Conqueror - Preview

Author: Cameron Art

Conqueror: Final Conquest

Player Count: 3 - 6 Players

Playing Time: 60 - 120 Minutes

Designer: Mohamed Al Qadi

Publisher: Cation Arts

Year Published: 2019


"Nothing could stop Rome; for it was destined to rule the world. From humble beginnings, this small city would turn into the world’s most revered and powerful empire that ruled Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa for more than 600 years. But what if you can rewrite history? What if you can stop Rome? What if you can create a different world?"

- Description from the Publisher

In Conqueror: Final Conquest, 3 - 6 players will face-off in a strategic wargame of tense and quick decision making until someone becomes the new conqueror of the old world. Manage your troops and their supply of food, make and break alliances with your opponents, recruit new heroes with powerful abilities, and build the greatest empire in the world.

Game Play

Conqueror is a strategy-driven game, primarily consisting of player pieces and a board along with a small deck of event cards, hero cards, some dice and a sand timer. Setup is very straightforward thanks to the detailed setup instructions given in the book for different player counts. Each player will play as a different empire attempting to be the first player to capture 5 forts and defend them for an entire round.

At the start of each round, players will reveal n chronicle card from the deck, which will impose some sort of benefit or restriction upon all players for that round. Then each player takes a turn.

A turn is broken up into two parts: a planning phase followed by an action phase. During the planning phase of their turn, a player will flip the timer and have until time expires to allocate food to their troops (losing any that go unfed). Food is a very important mechanic in the game. Only certain territories on the map contain food, and every round you must be sure you control enough of those territories to feed you army, otherwise they'll starve.

It is also during this timed planning phase that you can recruit new troops and heroes and decide what you will do during you action phase. During your action phase, you will either move your units between territories that you control or you may attack opposing units in an adjacent territory. Battle is primarily skill-based:

- Each player will have a starting strength equal to their total units:

Cavalry Units = +2, Infantry Units = +1

- The defender gets +1 Strength

- Each player then rolls a die (numbered 1 - 4) to add to their total strength

In the end, the difference in strength between the two opponents will be the number of units that the losing players must return to the supply. In addition, various hero and event cards may change how battle takes place, potentially giving certain players an upper-hand through extra strength or special abilities.

There are a LOT of hero cards, and each faction has their own unique set, providing you with a ton of different strategies and abilities with each new play. Each empire also has their own set of mission cards, which can help guide players towards a particular strategy while simultaneous providing monetary rewards for completing them for recruiting more heroes.

Play continues in this way until one player controls 5 forts on the board. They must then maintain control of those 5 forts (not an easy task to do!) for an entire round before they are declared the winner.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of war games out there, but I think that the historical premise and high focus on skill and without a complex ruleset really sets Conqueror apart. I think you'll enjoy this game if....

- You enjoy war games or games with unique historical settings

- You like playing primarily skill-based games with lots of opportunities for strategic planning

- You enjoy area-control games with a focus on maintaining your own economy

- If you enjoy heavy strategy games or war games but are looking for something with a little more accessibility for your gaming group (a "gateway" wargame)

- If you enjoy games with a time element that force you to think on you your feet and adapt to changing circumstances. (Note: While this game does include a time-element, I still wouldn't call it a real-time game. The timer is more there to put a small stress on players and ensure that they don't take too long. If you are the kind of player who carefully plans your turns ahead of time, you likely won't even notice the timer constraint.)

Conqueror: Final Conquest is, at its heart, a seemingly simple game of area control and military strategy. None of the mechanisms in the game are particularly unique, but the combinations in which they are used creates a very unique game of skill and planning. You must carefully manage your economy, make strategic movement and battle decisions, and play to the strengths of your empire's heroes. It's a game that rewards careful planning and well thought out strategy, and I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering the various nuances that unfold in the game and the cleverness with which it forces you try to quickly adapt to unexpected moves and events.

If you are interested in learning more about Conqueror: Final Conquest, you can check it out by clicking here.

Disclaimer: A free copy of Conqueror: The Final Conquest was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest preview. All opinions written above are entirely my own.