Colonial Conquest (CC) recovers the period of conquest that swept the world, leaving few areas of the globe not directly or indirectly controlled by the major powers of the 19th century. And, as one of the major powers (England, France, Germany, Russia, the United States or Japan) it will be your duty to “civilize” as many of these backward countries (read as pre-industrial) as possible, while using its military force and Diplomatic cunning to prevent your opponents from doing the same.
Divided into eight regions, the world contains over 120 territories for you to elevate (read as grab) with an income bonus if you control an entire Region. However, CC should not be considered a difficult game. Its origins, according to its designer Dan Cermak, are rooted in the popular board game Risk. Dissatisfied with Risk’s simplicity, Dan designed a board game of his own that changed over the years, adding this and removing that, until he had the opportunity to incorporate much of it into this, his first computer game design. .
Each of the major CC countries has certain strengths and weaknesses that make each of them, when geographical factors are considered, different and challenging to play. England, for example, has the highest quality armies and fleets available.
Their fleets are unsurprisingly inexpensive, but their armies are twice as expensive as all but Germany’s. Russia, on the other hand, has cheap armies of poor quality and expensive fleets of equally poor quality. Therefore, while England uses sea power to expand her empire, Russia must use large numbers of land troops to conquer adjacent territories.
The game is played in annual cycles consisting of construction phases at the beginning of the year that are followed by four quarterly turns of movement and combat. Construction phases include an Army Construction Phase, during which you build armies at your production centers; a shipbuilding phase in which its navies are built in coastal production centers; a Fortification Phase that allows you to fortify strategic territories and thus double your defense; a Financial Aid Phase during which you can give money to human players for any reason, to computer players as a bribe to come to peace with you, and to minor countries to toughen a minor key in the way of one of your opponents; an Espionage Phase that allows you to spy on the approximate value and number (but not quality) of defending troops from lesser countries and more expensive major countries; and finally the Subversion Phase, during which you can use the information obtained in the previous phase to “buy” the defending armies of a minor country. If you have a large amount of money, or the smaller country is poorly defended, this can result in a coup, giving you control of the country with minimal garrison.
Each of the four movement phases contains an Army Movement Phase, an Army Movement Phase for each of the players. During the Army Movement Phase, a player can command his armies to any adjacent territory. If it is not controlled by him or if another player moves to the same territory on his turn, this will lead to combat in the Combat Phase. It is in the Naval Movement phase that navies can be ordered to transport armies into the territory they occupy for an invasion of another territory or the reinforcement of a territory of those players. You can also order naval sorties that send ships from one of your territories to fight ships in another territory and then return to your starting point.
Once all the player’s armies and fleets have been ordered, a Combined Combat Phase takes place. In nine rounds of land and naval combat, the attacking forces will attack the defending forces, each round causing some casualties on both sides. When one side reaches its breaking point, it will retreat to an adjacent territory if it is a land unit and to another port that contains territory in the region in the case of defending ships. If it is not available, everything will be destroyed. It is in the area of a unit’s breaking point where the quality rating of the unit plays an important role. An English unit might, for example, be able to take 50% of the losses before breaking up, while a similar Russian unit might take only 12% before the withdrawal begins. This rule applies to both armies and navies.
CC has one of the widest selections of difficulty levels and objectives seen in a fixed scenario game.
Each of your computer-controlled players can have their relative strength set on a ten-point scale, giving a large number of permutations. The level of victory points required to win can also be varied between a minimum of just 500 points and unlimited play. This allows for the adaptation of any level of play required, from a novice’s solitaire game to the game of up to six slit-throated experts. These factors, along with the three basic scenarios to which they would apply, contribute one of the best-selling qualities of these games.
There are some features or strategies that are not covered in detail in the otherwise complete documentation that should be noted. The first is the extreme vulnerability of a player who controls only one territory in a given region. If such territories show a naval presence, then you are ready for a departure. If you raid that territory and force a retreat, all defensive fleets (faces) will be destroyed, leaving the ground forces stranded. You must also leave the territory from which you are sending a large raid or invasion well defended. If such territory falls, returning products and failed invasions will be destroyed.
Also, pay close attention to the terrain value of a proposed objective, as good defensive terrain can more than offset the numbers. Of course, all of these rules apply with equal force to the person on the receiving end. Expand in a region so that more than one territory is maintained, keep an eye out for a loosely controlled territory from which outings are organized, and plan your defense taking into account the terrain of the territories. The Colonial Conquest is not a serious recreation of the colonial era. What a challenging and fun solitaire or multiplayer game. While it packs the flavor of the time, it’s easy to play and provides ample opportunity for the diplomat or general in you to stab your opponents, conquer territories, and build an empire where the sun never sets.