Gameday First Play – Conquest of the Empire
A war game on the biggest board I have ever seen in a game…
Also, I didn’t get to play Purple.
In this game you are one of many Roman generals vying for power in Imperial Rome, employing legions, cavalry, and catapults to reach your objectives.
This game has two rules sets including a basic set which I’m told works similar to Risk but we played the more advanced rules which are apparently based on Struggle of Empires which was also designed by Martin Wallace.
First off, this game looks amazing. The pieces, although VERY bright and colourful look pretty nice for this type of game. the board is beautiful if not HUGE.
After the initial disappointment of not getting to play Purple or Yellow (My two fave colours to play in that order) I settled down to my Green Army.
Like a lot of games, the turns have a number of phases (in this case 6) with one of those phases being each player getting a number of actions (in this case 2).
Each of the main Provinces has a number of Province tokens assigned to it. These were mixed in a cup for drawing out in later phases. Some of these are drawn out for each player and you get to put your Influence on, these are your starting territories.
Then you have your starting units, which you place in those Territories…
Then the game begins properly.
The first phase involves putting Province tokens from the cup onto the board, these can be converted by players later.
Then you put twice the number of Conquest cards out for players to buy later.
Then you determine play order. BUT, while you ‘bid’ for turn order you also determine alliances and this was a great feature. While deciding who will go first, second, third etc you also divide everyone into two sides. 1st, 3rd and 5th vs 2nd, 4th and 6th. You can’t attack or claim influence from people on your ‘side’ that turn. This gives bidding for turn order a point.
Then there are 4 rounds of each player taking turns in player order to take 2 actions.
You can buy those quest cards that have varying abilities.
You can recruit additional units and put them in any region where you have a Leader and Influence. Recruiting gets you 2 Chaos points which I will get to later.
If you’re in a Province with neutral Influence or an opponents Influence and they don’t have any Units there you can pay to convert it to your own.
You can gain 5-25 money at a cost of 1 Chaos Point per 5 gained.
You an move Units across land and sea.
Then you can battle. Battles are done with dice rolls. Each dice has the symbol of a unit on it and each player rolls a certain amount. If you match a symbol to a unit you control in the fight you kill an enemy unit, they do the same back. The loser gets the choice to retreat, if not the battle continues another round. The loser gains 2 Chaos Points.
After the actions phase, players gain 5 money for each Influence they own on the board.
Then each player gains VP for each Major Province they control and lose VP’s for having the most and second most Chaos Points.
This continues over 4 ‘Seasons’ before the game ends with ‘Most Victory Points’ determining the winner.
Despite not getting to play Purple (yes, it IS that big a deal ;)) I really enjoyed this. The turn order bidding determining sides for that season is great. At one point I was flanked by Red and Purple so I wanted at least one of them on my side so I knew I couldn’t be attacked by both. But I also needed to align myself with yellow so I could move through his Territory.
Combat was good considering it’s random nature of the dice, Chaos points add a good balance to the game and the area control aspect works very well.