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I was lucky enough to wander into a playtest session of this game, while visiting a friend who knows the designer.

As it’s currently on Kickstarter (March 2012), I thought I’d share some thoughts to help get more information out.

Disclaimer: I’m not an official playtester and have no association with Conquest Games except that I know someone who knows them. The test version I tried was a few prototypes back, but I’ve checked that the information below is accurate. I've only tried the game once.


Is StelCon: Infinity released yet?

No. It’s currently on Kickstarter and scheduled for an August 2012 release.

Kickstarter link here.

Who are Conquest Games?

The folks who brought us Warlords of Europe. They’re basically gamers who decided to form a company to help make some of their game ideas a reality.

If you want buckets-o'-dice and plastic dudes go play this instead

What type of game is this?

Depending on how you view it, it’s either a light Space Empire (4X) game, a light space themed Thematic game or a light space themed Wargame.

How many players does it take?


How long does it take?

30-45 mins per player. The 2 player game can be played in an hour (if both players know the game well). The 6-player game is split into three teams of 2 players each. Team members execute their turn simultaneously.

"Hey Mom I thought the Galaxy was bigger than that!" "Shush son we don't have time for TI3 tonight"

Does it have all 4 of the Space Empire genre's “4X” elements?

(Xplore the board, Xpand your empire, Xploit resources to build up your forces and tech, Xterminate the other players)


Xplore: You start in your Homeworld and explore the Sectors around.

Xpand: You control sectors for the Fuel Crystal resource.

Xploit: You spend Fuel to build ships and equip them with mods (e.g. engines, guns). There’s no researching of technology – you can build mods as long as you have the Fuel.

Xterminate: The game ends when any player’s Homeworld is conquered.

You physically plug these mods into your Ship piece. How cool is that

Is it a card game?

No. There are Conquest Cards (special effects which you play from your hand). The Systems you explore are also cards, which are placed on the board. But it’s a game where you move your ships on the modular board.

How does basic gameplay go?

The basic turn sequence is:

1. Track how much Fuel you control. Build ships and modify them.

2. Move your ships to different Sectors.

3. Flip cards for newly explored Sectors to see what you get (may involve combat). Resolve combat with enemy players if you moved onto their ships.

4. Draw Conquest Cards.

My dear Captain, I rather fancy a nice Summer visit to Purgatory or Lower Hades

What kind of player might like this game?

StelCon isn’t a Euro-style VP race game like Race for the Galaxy. You build fleets to attack other players. The victory condition is conquering another player’s Homeworld.

It has ‘Thematic’ (Ameritrash) elements of narrative, tension and drama. However, it’s not a buckets-of-dice game. Exploration and combat involve a single d6 roll (plus Firepower), so there’s a significant luck element.

On one hand, a single d6 is a flat ‘curve’ in terms of random results. On the other, it’s a small variable range (1-6), so it’s possible to know that you’re going to beat an opponent - unless she has a nice Conquest Card or two to play...

Finally - proof that the Universe is indeed against me

What games does this remind you of?

It really is in a slight class of its own, since it mixes 4X elements (explore, expand, exploit) with Thematic/Wargame direct attack elements (take territory, build fleets and attack your enemy’s Homeworld), all in a light package.

So while it shares a similar theme to Twilight Imperium or Space Empires 4X, it’s a much lighter (and quicker) game. However, it’s different from Eclipse and Galactic Emperor in that you must attack to win. It’s not a pure building game.

What units are there in this game?

There are 4 classes of ships (the mighty Dreadnought, the Destroyer, the workhorse Corvettes and the Probe, used for scouting).

The maximum fleet size is 5 ships, to keep the game from becoming a TI3 style grand fleet scale game. There’s an option to scuttle existing ships to build new ones.

You'll fear my mighty Dreadnaught even more when I put Lasers, Fighters and a Soda Dispenser in the green slots

How many resources do you manage?

Just one, Fuel Crystals. Conquered systems provide Fuel. Building ships, making ship modifications, and keeping them in operation uses Fuel.

What factions are there?

The Zé Conglomerate. A big, soul-less plutocratic corporation. Pays less for upkeep of the big ships.

Odono IV. An inquisitive alien race. Has a bonus to exploration.

The Vanguard. An adaptive, organic race. Starts with less Fuel but gets bonus Fuel if it survives fights.

The Brotherhood. A monastic order. Bonus helps it to win combats which would have been ties.

The Syyzlök. Badass cyborgs. Ships are weaker but have the ability to carry a bonus fighter squadron.

The Mikonæ. A militaristic culture. Produces the most Fuel at start and has the ship with the biggest Firepower.

With colourful lines like 'I place my Probe in the Dry Dock', this game is clearly NSFW

How replayable is it?

The following variable elements make for good replayability:

115 Conquest Cards. You play these from your hand for a range of funky effects like combat modifiers. These are the main driver making each game different.

6 Factions. These have different faction powers, outlined above.

Ship mods. Combined with the powers of the 6 Factions, these provide different possible strategies or build paths for your fleet.

Variable Sectors (filled by drawing a card from the Sector deck when you explore the Sector). These mean that the board is modular and different each time. i.e. The layout of the ‘spaces’ on the board is the same each game, but the contents of the ‘spaces’ are variable.

All players are equidistant. Because Space is folded like a piece of cloth, right?!

What’s cool about this game?

Four things stood out for me:

The innovative map system. One of the classic problems of direct conflict Thematic games is board position. Some players are natural enemies because they share a border, others can safely turtle.

Due to the innovative wormhole movement mechanic, every side’s Homeword in StelCon is exactly equidistant to those of the 2 players sitting on his right and also on his left. So in a 2-5 player game all Homeworlds are equidistant. In 6 player (3 teams of 2 players) you sit opposite your team mate, so all teams are equally intermeshed.

Ship mods. You physically insert things like an extra engine onto your ship counter. Very cool.

A light 4X package. Sometimes you just don’t have time for TI3. There’s just enough of the 4X elements here to scratch (some of) that itch.

6 player. There aren’t many direct conflict Thematic games out there which can take 6 players in a reasonable playtime.

Dude, my ship has 4x the number of appendages sticking out. I win!

What’s this Kickstarter thing about?

It’s basically a crowd funding website. You can pledge a certain amount of money (by giving your credit card details). In return Conquest Games promises to send you whatever’s in your signup package if they hit $10,000 in pledges by 4 April. Your money would then be deducted on that date and Conquest will be contractually obliged to send you everything once printed.

Up until 4 April you can cancel your pledge (though it’s not considered kosher unless, you know, the entire world banking system collapses and you need your hard-earned mullah back in your paws). You can also upgrade your pledge to a higher package until then.

See what you get at actual different pledge levels here, including packages which bundle Warlords of Europe.

Ooh yeah. Always wanted an Improbability Drive of my very own

Can I trust these guys with my money?

After meeting Russ personally, I’d have no qualms whatsoever about putting my money down. They have a great track record with Warlords of Europe, and are basically decent, honest guys who love games so much that they decided to try to make some.

Having said that, in any business venture things can go wrong (e.g. the world supply of a key material suddenly, unexpectedly spikes sharply in price, causing a company to go bust). There’s always some risk involved with prepurchasing stuff, no matter how small. It’s up to you to judge if you feel comfortable giving money to Conquest.

Where can I find out more about this game?

See these links:

Kickstarter page

Official website

Introduction video

Not quite sure what "Gro-Po"s are but I don't think I want them landing in my back yard


Bonus Mini-Quiz Section: Like a Fashion Magazine, only Cooler

Is StelCon: Infinity the right game for me?

Please answer ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’ to the following statements.

1. “I want to crush my enemies. All must tremble before my mighty Galactic Empire!”

2. It doesn’t bother me if a Space Empire game is on a smaller scale with only a few ships - instead of a grander, more epic scale like in Twilight Imperium.

3. When an opponent plays a cool ‘get out of jail free’ type card just when I had him by the nuts, it doesn’t make me mad. I love that kind of stuff.

4. I dig a slightly cartoon-style retro space art. Like classic Flash Gordon.

5. Dude, go play Chess if you want a game where you can calculate all the outcomes in advance.

6. What bothers me about Race for the Galaxy is that the game just ends when someone hits twelve cards. It’s so anticlimactic.

7. I don't mind a bit of downtime on other player's turns, if it's not too long.

8. Small, customisable fleets, adding lasers and fighters and engines, sounds very cool.

9. I’m looking for a Thematic type game which can take up to 6 players and be played in an afternoon or long evening.

10. Some randomness doesn’t bother me. The die roll is what builds drama and suspense in a game.

Totally dig that Flash Gordon retro look. Except that Ming guy, he was weird


If you answered ‘Strongly Agree’ to several questions and had no ‘Disagrees’

Congratulations. StelCon may be right for you.

If you answered ‘Agree’ to most questions and only had one or two ‘Disagrees’

You may want to consider looking further into StelCon. It could be right for you.

If you had a mix of ‘Agrees’ and ‘Disagrees’

You probably want to try StelCon out on someone else’s set first. It may or may not be right for you.

If you had any ‘Strongly Disagrees’

Sorry. StelCon is probably not the right game for you. Perhaps a nice game of Core Worlds?

Prototype of the game being played

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Russ Rupe
United States
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Nashville board game con every March: tngamedays.com
Warehouse 13: The Board Game
Re: An FAQ Review of this Light Space Empire (4X) Game on Kickstarter - First Playtest Impressions
Nice preview!

Gro-Pos was short for Ground Pounders in Babylon 5, or foot soldiers in a spacefaring society.

I've just uploaded a picture that shows graphically how the map adjacencies work out to make all players 2-5 equidistant (the 6th player is your teammate). I'll be approved in a Flash!

Soda dispensers sold separately.
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Re: An FAQ Review of this Light Space Empire (4X) Game on Kickstarter - First Playtest Impressions
sporksfoons wrote:
I've just uploaded a picture that shows graphically how the map adjacencies work out to make all players 2-5 equidistant (the 6th player is your teammate). I'll be approved in a Flash!

Thanks for letting me know. I've updated the picture in the review.
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Re: An FAQ Review of this Light Space Empire (4X) Game on Kickstarter - First Playtest Impressions
Added some (very nice) pics of prototype parts.
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