Session Report: Conquest of Planet Earth

This is an older report about a game of Conquest of Planet Earth by Flying Frog Games. We’ve played the game numerous times since then, in various player counts.

So my friend Jared’s copy of Conquest finally arrived, and we gave a 2P cooperative game a shot. Hoping for maximum carnage, we chose to play on “brutal” difficulty. We randomized races, and I was the brainy Menthalars, while J was the militaristic Trun. We skimmed our way through the rules, and then dove in tentacle

I started to explore the regions at my end of the board, and turned up the radio station, which adds population (essentially victory points) to adjacent regions that already have at least one population. This was nice for the next region I discovered, but crappy for the 0 population forest that turned up. This would be a recurring theme, as it seemed 90% of the location card deck consisted of 0 population cards. And since you need to conquer populated areas to win… Well, it was a struggle the whole way through.

I didn’t encounter much resistance at my end of the map at first, and quickly secured the locations near my landing site. J, on th other hand, got hot and heavy straightaway with some tanks and paratroopers. The resistance rolled an inordinate number of sixes (only against J, not against me… whoops), and J lost a couple of saucers, but managed to take some medium-population locations.

So far, so good. We were quickly making our way towards the 16 points needed for the victory. Brutal difficulty level? Hardly. But then everything went horribly, horribly wrong.

An artillery unit showed up next door to me, and shelled the crap out of my fleet. I lost 3 saucers just taking out the artillery and the paratroopers that had joined them, and had to use the last of my alien menace tokens to mind control some resistance cards to fight my battle for me. All that for a measly 2 points… but at least it went better than J’s assaults, as he drew what seemed like 43 hero cards that munched his fleet to dust. Still no barrages attacking him, but he now had to deal with some fighter planes that had starting buzzing around his airspace. They, of course, always ended up flying to, and reconquering, whichever location he had most recently left undefended. Random movement my ass.

Shifting into high planet-destroying gear, we wrecked as much of the resistance as we could find, and started pushing our conquests towards the middle of the board. As fast as we spread, we still weren’t finding any locations of great value. We were running low on time, and needed points badly. A good-but-not-great location came up, and I took a gamble, playing an event card that discarded it and replaced with a *hopefully* better one from the deck. No dice — it was a grassy hill or something with no population. J played the same event card and got… an identical grassy hill. I suppose that’s what we get for getting greedy.

Now we were really up against it, with only a few turns left and the human tech level improving, beefing up the resistance to sickening levels. Each turn’s random event card gave them an even bigger advantage, and what was worse was that we’d just been stripped of some Space Stuff cards that gave us straight victory points.

We made a strong push to capture/recapture all of the good areas we’d uncovered, and J used his teleportation pants(?) to expand further away from the bulk of the resistance. By this point, we’d clawed back to about 14 points, and were confident we’d get the win. Then I drew the atomic bomb card, which sucked.

The A-bomb card destroys the location with the most alien ships on it. If there are ties, all tied areas are destroyed, and are worth 0 points. We had 3 locations each with 2 ships on them. Result: 3 of our better-scoring locations were now worthless, J lost 2 of his saucers, and I lost ALL FOUR of mine. All I had left was this weird lizardman/watermelon ally who had a pretty decent chance of destroying any location he tried to conquer. Since there were very few places left on the board worth any decent amount of points, it wasn’t feasible to send him anywhere — he’d probably ruin our only chance to win!

I’d all but conceded the game, but we hung around until the bitter end. On the 2nd to last turn, we counted up our points and realized that we still had a chance — the capital location in the middle of the board would give us exactly enough points to achieve victory. Caveat: it was heavily defended and out of normal movement range.

I played a teleportation card I’d been saving, dropped all 4 of my newly-rebuilt saucers on the place, and J and I threw everything we had at it. The capital fell, the Earth was conquered, and we sat back, exhausted from this wild, swingy game.

Wow. That was a BLAST. If you’re not one who likes luck and wildness to your games, stay away. But if you’re looking for some exciting and tense fun, run out and grab this game. I’m not sure how good competitive play is yet, but co-op is great.

Just watch out for the A-bombs. They leave a mark.

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