Steve P brought along Conquest of Nerath and we were joined by another Steve and Andy. The game does what it says on the tin, i.e. it’s a conquest game set in the Kingdom of Nerath, which is Wizards of the Coast D&D IP. Each player takes one of the four factions/races and proceeds to try and conquer other players’ regions, which earns them victory points and income, from which you can create more units. Players can either play as two teams, or all against each other as we did. Perhaps the best way to sum up this game would be to describe it as ‘pleasantly old school’.
Most of us have games we played in our youth (90s, 80s, or 70s – delete as appropriate) that we retain a great deal of nostalgia for, yet when we revisit those games we are more often than not reminded why we don’t play them anymore – their rough edges forgotten in the passage in the time quickly chafe our gaming palettes which have been refined by successive generations of innovative game design. What Conquest of Nerath achieves is a design that allows you to keep your rose tinted spectacles on; it feels like a great game you played many years ago yet a number of subtle modern game design choices prevent it from bursting your bubble. Yes there is a fair bit of downtime between turns, but the well-balanced and varied asymmetric factions present players with some interesting options and strategies that keep you interested between turns.
Unfortunately we didn’t manage to finish in time, but it’s definitely a game I’d like to play gain.