A first look at Conquest: First Blood 2.0

Another Conquest Happy Hour with the Para Bellum Wargames team passed and this specific one (of June the 9th, 2022) presented the occasion to offer fans a first wide preview of the upcoming Conquest: First Blood 2.0 which – spoiler alert – is not going to be the Last Argument of Kings (tLAoK) “little sibling” anymore! 

The team members were thrilled to provide a lot of nice details and so we, as novice Conquest Vanguards, are eager to summarize the main points of the upcoming ruleset, but students are welcome to watch the full live stream on the Para Bellum’s Twitch channel.

First Blood 2.0 is described as a “fast paced, alternating activation skirmish wargame”, involving around 20 models per player and aiming to project the player into the very perspective of soldiers fighting the battle; ideal for an urban war-torn terrain setting, the game will involve deep tactical maneuvers and formations.

It is played on a 4’ x 4’ table and games last 60 minutes on average: the typical full game revolves around 800 points and the amount of models can vary a lot, while demos and first games involve 10-12 models per warband.

One main thing must be kept in mind, in general: 2 games, one miniature collection.
Delving more in depth with the rules overhaul, the Happy Hour focused on the following main topics.

Themes & Characters

First Blood aims to be a creative experience focused on themes, which are based on the lore, therefore building a warband substantially works as it follows:

  1. pick (only) one main character to lead it;
  2. decide a theme which brings in specific rules, advantages and boundaries, other than the faction specific rules (consistent with the lore and with tLAoK, of course);
  3. understand which regiments will provide better synergies;
  4. define what play style you would like to achieve and try to reach it through additional elements, such as character abilities, equipments and much more.

The only real restriction is represented by the number of the same regiments a player is allowed to field (4 on average), while the well-known mainstay and restricted system is not applied.

While themes, factions rules and characters offer a plethora of combinations to experiment with, regiment officers gain more identity (but similar adaptations are applied to retinues too): each one has a specific profile, upgraded characteristics and abilities compared to those of a regular trooper, albeit the regiment still activates as a whole.

Characters and officers maintain command abilities from First Blood 1.0, however these represent a brand new concept, mostly based on command range and substantially being the possibility to affect a regiment with an ability, before taking actions, hence their relevance is going to be achieved during the game.

On the one hand the many possibilities are appealing, on the other players must be sure to keep the focus on sceneries and objectives: for example, themes may allow building beautiful warbands that feature even more than one monster, but those could end up struggling in capturing objectives spread over the map.

Speaking of monsters, their point cost is tailored so that they can be fielded in First Blood in an easier way; still, the point cost is going to differ from that of TLAoK, and the same will apply to every other model in the game, but a constant balance work will make sure that all models maintain their playability.

Changes to main rules

Deployment, one of tLAoK main features, changes radically, since most of the models are deployed at the start of a game; however the reinforcements system still exists in the form of special rules.

Casualties are handled with tokens and a dedicated game phase, which involve mechanics for recovering or finishing grounded models. This aspect of the ruleset (and of a fantasy battle, actually), is linked with spells in many ways and the latter were renovated in many as well, for example due to the requirement of line of sight for most of the spells.

Terrains and objectives in narrative scenarios become more relevant and determine the pace of a game, due to interactions that models can have with them; all of this will be part of a system to build narrative campaigns involving both First Blood and The Last Argument of Kings!

Last but not least, every miniature has an engagement range!

Coming soon® 

A First Blood 2.0 two player starter set is going to be released, featuring the newest factions, W’adrhun and Old Domion, both represented by 25 miniatures, more than enough to play a full game of this new system; the box also includes paperback rulebooks, the necessary cards (still working with the valuable QR codes), and the “Conquest, the Next Step” guides, which help players grow their collection.Its price is 149,99 € (164,99 USD, 298 AUD) and the release date is August 2022, while profiles will be updated in the army builder on July the 31st, while the new rules (PDF for free, as always!) will be available on the 15th already!