Conquest the Last Argument of Kings is a mass battle miniatures wargame by Para Bellum Wargames. It's set in their own unique fantasy world of Eä. The rules for Conquest were written by Alessio Cavatore, who has a credit checklist of the best mass battle wargames on the market, including Warhammer, Kings of War, and the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. In this article, we'll look at what the Conquest Core Set contains and how it plays. We'll look at the setting and the other products available in future articles.
Conquest the Last Argument of Kings Rules
Conquest the Last Argument of Kings is a rank and flank tabletop wargame, where players take on armies made up of foot soldiers, cavalry, beasts, and their leaders. Each unit moves in a block of bases, attacking and defending as one. The core rules and mechanics are simple, with players taking alternate actions with their units, and each unit getting 2 actions when it activates. The actions units can choose from include, moving, charging, shooting ranged weapons it has, or engaging in close combat if in contact with another unit. They can also aim and inspire, which give them bonuses to their next attack action, which is useful because apart from marching, you can only take each action once during the turn, so aim/inspire means that units engaged in long melee exchanges, or ranged units that don't need to reposition, can still make use of both actions.
Each unit has a stat block, and to complete actions, they need to roll equal to or under the characteristic presented on a six-sided dice (D6). Combat is fast-paced, and a unit rolls an amount of D6 equal to its attacks multiplied by the number of units left in the regiment. Any roll under their attack stat is a hit, and your opponent then gets a defense roll for each successful hit. A number of units are then removed from the regiment, depending on the amount of failed defense rolls. Units have two types of defense, Defense and Evasion, represented by two different stats. Some units are armored and tough, and others are lithe and wiley. A single roll for defense is made, and as long as it is under one of the stats, the defense is successful.
As a rank and flank game, individual units are placed on stands, depending on their type, with infantry going on four to a stand, and brutes and cavalry going one to a stand. Monsters are also one to a stand, but their stands are much larger. When infantry units take damage, miniatures are removed from the stand, making it easy to work out how many attacks a unit gets in combat with a visual check of the remaining miniatures.
There are some unique and great rules that Conquest has that make it stand out. The first is that when the game starts, nothing is deployed on the tabletop. Each unit has a class, either Light, Medium, or Heavy, and depending on the turn, has a varying chance of entering the battlefield. Light units enter early, but the earliest a heavy regiment has of arriving is turn 3. This has a great strategic effect of light units being able to enter and set up on the battlefield before the large and powerful units arrive. It also means that a balance needs to be considered when selecting your force.
There is also a changing line that your reserves can enter from, which is taken from your deployment edge to the rear of the most forward friendly regiment, before an enemy regiment. The reinforcement line is worked out at the beginning of the turn, and your units can enter from any table edge behind your reinforcement line. This line can't be pushed forward in your turn, but if an enemy advances over your reinforcement line, it can be pushed back.
Another interesting rule is the command stack. Every regiment in your army comes with a command card, which has the unit's basic stats and an image. At the start of the round, players order the cards in the way they want their units to activate. This has a unique strategic impact, and you have to consider what order your opponent will activate in, along with your own activation considerations to make your battle plan work. What I like the most about this rule, is that if you have multiple units of the same type in your force, you can choose which one activates when you draw the corresponding card from the command stack, giving your more flexibility in unit activations in a less varied army.
The rules contained in the Core Box are v1.0 and the latest rules (v1.0.3) are available online for free here. The full army lists, lore, and also army builder are all also available for free on the Para Bellum website. Conquest currently has five available factions, with the latest faction the W'adrhun releasing recently and the sixth on the way soon. Para Bellum has plans for many more factions, and you can be part of the development of Conquest in their Living World.
Conquest the Last Argument of Kings Core Set
The Conquest Core Set has everything 2 players need to start playing Conquest the Last Argument of Kings. It contains:
- Conquest the Last Argument of Kings rulebook (which also includes the army lists for the two starter-set forces)
- Command Cards for the units
- Secondary objective decks for both factions
- 12 dice
- 6 plastic objective markers
- 1 Spires Force
- Brute Drones
- 1 Abomination
- 24 Force-Grown Drones
- 1 Hundred Kingdoms Force
- 1 Noble Lord
- 24 Men-at-Arms
- 12 Mercenary Crossbowmen
- 3 Household Knights
The miniatures that Conquest uses are larger than you may be used to in tabletop wargames, but it does mean that there is lots of great, easy to see and paint detail on the miniatures. They do need assembly and some of the larger miniatures with multiple options can be interesting to put together. The assembly instructions don't come in the box and can be found on Para Bellum's website here. If you're a beginner to wargames and miniature assembly, then you will need to take your time with the miniatures. While the quality is good, the assembly instructions do require some deciphering.
The Hundred Kingdoms are the fractured forces of humanity and the starter set contains a solid core of troops. The Noble Lord and their Household Knights are devastating on the charge and have mobility that's only outmatched by the Spires Abomination. The Men at Arms offer a solid core to advance up the battlefield, dependable in combat with a solid defense. The Mercenary Crossbowmen are light, which means they can get onto the battlefield early, and lay covering fire for the advance of the rest of the army.
The Spires are an alien race, refugees fleeing their own world. Where the Hundred Kingdoms come with a traditional core of infantry with elite cavalry support, the Spires differ. Led by a Pheromancer with powerful abilities over their force. Their core is a unit of Force-Grown Drones, who while aren't impressive in combat, but block the advance of the enemy and allow the larger Brute Drones and Abomination to wreak havoc among the enemy ranks.
Both forces in the Conquest Core Box make around 580 points just with the units (with the Pheromancer taking the Pheromantic Compulsion ability). Other options can be taken to boost the points.
It's worth noting that the Spires force isn't technically legal if the Force-Grown Drones are taken as one unit of 24 as the army has more restricted units than mainstay, but for the purposes of playing out of the Core Box, the forces are balanced enough that it doesn't matter. Beyond the core, adding a unit of Onslaught Drones, Prowlers, or splitting the Force-Grown Drones into two units will make it legal.
The Core Box gives a good introduction to both forces, and both offer a slightly different playstyle while being balanced in terms of introductory gameplay.
The Bottom Line
Conquest the Last Argument of Kings is a solid mass battle wargame. The core mechanics are simple and effective that allows you to focus on the larger elements of positioning and the individual abilities of your regiments. The unique elements of Conquest, the reinforcement and command cards system both inject awesome tactical elements that really make Conquest stand out. The miniatures are a larger scale than other wargames, but they are fantastic and full of awesome detail. The two forces the Core Box contains are a solid introduction and offer a great way of seeing the system in action.
Get This Game If:
- You want an awesome mass battle wargame.
- You want some great, unique tactical elements in your wargame.
- You want to be involved in the living lore of a fantasy game.
Avoid This Game If:
- You don't want to put miniatures together.
- You prefer skirmish wargames (in which case check out Conquest First Blood).
The copy of the Conquest the Last Argument of Kings Core Set used to produce this review was provided by Para Bellum Wargames.