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Matt Drake
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A few years back, Eagle Games was at the top of its game. It had some of the biggest, greatest, most beautiful games you could buy. Bootleggers, Age of Mythology, Attack! - these were huge games, and they were awesome. Back then, Eagle Games was a mighty juggernaut of gaming awesomeness, and every new release was practically guaranteed to be huge and pretty and expensive and fun (except Blood Feud in New York - that game was in my collection for exactly as long as it took to trade it for something else).

Well, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. They didn't exactly die, but Eagle Games is no longer the kingpin of big-box pseudo-wargames. Happily, they are still selling some of those old titles, including my favorite of theirs - Conquest of the Empire. It's not exactly original to Eagle Games, though. It was first part of the Gamemaster series that also included Shogun (retitled Samurai Swords later) and Axis & Allies, back in 1984. It was rereleased over a decade later, this time with two sets of rules. Classic rules let you play the game the way it was originally released, and the new rules use the same components and map to create a completely new game.

I'm going glaze over the classic game because frankly, it bores me a little. No, it's not a bad game, but it's basically Risk: Rome with a few twitchy add-ons to mix it up. It's still strategic and interesting and tactical and whatever else, but it's not a new kind of game. I could play a bunch of other games and get the same basic experience. Yeah, now there are roads, but frankly, I don't care. It's not bad, but when you've got a better game right there in the box, why bother?

Now, the new rules - oooh, there's a game. It's incredibly unique, and does a fantastic job of making you feel like a manipulative, scheming senator vying for his shot to be named Caesar. You can raise armies, steal seats in the senate, forge alliances and force through unfair taxes. You can create chaos or enforce order, and in the end, a little luck and a lot of clever manipulation will win the day. And Martin Wallace's name is in there, and when that guy isn't really pissed off about the new Age of Steam, he makes some pretty damned cool games.

One of the coolest features of the new Conquest rules is the alliance. Every turn, you'll bid to declare who is allied with whom. This is a little complicated, but basically, the guy with the most money decides who goes first, who can attack him, and who he can hit. This can be just plain critical - you don't need a big army if the only people who can attack you are your friends, and you can cut the feet out from under the big military power if you prevent him from striking the places he wants the most. It can cost a lot of money to nail this down, but if you can get it, winning the alliance bid can be awesome. The greatest part is that, unlike Diplomacy or other political games, you don't always have a choice in who your allies will be, and until another bid comes up, you're not allowed to break those alliances.

And it gets even better. You'll need armies at some point - sooner or later, someone is going to want to take what you have - but they're not the deciding factor. You can be underhanded and sneaky and rely on politics over military might. It helps to have the biggest army - but it's even better to have the biggest friends.

Through a series of careful manipulations, feints, bluffs and timely card plays, each player will try to weasel and brawl his way to the big seat. You'll buy influence and soldiers, wage massive land wars, raise armies and establish relationships with Egypt (I think the best thing the Egyptians bring to the table is a wealth of hot nubile females, but I can't verify this in any history books. But if you think I'm wrong, look at what happened to Anthony - he would have had a shot, if he hadn't decided to shack up with Cleopatra. Oh, and allow me to encourage any prospective empress to avoid keeping jars of poisonous snakes just laying around. You never know when you're going to slip and put your hand into one of them).

The board for Conquest of the Empire is huge, and the game is appropriately long. It will take several hours to play this whole game, but it will be several awesome hours. I've only been able to play it two or three times, because it can be tough to round up players who want to dedicate this much time to a game this involved, but suffice to say, I'll play it any time I have a whole evening to blow on just one game.

Not everyone is going to love Conquest of the Empire as much as I do. Some people have short attention spans and want to play some themeless Euro that finishes in an hour. Some people don't like to see bodies piling up like firewood at an Aspen ski lodge. Some people just have an aversion to really long rule books. So leave those people to enjoy a nice game of Apples to Apples, and break out a game of Conquest of the Empire II to separate the men from the boys.

Summary

Pros:
You can lose most of your battles and still win the game
Great political intrigue
Theme so thick you could chop it with an axe
Beautiful components in a hugely heavy box
Tons of scheming, strategy and manipulation

Cons:
Takes a long time
Fairly complicated rules
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Hugh G. Rection
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VixenTorGames wrote:
Some people don't like to see bodies piling up like firewood at an Aspen ski lodge.


I can always count on your reviews for an entertaining quote or two.
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Greg Schloesser
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I appreciate the review, and your enthusiasm. I played the original Conquest of the Empire many, many times in my younger days, and couldn't resist purchasing the new version when it was released by Eagle Games. I've not yet played the "new" version (as opposed to the classic version), but hope to try it soon.

A few comments ...

VixenTorGames wrote:
A few years back, Eagle Games was at the top of its game. It had some of the biggest, greatest, most beautiful games you could buy. Bootleggers, Age of Mythology, Attack! - these were huge games, and they were awesome. Back then, Eagle Games was a mighty juggernaut of gaming awesomeness, and every new release was practically guaranteed to be huge and pretty and expensive and fun


Methinks your enthusiasm has gotten the best of you. While some of their games were good, many were lacking in development and, in some cases, weren't much fun. While they had some success, cash-flow problems ultimately spelled their doom. I don't think they could ever be considered a "juggernaut".

VixenTorGames wrote:
Now, the new rules - oooh, there's a game. It's incredibly unique, and does a fantastic job of making you feel like a manipulative, scheming senator vying for his shot to be named Caesar. You can raise armies, steal seats in the senate, forge alliances and force through unfair taxes. You can create chaos or enforce order, and in the end, a little luck and a lot of clever manipulation will win the day. And Martin Wallace's name is in there, and when that guy isn't really pissed off about the new Age of Steam, he makes some pretty damned cool games.

One of the coolest features of the new Conquest rules is the alliance.


This mechanism is lifted straight from Martin Wallace's EXCELLENT Struggle of Empires. Glenn told me that he really enjoyed the mechanism, and I am happy to see it being used again.


VixenTorGames wrote:

Cons:
Takes a long time
Fairly complicated rules


I have to disagree that the rules are long or complicated. I read and understood them in about fifteen minutes, a far cry from many games of this type.

You mentioned that the game took a few hours to play to completion. Can you tell me how many players were involved in each of your games, and about how long each took to play?
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Jim McMahon
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gschloesser wrote:
VixenTorGames wrote:

Cons:
Takes a long time
Fairly complicated rules


I have to disagree that the rules are long or complicated. I read and understood them in about fifteen minutes, a far cry from many games of this type.


I didn't think that the "Cons" were that the rules were too long. In fact, looking at what was written, the context is:
Quote:
6 "Not everyone is going to love Conquest of the Empire as much as I do. Some people have short attention spans and want to play some themeless Euro that finishes in an hour. Some people don't like to see bodies piling up like firewood at an Aspen ski lodge. Some people just have an aversion to really long rule books. So leave those people to enjoy a nice game of Apples to Apples, and break out a game of Conquest of the Empire II to separate the men from the boys.


There are 20 pages in the rulebook, several of which are not even rules. This comment looks like it is directed to those who want their rules to be either 1-2 pages, or printed on the inside of the box lid. In that regard, this game has a huge rulebook.

Glancing through the rules myself, while I might be able to read them through once in 15-20 minutes, I think that they look complicated enough that I wouldn't be able to play the game after only one reading.

Jim
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Mr. Bistro
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I don't get people who disagree with reviews of games they haven't played. But then I don't get people who pop by just to name-drop, so it must be something wrong with me.
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Greg Schloesser
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mrbistro wrote:
I don't get people who disagree with reviews of games they haven't played. But then I don't get people who pop by just to name-drop, so it must be something wrong with me.


Perhaps, as you appear to be reading things into my comments that were clearly not intended.

My intent in making my post was two-fold:

1) State my opinion of Eagle Games as it relates to the author's assertions; and

2) Inquire as to the author's experience in terms of game length for the "Dover" variant so I can better plan the time required when I play it.

That's it. No other self-serving purpose intended. Sorry if it came across the wrong way.
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Greg Schloesser
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mrbistro wrote:
I don't get people who disagree with reviews of games they haven't played. But then I don't get people who pop by just to name-drop, so it must be something wrong with me.


Oh, and I have played the classic version MANY times. I've just not played the Glenn Dover version yet. That's why I was inquiring as to the duration of the game.
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Mr. Bistro
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Greg, no one cares how many times you've played a previous version. You dropped by someone else's review and gave off a cocky "I-know-more-than-you" attitude. You've said it was an accident and apologized, so we'll leave it at that.
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Greg Schloesser
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mrbistro wrote:
Greg, no one cares how many times you've played a previous version. You dropped by someone else's review and gave off a cocky "I-know-more-than-you" attitude. You've said it was an accident and apologized, so we'll leave it at that.


You know, the internet is a strange tool, as often folks cannot correctly read your intentions. I had absolutely NO desire or intent to sound "cocky". You are most certainly misreading my intentions. I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my initial post ... but you also ought to be a bit more cautious before making unfounded assumptions and accusations.
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Mr. Bistro
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Looking above it doesn't appear I was alone.
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Greg Schloesser
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superflypete wrote:
gschloesser wrote:

You know, the internet is a strange tool, as often folks cannot correctly read your intentions. I had absolutely NO desire or intent to sound "cocky". You are most certainly misreading my intentions. I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my initial post ... but you also ought to be a bit more cautious before making unfounded assumptions and accusations.


I hate to say it, but I kind-of got that too, amigo. "Methinks your enthusiasm got the best of you" came off as a bit cocky and smarmy, as if you believed yourself to be the authority. That's how I read it as well. Like you said, the internet has no way, currently, to communicate tone, but that being said I think that the other folks who popped in here and commented read it as I did, and I'm usually pretty good at picking up intent.



I sincerely apologize for my post making me sound authoritative or "cocky". That certainly was NOT my intent. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

I'm still very interested in learning the average playing time for the non-classic version with various numbers of players. Any input on this?
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jamison creel
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I think that all of you people should back off Greg. I'm a long time lurker around here. I remember the early days of this site when just about every game had a review by Greg Schloesser. A lot of people who have made big contributions to our hobby don't post as much around here as they used to because too many people want to get mad about something all of the time. The internet has a certain anonymity to it so people think they have a right to act without civility. In the end it hurts the community.

I see no problem with disagreeing over issues. Argue all you want about the merits of the rule set or how long it takes to play, but leave the personal stuff out. The guy got attacked and HE apologized and people keep getting on him.

If, every time somebody presents a differing opinion, we are going to attack him, then we are going to stifle the exchange of ideas that has been so healthy for our community.
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Chris Hahn
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Dan Zachary
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Quote:
The board for Conquest of the Empire is huge, and the game is appropriately long. It will take several hours to play this whole game, but it will be several awesome hours.



The previous posts are correct that COEII with 5-6 experienced players will take a little over 3 hours. So figure about 1/2 hour per player plus a little extra. We also tend to play the extra campaign season, doing 5 instead of 4 turns.

I do not find COEII's length to be particularly long. That is because --unlike most figurine games-- it will be over after 4 or 5 turns no matter what.
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Philip Sokolov
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Here is how one may convey “tone” over the Internet:

gschloesser wrote:
Methinks your enthusiasm has gotten the best of you! ;) loljk ^_^

Good luck!
 
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John Herrera
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Quote:
Theme so thick you could chop it with an axe

Quote:
Some people don't like to see bodies piling up like firewood at an Aspen ski lodge. Some people just have an aversion to really long rule books. So leave those people to enjoy a nice game of Apples to Apples, and break out a game of Conquest of the Empire II to separate the men from the boys



This is what sold me on the game.

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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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gschloesser wrote:
superflypete wrote:
gschloesser wrote:

You know, the internet is a strange tool, as often folks cannot correctly read your intentions. I had absolutely NO desire or intent to sound "cocky". You are most certainly misreading my intentions. I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my initial post ... but you also ought to be a bit more cautious before making unfounded assumptions and accusations.


I hate to say it, but I kind-of got that too, amigo. "Methinks your enthusiasm got the best of you" came off as a bit cocky and smarmy, as if you believed yourself to be the authority. That's how I read it as well. Like you said, the internet has no way, currently, to communicate tone, but that being said I think that the other folks who popped in here and commented read it as I did, and I'm usually pretty good at picking up intent.



I sincerely apologize for my post making me sound authoritative or "cocky". That certainly was NOT my intent. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

I'm still very interested in learning the average playing time for the non-classic version with various numbers of players. Any input on this?


For what it's worth, I didn't read any cockiness or malice in any of your posts. The respondents to your clarifying apology came across as kind if douchey to me, in fact.

Eco
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