One of the unique mechanics in Anno 1800 is its Expeditions. These are miniature choose-you-own-adventure stories where players send one of their ships across the oceans pursuing various kinds of treasure. These include rare animals for your zoo, artefacts for your museum, or recovered booty from plundering pirates.
Successfully preparing a ship for an expedition can be quite tricky, however. Expeditions revolve around a special mechanic called Morale, which has a surprising amount of depth layered it that isn’t very well explained by the game. With this in mind, we’ve created a guide to help you ensure that your expeditions return safely home.
Check out our Anno 1800 tips (opens in new tab) if you need more help with the game, especially when it comes to money making and how production lines work.
How morale works in Anno 1800
Morale is essentially the health bar for your expedition. Each ship can embark on a new adventure with a potential maximum of 100 morale. The key word here is “potential” as there are many different factors that can influence how much Morale your ship leaves port with. Ensuring you have enough Morale for an expedition to succeed can be a challenge.
Let’s briefly go over how Morale works. Once your ship has left port, it will travel on its own for a while, and you can tend to other matters in your city and wider empire. Every so often, however, you’ll receive a notification that your expedition requires attention.
Clicking on the notification will transport you to a new screen, where a random event will play out offering multiple choices to resolve it. It could be that one of your crewmates has threatened to mutiny, or that your crew needs to decide whether to sail upriver into the jungle, or disembark and continue on foot.
There are many different elements that can influence these choices, but ultimately your chosen approach will either succeed or fail. Success may result in a morale boost and possibly a more specific reward (like a new item) while failure will likely (but not always) trigger a morale drop.
You’ll need to face several of these challenges before your expedition reaches its destination. If the ship’s morale reaches zero before this occurs, the ship and everything on it will be lost to the waves.
Types of expeditions, difficulty, and choosing the right ship
There are four types of expedition; zoological, archaeological, pirate hunt, and rescue. Structurally they’re the same, but they offer very different rewards. Zoological expeditions provide animals for your zoo, while archaeological expeditions grant artefacts for your museum. Rescue missions reward you with specialists who provide bonuses for various aspects of your Empire (including expeditions). Lastly, pirate hunts offer a variety of rewards, from coins to goods to special items.
Alongside the different categories, all expeditions have three levels of difficulty. These affect the kinds of challenges you’ll be faced with, the level of reward that you receive if you complete it, and crucially, the starting morale level of your ship. Easier expeditions mean you start with higher morale, while harder expeditions will drastically reduce the base morale level.
Fortunately, there are ways to even the odds. The most straightforward is by choosing the right ship. In general, the larger and more technologically advanced a ship is, the higher morale it will have. So a ship-of-the-line will have a higher base morale than a Frigate will, while a Battle Cruiser will have a higher morale than a Ship-of-the-Line.
A ship sails on its stomach in Anno 1800
Once you’ve picked your ship, you need to start stocking it for the expedition. Each ship type can carry several kings of goods and several special items. Again, larger ships can carry more goods, and therefore stand a better chance of succeeding in their mission.
During preparation, the first thing you want to do is ensure one food item is on-board, so it can be consumed as Extra Rations. After each event your expedition encounters, you will get three choices; consume rations and continue, continue without consuming rations, or return home. If you continue without consuming rations, you will receive a 10-point morale drop. If you have extra rations, however, the morale drop will be greatly reduced.
As for what rations you should stock, any food will function. However, each food type can also provide a boost to your ship’s base morale, and the size of that boost differs for each food type. Rum, for example, provides a bigger morale boost than potatoes, while canned food provides a bigger boost than Rum.
On top of that, some more luxurious rations will also provide an additional morale boost for every 50 tons you stock in the ship. You can check out this Anno Wiki for a full breakdown of how rations boost morale, but good ones to fill your ship’s hold with include Rum, Schnapps, Champagne, and Cigars.
How skills work
Alongside general morale, the other thing you must consider when preparing for an expedition is skills. When preparing for an expedition, you’ll notice four icons lined up at the top of the screen. These represent the skills that are the most likely to come up during your expedition events (N.B, there are more than four skills overall, but the game picks a handful of key skills per expedition). The better you equip your ship with goods and items that reflect these skills, the higher a chance of success you will have when making your event choices.
There are a couple of ways you can approach this. As well as providing a morale boost, some Extra Rations also provide a skills boost. Bread and Flour, for example, are not great morale boosters, but they do provide a significant boost to the Faith skill. Champagne, on the other hand, is an excellent Diplomacy aid, because what better way to placate a hostile Amazonian tribe than with a nice glass of bubbly? Depending on the expedition type, you might need to prepare your ship with added Naval Power, Medicine, Accuracy, Crafting, Hunting, Force, and others.
Alongside goods, you can also equip ships with items and specialists which also provide boosts to skills. An adventurer, for example, might provide a bonus to your zoological expeditions, while having a Doctor on your ship will obviously increase your Medicine skill. Specialists can be acquired via expeditions as already mentioned, but if you build a Tourist Pier, from time to time specialists will arrive on it, and you can recruit them into your charge for free.
Ideally, you want to try to cover all of the skills mentioned at the top of the screen. If you can’t, however, then focus on the most likely ones to occur. Remember that larger ships have more cargo space, enabling you to cover a wider range of needs. Finally, harder expeditions will significantly reduce the bonuses that special goods and equipment provide. Even if you stock your best ship with the best rations and hire the best specialists, level 3 expeditions might still prove a challenge!