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Conquest of Elysium 2 is a freeware fantasy Turn-Based Strategy game developed by Illwinter Game Design in 1997 and released as freeware 10 years later. It's a prequel of sorts to the Dominions series of games also developed by Illwinter. It allows anywhere from 2-8 players at the same time, any or all of which may be human; however, multiplayer is hotseat only.
Each player takes on the role of any of 20 different classes of faction leader which can be broadly organized into four different categories (Warlord, Mage, Priest, Nonhuman). Each player starts with two or three leaders, a modest army, a Citadel, and a few small villages that provide income. Unlike many similar games, economic management is practically nonexistent; taxes are collected from each settlement or mine that the player controls, and the money can be used to buy more units. For the most part, the only influence the player has over the economy is setting the tax rate, although one class of Priest can build Temples to further augment his income. There's no diplomacy, either; the game is essentially a straight-up free-for-all among all the players. The ultimate goal is the conquest of Elysium, which is accomplished by vanquishing all enemy leaders and capturing their Citadels.
Like Civilization and other games of its ilk, the game has a great deal of replayability; the diversity of units, magic items, and enemies means that no two games are ever the same. Unfortunately, it suffers from a number of large flaws; aside from a rather modest manual, documentation for the game is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, the interface is clunky, esoteric, and at times confusing. However, if you can see past these setbacks, it's a charming game overall.
Conquest of Elysium 2 is available for download at Shrapnel Games.
Conquest of Elysium provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Like its successors, there is almost no documentation in-game, not even a tutorial. However, the manual is useful for picking up the basics.
- All Trolls Are Different: The Troll King.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Empire, which is pretty much an Elysian Expy of Rome.
- Goddamned Bats: Roving bandits. They like to wander around the map, stealing your settlements out from under your nose.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Summonable, by the Cardinal of El.
- Mineral MacGuffin: Warlocks collect gems which can be used to give them different powers.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragon Lord.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Dwarf King. His faction collects more money from mines.
- Our Elves Are Better: Two different Elf leaders, an Elf King and an Elf Queen. Both are able to control forests as well as towns, and friendly units will periodically spawn on their own.
- Our Orcs Are Different: The Orc Warlord. Orcs are powerful fighters, though weak against magic.
- Summon Magic: Many Mages and Priests have the ability to summon various units such as mythological creatures and demons. Requirements vary from gathering herbs and mushrooms in the forest to sacrificing your own population.