Para Bellum talks about a new army of conquest The Old Dominion
Para Bellum Games is one of the most exciting new names in the world of wargaming. With the release of Conquest: the last argument of kings and its skirmish fallout Conquest: First Blood in 2019, the company attracted a large audience with its in-depth tactical gameplay, in-depth knowledge, themed ruleset, and community engagement. Now the company is launching its sixth playable faction for Conquest (both Last argument and first blood), called The Old Dominion, and we sat down with Stavros Halkias, Creative Director at Para Bellum, and Leandros Mavrokefalos, Community Manager at Para Bellum, to talk about the game, the new faction, and the future of Conquest.
What is conquest and how does it happen?
Conquest is a tabletop wargame system with two different iterations. The largest system, Conquest: Last Argument of Kingsis a rank and flank war game where units are arranged in ranks and fight for dominance on the table. Conquest: First Blood is a fast-paced skirmish game using most of the same rules and everything of the same models. As Halkias explains, the goal of Conquest is to create a game that is both accessible and delivers a robust gaming experience, saying “usually what scared a lot of people was the speed, the huge investment [you had to make to get into wargaming]like, I need 40 models to make this device look good.” But with a relatively low number of models on both versions of Conquest, it doesn’t take much to build a superior force. “We therefore wanted to modernize the rows and flanks games, make them play faster, remove a lot of their weight and, at the same time, make them more complex.”
Some of this complexity comes from the way Conquest handles activation. You don’t start with all your units in the field, they flow onto the battlefield. And you never know what order your opponent will activate. As Halkias explains, “What has always bothered me about war games is the perfect information you have about your opponent, about yourself, about everything. We wanted to create a scenario that introduced the fog of war. By introducing the question of timing. It’s not just what I want to do and to whom.” Halkias believes that the primary strategic decision in most modern war games is unit activation. As he puts it, “It’s like, ‘I have to be here because I want to hurt them.’ “Gotta be here” is always more complex in ranks and flanks, which I think is what a lot of people like about rank conflicts. And that’s what a lot of people don’t like about ranks and flanks, is it not? The movement is more critical, but by introducing the when I’m going to do it in the turn sequence, you add a whole level of strategy that other games lack.”
Mavrokefalos agrees, stating, “In order to make a game faster or more fun, [other wargames] forgotten about strategic foresight. And that’s a core part of designing a game and a core part of playing a game. Because when you bring strategic foresight into the mix and bring it to the forefront of your design process , you take the weight off of “what list am I going to build?”, and put it on “How am I going to use the things I have”, and we find that in Conquesthe used the best player who wins more often than the player with a better roster.”
Halkias sums up the whole design philosophy of Conquest succinctly when he states, “Unlike the competition, we’re not a miniature company. We’re a gaming company. So we’re committed to balancing our game. And we’re committed to making factions play like we do.” told you they would play, the way we announced they were playing.”
Who are the old Dominions in Conquest, and how do they play?
In Conquestthe new army The Old Dominion are a kind of analog to an undead army, but their lore, mechanics, and story go so much deeper than just staggering skeletons. Halkias talks about the original army inspiration when he explains, “One thing that’s important to our design philosophy is that we look at history a lot. We don’t take the fantasy out of our heads, because everything we pull out of our heads believe me something stranger has happened in the last thousand years and one of those historical archetypes that I think a lot of people are aware of if they’ve been raised in the west is kind of a dark age after the fall of Rome. And that’s the concept that led to the birth of the Old Dominion.”
Essentially, the Old Dominion serves as something of a substitute for Ancient Rome. He represents humanity when it was at the height of its powers and wielded the most influence. And all this prosperity was under the watchful eye of the god Hazliah. “The problem with Hazliah,” says Halkias, “is that he went mad and had to be put down. The problem is that it’s hard to put down a God.” And even if the forces have arranged against him most managed to knock him down, “especially, with a deity, is close but no cigar. In fact, not only ‘no cigar’, but… cataclysm.”
Once wounded and close to death, but immortal because he was a god, Hazliah struck a bargain with death itself, and now the legions of warriors who had pledged themselves to their god, and a pantheon of other gods around Hazliah, rise from their graves. take revenge on the earth. It’s an incredible story, and the tradition, like the tradition of all Conquestis directly tied to the Old Dominion game mechanics.
“We’re trying to figure out the game mechanics that basically show what this faction is,” Mavrokefalos explains, “to find ways to explore the world of Conquestnot to find ways to populate the game for the sake of populating the game.” The way this manifests in the Old Dominion is through a transfer of essence or energy. Each warrior has a burst of energy into him, and at first these warriors just hang around, attack and strategize with an almost insane basic approach. But as the army takes more and more casualties, these lost fragments in the dead warriors are absorbed by warriors always moving on the battlefield, and they remember more of who they were, and what made them such amazing fighters So even if they don’t get stronger, they win more options and tactical abilities as their number decreases.
Along with the amazing look of these new models, that feeling of an increasingly self-aware army as they fight on the battlefield really sets this army apart from any other faction in Conquest. We’ll be getting a taste of an Old Dominion starter set soon, and from there we’ll take a deep dive, but for now, we’re very excited about what we’re hearing.
What is the next step for the conquest?
We ended our conversation by talking about what the future holds Conquest. “In the immediate future,” says Mavrokefalos, “we start with first blood version 2. We turn first blood in a full, competitive, full-fledged game. We’re sticking to our design decision to have two different play systems with the same miniature collection. Its very important for us.”
From there, the goal is to expand Conquestthe experience of organized play and tournaments. “And then,” Mavrokefalos said, “we look forward to the next faction.” This upcoming faction, the City-States, was selected by the Conquest community through The Living World. The Living World is a section of the site that allows users to create a profile, log in, and vote on everything from the results of major story moments to which faction they bring to the game next. As explained Halkias, Para Bellum gives its community “control over the serious decisions we make. I mean, because frankly, who will know better what they want to see next than our players?”
Finally, Mavrokefalos says they are developing “more quality of life updates for Last argument of the kings.At this, Halkias stepped in and said temptingly ‘He’s shy. Well, then, I guess I have to be shy too and not reveal too much. OK. Quality of life. Yes. Yes. Keep on going. Its good.”
We’ll keep you posted on the exact nature of these “quality of life” updates. Last dispute of kings could mean we find out more. Until then, if you want to know more about Conquesthead over to the Para Bellum site and check out our review of the Core Box for Conquest: Last Argument of Kings published in May 2021.