Strategic Conquest

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Strategic Conquest is a two-player turn-based strategy game for the Apple II and Apple Macintosh, similar to Empire. It was published by PBI Software and the Macintosh version was continued by Delta Tao Software.[1]

Strategic Conquest allows the player to control modern warfare units and conquer cities. It can be played either by two humans, or with a computer opponent. It also has the capability to be played over an AppleTalk network.

The player's objective in Strategic Conquest is to defeat the enemy and conquer the world. The world is divided into a rectangular grid made up of randomly placed islands, which contain cities. Cities can belong to either player, or they can be neutral. When controlled by either player, Cities can produce military units. Victory is achieved when all enemy cities have been conquered or when either player surrenders.

Though the game has not been updated since 1998, it is fully compatible with Macintosh System Software from 6 to 9, and is also playable under the Classic environment included with PowerPC versions of Mac OS X up to Mac OS X v10.4.

A screenshot from version 4.0.1 of Strategic Conquest, which uses fractal-style coastlines and ocean shading, but which relies on the same rectangular grid. In the bottom portion of the screen, two enemy cities and an enemy fighter plane can be seen. There are two friendly cities and two artillery units in the top portion of the image. Near the center of the image, a transport loaded with eight ground units is approaching an enemy city.

Game setup[edit]

There are four types of games available: one-player games, two-player single-Mac games, AppleTalk master two-player games, and AppleTalk slave two-player games.

When playing a one-player game (created by selecting "Single Player Game" in the setup window), the opponent player is the computer. Since version 3, in one-player games, the player can also select a skill level from one to fifteen to make the game more or less challenging. In harder games, the human player starts with fewer neutral cities nearby to conquer, and taken longer than the computer to produce military units.

The map is a horizontally oriented rectangle divided into a grid of unit-sized rectangles. Measured by playable grid units, the player(s) can choose a map that is small (48 x 32), medium (96 x 64), or large (124 x 96). The top and sides of the map do not 'wrap around', i.e., units cannot transit the edges to go from the right to the left side of the map, the top to the bottom of the map, or vice versa.

There are three terrain settings: "wet" (mostly islands), "dry" (land including some bodies of water), and "normal" (mostly larger islands).

Game play[edit]

Cities[edit]

Cities produce units for players. All cities can produce land-based and aerial units, and can refuel aerial units. Only port cities can produce water-based units. If a damaged water-based unit is placed in a port city, the unit will be repaired at a rate of one unit of strength per day, until it is fully repaired.

Units[edit]

All units may attack up to two times per turn. If you are playing against the computer you can extend this to however many moves would be left to the unit if you had not attacked by clicking the "W" (wake) key. For example, you move a helicopter (which is allowed a total of ten spaces/moves per day) one space and attack a group of armies, after the two attack moves the unit will deactivate, hit "W" and then click on the unit to reactivate it and attack again (or move away to a safer location) and then do the same for up to six more times (the number of moves remaining for that unit). Tanks and ships (including submarines) with a strength greater than one suffer a reduction in their number of moves per turn if they suffer sufficient damage in battle but are not destroyed. For instance, a tank with a strength of one has only one move per turn. This is not true of aircraft.

Unit: Tank Artillery Fighter Helicopter Bomber Transport Destroyer Submarine Carrier Battleship
Days to Produce: 4 4 6 8 25+ 8 8 8 10 20
Strength: 2 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 12 18
Attack Range: 1 4 1 1 1+ 1 1 1 1 4
Captures City?: Yes Yes No No No No No No No No
Moves On: Land Land Land/Water Land/Water Land/Water Water Water Water Water Water
Moves/Turn: 2 1 20 10 10 3 4 3 3 3
Fuel: N/A N/A 20 10 30 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Land-based units[edit]

Tank[edit]

Tanks are relatively weak and do not fare well in battle against other types of pieces but are the speediest land-based units, making them useful for quickly conquering cities.

Artillery[edit]

First added in version 4.0, artillery units are slow movers but their attack range (a 9 x 9 grid unit area) lets them attack from a distance and run no risk of suffering damage on an attack, even if attacking a unit directly next to them.

Water-based units[edit]

Water-based units can only move on water and on port cities. If a damaged water-based unit is in a port city, its strength will be repaired at a rate of one unit of strength per day. If a water-based unit is placed in a city it will defend the city. All water-based units can attack targets on land, except the submarine. 2 water-based units cannot occupy same square, unless inside a city.

Destroyer[edit]

With four moves per turn, the destroyer is the quickest of the water-based units and is useful for quickly exploring the outside the range of the aerial units. Its attack is not particularly powerful but it is useful against transports, furthermore it is very effective against submarines as it can see submarines from an adjacent unit square. If damaged in war, it will lose speed and need an extra turn to repair beyond full strength of 3 to regain full speed.

Submarine[edit]

The submarine has two outstanding features. One is that its attack is extremely powerful against all water-based units except the destroyer. The second is that it remains hidden to the opponent unless the submarine attacks or the opponent moves directly onto the same grid unit as the submarine. If the opponent does so, the opponent will automatically attack the submarine. This will cost an aerial unit a unit of fuel which can cause the aerial unit to crash if the remaining fuel is insufficient to return to a city or carrier. A bomber hitting a submarine will explode. A patrolling unit passing adjacent to a submarine can always see it.

Transport[edit]

The transport's main purpose is moving land-based units across water and, accordingly, its attack power is negligible. It can hold up to eight land-based units at a time. Land-based units on a transport can only attack an adjacent land-based unit or city from a transport; artillery units cannot fire from a transport. Transports are vulnerable to attacks from every other unit and has no offensive capability at all.

When a transport is in a city with land-based units, up to eight land-based units are automatically loaded onto the transport. Thus, if a transport in a city with land-based units is destroyed, the land-based units in the transport will go down with the transport. A transport moving into a city and out again will bring land-based units in the city with it till capacity.

Carrier[edit]

With a strength of twelve, the carrier is a strong water-based unit on its own but its main purpose is to carry fighters and helicopters, of which it can hold up to 15 at a time. Fighters and helicopters are also refueled when on a carrier. A carrier with several fighters on board can be an effective way to quickly explore unexplored areas. A carrier moving into a city and out again will bring fighters and helicopters in the city with it till capacity.

Battleship[edit]

The battleship is the most powerful sea based unit. With the same attack range as artillery pieces and up to two attacks per turn, it can be used to attack any other units in range. Its high strength makes it difficult to destroy. Placing it in a city is a good way to strengthen city defence.

Aerial units[edit]

Aerial units can move on land or over water but are limited in their movements by the amount of fuel that they carry.

Fighter[edit]

The fighter covers the most ground in a single turn of all the units, making it ideal for exploration. It's fighting capacity is not particularly strong but it can often destroy helicopters, transports, destroyers, and submarines. The fighter is not particularly effective against land-based units. Fighters gets veteran status when they have been in battle and increases strength to 2.

Helicopter[edit]

First added in version 4.0, the helicopter is an attack aircraft that (somewhat counter-intuitively) does significantly more damage than the fighter. It is especially effective against land-based units and can be used with good effect against transporters and submarines. Helicopters gets veteran status when they have been in battle and increases strength to 2.

Bomber[edit]

The bomber is the game's equivalent of an atomic bomb (minus radiation poisoning and nuclear winters) and each can only be used once, after which it is destroyed. In this sense, the bomber represents the bomb itself, rather than an aircraft.

Any land-based units, any sea-based units, and those aerial units that are in a city or on a carrier in the blast area are destroyed. Enemy cities in the blast area become neutral, suffer no other damage whatsoever, and can be used to produce units normally by the next player to capture them.

Aerial units that are in the air over the blast area will not be affected. If a bomber attacks another aerial unit, it will attack normally rather than use its bomb. A bomber is not an effective combatant outside of the use of its bomb and is vulnerable to being shot down.

A bomber cannot detonate at will; it must attack an enemy city or an enemy unit that is not an aerial unit.

The blast area of the bomber gradually increases throughout the game. The bomber starts out needing twenty-five days to produce a bomber with a blast radius of zero, i.e., one grid unit. As the number of days to produce increases, the blast radius can be determined by the following formula:

Blast Radius = (Days to Produce - 25) / 5

So if it takes thirty days to produce a bomber, the blast radius will be one, etc. The blast radius gradually increases during the course of the game.

A screenshot from version 3.0 of Strategic Conquest, showing unexplored regions (covered in black), ocean (blue), islands (green), cities occupied by the player, unoccupied cities, and aircraft, armies, and ships controlled by the player (black or grey) as well as two ships (red) controlled by the computer opponent.

History and development[edit]

Strategic Conquest was first developed in 1984 and 1985 on an Apple Lisa.[2] for the Apple Macintosh. The first published version appears to have been in 1984, attributed (incorrectly) to John L. Jamison.[3] Strategic Conquest was in fact developed by Peter Merrill.

Strategic Conquest had already been released for the Macintosh in 1986[4] by PBI Software. The Macintosh version was written by Peter Merrill. The game was later acquired by Delta Tao Software, who continued developing the game. The latest version, 4.0.1, was released on February 2, 1998.[5]

The Apple II version of the game was released in 1986[6] and the sequel, Strategic Conquest II for the Apple II, was published in 1987.[7]

Initial position[edit]

Each players starts out with one city. All other cities are hidden and are neutral. The entire map - besides the player's city and the adjacent eight grid units - is black and must be discovered by sending units into it.

The first thing the player must do is choose what unit to produce. The default selection is a fighter, and with good reason; the fighter can quickly explore the surrounding areas.

Turns[edit]

The players then alternate turns. A turn is completed when all of the player's units have an order given in a previous turn or have been given orders in the current turn. During the turn, players may also change what units their cities are producing.

Difficulty levels[edit]

The difficulty level is initially set in the range 1-15 and with version 4 the scale has been offset by -2 to allow for 2 new expert levels, so level 8 in version 3 is identical to level 6 in version 4. From level 10, the enemy doubles his production.

Detecting enemy units[edit]

A fog of war system is used, in that enemy units that are not adjacent to an enemy unit are invisible to the player. Enemy units become visible if they are discovered by the player in the course of his or her turn, until contact is lost and the enemy unit is no longer visible.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Delta Tao Software - Strategic Conquest". Delta Tao Software. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  2. ^ Joe Williams. "Strategic Conquest 4.0 manual". Delta Tao. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  3. ^ "Wargame Reviews & Analysis: The 20th Century". 
  4. ^ Price M. Collins. "Current Releases of 266 Macintosh software packages - 6 April 1986". Retrieved 2008-05-01. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Versiontracker - Strategic Conquest". 
  6. ^ James Hague. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  7. ^ Steven Weyhrich (1992-09-21). "Apple II History Software". Steven Weyhrich. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 

External links[edit]