The hardest part of my new role as president of the International Hexagonal Society? Trying to persuade the motor industry to adopt six-sided wheels. The easiest part? Disseminating news of new hex strategy like Conquest! Medieval Realms. A swift tappity-tap on the old word-piano and suddenly every RPS reader knows that two-man UK outfit Illustrious Software have recently finished a friendly Hundred Years War game that hides chess-like depth behind unassuming Noggin The Nog visuals. A bit more tappity-tap and you’re aware the lazy varlets haven’t released a demo yet.
Judging by the feature list and screenshots Conquest has a fair bit in common with Sean O’Connor’s olden but golden Slay. Both games offer luck-free combat underpinned by simple economics. Both provide mountains of maps. If Conquest turns out to be as hypnotic as its inspiration (?) then Illustrious are onto a winner. Slay, along with another O’Connor creation, are two of the first games I install on any new laptop.
And no talk of Medieval hexery would be complete without a mention of Cry Havoc: Test Of Faith. This free digital interpretation of a classic tactical boardgame simulates what happens when gangs of armoured toffs and sack-clad peasants gather in clearings and villages for violence. The visuals are a little blurry and the turn structure rather elaborate (offensive missile fire – movement – close combat – defensive missile fire) but overlook that and you’ve got yourself the perfect tool for conducting Robin Hoody ambushes and Combat of the Thirty-style bloodbaths.