Conquest: Frontier Wars is a space RTS fr- syke! We’re not talking about ancient attempts to make “StarCraft in nothing-but-SPACE!” Actually, we’re talking about the rank-and-flank wargame that was generating buzz in the ‘cons before the plague – Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings by Para Bellum Games.
Listen to the Fortified Niche episode.
Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings immediately made heads turn with its two starter factions. The Hundred Kingdoms are your Standard Medieval Europe Peasants, but the Spires are weird space elves that use hordes of clones backed by engineered monstrosities. The towering quadruped Abomination was the star of the show.
The factions introduced later also have some of that originality. The Dweghom are Warhammer Fantasy dwarves, Chaos Dwarves and the AoS Slayer Dwarves rolled in one. The W’ardhun are dinosaur-riding jungle orcs. And The Old Dominion is the easily-pronounceable undead Rome.
But nobody ever talked about the gameplay of Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings – and with good reason. The whole marching and fighting basics are just bland and boring. You buy infantry in stands, but you also have individual casualty removal, and some stuff is counted by stands, other by miniatures… it’s just a mess. does everything a lot better. A Song of Ice And Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game
Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings is also a game meant for the people who enjoy the dice rolling aspect of games above all else. Most units hit or save on 1 or 2 on a d6 (it’s a roll under), so you really need to mass dice to score. I don’t think we’ve ever thrown that many dice in our history as a podcast.
However, the game also features a lot good gameplay elements. It does alternating activations, but the order you activate units is determined by unit card deck you construct before the round. So you already have mind games of what-to-activate-before-the-opponent baked in, but there’s also the fact that if you draw, say, a Force Grown Drone card and you have two of those units in the field, you can choose which one you want to activate, giving you flexibility.
There are also draw events for some units, which activate as their cards are drawn. These are usually beneficial. Usually. There’s also some sense that factions play into their fluff at least to some degree. The Spires, for example, have quite a few boosts that are eventually quite deadly to your own units – makes sense for a bunch of space nobles presiding over masses of cloned chaff.
Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings was a really rough game to play with ASOIAF fresh in the memory. It does neat stuff with the lore, miniatures (even if they are $GW expensive), army building, and stuff that doesn’t directly involved battlefield maneuvers and fighting. Too bad that maneuvers and fighting are important in a wargame! Though as experience shows, there’s nothing stopping a game from mutating massively between editions…