Video Game: Conquest Of Elysium 2

Conquest of Elysium 2 is a freeware fantasy Turn-Based Strategy game developed by Illwinter Game Design in 1997 and released as freeware 10 years later. It's a prequel of sorts to the Dominions series of games also developed by Illwinter. It allows anywhere from 2-8 players at the same time, any or all of which may be human; however, multiplayer is hotseat only.

Each player takes on the role of any of 20 different classes of faction leader which can be broadly organized into four different categories (Warlord, Mage, Priest, Nonhuman). Each player starts with two or three leaders, a modest army, a Citadel, and a few small villages that provide income. Unlike many similar games, economic management is practically nonexistent; taxes are collected from each settlement or mine that the player controls, and the money can be used to buy more units. For the most part, the only influence the player has over the economy is setting the tax rate, although one class of Priest can build Temples to further augment his income. There's no diplomacy, either; the game is essentially a straight-up free-for-all among all the players. The ultimate goal is the conquest of Elysium, which is accomplished by vanquishing all enemy leaders and capturing their Citadels.

Like Civilization and other games of its ilk, the game has a great deal of replayability; the diversity of units, magic items, and enemies means that no two games are ever the same. Unfortunately, it suffers from a number of large flaws; aside from a rather modest manual, documentation for the game is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, the interface is clunky, esoteric, and at times confusing. However, if you can see past these setbacks, it's a charming game overall.

Conquest of Elysium 2 is available for download at Shrapnel Games.

Conquest of Elysium provides examples of: