EVE: Conquests (EVE the board game)

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It was the first day of Fan Fest 2013, we had just finished collecting our passes and picking our Quafe t-shirts when Hark runs off like a kid who’s had too much candy, he had spotted “EVE: Conquests” in the store. Hark has wanted “EVE: Conquests” for a long time, but due to the fact that if he had bought it from the “EVE Online” store it would have cost him more in shipping than to buy the game itself, he had restrained himself. So before fanfest had even ended, we found ourselves in a hotel room giving the game ago. As many of you will have seen the game set up in the “Games Hall” at fanfest: I would like to tell you a little something about the game:

EBG

EVE: Conquests is a strategy board game for 2-4 players set in the EVE Universe (It reminds me of “Risk: the game of global domination”), where the board is made up from regions in EVE Online connected together in the same way they are in game, the players choose to play as one of the four main races in EVE, as you should all well know they are the; Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and Minmatar (We will skip over the fact that there’s a fifth race in EVE online, the Jove as it’s not in the board game)

In EVE: Conquests you can set the winning conditions for the game so as to try to control how long the game will last, but going by the few time we played the games will last around 2-3 hours when you know how to play, here’s the kicker though “knowing how to play”. The rulebook is a bit complicated; some say so complicated you need a PhD in rule book reading to understand it. But once you have figured it out the game is good fun, I shall try to summarise how to play.

First you pick your race (doesn’t make a difference which apart from preference) and you choose where to place your “HQ” station, this location can not be taken by any other player, you can then lay down 5 or 6 “unit tokens” (Not to be confused with Agent tokens, which are the same item placed in an enemies region!).

These can only be placed in a region which you currently neighbour). Don’t confuse Unit Tokens with Agent tokens, they are the same physical item, but a token in your territory is a Unit Token, but a token in enemy territory is an “Agent Token” (Did I mention the PhD?). To build an “Outpost” you have to control the region and have a token (agent or Unit) in all joining systems (outposts are very important, but we’ll get onto them next).

Once you have a unit or an agent in all region connected to the one you plan on building an outpost in you now have to pick which type of outpost you wish to build, Logistics, Development or Production; and receive the equivalent resource token.

EBG turnsEBG Calendar

I should point out that the game does not follow a linear turn based rotation, oh no nothing that simple for EVE! Turns are decided by a calendar, on which each player has a Logistics, Development and production marker. Each of these Markers represents a different type of turn for the player, which when completed moves further around the calendar (an amount based on how upgraded the “resource” has been by the player using points resource tokens gained by building outposts).

This means that depending on how you upgrade your turns, you can sometimes get 3 “goes” in a row and then have to wait ages for your next turn or have each one of your turns spread out amongst the other players turns. This can also get tactical as you attempt to co-ordinate your defences and counter attacks with the optimal gaps in your opponent’s turns. During these turns you are can do different types of actions. For example a development turn will let you capture a new region or place an agent in enemy territory. Where as a production turn allows you to build units.

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As with EVE online you can fight over the control of the regions (albeit in the 4 main factions rather than the Capsular ones). These fights are determined by dice roll and the number of dice each player has is relates to the number of units each player has in the attacking and defending region, so if player 1 has 5 Units and player 2 has 4 Units they get a dice for each unit they have. There are three types of dice; attack, defence and tactics. Attack and defence are fairly self-explanatory (damage and mitigation) but tactics dice are a bit more interesting, they can be counted as either attack or defence depending on the player choice, so depending on the roll he might need more defence to protect his units or more attack to kill enemy units. To Offset this flexibility you will never get as many points on the dice using tactics as opposed to a dedicated defence or attack Dice. Attack dice are a d10 with Three Blanks, Three 1s, three 2s and a single 3 pointer. Defence Dice are d10’s with four Blanks, three 1’s and three 2’s. Tactics are also d10’s, but have five blanks, four 1’s and a single 2. To initiate an attack, the player must declare where is his attacking from and two (which must be adjacent regions), count up the Unit Tokens for each and decided on their dice.

However EVE wouldn’t be EVE without spy roll he might need more defence to protect his units or more attack to kill enemy units. To Offset this flexibility you will never get as many points on the dice using tactics as opposed to a dedicated defence or attack Dice. Attack dice are a d10 with Three Blanks, Three 1s, three 2s and a single 3 pointer. Defence Dice are d10’s with four Blanks, three 1’s and three 2’s. Tactics are also d10’s, but have five blanks, four 1’s and a single 2. To initiate an attack, the player must declare where is his attacking from and two (which must be adjacent regions), count up the Unit Tokens for each and decided on their dice.

Hark and Arian having a discussion on who will win the Amarr or the Minmatar, little did they know it was going to be Lore and the Caldari

Hark and Arian having a discussion on who will win the Amarr or the Minmatar, little did they know it was going to be Lore and the Caldari

As the final twist of complication in combat, players can use cards purchased with their Logistics turns to manipulate the outcome.’s and metagaming, so the player with the most agents in the enemies region picks his dice second, and can ask the other player either “how many attack dice are you going to use?”, “how many defence dice are you going to use?” or “how many tactical’s dice are you going to use?”. Giving him the chance to adjust his dice to counter his opponent. Every fleet needs a scout.

Now we get on to how to win the game, as I said at the start of the post you can set the winning conditions (I can’t remember all of them), the main way to win is to get points from capturing certain regions which are determined by 9 cards set up in a 3×3 grid; representing  a slice of the galaxy. Only 7 of the cards are showing at any one time and are captured by building an outpost on two of the indicated regions, in either a single row or column (represented by numbers and letters . you get the points shown on the two cards you capture towards your victory points total.

If you have managed to follow and understand that rambling and brief explanation of EVE: Conquests you are doing very well indeed. Certainly it took us a lot longer to get this far, and there are far more nuances and fringe case rules to learn yet. The game is fantastic and although it is complicated, it benefits from the complication rather than suffering it. Once your group has gotten the hang of it, it certainly provides a lot of interesting situations and tactics.

Hark looking longingly at the rule book hoping it would become more understandable

Hark looking longingly at the rule book hoping it would become more understandable

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