Scenarios in Conquest: How Para Bellum Shapes the Metagame

As with most wargames, Conquest is played using a scenario that sets the conditions of victory and shapes how players interact. Conquest’s core rulebook includes a series of scenarios for new players, but the meat of the game’s scenario play is found in a separate free online scenario pack published by Para Bellum on their website (alongside the living rules and army lists). In addition to providing a host of additional scenarios, this pack contains further guidance for setting up battlefields, new rules for terrain, and sets general rules for things like scoring, victory, and defeat.

This pack is updated regularly, with the two most recent updates happening in December 2022 and March 2023, and each of these updates has had a small but noticeable impact on how players can compose lists and the general metagame.

Credit: instagram – mikes_hobbies91

The Status Quo Ante – the December Scenario Pack:

The December 2022 scenario pack introduced a number of changes to the core game, some of which remain, some of which have been removed in the March 2023 pack. Apart from the scenarios themselves, the pack contained rules for:

  1. Destroyable objectives, which encouraged players to include units that could efficiently destroy them.
  2. Rules for ‘obstructing’ terrain (which blocks line of sight) as well as the requirement that all tables include a minimum quantity of obstructing and obscuring terrain to interfere with the ability of ranged units to be taken effectively in large numbers; and
  3. The general prohibition on most scenarios on any scenario zone being scoreable until Round 4.

In general, I’d observe that the terrain requirements weren’t internalized particularly well by the community (and either still haven’t been, or aren’t sufficient by themselves, to check ranged power in the game) but the scoring change was big. Coupled with the 2.0 change that lets units get onto the field more quickly by smoothing out reserve rolls, the December 2023 scenario pack was Heavy Unit Heaven.

(For those unfamiliar, in Conquest, units are broken down into Light, Medium and Heavy regiments. Relative to their points cost, Light regiments are usually weaker and more fragile but arrive on the field much faster, Heavy regiments are stronger and tougher but arrive more slowly, and Medium units sit in the middle.) 

With scoring starting later no earlier than Round 4, a list focused on lumbering, heavy units could be relatively assured that their opponent couldn’t accrue an unbeatable scenario lead before the behemoth bruisers arrived. And since Conquest is a ten-round game, the sheer power so many heavy regiments contributed to a force meant that the attritional advantage against a faster, lighter army would probably carry the day.

It also opened an ‘every scenario is annihilation if you try hard enough’ option, since tabling your opponent in conquest is a default victory condition regardless of score. In larger games this was still quite rare, but anecdotally I observed it relatively frequently in games around the 1,500pt scale.

This environment bought Heavies roaring into lists in a big way, and diminished the relative importance of Light regiments. It’s important to note here that this is not inherently bad – changing what makes an effective army composition is critical to keeping a game novel and fresh! But it did favour a certain style and therefore certain factions. Old Dominion in particular, with their high-quality heavy regiments and general emphasis on the late game, benefited significantly from the December scenario pack.

And with that scene set – cue the March 2023 update.

Credit: instagram – conquest_cz_sk and Facebook – The Spires of Brno

March 2023 Scenario pack – what changed:

The March scenario pack inoroduced two significant changes to game pacing – the new ‘A Heroic End’ rule, and changes to scoring timing. It also cleaned up the behavior of destroyable Objective markers, which had some weirdness due to being treated as stationary, immovable enemy regiments:

A Heroic End!: tabling your opponent has been removed as a victory condition. Instead, the game is played until the end of Round 10. The player who has regiments remaining continues to activate them as normal and score as normal, but they only win the game if they exceed the score of their wiped-out opponent. 

Objective Markers: Lots of general clarity has been introduced around objective markers. They were previously treated as enemy regiments and while they still are, you can move through and within 1” of them now (provided you end your movement legally by the end of the activation as normal), and they don’t injure your regiments if you withdraw from one you’re engaged with. This cleans up the bulk of the weirdness.

They can also now be damaged and destroyed from Round 2 (up from Round 3). Ranged units can attack them from within effective range (changed from a static 8”, so more for some units, less for others, but tied to an existing game attribute), and while almost all regiments can only do one damage to them per action, heavies can do two damage per clash or charge (among other things allowing heavy cavalry or brute regiments to one-round objectives).

Objective Zones: can now be seized and scored from Round 2 (up from Round 4).


So, what does this mean?

Overall, these are good changes. The Objectives changes are just a good clean-up and make scenarios with objective markers less bottlenecked and easier to play. A Heroic End! is an excellent rule that gives players a clear chance to win the game if they’ve played scenario aggressively but fallen behind on attrition.

The big change, though, is the scoring timing change. On paper, at least, scoring from Round 2 onward effectively removes the player gravitation toward taking a significant weight of heavies (author’s note: this is the best sentence I have ever written), and pushes people toward more early game considerations.  

Still up for debate (and player exploration!) is the amplitude of this effect. My immediate impression (apart from the fact that list I wrote in late February with six heavy regiments is probably not going to be as good as it felt when I wrote it), is that the actual practical change is not so much that players need to take fewer heavies now, as that any given list needs to have a plan for how it’s going to engage with early game scoring. 

In particular, Round 2 scoring is so early that it’s not just impossible for heavies to be in zones by then, it’s impossible for most medium units to be in position to score in the bulk of scenarios. Of the twelve scenarios in the pack, the bulk require you to move 15-21” to get into the various scenario scoring zones, which is well outside the standard March + March of a typical medium regiment arriving from the table edge on Round 2.

This means that if you want to get points on the board early in the March 2023 scenario pack, you need units specifically for it. Almost all armies have something currently released that they can use for this (with one notable exception), so the big question for players to explore is whether they need these units, or if they’re just a useful option. Here are some examples of the unit configurations the different factions might consider to lead the scenario push in the March scenario pack:

  • Hundred Kingdoms: Hundred Kingdoms don’t quite get their available medium units up the board fast enough to score early, meaning they’ll look to Medium characters in Light regiments. A Theist Priest in a decently sized Militia unit is already a pretty decent pick, and will reliably score an uncontested scenario zone on turn two in the vast majority of scenarios. 
  • Spires: Spires have the high watermark for scoring potential in this new pack, with Vanguard Clone Infiltrators with High Clone Executor being incredibly fast – and they were already a great pick due to their revolting ranged output which can pressure almost anywhere on the board early in the game for high damage and high resilience to enemy shooting. This unit is a probable boogeyman of the March 2023 pack; they’re very good in their own right and are the natural predator of all other lightly-armoured or evasion-dependent light regiments.
  • Dweghom: Although Conquest 2.0 Dweghom aren’t as fast as they used to be, the Ardent Kerawegh in Flame Berserkers is still a great, reasonably tough, dangerous early game unit that can score most uncontested scenario zones early. The Dweghom ability to ignore enemy regiments when determining reinforcement lines might also really matter in the new scenario packet, especially in missions with zones close to the table edges.
  •  Nords: Nords have great options for early table presence, with anything from a Jarl in Raiders to a Blooded in Stalkers being strong, flexible picks. The Blooded in Stalkers in particular will get anywhere they want and score almost any zone they want early in the game, and Nords generally are a faction that have multiple options for accelerating their deployment onto the table to occupy and control scoring zones from earlier in the game than other factions.
  • Wadruhn: Although the only official model for this is a nigh-unavailable founders exclusive, the Matriarch Queen riding Brood of Omgorah in Raptor Riders is another absolutely premium early scoring unit in addition to being a terror in its own right, able to fight, sustain and generally hold their own against anything in their weight class this side of the Vanguard Clone Infiltrators (who will annihilate them if they get the first shot, which they probably will – but even then it’s a matchup that can be swung with clever use of terrain). 
  • City States: Despite their small roster right now, City States have launched with a perfect unit for Round 2 scoring in the form of Minotaur Haspists. In addition to being a reasonably tough, reasonably punchy regiment (although in terms of raw stats, overshadowed by their heavy Thyrean kin), Minotaur Haspists are scoring and contesting machines with March 6 and a Vanguard move, which gets them into most zones in time to score on Round 2 of any game.
  • Old Dominion: Alone among all the factions, Old Dominion are left stranded of options to score in Round 2 in most scenarios. No currently released light options exist that can take Medium characters, which leaves the best scoring option in the faction a generic Legionnaire unit with the Optio upgrade to give them Vanguard. As much as this might seem comparable to the Minotaur Haspists, the difference in their March stat puts them at a significant disadvantage – Haspists can theoretically score in 10 of the 12 scenarios on Round 2 (although two of those ten would require destroying an objective), whereas Legionnaires can score in only four (and of those four, two can be scored by a unit without vanguard). Ultimately, an early game disadvantage is just part of being an Old Dominion player, but this does cast into sharp relief the desire for our Light Mainstay units that can actually hold a character to release.

As an Old Dominion player, I’ve already begun exploring a couple of options. I’ve already tried out proxying unreleased Prodromoi (noting they aren’t legal in standard event formats) and making significant use of Moroi (not to score but to contest enemy scoring). The Moroi especially have performed very effectively, but I’m also going to keep an eye on the possibility that just because the scenario pack has changed, it doesn’t necessarily mean I need to abandon the existing late game strength of the Old Dominion. Heavy regiments generally are still really strong, and if other players are taking fewer of them, it’s possible mine will be less contested by units in their weight class. 

Beyond March 2023 – What Does the Future Hold?

As always, it’s worth remembering that Conquest is a living rules system. The Scenario Pack – and any other possible future tourney rules systems – are part of how Para Bellum can influence the broader Conquest metagame, introducing new pressures and incentives and therefore injecting novelty into the game. 

Only four months between updates was a very short iteration period by wargames standards, so my personal expectation would be that we don’t see major changes to the current scenario pack for at least a little while. However, looking forward, I do wonder if we’ll eventually see Round 3 Scoring instead of Round 2. It feels like a bit of a goldilocks situation – this one’s too slow! This one’s too fast! – but that’s pure speculation.

Regardless, Para Bellum has shown their willingness to put a finger on the scales and tilt the game one way or another to keep things fresh, so we can reasonably assume that scenario pack updates will remain one of the ways they adjust game balance as the game progresses. 


As always if you want to get 10% off and support Goonhammer you can make your Conquest purchase by clicking here for US/Canada or here for EU/rest of world. You’ll also need to enter code “goonhammer” at checkout.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at