Star Trek: ConQuest Online
|a game by||Genetic Anomalies|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Star Trek tans have been waiting a long time for a decent game based on the famous Federation and there are several titles currently in the wings. Unfortunately, if Star Trek Conquest Online is typical of them, the wait isn't over yet...
Conquest Online is an online turn-based strategy game for a maximum of two players, in which you buy, swap and sell game pieces and pit them against your chosen opponent in fairly basic combat that's almost a cross between chess and Pokemon.
After installing the game, you're taken online to gather your 'unique' collection of a hundred or so pieces, including ships, persons, items and events. These will provide you with a basic starter set to play as the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, or Borgs, or you can play with a mixed group. Games are played with exactly 41 pieces, one of which is the Q piece that acts like the king in chess. If it's 'checkmated' - stuck on an uncontrolled planet - then you lose the game.
If you want to get some practice in before you hit the connect button, there are five tutorials and three games to play against the Al, one basic and two advanced. The advanced game introduces online piece auctions plus the concept of Q points, another way to win the game. You have 41 pieces under your command and you can activate them based on the number of control points you have, which in turn, is based on the number of planets you control. In practice, you can usually bring in - or deploy - one or two pieces a turn at the start and perhaps three or four when you have conquered neutral zone planets. Fast and furious it isn't, especially as the game ends on turn 20, and by then you're running out of pieces to deploy...
Pieces include a wide variety of ships and people, from Borg cubes to Federation starships and Romulan diplomats to Klingon warriors. Some characters work well together, providing bonuses when they're on the same ship or planet, and each has different combat and influence ratings, the latter for gaining planetary control from your adversary. Ships and people can be enhanced by a variety of item pieces - weapons, communicators, shields and so on, adding lots of Star Trek spice to the melting pot.
The advanced game turn involves several phases -deployment, auction, specials, attack and move. In the auction phase, you and your opponent pool ten pieces, to which the game adds another ten, and then one is selected for auction and bid for with control points. In the specials phase some powerful pieces - all 'real' characters from the Star Trek world - can bring in special powers, ranging from mind control of other pieces to generating additional control points for the player.
Attacks are plotted on the rather simplistic two-dimensional map and, depending on the number of actions allowed, ships can also defend. After that, pieces can move, or in the case of people, they can beam down to planets or up to ships. While the actions in each phase are plotted simultaneously by the players, they take place in descending order of control points.
While Conquest Online appears to be a straightforward game in the sense that the rules are quick and easy, there is plenty to learn when it comes to strategy and tactics. You can be up and running in minutes, but it will take hours of playing and making mistakes before you are confident enough to broadcast challenges on the Conquest server. However, it's not a game that will set Trekkies alight and it's much too slow and shallow to satisfy hardened space strategists.