Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
I was very sceptical about the game for a few reasons:
-I'm am not a big Eagle fan due to lack of consistancy in the gaming value of their games (production however is excellent!).
-I like slighty more advanced and reality situations: a bit more advanced than Axis & Allies and a bit more reality situation.
With this in mind I had a good look to the negative comments about the game to see wheather it was a go or a no go for me to buy. After days of thinking I decided. Let's do it!
Am I glad I did buy it!! Because what you get:
-Two different games in one box with two seperate manuals
-Excellent production value
Yet again, I am very critical and do a lot of research before I buy. Despite all of that I am often disappointed (example, I do not particularly like Puerto Rico for instance although I can see the beauty of the game mechanics).
A big complaint is the battle system. IMHO nonsense. It is wonderfully easy yet sophisticated. Have a good look at the mathematical depth of it's simplicity!! Brilliant!!
I can highly recommend Conquest of the empire and have added some Shogun/Samuari Swords rules to make the basic game even more interesting:
-Chit drawing who may go first / Bidding for turn
-Bid for an Assasin to kill a General (Ninja in Samurai Swords)
-Mercenaries (as in Shogun)
-Buying special actions (see Europe Engulfed) where armies may: retreat before attack, strategic relocation, attack twice or reinforce battles)
As Mercenaries I took the playing pieces from Avalon Hill's History of the world.
I am now developing events for the basic game: Keltic revolt / German fury, Saracen waves etc. Again, I am using playing pieces from History of the world.
Once ready I playtest and post them on the Geek!
So: do not hesitate to buy Conquest as you have all options to play the variant you like: CotE Classic, CotE II and it is very easy to add house rules without disturbing the gaming balance.
You have a good perspective on this game by viewing it as a 'game kit' with opportunities to improve the the game according to your tastes. I bought Risk: Godstorm for the pieces but I have added some rules from AOM ,Mythology (Yaquinto Games)and from some ancient warfare games to enhance my enjoyment of it.