Conquest of Elysium 3 (CoE3) is a streamlined turn based fantasy strategy game with a touch of rogue-like and the complex undertones of Illwinter's Dominions series. While CoE3 appears to be a simple game with limited options at first glance, delving further into the game reveals a game of complex decision making and risky endeavors.
User reviews: Very Positive (224 reviews)
Release Date: Oct 24, 2012

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"Beneath its crude interface and simple graphic style is a robust, addicting, and deeply immersive turn-based fantasy strategy game! Check out my video"
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About This Game

Conquest of Elysium 3 (CoE3) is a streamlined turn based fantasy strategy game with a touch of rogue-like and the complex undertones of Illwinter's Dominions series. While CoE3 appears to be a simple game with limited options at first glance, delving further into the game reveals a game of complex decision making and risky endeavors.

The main focus in CoE3 is that each race plays differently. We're not talking about a unique building and unique unit, we're talking about completely differently, with different mechanics and different goals. Perhaps you're playing a druid, focused on amassing a vast forest and jungle empire from which to harvest ingredients to summon creatures of the woods with no practical need to conquer mines. Perhaps you're a dwarf, who's only concern are mines and produce units at a set rate every turn, focused almost entirely on upgrading those units to survive as long as possible since they are so difficult to replace. With 18 different factions that alone is enough to keep your play dynamic as you vie for control of the map to conquer Elysium. That isn't where it ends, however, there are 6 scenarios in which your game takes place that will help randomize the map. These scenarios range from a the early days of an agrarian world to a giant gleaming capital, which you can conquer, that spawns patrols of human guards, to a fallen empire filled with the living dead and scarred by battlefields and tombs. There's also random events to contend with, from merchants to pillage to the very gates of the underworld opening portals to your realm, your hands will be full before you even make contact with the enemy.

In each game the objective is to defeat your enemies by relying on the strengths of your chosen race. Combat in CoE3 is automatic to keep things streamlined, but that doesn't make it non-strategic. Each unit has a desired "location" it wants to be in the battlefield. Archers want to be in the rear, heavy infantry want to be in front. As you can imagine, putting together an army that has enough strength to protect the powerful archers and spell casters in the rear is vital. It goes beyond that though, as you must determine your enemy's strengths and hopefully be able to counter their strategy. An army of a mere 10 trolls is extremely dangerous, perhaps able to bring down a dragon, but they can only kill 10 creatures at once. An army of 50 small units will make short work of your trolls. However, an army with a wizard able to cast high level spell may completely destroy all 50 small units in one shot but would be unable to harm 10 trolls. Determining the strength and composition of an enemy army is a vital skill, and since hitting in combat, damage, and even the very spells that will be cast are randomized based on the abilities of each unit, every battle invites potential disaster and a change of plans.

Key Features:

  • 18 different classes that are unique, both in resources they need and the rituals or special abilities they have
  • Copious amounts of monsters and random events, good and bad
  • Random maps.
  • Spell system with 42 magic paths
  • Network or hotseat multiplayer
  • Team play, you can be 2 players against the AI for example.
  • Stealth and invisibility. Scouts needed to detect stealthy troops, something better (a star spawn or a beast bat will work) needed to detect the invisible ones.
  • Assassins that make an assassination attack before combat starts.
  • Catapults, Hill Giants and Rocs that can throw or drop boulders during sieges.
  • Immortal Liches and Vampires.
  • Regenerating trolls rise from the dead if they haven't been killed too badly or their side lost.
  • Large worms that can swallow smaller enemies whole. Swallowed units take a few points of damage from digestion each round until they are freed.
  • Shape changers that looks like something else when seen by the enemies.
  • And many many more monsters and abilites....

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP/Vista/7
    • Processor:1 GHz
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    • Graphics:OpenGL capabable graphics card
    Minimum:
    • OS:10.4.11 and above
    • Processor:any PowerPC or Intel cpu
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
32.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 28
This game is deeper than it first appears to be. A real gem. Lots of possible strategies. Plus, my massive empire was felled by a single deer. OK that part was not fun.
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
30.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 15
Pro

- factions look and play very differently; many have entirely different resources and mechanics
- lots of factions to choose from
- excellent battle system that doesn't rely too much on RNG but rather, you having imperfect information
- battles resolve before being played, so you don't have to watch them if you don't want
- lots of different types of units
- custom units and mods
- simple and easy multiplayer

Con

- Random roving monster bands often kill you at the start of games in a way that you can't control
- charming, but ultimately sometimes eye-straining and plain ugly sprite-based graphics
- antiquated UI that doesn't let you know what something does before clicking it
- manual doesn't explain too much
- very unbalanced factions
- no real "population" or "civilization" mechanics to speak of
- one way to win: conquest
- worldmaps are boring

It's okay. If you can get over the issues in the "Con" section above, you may get some enjoyment out of it, but Dominions 3/4 is ultimately a better game by the same developers, that allows you more customization and has more features anyway.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
Fun as hell streamlined Turn-Based strategy crack for your brain. If you like lizard poison archers, mace-wielding golems, blood rain holocaust spells, skeleton armies and mythology from every culture this side of jupiter, this is your game. Alternatively, if you tried to get into Dominions but find it too complex, this might hit your sweet spot for easy to learn but hard to master 4X strategy.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
40.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
This game surprised me! It has been really fun to play especially with others. Lots of fantasy factions to choose from and great old school strategy game play. The actual fights aren’t really able to be controlled which is one downside but there are lots of unique units you can recruit and lots of factions special perks to fool around with.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
There's a lot to love in this game, but also a lot to hate. If you're curious but don't want to commit to cash quite yet I recommend you check out CoE2 available for free from Illwinter's site as a free download. It's a lot more limited than this version of the game, but will give you a pretty good feel for how it handles.

On the good side, if you're looking for a streamlined fantasy 4X that offers a unique collection of races and play mechanics, this might be your games (I especially enjoyed Illwinter's take on why you never see any female dwarfs). It's really satisfying to finally round up enough innocents to summon demon lords, or to finally complete the necromantic ritual which will turn you into an immortal vampire in an old, abandoned castle.

On the bad side, Illwinter doesn't really care that much about UI. In the Dominions series (which has gotten a lot better on this front) it was the price of admission for a really unique strategy game. With the stripped down CoE approach, the lapses in UI design feel a lot less forgivable. For example, there's no smooth way to start a new game without exiting and launching the game again. Unit moves can't be cued, so you spend a lot of time babysitting commanders on there way back to grab reinforcements.

Past the interface, the abundance of unfriendly fauna can get rather obnoxious. While it's cool that you need to be careful early on, by mid game marauding bands of deer taking unprotected farms just gets annoying. Commanders are a limited resource in the game, so keeping them on hand for pest control can get frustrating. Plus I'm unaware of any kind of "major events" summary, so I spend a lot of time at the beginning of each turn checking my domain and making sure Bambi isn't stirring up any trouble. Then on larger maps you can have to cross fields covered with unthreatening but still annoying spawns.

Finally, there's side balance. As is the case with any game that has 17 truly unique sides it's a nightmare. Necromancer's can be unstoppable in the Fallen Empire period, or they can get screwed by their early game position. Playing a side that relies on mines? Hope you start near some, because while your capital normally counts as one, there might not be any others nearby.
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