Conquest Of Elysium 3 is a game by Illwinter Game Design, which also created Dominions 1-3 and Conquest Of Elysium 2. Illwinter Game Design was originally called Bogus Game Design back in the 1990s when they started up and created a game called Conquest Of Elysium for the Atari. Their games are far and few between because Illwinter Game Design is basically just a couple of guys making games as a hobby in their free time.
They created this game in the old school style of strategy games, back when it was more about the content, replayability, and singleplayer mode, rather than fancy looking graphics and multiplayer. The graphic style of this game is quite refreshing from all the fancy graphics and flowing animations we see these days, This game has pretty much no animations for character movements and only really has animations when in combat, when spells are being flung, crossbows shot, and monsters spitting their horrid bile over anything they see.
The controls for the game are fairly basic, all you do is point and click, but this leads to problems with the game. If I wanted to go to the in-game menu and save my game, I would usually press “Esc” and then select “Save Game” and all would be fine. but in this game you have to select the in-game menu, then “Misc Options” and then you can save your game, and this will get pretty tedious at times. Also being able to bind your commanders, armies, and cities to hotkeys would be a good feature which this game sadly doesn’t have.
Here is how the campaign works. You start by first choosing how the map is going to turn out. You do this by first selecting how big the map is going to be, it can be anything from tiny to enormous. Then you select what part of history the land is set in, this determines what spawns in the game world such as battlefields, hamlets and castles. An example of a part of history you can choose is the fallen empire which will mostly spawn battlefields and undead due to all of the fighting that took place long before.
After you have selected how the map is going to generate, you will then have to select which class your faction is going to be based on. There are a lot of classes
to choose from, each with a set of it’s own special perks, powers, and resources. An example of this is the good old necromancer who has the ability to spawn the undead at places where the living have recently died or even at old battlefields which are sometimes scattered throughout the map. The necromancer has a special resource which is called cursed hands (or something like that, I can’t quite remember it myself) and this resource is used by your necromancer to use powers such as major summoning which can spawn anything from a dragon to an undead commander. Once you have chosen your character you can then name him/her anything you like.
Once all of the selection process is out the way you will then be spawned in a randomly generated map using the parameters you have chosen. You will start off with the basic things necessary to help you conquer the known world, which will consist of a hamlet/village so that you have a decent income, your capital where you recruit new troops, and a location where your resource is collected (the necromancer starts off with a gallows for his cursed hands).
When you start off, a large majority of the unexplored map is covered in fog of war (except the squares your characters and buildings can see) and you can only see the other squares by moving your characters or armies near them so they can see them within their line of sight. Your characters or armies can only move a certain amount of squares per turn and this can be effected by terrain such as mountains and swamps which take an extra movement point to traverse. Some terrain can be counteracted by perks some races and classes have. For example, the dwarves can traverses mountains without penalty and the undead are amphibious so they can traverse water (I’m guessing they just walk across the sea floor).
There are certain special points on the map that races can exploit that others can’t. For example, the necromancers can capture graveyards to give them a steady income of hands, and witches can use forests and swamps to gather fungi for rituals. This adds an extra bit of strategy to the game, as some races may want to deny the enemy players special areas to stop them from gaining extra income and powers.
There are places on the map that give a special defense bonus to whoever is defending on it, these places can include hills, mountains, castles, and even mines. This defense bonus is very helpful in reducing casualties and chances of the enemy hitting your men.
There is a vast amount of units in this game, each with it’s own individual perks, actions, weapons, armor, and spells (like the classes you select at the start). Each and every one of these units have advantages and disadvantages. For example,
the mummy is nearly invincible and heals itself in battle but is extremely vulnerable to fire due to it’s bandages.
The combat in this game is fairly basic. When attacking, the defending side attacks first and then the attackers get to have their turn. The combat is basically your units automatically using what attack or spell they see is best used in the situation, so you have no control over what your units do, all you can do is watch and see the battle unfold.
Here is a good example of what the battlefield looks like:
There is a multiplayer option with this game, although it works the way Minecraft used to work where you have to type in your mates IP address in order to connect to them and play. The gameplay is the same as the singleplayer except you can play with a friend.
So in short, Conquest of Elysium 3 is very in-depth with a very high replay value and I always seem to be going back to this game time and again for it’s awesome randomly generated maps and huge amount of classes, and I would highly recommend this game for anyone who has a secret nerdy desire for a combination of RPG and turn-based strategy.