You first access to the lobby via flash on your browser where you can chat, see online players and games in progress. You can create or join a game, then you choose your capital which is your starting position.
Conqueror is a Risk-like game where you make troops to kill your neighbours, with additionnal features. There is no continent bonus or cards : each province is handled independently.
The game is a succession of turns (one turn = one season), players give orders in a limited time, then movement and battles are resolved simultaneously. Turn lenght is decided by the host, usually 1min to 1min30. One needs 50 to 100 turns to dominate the map.
Provinces can produce each turn troops or gold ; their production capacity depends on their population and technology.
To increase population, you must produce farms (10 000 peasants/farm) and there are 3 levels of technology : primitive, developped, advanced. Build a farm usually takes 2 to 4 turns, develop or advance 4 turns.
Gold is needed to pay troops in winter (every 4 turns), buy farms, technology (instead of waiting the 4 turns), or additionnal troops. Troops cost on each province is equal to :
Cost = (number of troops - number of farms) * distance from capital
As troops cost is linked to distance from your capital, it costs a lot when you make war far from your capital. You must increase population and improve technology while you conquer new provinces. You will produce your troops at these hot points, usually your borders.
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This is a game at turn 18. All province informations are in the yellow square on left, and production under progress is just above (here 9 soldiers per turn).
You can see I am in the middle of the map (helevetica), very interesting and challenging position, but it's nearly a suicide with human players. No secret, corners are better.
In the yellow area, you can see :
60 000 peasants (6 farms)
9 soldiers in (castles give an advantage in defence)
% of rebellion (if there is no troop in it, you can loose the province)
Very productive (result of factors linked to productivity : morale + technology + ressource bonus)
Ressources +2 (ressource bonus, random and fixed. Each +1 is like an additionnal farm)
Support cost (soldiers cost on this province : (9-6)*1 = 3 gold pieces)
While you produce troops for war, your provinces don't improve population or technology, and on long term you will have a low production capacity compared to your neighbours who don't make war, even if you have much more provinces. You have to equilibrate provinces development and geographic expansion, and adapt your strategy to your neighbours.
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Some advices for beginners :
At 16 players on the map 2 to 5 provinces are enough for the first 10 turns, don't expand too much at the beginning of the game or you will have to defend your provinces and use troops. According to your neighbourhood you can go easily to 10 provinces before developing.
If you play mainly with humans (i mean not bots), adapt a little bit your strategy. Now nearly all players consider than a little attack on one province means total war. So you have to expand first to make your borders, as they won't move until official war. I liked skirmishes age, but that is past.
Your priority is to develop your capital to 60 000 peasants advanced between turn 10 & 20 (you begin 40 000 developped), this is necessary to survive. The sooner is the better.
Identify the dangers according to the distance of threat. If a good player has a 60 000 advanced capital at 3 provinces to yours and you are still developped, you are dead. Same thing if he has 30 troops and you 6 : he can be on your capital in 3 turns and you won't have time to raise troops if he attacks.
You can build castles if you have plenty of money (3 levels of fortification), they count as additionnal troops in defence (5/10/25). I usually build a full castle only on my capital, once I have plenty of money.
Alternate phases of expansion and development (farms and/or technology). Develop in priority provinces you can't or don't want to loose, or with a ressources bonus.
Be careful to get gold before launching a big war. Usually you don't need to raise money at the first 10 turns, as conquering new provinces givees you few gold. While your provinces build troops you don't make gold. Gold is really the war backbone. If you cannot pay your troops they disappear, and the province becomes rebellious. Make the big battles before winter !
Don't forget to spy. Click on other players provinces, you will see how they are developped, and with experience it will give you some ideas about opponent's strategy.
When your capital and 1 or 2 provinces are advanced, you can try to kill your nearest neighbour, who is a continuous threat. With very near neighbour like 2 - 3 provinces far, you can do it before turn 20 without warning.
Conqueror is also a game of alliances. To whisper type #name blabla (now you have to be a member by giving an email on the website). Players usually respects peace agreements, and warn before breaking it. If not you can get a bad reputation in the lobby or forum (yes some players are very emotive :-)
A game lasts about 2 hours, more likely 30 min if you are a beginner. Some players play not very often but for several years, so handle your reputation ^^
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At the beginning gold is difficult to handle, you will have deadly winters. At the end of winter, you pay troops then you collect gold from provinces. If you don't have enough gold, you loose the unpaid troops (beginning by the farest), the province becomes rebellious and sometimes change their producion themselves. If with additionnal gold collected in winter you can pay troops, they come back but your province is still rebellious.
Missing gold can make you loose a war won in advance against an expert of spring counter-attack. Sometimes it's better to suicide far 100 soldiers than not pass winter. You can also bring them back toward your capital to reduce the cost. Make troops in spring-summer and gold in autumn-winter.
Gold is used also to buy farms or technology. For instance a farm needs 3 turns to be produced or 38 gold pieces. You will see that this is roughly the same, ie to make a 3 turns farm you will need to collect gold 2 turns then one turn to buy it. BUT making gold gives you more flexibility : you can collect gold in one province and buy the farm in another one that you need to be well developped. And if you are attacked by surprise (players call it a backstab), you can buy troops (produce 10 troops plus 15 bought makes a big difference).
Province's morale affect its productivity. It is not an essential concept as usually the provinces you get are first hostile then go slowly and naturally to devoted. But in some case your province stays hostile and produces nothing.
Province's morale depends on its number of farms, troops, technology, and neighbourhood. For instance if your province is 6 farms and advanced, while your neighbour is 3 farms primitive, you will have no problem. If it's the contrary you cannot keep an high morale on your province. If it's far from your capital and surrounded by 3 provinces well developped of another player, you have no chance to keep a high morale. Morale may depends also on player's civilisation score.
You must take care of hostiles provinces as their production is significantly downsized by roughly 50%. To improve morale, usually building farms and advancing technology is enough. As advancing in a hostile province will take 8 turns instead of 4, it's better to buy it. Produce troops can work also if it's the reason of low morale.
Last solution I use is producing diplomats (decrease roughly 1% of rebellion per diplomat), when I need a province to be fully producing soon. But diplomats don't change the reasons why morale is low, so morale can decrease again if it's surrounded by other players wealthy provinces.
Morale impacts also the chances of rebellion. It's not comfortable to have 25% chances of rebellion each turn, you must let some troops to crush these hippies ^^
Game Start. (12 or more players)
With your capital, makes 4 soldiers, then a farm (one turn), then 4 soldiers/turn.
Conquer provinces close to your capital. In new provinces, make troops. If production is less than 1 soldier/turn, build or buy farms. Go quickly to 2 -3 farms in your provinces, to have a decent production/turn. Look carefully provinces around you, take first those with bonus ressources or already developped.
When you have 2 - 5 provinces making troops, go advance you capital (4 turns), then make immediatly 2 farms (one turn each). This should happen before turn 15. Your capital is 60 000 advanced, which is enough for the beginning. Use it to make troops (to expand) or gold (to develop other provinces).
Build 1 or 2 provinces while you make troops with the others. Usually I go 4 farms, then develop, then 6 farms, then advanced. Buy what you can. When a province is 60 000 advanced I consider it finished for the first 30 turns and it produces gold or troops.
When you have 2 - 3 provinces advanced including your capital, you can consider to significantly expand and kill some neighbours. Don't forget to make gold !
When you have very close neighbours take another way (capitals are 2 - 3 provinces far from each other). Your priority is to advance your capital (before turn 10), with a good timming. Take only few provinces with bonuses or that you can keep easily. If the situation is risky, build first the 2 farms (2 turns each), make troops, then advance your capital. Advancing takes 4 turns with 4 farms, 3 turns with 6 farms. So it gets one more turn to be 60 000 advanced but you cannot take the risk to interrupt your advance technology to make troops for defence. Then kill as soon as possible, before the other player advance his capital. The alternative is to make peace with your neighbour.