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Subject: Euro castle defence rss

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Kimmo Viitanen
Finland
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This review is based on a few attempts of a few rounds and then a 20 round game at level 1 with 4 characters played solo. Also, I have no idea which of the rules I used are the actual official rules and which are not.


Overview

The Convicted is a sort of a Euro-gamish tower defence game. You start in the middle of nowhere with a few dudes defending your meager little town and four different types of enemy armies ready to slaughter you any moment. You have to build defences, research technologies, train units and build siege machines to defend your town, while the enemy brings to the table ever bigger armies.


The rulebook

I don't mind that the language itself is not very good, but rules seem to sprinkled here and there with no real coherence.

One example which I really couldn't figure out and just settled on something was how siege machines are supposed to work.
1. In step 3 of the siege phase the rules say the number of killed targets cannot exceed the number of siege machines performing the attack, unless otherwise states in the siege machines section.
2. In step 10 of the siege phase the rules say a cauldron/boulder attack can kill multiple targets in one attack. This is not states anywhere else in the rules.
3. In step 4, concerning enemy siege machines attacking, the example says an enemy catapult could destroy 3 units at once, if wished. This special ability is not mentioned in the enemy siege machine section or anywhere else in the rules for that matter.

In step 14 of the siege phase the rules say that after each step 13 the morale of the invaders goes down 1 point. Does it mean, if we reach step 14 once (we don't necessarily reach step 14), it goes down after that? Does it always go down? After step 13 of next round?

Just, basically, relevant rules seem to hidden in examples of play, mentioned as a side note somewhere or explained in sections not really relating to them.

The technology cards and character cards seem confusing as well.

Apparently there are version 1.1 rules, but you don't get them with the game.


Gameplay

During a round, the players have a total of 12 actions to do different things. An action can be to get resources, build a building, train a unit and so on.

The way this works is that ultimately the actions are your only limiting resource. You want to build a building? Don't have enough wood? Use an action to get wood. Need iron but don't have the technology? Use an action to research the technology, then an action to get iron and then an action to build the building.

Basically, everything in the game ties to this. You know in advance how many actions total you have in the game. You can calculate how many actions it takes to do what you want to do. This makes the rounds reasonably thinky, especially in the earlier stages of the game, but it also makes the gameplay a bit uninteresting I feel, and not very thematic.


Balance

I feel there are some problems here.

Perhaps my biggest problem was how overwhelmingly more powerful the forestmen were compared to the other factions. This, in turn, was made possible by how the interaction of enemy ranged units with walls was ruled.

A level 4 wall/tower makes enemy ranged units lose 1 ranged attack power when attacking that wall or tower. In round 14, let's say, the wolfmen have a total of 25 ranged units with ranged attack power of 1. So if you have a level 4 wall against them, you can completely ignore those 25 units. The forestmen, though, will have 22 units with ranged attack power of 2. That means a total of 22 damage, which is huge in game terms.

So, where meeting 3/4 factions would allow you to quite safely pelt enemy melee units with your own ranged units, thus thinning their ranks considerably for melee, meeting the rest 1/4 would mean you need to concentrate on the enemy ranged units first.

This also seems to mean you REALLY want those level 4 walls and towers, as otherwise the number of enemy ranged units is eventually too great for you to pre-emptively destroy and you start losing units really fast.

There is a morale mechanic where some armies are more likely to flee than others, with the forestmen being most likely to flee. This doesn't really seem to work as intended though, because mostly the enemy seemed practically slaughtered by the second round, only lasting longer than that in the final stages of the game.

Some building types also seemed quite pointless. You can build ditches, sharpened stakes and moats, which slow down or damage enemies. But in later stages of the game the enemy will have so many bridges (which allow to nullify the effects of ditches etc.) that allocating siege machines to destroy them would mean leaving enemy siege machines to destroy your walls and towers. I simply never built a single one.


Practicality

Playing the game in practical terms requires you to put on the board way too many cubes and counters for the allocated space.

Seeing the town and the building and the walls grow is really cool, but more space would've been needed around the town to place the enemy armies. I cannot imagine how annoying those cubes must be if you build the ditches, which would practically be put in the same spaces as the enemy cubes.


Overall

Well, I don't know really.

I did enjoy playing the game, and in later stages, after you've put all those enemy units on the board, you really have a sense of being sieged by huge armies. Then you will kill enemies in droves, while they bombard you and try to scale your walls, rarely succeeding. In that sense it feels very thematic.

On the flipside you have the mentioned action-oriented resource mechanic, which feels very unthematic.

The logistics of playing the game are a bit too much. First you place a ton (say, 70) cubes on the board, then you order the cubes this way and that, then you roll a ton of dice and count your strength vs the enemy strength 16 times. I wish they'd have come up with something else instead of the melee phase we have now.

I don't feel like the strategic depth is there, really. At the moment I feel the only way to win is to neutralize enemy ranged units and siege machines. And there's only one way to do that: with your own ranged units and siege machines.

Your overall strategy also is to maximize the number of actions you have, which means you want resource gathering bonuses as early as possible and so on. On higher difficulty levels (the game provides three for each army) you probably do have to be more thinky on your action usage, but I cannot see myself using different strategies there either.


So...? If you don't mind playing with whatever rules you can interpret, if you like long (repetitive), thinky and occasionally fun solitaire stuff, or maybe if you like coming up with thematic house rules, yeah, I found the game decently fun. It's not the tower defence I was hoping for and wouldn't have gotten it if I'd known, probably.
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James Derbyshire
United Kingdom
Norton Mandeville
Essex
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Well you got further than me. I've never been able to get past the rulebook so it's sat completely unplayed unfortunately.
 
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Kimmo Viitanen
Finland
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Heh. The rulebook makes the game look a lot more complex than it is, unfortunately.
 
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ST Nieuwoudt
South Africa
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Norbert666 wrote:
Well you got further than me. I've never been able to get past the rulebook so it's sat completely unplayed unfortunately.


I also recommend that you use the player aids made by Oliver:
Oliver Brettschneider
Germany
Mainz
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Convicted Player Aids for Siege Stage + Invader Player Aid - They greatly really help with the whole siege phase and the small details there off.


 
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Jeff Fike
United States
Minnesota
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I've wanted to make a playthrough video of this. To explain rules and how to play, etc. But I've never made a video before and, quite frankly, don't want to endure the criticism of that...yet this game sits with nobody making a video. The rules are very simple (once you understand them...and I agree, that is the challenge)
 
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