Hexyback: Conquest! Medieval Realms Demo

By Kieron Gillen on June 11th, 2009 at 2:20 pm.

GAMES ARE MY HOT HOT HEX.

The Hexmaster Tim Stone has already written that Illustrious have released Conquest! Medieval Realms. But he complained there isn’t a demo! But in the time between then and now, that’s changed in one, very important way. That there’s a demo. There’s totally a demo. And you can get it from here. It’s a considerably cut down version of the full game, containing two missions instead of the kertrillions of randomly generated ones, multiple campaigns, map editor and all that good strategy malarkey. On a score of “genre” it rates “turn based strategy”. I had a little play of the demo…

It’s pretty fun, but I wish they’d included more in it. It’s basically a turn-based game of territorial control. Any connected string of hexes spawns a town, which gathers all the resources in the area. Connect areas, and the smaller town disappears, flowing all the money to one place. Of course, capturing any town gives you all the money in it. Which you may think dividing your empire would give you an advantage in terms of redundancy. And maybe it would, but the game really demands you to have as much money as possible. You see, the biggest problem you face is paying for your troops. There’s three levels of soldiers. The bottom level can capture terrain, but not conquer towns. The second level can thrash towns and levels 1, but gets turned away from castles and other level 2s. Level 3s walk over everything except level 3. The problem being, upkeep. You’ll need 16 gold a turn to just keep your big boys on the field. If there’s a shortfall, all your units disappear, which is a bad thing for your continued defence. Even a quick poke implies there’s a lot of strategy here, in a really quietly pretty hex veneer.

The problem with the demo is the size of it. Not the two levels, but the cut down toolset of the game. The limited buildings, where you don’t get to upgrade terrain to be more profitable, is a small thing. The bigger thing is the limited troop types. There’s a rock, paper, scissors set-up which allows pike, archers and Calvary to bash the living hell out of one another – though you only start with being able to make the speary-sorts. At levels one and two this is just fine detail – but because the only way to take out any other level 3 is their counter, it means that the level-3 spearmen in the demo are just invincible, even to one another. Playing the demo levels, it seemed to just be heading towards something that’s purely positional with the battleships of the board – and, really, I just wanted to have an aircraft carrier to sink ‘em. Er… metaphorically and anarchonistically speaking.

It’s the problem when making a game as clinical and pure as this. If you give the full set, even with limited maps, you’re coming close to giving the full game. However, as is, I wonder the number of people who turn towards buying the full thing (because they see what the missing pieces will bring to the game) will actually be enough to counteract those who it turns away (As the demo game’s end game is less interesting than it should be). I wonder whether a time-limit would be better. What do you think?

Anyway – for turn-based strategy sorts, I think it’s worth a nose. In a week which has gone oddly retro at RPS, it fits right in. The demo’s here

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12 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    So you wouldn’t say it’s hexcellent, then?

  2. Hajimete no Paso Kon says:

    I’d say the computer is complete HAX!

  3. VPeric says:

    So, it’s like Slay with more than one troop type? Sounds pretty awesome. :D

  4. ToSt says:

    The AI is very bad, though, especially in comparison to Slay. Right now, avoid it and get Slay instead. And hope this wil change with a future patch.

  5. Clovis says:

    I don’t know if this applies to this game or not, but the hex grid and cute figurine looking soldiers makes this look like a board game. Sometimes it is bad if a video game is just a glorified board game, but if done right they can be the best kind of games. Too often computer games, and ESPECIALLY computer strategy games, get rather bogged down in complex rules and tons of numbers. At some point this isn’t actually adding to the strategy of the game. I mean, the rules of Go are pretty simple, but the strategy is deeper in Go than in most most strategy games.d

    What’s the pacing like in this game? Do you end up with hundreds of troops that take an hour to move each turn, or do you have a limited number of choices? I really prefer the latter.

    I wonder why I keep thinking about board games when I pull up RPS….

  6. Pace says:

    But he complained there isn’t a demo! But in the time between then and now, that’s changed in one, very important way. That there’s a demo. There’s totally a demo.

    It gets tedious to keep saying this, but it deserves mentioning every now and then that it’s these little gems that keep me coming back to RPS.

  7. Poita says:

    Nice. I installed it and gave it a shot and now the music won’t stop playing even though i quit the game, and that’s with the music set to zero in the game settings.
    It’s always nice when you have reboot to get your settings back after trying a demo.

  8. clovis says:

    How big is the full game? It should really tell you somewhere on the site considering its a download and they have a EAesque “extended download service”. So i pay for something and then if i lose it oh well i dont own it anymore and i better cough up money again? Because what you want more money or cant be bothered keeping some kind of simple record system?…

  9. Iain says:

    Extended download is only required if you dont keep a copy of the files backed up. You get an exe and a serial number and can reinstall later no problems. Full game is 35MB.

  10. Tony says:

    I’m a big fan of turn based games, and I’ve supported a few of those highlighted by RPS. But this game seems a bit high priced for what looks to be a diversion for a couple of nights rather than a deep game. I’ve subscribed to the Slitherine newsletter to see if it comes down in prices or the game gets expanded at some stage.

  11. Pod says:

    This is very poor. It’s only a tiny improvment over slay in terms of multiple units and that, but it somehow manages to convey less information than that windows 3.1 game. You have no idea what the enemy just did on their turn, where your troops went to, which territories you lost etc. I even found it hard quitting the game. (“Pause menu > clikc a little flag that doesn’t look like a button). I was planning on making my own open source version of slay, and seeing the “competition”, I might well have to.

  12. Sentient says:

    Well an open source version of Slay would be cool. I also thought about this, if only so that you could rescale the window. But fear of plagiarizing kept me back. So I was a it surprised to see this conquest game shamelessly copying 80% of Slay. Maybe Slay is also a conversion of a boardgame? I got the impression that I am missing something. ;)