Friday Freeloader: Conquer-on-Contact
So this one is a bit different from our usual. Conquer-on-Contact is a turn-based strategy game for your browser. I’ve been playing it on and off for many years now and quite like its simplicity and how great it is as a procrastination device.
The game has a very minimalist look and approach, as you control a single army represented by a coloured square with a number in it, and move around on a simple grid. You start with a single soldier in your army and your task is to slowly work your way up the ladder before a new round starts. There is a new turn every 8 seconds and you may move in all 8 directions around you to reach various points of the map.
Dotted around the playing field are the opposing teams and several special squares. There are currently four of these special squares (there were only two when I started). The primary two types increase or decrease your army size. Now you may think decreasing your army size sounds a bad idea but it has its benefits due to how the increase/decrease squares work. Normally, your army size is relative to your army strength: have 200 men in your army, you have 200 strength. But if you land on a +5 square you drop down to 40 Army strength, 1/5 of your army size, but with 5 new men each turn. It works in the opposite too, a –4 square will give you 800 strength at the cost of 4 men every turn. If your army of 200 is sat on a +5 square and an army of 50 creeps up, well his 50 Army power beats your 40 and you lose. If your army of 200 is on a –4 square, then an approaching 500 man army, that would normally cause trouble, isn’t going to attack your current 800 power army.
The other two new types are teleports and jackpots. Teleports pop up randomly on the grid and only last a short while. They tend to be one-way and will let you quickly escape to a new part of the map, or pull off a surprise attack. The jackpots are also random and, if you capture them, provide a decent sized one-off increase in army size. Another addition is Free squares and Safe squares. Free squares cost nothing to sit in and nothing to move into or out of (normally your army decreases a small amount each time you move, kind of like a real army dying of starvation or falling off a cliff or something.) Safe squares you can’t be attacked, and should you be attacked you are automatically moved here.
What I most liked about C-o-C is that it’s slow paced enough that you can start a game and, following a bit of early build up of your army, usually leave the game in the background to idle away, checking on it every 20 minutes or so. When you first join in you’ll be assigned a random name, but if you really get into the game you can sign up and get a persistent account to keep track of your scores.