Conquer Club

September 14, New York: Conquer Club is based on Risk: an online, multiplayer community of Risk-players. But it’s also a community of map designers, constantly creating new maps upon which to play out global conquest. Imagine playing Risk, but on the city of San Francisco, the continent of Africa, the island of Iceland. I love Conquer Club, have loved it for some years now.

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Here’s a current game I have going on the Eastern Front of World War II

The best way to describe Conquer Club is as an addiction. Like cigarettes. There have been multiple times in my life that I have been debilitatingly addicted to this game. The pattern goes like this (note the similarities, reformed smokers): A friend invites you to join a game and you think oh what could one hurt. Shortly thereafter you join four, that’s the limit for a free membership. Then late one night you’re clicking refresh on all your four games and none of them are updating and you’re like AUGH ALL I WANT IS TO CONQUER so you set up the monthly free and suddenly you can play unlimited games. From then on you basically do play unlimited games. You play them from your phone, on your computer during meetings, at home after your spouse has gone to sleep.

I belonged to a few communities through which this addiction raged. At work one year, there was a group of us on a project that was being decommissioned. We had a lot of downtime and we played it like crazy. We would jump up and run over to a colleague’s desk and yell “Take your move, damnit!” Another: a large group of my friends that also included my wife. Bitter rivalries ensued, people earned reputations as untrustworthy allies. Angry text messages were exchanged over hundreds of miles.

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Here’s a current game that’s nearly to stalemate in Brazil.

This time I was determined to not get addicted again. Play for one month (beginning August 17th) and then put it aside. I almost immediately filled up my free four game slots. And then I quickly lost three games in succession. See, the thing is, I’m only pretty average at Conquer Club (current rank: “Corporal”). When I put my mind to it, when I obsess over a single game, I’m good. But if I have a ton of games going I just make whatever move and then I very quickly whatever lose. I was determined to win this time. I kept joining new games. I kept bumping up against the four game limit and was desperate to pay for membership.

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Here’s a game I’m about to lose spread across Eurasia.

But I’ve held firm. I still haven’t paid. Nor have I won a game. But I’ve got another three games going, and a few more days I’ve allotted myself to play. We’ll see how my luck fares!

Join Conquer Club at your own risk. Probably best if you didn’t invite me to any games.

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