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Conquest of the Fallen Lands» Forums » Reviews

Subject: How can a game so simple be so much fun rss

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Mark Sautman
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This is a great game by a small publisher that deserves more attention. Others have summarized the rules so I will not. I will focus on my impressions of this game.

As many others have commented, the artwork on the cards and tiles is functional, but nothing special. The quality of the cards and tiles themselves is good, especially for a small publisher. When I finished reading the rules, I was not too impressed - it seemed very simplistic. Playing a card, adding up nearby support, and maybe casting a spell in order to conquer a tile made me fear this was going to play like a Parker Bros or Milton Bradley game. That attitude changed once I played it.

I love area control games and this is one of the best. The limited area drives high player interaction very early in the game. The tiles are randomly distributed so there are some locations that are naturally more favorable than others. However, by reversing the turn order after the first turn it does help offset some of the advantage of being first player. Early on, players want to choose a starting location that has plenty of lower point tiles so you can get a good foothold. Then you want to try to block off an area from your opponents in order to give yourself room to expand. Finally, you want to establish strong fortifications around high point tiles in order to be able to claim them.

In the beginning, you are hiring a follower every turn. After a few turns though, you have to decide whether the cost of a new follower is worth the resulting decrease in victory points. Mages are a particularly important decision - you need some in order to cast spells and get more cards, but at some point you can end up with too many. The random distribution of the tiles can lead to interesting arrangements - such as a 12 point tile on an edge with low point tiles around it. Usually some player works out a way to snag it unless multiple players all try for the same tile (we usually play with basic rules). Blocking a tile from other players with a spell can be very important at the end or allow another player to be kingmaker.

I have taught this game to maybe a dozen players - all of whom have thought it was good or very good. The usual response is hey let's play this game again (and possibly again after that) and a few went out and immediately bought themselves a copy. The game has appealed to Euro, Ameritrash, and wargame players. The best part is that the rules can be explained in less than 5 minutes. It is simple enough that kids who can do math enjoy it, but so do adults who often play heavier games.

I have played the game with 3, 4, and 5 players and it scales up very well. Extra tiles have added for additional players and the amount of interaction with 3 players is the same as it is with 5 players. I've even played it unofficially with 2 players and that works well too. The only thing about 5 players is that it is easier for one or two players to be squeezed out before the game is over. We have always played with the basic rules - everyone enjoys it well enough with them that we have not had a real reason to use the advanced rules. I suspect using the basic rules makes for a bit of a nastier game as you can only use your own tiles for support. This makes it easier for you to shutout players when going for high point tiles. I suspect one of the advantages using the advanced rules is that you are less likely to be squeezed out at the end when it is very hard to start somewhere else new once all the low point tiles have been conquered.

Another negative is that like any card game, the luck of the draw can influence how the game plays. It can be very frustrating if you do not draw any fortification cards for several turns in the beginning. Likewise, you can end up with a lopsided hand at some point in the game with too many spells, low support, low attack, or too many cards that require certain followers.

I give this a game a solid 8. It is a light game, but one that most players consider to be a lot of fun. It is also appeals to a wide variety of players including those who don't play games much.


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Scott Johnson
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zautman wrote:

As many others have commented, the artwork on the cards and tiles is functional, but nothing special.



I don't know about everyone, but people i have played this awesome game with love the artwork. Maybe it is just because they are used to the average game from walmart?
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Les Marshall
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I purchased and sold this very heavy game after one play.

The artwork is pretty good though cartoonish in nature. Whether you think its all that and a bag of chips is simply a question of personal preference.

The components are generally of good quality and very solid (making this game literally heavy). Some of the markers (glass beads) look like they were purchased en masse out of a craft store, rather than being purpose produced, which is functional if unexpected.

Whether it is a "great" very much depends on what you expect. Yes, it is area control but, this is a one time occurence per hex. There is no give and take, no maneuvering, and no pitched battles. This is more or less a placement game with resource use added.

Honestly, if I had young kids who needed to learn basic math in a fun way, I would probably have held on to this game. As an adult game player, I simply don't find it deep or challenging enough to keep on the shelf.
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Andy Van Zandt
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Rulesjd wrote:
I purchased and sold this very heavy game after one play.

The artwork is pretty good though cartoonish in nature. Whether you think its all that and a bag of chips is simply a question of personal preference.

The components are generally of good quality and very solid (making this game literally heavy). Some of the markers (glass beads) look like they were purchased en masse out of a craft store, rather than being purpose produced, which is functional if unexpected.

Whether it is a "great" very much depends on what you expect. Yes, it is area control but, this is a one time occurence per hex. There is no give and take, no maneuvering, and no pitched battles. This is more or less a placement game with resource use added.

Honestly, if I had young kids who needed to learn basic math in a fun way, I would probably have held on to this game. As an adult game player, I simply don't find it deep or challenging enough to keep on the shelf.


translation: "i expected this to be a wargame and it wasn't"

(which is fair, it does even have "conquest" in the title, but i disagree with the "not challenging" assertion).

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Les Marshall
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I didn't quite expect this to be a "wargame" but, more of a light conflict game such as Small World.

As far as challenging goes, it very much depends on the scale you use for a common reference. Its more complex than checkers, on par with Ticket to Ride, much simpler than Through the Ages and Settlers of Cataan and infinitely simplistic compared to Age of Renaissance, Here I Stand and Starfleet Battles.
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Simon McGregor
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Rulesjd wrote:

As far as challenging goes, it very much depends on the scale you use for a common reference. Its more complex than checkers, on par with Ticket to Ride, much simpler than Through the Ages and Settlers of Cataan and infinitely simplistic compared to Age of Renaissance, Here I Stand and Starfleet Battles.


Just because the rules are easy to learn, it doesn't mean the game is only for kids. Draughts (aka Checkers), Go and Backgammon are all highly challenging games with relatively simple rules. If you don't believe me, try and beat an international-level player in any of those games.
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