Age of Conquest Lite is a fun military strategy game with a fair amount of depth
Age of Conquest is a turn-based military strategy game with somewhat similar dynamics to Risk. However, it has some features not seen in Risk that add to the complexity of the game.
It’s available as a single-plyaer free demo version for Google Android and Apple iOS smartphones. Full versions with multiplayer modes, enhanced options and harder artificial intelligence (AI) are also available. In the UK, iPhone versions of different territories are sold for between £1.79 and £2.99.
Your objective in Age of Conquest is to acquire 100 territories or to eliminate the leaders of all of your rivals. Either way, you achieve your goal by moving your armies into new territories and successfully defending the territories you possess. As you acquire more territories, the number of moves you can make per turn increases, and your empire's revenue grows, allowing you to raise more armies.
In addition to recruiting more armies and moving your current troops around, players can build fortresses and towers. Towers allow a player to see the number of troops in neighbouring territories, so they are extremely useful in evaluating whether to invade an adjacent territory.
Fortresses make occupying an invaded territory much more difficult. One has to be careful when deciding whether or not to build a fortress.
If an enemy does successfully take over a territory with a fortress then they get to keep the fortress, which means that you'll have more trouble retaking the territory. In general, the game adheres to Machiavelli's dictum that some territories are easy to conquer but difficult to hold, and some are difficult to conquer but easy to hold.
The app's only significant interface flaw involves the slider for setting the number of troops to be moved or recruited: it is imprecise and often unresponsive.
Otherwise everything works well. Age of Conquest is an excellent but pricey game for Android. The demo allows you to play as the Papal States in Europe, but after that you have to purchase continental maps – each of which will set you back $3 or $4, adding up to a total of $17.
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To play against other humans instead of computer opponents you have to pay about $1 per month. Still, Android phone owners can count themselves lucky in one regard. At present, the multiplayer version for the iPhone seems unlikely to be available until sometime in 2011.