Conquest of Champions is a game that has a lot of shiny things dangling in front of you, but the only way to reach them is by wading through pools of mud. It just makes you go through a lot of hassle to get something you want. That, or you just do it the dirty way by forking over money and gambling for digital cards. And it's for that reason I have a bit of trouble recommending this to people.
If you guys want to see the basic gist of the game, here's a quick look video showing off its gameplay and most of its good side. It's long for a quick look, but strategy games always never go quick. And for those of you who like to keep things brief, I'll leave the summary below.http://youtu.be/VzypW8CM2-0
I'll start by saying the gameplay is solid. The way to win the game is simple, just kill the enemy hero and the towers on their side, but what makes it fun is the mechanics behind it. There's tons of interesting units and spells that do a variety of things, and the units themselves all have specific abilities on top of filling the board. The heroes you control have powerful special abilities and can transform into even bigger monsters that dominate your foes. The resource mechanic of gems, action points, and cards flow well together. Are you out of actions? Then use gems to squeeze 3 more beatings out on your opponent. Running out of cards? Sacrifice one gem to luckily draw the spell you need to finish off a unit. And if you're short on gems, there are plenty of cards that give you more, and units can easily build mines to increase the flow once again. Combine it all together and you got yourself a mashup of meat and magic pounding against each other in the center of the battlefield. And the one named the victor is usually the one with the best chemistry and tactics.
But now that I got the reason you should play this game out of the way, I have to tell you about the stuff dragging the game through the dirt.
You start the game by selecting a hero out of 3 separate factions (basically the typical fantasy dwarfs, elves, and undead. Nothing new or unique). What you really don't know is that you're choosing the ONLY hero you can play without forking over money or gold. That's right, you pretty much go on a blind date that ends up as a shotgun wedding, so I hope you're happy with what you pick. Sure you can start a new account for free, but why should you have to go through the hassle just to try out another playstyle? And if you do, you won't be able to pool all your cards together from your other accounts, so it highly discourages you from changing right off the bat.
Another peeve of mine is most of the cards you get as rewards you can't even use. Imagine how I felt after I played multiple 30 minute matches, opened up a deck with the gold I acquired, and I could only use a SINGLE card out of the 5 given to me. One of the cards was even a component you can only make use of by combining 3 other ones to MAYBE craft a card you need. And even then, you need to level up your hero/faction in order to even craft the bloody thing in the first place.
And speaking of crafting, let me tell you a little more on how bad it is. Plain and simple, you cannot craft the all the cards you really want and make the deck that suits your playstyle. Instead, you can only make 4 for the faction you have. And even then they smear dirt in your face because you have to get lucky with crafting drops in order to do it. It's just a sad, sad joke.
Now don't get me wrong. I get the reason they do this. It's a FTP game, and they want to make money by charging you for more cards. That's perfectly fine and acceptable. But why should they limit you so greatly to just playing a single hero? Sure I may like him, but I want to see/test if I'd like another one better. I want diversity! What they should be charging for is just cards that tweak each faction, or at least grant us one of each of the factions' heroes so we at least can grasp the basic mechanics behind each one. That way when I get a card for a certain faction, I can actually use the damn thing without it being completely useless to me. I'm even able to overlook the garbage cards you can't use in anything besides crafting if they at least grant you access to other heroes from the very start.
And since we're still on the topic of their business model, nothing pisses me off more than a token system that almost NEVER comes out even. This isn't Chuck E. Cheese. There should be straight cash bundles for everything I want. Most people don't want leftover hot dogs without buns. But that's the kind of crap you're gonna be dealing with as you'll have to overbuy crystals in order to get what you really want. It's just dirty business practice.
*(updated) It looks like they have some straight cash bundles on steam now, which is a good start. Let's hope they stay there*
But still, I think the enjoyment I had in the game outweighed my annoyances. But just marginally. It being a FTP game made that so. I also would've listed that lacking playerbase as a negative since it's so hard to find a match, but with this being released on steam, it will hopefully fix that. That, and they are promising to implement a card auction/trading system, so hopefully that'll also fix the card issues just as long as they don't milk you. It is only early access, and they are probably going to listen to their community so that some of these issues are fixed. If they have good sense, anyway.
So all-in-all, I think you should give this game a shot and see if it's for you, just as long as what I listed doesn't bother you. It's still fun and a decent time-waster that'll put your brain to work. And my brain certainly needs work.