Thursday, February 01, 2007

First Impressions: Conquest of the Fallen Lands

On Wednesday I had a rather unique opportunity. I was invited to play the new game Conquest of the Fallen Lands with the game's designer Andrei Burago and the game's publisher Alexander Vaschillo. Naturally I jumped at the chance and I was also pleased to be able to invite a couple of friends to play it with us.

Conquest of the Fallen Lands is a relatively new game produced in Russia by a small Redmond, Washington based company called ASSA Games. This is essentially a self-published game since ASSA Games was started for the sole purpose of publishing Fallen Lands. For a self-published game, I must say that I was quite impressed. While the components are not quite as nice as your typical German game they are still more than adequate. Instead of molded plastic trays we get sturdy cardboard dividers. Instead of molded plastic pieces or colored wooden cubes, we get colored glass drops. Instead of linen finished cards and hexes, we get sturdy cardboard hexes and plastic coated cards. The quality is just one notch below what you'd get from, for instance, a Hans im Glük production but it's still better than a lot of American titles

My one play doesn't really entitle me to give a full-blown review of the game but I will say that I was favorably impressed. It's a very fun game. Its fantasy theme is perhaps a little pasted on (under the covers this is probably more of an abstract game) but the flavor text on the cards does much to reinforce the theme. The rules are very simple and easy to learn. The game seems like it would play equally well across its advertised range of 2-5 players and it plays in a reasonably short time: roughly an hour; a little more with four or five players.

This is a positional strategy game, with players claiming territories across a hexagonal board. It also has a strong production element because each turn you increase your strength in anticipation of more powerful actions in subsequent turns. The card-driven aspect of the play introduces a fair amount of luck but not so much as to be overwhelming. You can find a brief rules summary on their web site.

Andrei and Alex were kind enough to let me keep a copy of the game and I'm looking forward to playing again very soon. I'll also be looking to get a few copies for the store so if you think you might be interested, give me a week or two to get things lined up.

In case you're wondering, I came in somewhere in the middle of the pack. Alexander finished way out in front.

Alexander Vaschillo and game designer Andrei Burago Alexander Vaschillo and game designer Andrei Burago


At 6:08 AM, February 02, 2007, Blogger R. N. Dominick said...

We've played this a couple times now during lunchtime at work, and it's gone over very well. I'm sure we'll pull it out again sometime soon, and another of the guys just ordered his own copy.

I had a few component problems -- scuffed hexes, no "dusty" stones -- and mentioned them in a comment on BGG. Andrei wrote to me and offered replacement hexes and stones, and sent them very quickly. I couldn't be happier with that customer service.


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