Conquest of Elysium 3 is deceptively FAR better than the screenshots would lead you to believe. If you like turn-based strategy games at all, this game will be very fun and addictive.(Some of it isnt very intuitive though, and there are no pop-up tips for new players. So either skim the manual, keep it open in a side window, or be patient until you figure the interface/mechanics out. Or catch a youtube getting started video) The other descriptions say it is very similar to the Civilization games, but it is far more similar to the Heroes of Might and Magic series. (there is no technology research or diplomacy or city/town improvements to build.) Armies can only move when a "hero" type unit is leading it. Heroes are the only way to claim the resource generating nodes on the map. The map is far more active than in Heroes of M&M though, with monsters being generated very frequently from "neutral camps" like ancient forests and brigand camps, until you take a hero and go clear them out and claim them, and there are random spawn events that happen to keep you from getting too comfortable. The animals will randomly wander and make you lose control of things they move over, while brigands are evil and smart and will go directly for capturing towns and villages away from you and will garrison them and they are stealthy about it.(essentially they are stealthed or cloaked and cant be seen except by running over them by accident or by bringing a stealth-detecting unit with your army, etc.)
The game really shines in the strategy department. Unlike Civilization or Heroes of M&M, the class type you choose will have HUGE implications for how strategies will work (instead of minor differences), it decides what heroes you will have access to, what armies you will be able to create with heroes via magic(if any), what unit types you will be able to purchase at towns you control, bonuses with certain terrain types, weaknesses and strengths with the general types of units you have acess to, etc. Unlike most competivite strategy games the resources themselves are varied and can only be collected by the appropriate hero types. For instance a witch will claim forests and swamps to get an income of fungus to use for making magical brews to summon nature spirits for their armies. A demonologist will want to claim towns and villages in order to get an income of 'sacrifices' to summon demons for their armies. And this is just a piece of the differences.
The combat itself is automated, which was annoying at first, but then I saw why later. You get so many random fights, and some fights with hero vs hero where both sides have 100+ units each, it would burn anyone out to try to control that turn by turn, unit by unit through a combat. In fact, dont miss out on the combat speed control in the upper gith hand corner of the battle screen. You will eventually tire of watching every combat play out at regular speed and will want to be able to speed it up using those controls. Also note that for your heroes and armies that can cast spells, you can inspect them outside combat to choose what spells they have ready for combat.(you dont want a frost demon to blast every creature on the battlefield with a frost attack if you have troops that could get hurt from it on your side, or you dont want to go into a fight with fire spells memorized if you know the enemy hero has tons of fire immune creatures, etc.) Also, it pays to take note of the magical items you find in your travels and from killing enemy heroes. You can trade them around between heroes, and even with your individual army members. (aka - one of your heroes finds a weapon but has one equipped already? if one of your armies he is leading could use it, they will pick it up and use it instead of it going to waste.)