Conquest in Eä V – Event Organisation and Review

I recently had the pleasure of attending (and running) another Conquest event and I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of my experiences, both as an Event Organiser and as a player after the February balance patch.

The event, Conquest in Eä V, is a bi-monthly event that I’ve been running with Zach out of Bad Moon Café in London, UK. We’ve hit a milestone achievement with 10 players in attendance – the first time we’d hit double digits! We’ve been playing 1500 point games which seems to hit the right level of depth and approachability for our growing community.

I’m going to start by talking about organising the event, with some general tips and tricks which should be helpful no matter what game system you’re running.

Being an Event Organiser (EO)

This is the second wargaming event I’ve run, and the first for Conquest so I’m still pretty new to this. That being said, here are some things I’ve learned about running events which seem universal:

  • Information in advance – You should try to give as much information to your players up front as you can to minimise the amount of questions you need to answer on the day. A player pack is quite easy to put together and will save you lots of hassle on the day. As a minimum your player pack should include:
    • The size/points of the games
    • The timings for the day (length of rounds, breaks between rounds, lunch breaks etc)
    • The scenarios that you will be using, ideally with a link if using a competitive pack
    • A modelling/conversion guide, as well as a painting requirement if enforced.
  • Talk with the venue about what you need – As simple as it sounds, outlining to the venue what you need them to provide, and what you can provide, can really help your morning go smoothly. Do you need to bring tables and mats? Will they provide terrain, or lunch? Will they contribute to prize support? What time do you need to finish? Can you arrive early to set up the boards? All these questions helps you arrive with everything you need to make the day run smoothly.
    • We have a great relationship with Bad Moon Café which has helped Zach and I organise the event. On the day I had a great chat with one of their team about what had been good and what we needed more of. In this case I mentioned that we would need less impassable terrain and more forests, rivers and hills in future which they were more than happy to provide for.
  • Registration – Make sure your players know how to register, and that if you are using an app like Best Coast Pairings or Longshanks, that you are comfortable entering information.
    • I used the Para Bellum tournament app for this event, which made registration very easy using a QR code from the army builder app for each person. It did bug out during round 3 however and I had to manually do pairings, which I’ve highlighted to the company.

  • Judge calls – As the Event Organiser, your role is to make sure that everyone has as good a day as you can. In an experienced player environment you may not to assist with any rules or contentious measurements, but you need to be available to help out as needed. Take the time you need to check rulebooks, or make measurements. Once you’ve made your decision, the decision is final and your players will respect it so be confident in your calls.
    • Conquest is a complex game, and I probably answered half a dozen or so rules questions over the day. Most I got right, and I know of two that I got wrong in retrospect. That’s fine, its your event and as long as you listen to the players, make a decision and stick by it, you played it correctly.
  • Can I play? – It is down to the individual whether you ‘compete’ in the event or not. Some EOs spectate the whole event, some will double down as the organiser and a player. This depends on your group and the size of the event as the bigger the event is, the more complex your EO role is.
    • Personally, I want to focus on running the event rather than winning it so I don’t enter as a competitor. I do however bring an army with me in case we have an odd number of players. In this case, we had 9 players so I played the ‘bye’ each round. The player always won (scoring any VPs they scored against me in the game), but knowing that I wasn’t competing meant I could focus on answering questions, tracking round times and generally running the event. Do what suits you.
  • Second in Command (2iC) – If possible, get a friend to help you out in running events. They aren’t crazy amounts of work, but they do take time and effort. A 2iC can help you with rules questions, round timings or event to step in if you suddenly can’t attend. Zach and I alternate running events which has worked our really well, and I’m sure you will find other members of the community who will volunteer to help you out.
  • Feedback – A really important but often forgotten step, make sure you talk with your players during and after the day to get feedback. Nobody is perfect and things will go awry. That’s fine, just do your best and move on with the day. Plus if you ask people what they think, they’ll think you value their opinions and are more likely to come back!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope that this helps you in running your own events. If you haven’t yet ran an event, I highly suggest giving it a go as its immensely rewarding to create something for the community.

The Old Dominion and the W’adrhun face off to finally determine what killed the dinosaurs! Instagram @rob_o_bass  

The Games

Right, lets talk games. I’m not doing a full blow by blow of each game I played but in the light of the February Balance Patch (see our hot takes here) this seems like a good time to discuss how the changes have come out on the tabletop.

I brought my W’adrhun along with the below list. Its actually illegal so leave a comment if you can spot how!

== Predator [165]: War, Mantle of the Devoted, Voice of Conquest, Ceaseless Hunt, MarksmanshipT
* Blooded (4) [190]: Tracker
* Slingers (3) [175]: Flint Knapper

== Chieftain [160]: War, Scars of Endekar, Voice of Conquest, Violence of Action
* Braves (8) [310]: Standard Bearer
* Thunder Riders (3) [250]:
* Thunder Riders (3) [250]:

The rough plan was the use the Slingers as a mobile firebase to clear screens and drive the Big Block of Braves down the middle. The Thunder Riders are the Hammers to the anvil to clean up armoured targets. The Blooded take a flank objective and try to die slowly enough to keep the win ahead. Simple, right?

Instagram @rob_o_bassGame 1 – Vs City States on Head to HeadMy first game was against Tom with his City States. Tom had gone for a multiple small unit approach, using three minimum groups of Hopilites and Phalangites, 3 Thyreans, three Inquisitors with Eidolon one of each Goat infantry. His Warlord was an Aristarch who’s Supremacy interacts really nicely with the enhanced Strategic Deck ability.

Head to Head is  an interesting scenario, asking how much you’ll commit to the centre zone whilst also protecting your friendly zone from an opponent’s attack. The Satyroi from City States can arrive from any board edge apart from the opponent’s own edge, and have Vanguard making them really potent in this wide map. The Big Block of Braves and Thunder Riders manage to overwhelm the central zone but Tom had help back his Satyroi and I had to try and work out whether he’d flank the Braves or make a break for my zone. He chose the latter, stealing the zone from my Blooded, but the Slingers managed to make short work of the goats. A failed 2+ charge roll for the Thyreans to clear the Thunder Riders sealed the deal, and by Turn 6 the City States had been wiped out.

City States are a surprisingly fragile army, but have some impressive mobility and damage output when it comes together. They’re no longer the ‘Hopilite Block of Doom’ mono-trick and I think they’re going to have a very interesting year as their chariots and cavalry come out.

Orcs riding Dinosaurs versus steampunk Greeks! Instagram @rob_o_bass

Game 2 – Vs Old Dominion on Breakout

My second game was against Jim, running ‘New Dominion’ who have had quite the glow up. Three blocks of Legionnaires and a Hierodeacon are backed up by 4 Karyatids, 4 chunky Buccephaloi and the Warlord Mounted Strategos with 5 Kataphraktoi. The latest version of Old Dominion have a whole bunch of quality of life changes that was exciting to see on the table.

I was almost immediately on the backfoot in the early game when two blocks of three Legionnaires arrived on the outside zones. With their new Memories of Old, a three stand unit counts as 5 for Siezing Objectives which put Jim up at a nice 5-0 lead by Turn 3. I managed to clear the right side Legionnaires with my Slingers, allowing the Braves to March and Charge into the Karyatids to block up the right flank. When his Kataphractoi game in to support, I decided to try and hold up the right Flank with Evade 3 Braves long enough to take the centre and left zones, using my Thunder Riders to clear the objective and the Blooded and second Thunder Riders to take over the right zone.

A clutch use of the Strategos Supremacy for free Reforms say the Buccephaloi narrow and charge through a gap I hadn’t expected into my Thunder Riders on the left, clearing them out and pressuring the left flank, whilst the Karyatids could Withdraw and Reform to shoot at my Braves. The Kataphraktoi Reformed to get past a building to March/Charge my Braves Flank, but the Evade 3 kept them in the game. By Turn 7 I’d closed the gap 17-19 but had only one unit of Thunder Riders and the Slingers left against four separate scoring units that would be impossible to outscore against, so I politely conceded.

Old Dominion has a strong case to make for the most powerful Faction at the moment. The combination of speeding up their early game through movement buffs, scoring buffs for the Legionnaires and better Reinforcement rolls really challenges the conventional strategy of ‘score high and survive the late game’. If you haven’t played against ‘New Dominion’, you really should try and get a game in to feel how strong the changes are.

Game 3 – Vs Wa’drhun on Melee

My last game was against fellow Goonhammer writer Rob, in a glorious W’adrhun Mirror! He’s brought a beast heavy list including both a Tontor, Apex and Thunder Riders with Chieftan. The ground troops were three stands of Braves, a Hunting Pack and a group of Hunters with a Predator.

The early game saw Rob punch up aggressively with his Hunters and Hunting Pack, countered by my Slingers. Some devastating early shooting from the Slingers removed both over the next two turns however, allowing my Braves to charge up the right flank and my Blooded to face off against his Braves on the left. The Thunder Riders cleared out the Blooded with ease, but were countered by a frontal and flank charge from my own Thunder Riders to control the left zone. The Apex charged the flank of my Braves, but didn’t have the weight of attacks to clear through such a big unit. The Tontor was semi-paralyzed on the back 6” objective to remain control of some scoring,  but eventually went after the Braves to clear them up alongside the Apex. We stopped at Turn 6 as I needed to prepare for the end of event, but my W’adrhun had secured too significant a scenario lead to be overcome with just two unts left.

Its no secret that the internet has been a little salty for W’adrhun post updates, but Rob and I agree that the loss of some powerhouse combos like Fanatic Tontors and Thunder Riders are not crippling to the faction’s strengths. I think you’ll see more combined arms W’adrhun, using orcs for taking and holding ground whilst the Dinosaurs act in support as flankers and the like. The new Character activation system is extremely powerful for activating W’adrhun chants quickly, often key to getting the big plays you need early in the turn to weather the deeper Command Stack your opponent almost certainly has.

A big Triceratops Pileup! Instagram @rob_o_bass

Post Balance Patch thoughts

Talking to everyone at the event, the February Balance Patch has been really well received amongst players. The new character activation system is dynamic and gives interesting options and most changes have helped broaden the competitive stable of each faction. Of our 10 players, we had two undefeated Old Dominion players running very different archetypes (Karaphraktoi and Buccepheloi vs Praetorian Guard and Fallen Divinity) which I think says a lot for the good internal balance there.

The character weight class issue has been fixed for embedding characters in light units to score in early turns, but there is a potential issue about some factions having very potent early scoring that is hard to overcome. I don’t think this is game breaking, but more ‘meta defining’ as you will have to bring some measure of early game speed, or offense, to deal with these strong early scoring factions.

There’s a common theme at 1500 points, in that you’ll quite often run out of scoring units come the mid game to be able to continually recover a scenario lead. If you’re playing at this scale, I think you need to strongly consider bringing any less than 5 scoring Regiments as you might just hit a point where you can’t catch up to an opposing lead.

Overall thoughts

Overall I had a blast running this event, playing Conquest for the first time this year. The game is fantastic, the community is excellent and it only looks to get better. The Old World has brought attention back to Rank and Flank games, so it’s the prime time to get that Apex Predator on the table in your FLGS to entice people in. Just remember to bring your low rolling dice!

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