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Conquest - Medieval Realms Review

Game Name: Conquest – Medieval Realms
Developer: Illustrious Software (published by Slitherine)
Cost: £12
Release Date: Out Now!

Review by Andy Yates
Conquest is a medieval war-based board game in pc game form. Obviously people think of “Risk” when they see games like this and they wouldn’t be far wrong. Compared to most hex based tactical games it has some very different game mechanics that make it both refreshing but also frustrating at times.

Movement within your controlled area of the board is unlimited for your soldiers. They can freely move wherever they like but can only invade one unit into enemy territory.

Combat is based on 2 main concepts. There are unit Levels (up to 3) and then a rock-paper-scissors arrangement between the 3 unit types. Basically this means that Ranged units beat Pike-men, Pike-men beat Cavalry and Cavalry beat ranged units. It’s a simple and effective system, the best part being that there are no random numbers, you’re free to think in definite terms about what will beat what.

Resource management features quite heavily in Conquest, especially due to units having upkeep costs. So don’t go building hundreds of units in your first turn! One part that I didn’t get on with was that if your upkeep happens to be too high, the next turn you could loose all of your units rather than just one or two that you can’t support. I lost my whole army several times when playing which was a little frustrating. To try and counter this you can build markets and mines that provide you with more capital each turn.

To build other unit types other than pike-men you’ll need to build archery ranges (on forest tiles only) for Ranged units and stables for Cavalry units.

There are several historic battles to participate in, such as the 100 years war. I actually found the history snippets quite interesting about this, having no prior knowledge about that war. However it didn’t really give me much motivation for the battles other than the tactical challenge presented.

To start with I had to tone down the computer AI difficulty level as I was completely rubbish! However after a while I was able to hold my own far better, making more succinct decisions about placements and new unit choices. Each level felt like there was a particular method required to beat it. Mostly these tactics rely on reducing the enemy expansion and building the right amount of markets to keep the cash-flow going. Finding a balance between was tricky at times.

My major complaint with Conquest would be the lack of a true tutorial, something to take you through an easy battle to show you the ropes. Once you’ve done some experimenting you get the hang of it sure, but this would have helped me a great deal to start with.

If you’re into this kind of strategy game then this is a no-brainer, it’s neat and challenging and will be right up your street. If you’ve never tried more traditional strategy games and when someone says “tactics” you immediately think of Star Craft, then at least give the demo of this a go, it’ll broaden your horizons!

Score: 69 out of 100

Final words: Neat, tidy and challenging.

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