4 times now. I must admit, i’m still having problems working out which things to do on the upgrade tree as most of the studying/campaigning etc between missions seems a little low reward, but the actual adventures are a lot of fun.

    • DragonDai says:

      Gothnak, your struggles were a little vague, but I believe you’re having issues deciding what to spend your resources on inbetween missions/how to gear your team/etc, yeah?

      If that’s the case (or for anyone else struggling with this system if that’s not the case), here are some simple, spoiler free tips to get you headed in the right direction.

      1.) Traits are super important. These are the biggest factor on your % chance to succeed at the Wheel on adventures, but they often open up MUCH more lucrative/safe side routes you’d never learn about if you didn’t have them.

      2.) What specific aspect of a trait you have is usually irrelevant. The difference between Occult and Excavation, both aspects of the Archeology trait, is almost certainly meaningless. There are SUPER rare occasions where having a specific aspect will give you extra bonuses, but these are so few and far between it’s not worth worrying about them.

      3. Duplicate aspects are worthless if they are on the same character and duplicate Traits on multiple characters are almost always worthless too. If you already have the Excavation aspect of Archeology on one guy, don’t give that guy an item that gives him Excavation. That’s a waste. You almost certainly don’t need anyone else on your team with Archeology either, in this example.

      4. The more aspects of a Trait you have, the better, at least until 4 and usually until 6. Anything above 6 is still useful, but drastically less so, and often you can get away with only 4 (the big exception to this is some bonuses specifically refer to 3/6 or 4/6 of a Trait…so if you have a bonus like that, 6 is good, otherwise, 4 is fine).

      5. Diversity of Traits among your team is good, but random diversity is bad. Some Traits go better together than other Traits. Roughly, these groupings correspond to the various Challenge icons you’ll find on the map. The little Leaf is a Nature Challenege and will ALWAYS check Naturalist, Athletic, or Survival. So, again roughly, having these three Traits at 4+ means that if you land on a Nature Challenge your chances of success are good. This can be a good guide to how to “spec” your party. Pick two challenge types and get all those skills. Avoid the other two types as best as possible.

      6. Another good way to figure out how to “spec” your parties Traits is to decide which of the three resources (Gold, Status, or Research) you want to specialize in. Then, look at the various Expeditions available to you and find the ones that say they’ll give you lots of that resource. Finally, in the Expadition’s description, it’ll tell you what kind of Traits are useful there. “Spec” your party around those descriptions.

      7. There are a couple of Traits I try to always have in every party. These are Archeology and Tactician. Archeology seems to come up ALL the time, and while Tactician doesn’t come up a ton in Wheels, it’s very useful for giving you a buff before combat for being Tactically Prepared. This buff gets bigger the more aspects of Tactician you have. Also, if you’re going to Egypt, have a minimum of 4 ranks of Archeology and Survival or you’ll REALLY hate life. That’s the spoileriest this post is getting.

      8. Lastly, don’t neglect your offensive and defensive gear. Traits are nice, but if you can’t take a hit or sweet talk your way out of a fight cause your Speech or Armor or something is too low, that’s a massive, game ending problem. It’s fine to want all the Trinkets for more Traits, just don’t neglect your offensive and defensive gear too hard. The actual amount of non-Trinket gear you need to buy varies wildly depending on your group comp, so while you’re learning, just try to upgrade as you go.

      Anyway, hope that helps. If you have more specific questions about anything, just ask! :)


  3. teije says:

    Quite an enjoyable and inventive game. I dip back into it every several months for a couple games, will pick this up.

  4. caff says:

    I really enjoyed playing Renowned Explorers on the lowest difficulty setting. Yes, this might not be the proper way to play it, but it was great fun and really opened up the game for me.

    I’d recommend this for anyone who bounced off it the first time, or is coming into it fresh.