Welcome to the 20th issue of the Conquer Club Newsletter!
This week we celebrate 20 issues of the Conquer Club Newsletter!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who contributed to this endeavour and have made it what it is today, i won't start naming people in case i miss someone
This newsletter has really evolved over the past 9 and a half months and is continuing to evolve, and it is all due to the dedication of the team members. Cheers!
In this issue we are still taking applications for the Tournament Reporter position, so if you have a passion for tournaments and have good writing skills, then this may be for position for you
We also have brand new Hot Topics, Foundry News, Clan News, we have an interview with the Foundry Foreman MrBenn as well as nagerous debuting as Interview Director, and our beloved elf has another tale to tell
We hope you enjoy this issue!
News Director Title: Tournament Reporter Job Description: A tournament regular who has been involved in either organising or playing in a tournament. Who doesn't restate what the Tournament Newsletter already covers, but rather provides a different experience. Perhaps by spotlighting a tournament and doing a profile on a particularly well run tournament. As well as reporting on any new features and/or announcements that come from the tournament forum. The overall aim of the is to better inform the community at large in order to encourge member involvment in the tournament society. Tournament Reporter
If interested in the above position, please fill out the simple form below and send it via PM to
Username: Position Interested In: What qualifies you for the position: 1. The Classic Map is being revamped after more than a year of having no official Classic Map. This thread contains all you need to know about the current revamp of Classic, which is being made by sully800. Stop by and comment on the current version and make a suggestion. 2. The Conquer Club Official Fan page for Facebook has just been released! Become a fan today and get to know the people you play! More info in this thread 3. Two new maps have been released into the Beta phase, and are now available for beta play! Visit these threads for more info --> WWII Poland and Third Crusade
show: Foundry News
News Mapping Development Summary To see the full sized preview of the following maps just click on the title of the map, to visit the map development thread Main Foundry Final Forge Antarctica by e_i_pi Sadly, pi has not had time to visit the map for a couple weeks. We just hope he can get back to it ASAP so it can get the XML done, stamped, and then quenched! Feudal Epic by gimil & the.killing.44 After being SO close to being done, the maps have had to go back to to be resized. Gimil says it will happen soon—we can only hope! Gulfe du St.Laurent by Unit_2 A mess of a thread; a beauty of a map. Confusing production right now—we'll see what happens. There are a multitude of XML versions and images floating around…stay tuned… Beta & Quenched [Beta] England by MrBenn Finally! An intricate, demanding, and stunning map that underwent quite the beating in the Main Foundry has quickly become a popular map. WWII: Poland by samuelc812 A new conquest map, graphically impressive and interesting gameplay. The Third Crusade by Kabanellas and AndrewB An excellent first map from a talented mapper. Das Schloß by cairnswk After going through a complete gameplay overhaul, two years later the map is waiting a re-release by lack! First Nations of North America by Tisha Beautiful large map with excellent gameplay, it is undergoing some neutral placement discussion but has quickly been accepted and loved by the community. Austerlitz by pamoa After initially taking a beating from dissatisfied community members, the uproar has died down and the map is becoming more widely-accepted. Don't think we'll see too many changes. Vancouver by shakeycat Another really nice large map in time for the Olympics! With some edits already done it seems finished Germany 2 by pepperonibread Dissatisfied members have quieted down (or been banned, goodbye owen ), and there hasn't been activity in the thread for a while… Peloponnesian War by qwert Ahh, what can be said that has not been said. [Quenched]
show: Clan News
One of the clans discussed quite a bit recently has been Nemesis. It started with the old ladder results which did not quite have them at the top 16 level. Nemesis did feel that they were a top clan, but the war results did not quite put them there yet. They did get into Division 1 of the Clan League and do sit middle of their division so they have stepped up to the challenge. The current ladder has them much lower now, simply due to the fact they do not have a completed war against an A class clan. They are currently battling EMPIRE in a clan war, and we look to see Nemesis rated near the top, hopefully after their next war. I sat down with the leadership team and here is what they had to say:
Interview: How did your clan start? Little over a year ago, Nemesis was founded by King Dain II. Initially he intended to call the clan La Légion Royale, but luckily the first few members didn’t like it and voted for Nemesis instead. We did not start as a competitive clan; we were just a few random people that enjoyed good games. After a while we decided to vote on being competitive and the result was a resounding yes. That’s when Nemesis really started as a clan. What is your clan all about and what makes it unique? We want good competition and we want to reach the top. Probably our only really unique quality is the passion with which we try to become part of the CC elite. There’s no doubt that a lot of people in the forum have noticed how serious a lot of our members take this. What has your clan experience been like so far? In one word: Great. We started out as a few unknown players and we didn’t know each other at all. Since then, a year has passed and we’ve learned to play together and we’re competing with some of the best on CC, in both the clan league and our current clan challenge (against EMPIRE). Favorite part of wars? Whenever we're in a bit of a dip during clan wars, HardAttack usually writes a huge motivational post to keep us going. They're often great to read, so most of our members love them. Your views on clans? Clans are a great way to meet new people and have tons of fun with them. Within a short time of joining a clan, you’ll easily have made several new friends and play good games and maybe tournaments with them. As soon as you’re really getting involved with a clan, CC becomes a lot more fun. How does it feel to be talked about currently by people interested in ranking clans? Right now, the ladder doesn’t mean a lot, because people know that certain clans aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Nemesis is a prime example of that; with the results we have gotten, we shouldn’t be able to reach #3 on any ladder. We would like it if the ladder becomes more accurate and displays clans at their proper place, so we’re happy to serve as this example.
show: Interview with MrBenn
For our 20th edition of the newsletter and my first as the chief interviewer, I sat down with MrBenn, the head of cartography on Conquer Club.
Q. Hey there MrBenn A. Ahoy there! Q. How long after you joined ConquerClub did it take you until you noticed the foundry? Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:32 pm First Foundry Post: Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:18 pm Q. What brought you to the foundry in the first place? A. It obviously didn’t take me too long to find and explore the forums to fill the time between my four premium games… I found the foundry had some sort of creative appeal to it, and found it compelling to be able to have an effect on maps in development. The suggestion I’m most proud of is the twinkle on the Cherry of the ConquerMan Cake Q. Did you have previous graphic design experience before ConquerClub? A. I worked part time in a print/copy shop as a student. My primary responsibility was to photocopy/staple/hole-punch, but I did get to play around with the graphic design stuff too. My copy of Photoshop 7 was a “gift” from Nigel, the resident digital artist, but I only really used it for editing photos (removing red-eye or getting rid of things in the background) until I encountered the steep learning-curve of mapmaking. Q. What was your favourite map to make? A. Each of the maps I’ve made has been a completely different experience. The best of them are probably Europa and Classic Art: With Europa, I set out to make a completely accurate European map, following some discussion about the inaccuracies of the original Europe. I remember thinking that my first draft was pretty hot (looking back now, I can see that it was actually pretty lame), but for the most part it was a good experience for learning how to make a map. Classic Art represents the highlight and lowlight of CC history. I happened to be online when Twill/Andy were trying to get together some people to develop a fast-time classic replacement with a limited and restrictive design-brief. The 24hrs (ish) in the Star Chamber showed me the dedication of mapmakers and highlighted the importance of the foundry… in many ways I think the map resembles a Polaroid shot of a wedding – while it may not be a great image, it represents and commemorates something special. Q. What is your favourite map that you have seen go through the foundry? A. There have been an enormous number of maps that have gone through the foundry over the past couple of years… The first map I properly commented on was Dust Bowl, which is visually magnificent and introduced a novel gameplay feature. As for the favourite map to have gone through the foundry, I would probably say something like the recently Beta’ed Poland map; Samuelc182 had previously tried his hand at a couple of drafts that in all honesty were not particularly great – it was really good to see how he took on board the (constructive) criticism and develop into a valuable foundry contributor. Q. Are there any maps currently in the foundry that you really love (besides your own maps)? A. I’ve seen so many drafts (mostly bad) over the past couple of years, that it takes quite a lot to get me dribbling about anything now. Having said that, I really like the look and feel of Dawn of Ages, while Feudal Epic has built up a bit of a cult following now. I’d love to see something like Research & Conquer make it too, as it will (eventually/hopefully?) bring a new CC experience to the game. Q. What is your least favourite map? A. My public critique of Poison Rome was pretty scathing (and it’s the only quenched map I haven’t played). I’m not a fan of the Rail series of maps either, although Rail Africa does looks better than those already in play. Q. On the same vein, if ConquerClub has a map cap, and one had to be eliminated before another was added. Which 3 maps would you eliminate to make room for the next to be quenched? A. One man’s meat is another man’s poison… Just because I don’t lie it doesn’t mean that nobody does. Perhaps the most responsible way of doing it would be for all maps to be given some sort of popularity ranking (average number of unique players per day), or to add a map rating to go alongside the user ratings. The three maps to be eliminated should definitely be the least popular across the board, rather than my Q. Does the name 'MrBenn' actually have any relevance to your name? A. I was very nearly ‘Uncle Ben’ (it’s a long story involving flaming croissants and not very much rice), but my credentials as a bona fide ‘Mister’ qualifies me equally well. If I had been born a girl then things could have been very different… I’m not too sure that MrsSamantha would have worked quite as well? Q. Why can't your name be MrJimBob? A. I am neither a Jim nor a Bob, and as far as I know my parents never considered those names. Q. Why is the black top hat in almost all of your avatars? A. All of my avatars have featured my cartoon character namesake in some form or another, and the bowler hat is a fundamental part of his psyche. Without the hat I think I’d feel naked… Q. What do you find fascinating about the cartoon character MrBenn? A. The fact that a fully grown man would have so many adventures in fancy dress clothing is simply remarkable. I find the shopkeeper a little unnerving… Q. Did you actually read the books and such as a kid? A. I don’t recall having any of the books… I distinctly remember ‘King Rollo’ being on television, and I read a selection of ‘Elmer’ books to my children now. For one birthday or Christmas (possibly while at University?) I was given a mini “Wisdom of Mr Benn” book. I found it the other day while moving our library of books into temporary storage. Q. What is your favourite MrBenn book/ episode? A. I’m always amused by the Cowboys and Indians playing hide-and-seek “We’re going to beat the cowboys today, we’re going to beat the cowboys today. (etc.)”. Despite owning the special edition DVD, I’ve still never seen the Gladiator episode… Q. Are you and MrMoody an item? A. The relationship between MrMoody and I is, well, it’s complicated… Our first date was a romantic candle-lit dinner for two - he cooked a wonderful T-bone steak with mashed potato and broccoli… Things have become a bit strained over recent times though – it’s hard to sustain a relationship over several thousand miles; the time difference doesn’t really help much either. To be honest, I’m not sure whether we’re still an item or not… we’re on amicable terms and play the occasional game together, but I think the spark has gone… Like I said, it’s complicated… Q. Are you proud of what you have done? A. If I’ve broken MrMoody’s heart, then there is no way that I could be proud of that. Q. What do you think is your most significant change that you have brought to CC? A. To be completely honest, I don’t know how different CC would be without me. I learned long ago that most forum suggestions seem to fall on deaf ears, and so have channelled my input fairly narrowly into the foundry. It is incredibly satisfying to look at maps knowing how I have shaped their development in some way, but I suppose that these changes have little significance in the grand scheme of ConquerClub. Q. What are some changes you have seen in the foundry since when you first started here? Are they positive changes? A. The quantity of maps in production has just burgeoned and exploded, but I think the most significant thing that has changed in the foundry has been the people. During my formative months, Coleman seemed to be all over the place poking things along, while DiM and mibi were reckless with their vitriol: there has been recent discussion about ‘Foundry Wars’ – but I can assure you that criticism today is tame compared to that of two years ago! I’d love to see things go back to the way they were a couple of years ago, where most critiques were well-thought-out, and where the majority of mapmakers enjoyed being part of the community-driven process. Q. What would you like to see changed in the foundry? A. I’d love to see the process made easier and quicker for maps that are well-thought-out and look good; although the challenge is to do this without offending people who think vomit-based maps would seriously enhance the site… There are plenty of things on my to-do list; but I’m going to pull a mystical monkey trick and just say that you’ll have to just wait and see what happens Q. Do you think the current system of just 3 cartographers works, or do you think it was better when there were 4 or 5? A. Without a shadow of doubt, many hands make light work. Oaktown and gimil were excellent people to work with, and things seemed to bounce around between us well, although we were definitely stretched on occasion. The Foundry Assistant team (non-moderator helpers) has been an asset at times, but the activity of a lot of experienced foundry-goers has dwindled over the past months (including a couple of potential cartographers/moderators). I’m eagerly awaiting the announcement of a new team member to join theNobodies80, iancanton and I, and we always keep half-an-eye eye for people to fill pairs of blue shoes Q. How do you delegate power in the foundry between the other cartos and the assistants? A. Andy left a big crate of bananas in the office which I like to throw at people if something really needs doing… I can assure you that being hit in the face with an over-ripe banana is not a pleasant experience… Other than that it’s all a bit ad-hoc, because we all have real lives which take precedence over our volunteering time. Q. Which is more painstaking---making maps, handling feedback and suggestions, etc; or being the Foundry Foreman and overseeing the development of all maps? And why? A. I think they’re equally painstaking! The biggest difference is that as a mapmaker, you’re more-or-less in complete control of the project (ie, it’s down to you to handle feedback and take on board suggestions etc), and that you can respond and update at your leisure. With the Foundry Foreman responsibility, I’m acutely aware of how limited the time available for me to spend in the foundry is. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel that everybody wants your opinion, and can be a burden to comment consistently and constructively when there are only a handful of developing maps that float my boat. Q. How does it feel to be one of the top map makers on CC?? A. It’s a little bit embarrassing to be referred to as a top mapmaker… In comparison to WidowMakers, RjBeals, oaktown, mibi, cairnswk and qwert, I still feel very much like a mapmaking newb. Q. What is your favourite part of ConquerClub? A. There is nothing quite like the feeling of sweeping the board during an escalating game… The thrill of taking a risk to kill one player; having to strategically place armies to kill a second; making a tough choice between who to try and eliminate next; negotiating a path to pick off the stray territories for a final double-cash to assure you victory… It’s the moment I wish that I was sat around a real-life table instead of plugged into a virtual world playing with people who are only a figment of my imagination and don’t really exist… <sigh> Q. Who is your favourite person on CC? A. CC is nothing but a virtual world filled with people who are only figments of my imagination and don’t really exist… With that in mind, it’s probably best to quote The Matrix: Agent Smith: Me... me... me.. Agent Smith’s Multi: Me too Q. Who is your favourite mod? See above: Agent Smith: Do you know what the best thing about being me is? Agent Smith's Multi: There's so many of me! Q. Would you ever want to meet them in real life? A. I would love to! There are a number of conquerclubbers I would be interested in meeting up with, although the majority of them seem to live half the world away Q. If you ever saw someone in real life wearing a conquerclub shirt, would you approach them? A. I might try and observe them from a distance – in the same way that Schrödinger might have looked at cats… Q. How much time do you spend on CC each day? A. Too much! It varies from 5 mins to 5 hours depending on what’s going on in real life. Q. Has CC ever got in the way of your real life? A. Yes, although I’d rather not talk about it. Q. If you could ram through 3 changes to CC, what would they be? My number one option would have been to eliminate the freestyle double-turns loophole. That’s happened, so perhaps I can live in hope for my other two, which are to; update the game engine with more XML features which would broaden the range of available maps and take the game to a new strategic level; and categorise all the maps and force lackattack to redesign the map-selection screen in the game creator/finder. Q. Are there any other maps that you would like to see revamped? A. Nothing springs to mind as being particularly bad… Q. What is your favorite game play feature (bombardment, make your own bonus, auto-deploy, classic, etc)? A. Anything that fits the theme of the map works well for me. I find maps with gimmicky features (such as the random one-way attack/bombardment in China) bug me; but as long as gameplay elements are as a result of relevant cartographic features or to achieve specific gameplay style, then I’m easy Q. Besides conquer club are you involved in any other gaming websites? A. I’ve played other games online - the best being inklink, uno, and some other random flash games... Conquerclub is the first where I’ve really engaged with the community side of things, and I'd argue that it's the people as much as (if not more than) the game that has kept me here for so long. Q. Are you working hard to get Owen unbanned? A. I have never been involved in the lengthy-ban decision-making or appeals process, and don’t intend to. I have enough stress on my plate in real life to try and sort out somebody else’s mess (especially if that person is only a figment of my imagination and doesn’t really exist…) Q. I've noticed you're an avid facebooker too, so am I (Nagerous) the only person you poke on facebook or are you cheating on me? A. Don’t let MrMoody know that I’ve been poking on the side Q. What is one item that you always have in your fridge? A. Cheese. Lots of cheese. Q. Mouse or Pen? A. Assuming this is a question about drawing maps with a graphics tablet, the answer is mouse. If it’s a question about writing, then the answer is pen, because no matter how much cheese you have, you can’t stop the mouse running away. Q. What sort of car do you drive? A. Fiat Multipla 1.9 JTD. It’s affectionately known as the Ugly Bug. Q. Favorite Ice Cream? A. In a cone it would be something like Mint-Choc Chip. Favourite flavour of ice cream would be strawberry. Speciality ice cream would be something like Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. At the end of the day though, all ice cream is good. The best ice cream I ever had was Kiwi-flavoured ice cream from an Ice-cream parlour in Germany... Q. If you could add 1 XML feature what would it be? A. Am I only allowed one? It would be a tough choice between ‘Conditional Autodeploys’ (ie pre-determined deployment of regional bonuses) and ‘Conditional Borders’ (ie holding a ‘green key’ territory to open up ‘green door’ attack routes), although I think the Conditional Borders would get my vote, and open up Conquer Club to a whole new level of strategy, and further differentiate it from the well-known Hasbro clone Q. If you could only play 1 settings combination and a handful of maps for the rest of your life (3-5), what would you choose? A. 6p Standard Sequential Escalating Chained Sunny. As for maps, I don’t think I’d be able to handle only playing the same handful of maps over and over again, after all variety is the spice of life! Q. TOFU is said to be the rising star of the CC Clan world. Would you agree or disagree? A. I thought Tofu was for people who didn’t eat meat? I’ve never understood why some vegetarians will do anything for food that that looks and tastes vaguely like meat, but clearly isn’t meat. On a side note, what do they put into beef gravy or roast-chicken-flavoured crisps that still make them suitable for vegetarians? Q. High rank - does that simply mean you've foed all the better players? A. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Q. How do you feel about the general idea that, mibi is being a protected user due to the fact that he has maps that CC doesn't want to lose, yet t-o-m was gone in an instant? A. I think the general idea that a user who has minimal disciplinary history should not be banned from the forums make sense, regardless of their contributions elsewhere. Q. Yes or no, do you see bias in the activities of TeamCC's general moderation "Death Squad"? A. Guns don't kill people, moderators do. I'm a moderator and I might kill you. Q. What do you think of the new moderator choices? A. Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without. Q. What is your favourite movie line? A. He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy Q. What is the meaning of life? A. 42 Q. What did you do on Halloween? A. I remain unconvinced by trick’n’treating, and fail to understand the celebration of all things evil. We went to a ‘Wild West’-themed party instead, and had a fantastic time – even if the children did have a sugar-induced high on the way out of the other side of tiredness! Q. Favorite sports team? I’ve been a Tottenham Hotspur fan since the day I met my wife (who was wearing a Spurs shirt at the time). Q. How long have you been married? A. Seven years. Q. Porn - How much do you do?!? A. I’ve never (to my knowledge) starred in an adult movie. If the day job doesn’t work out I might consider a career change… Q. Outside of the Foundry and playing games, what else about Conquer Club do you enjoy? A. There have been some good times in Live Chat… Some of the people I’ve met here I now consider amongst my closest friends (in the virtual they-don’t-really-exist kind of way). Q. What type of tournaments do you like to see? When you have time, what ones do you like to participate in? A. I’ve got a small group of good dubs/trips/quads partners, and go through phases of being signed up for random tournaments with them. When I’ve joined tournaments on my own, I tend to look for settings that I think I’ll do well in, or for settings I’m looking to get some medals on, or for something that it looks like might be fun. Q. Who were some of the first members you ran across in the forum when you started out? A. As in all areas of life, there are different people in different areas of the site. The first person who made me feel welcome in the forums was RjBeals. Over time I became vaguely acquainted with other foundry-folk such as oaktown, gimil and WidowMakers. It wasn’t until I was asked to become a moderator that I really got to know anybody properly; in addition to the above, my favourite CC people include InsomniaRed, nobodies80, MrMoody, and samuelc812 – all people I have a good laugh and chat with about non-CC stuff too… Q. Name an awesome colour A. Red Q. Thanks for your time MrBenn! A. No worries… I can crawl into bed now
show: A Newts Tale
Dead Man Walking... and Phoning! ~annoying electronic screeching~ we’re sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed… please hang up and try your call again… In a desire to “have a more fulfilling and well rounded CC experience” I tried to set up my first trips game the other day. I gotta tell ya it didn't go so well. I ended up feeling like a scout leader or cruise director putting together an outing who has serious issues with body odor. Finding partners was challenging enough. Finding a team to play against was seemingly impossible. So I gave up. And then asked Mrs. Elf to give her honest critique of my personal hygiene. I’m trying to shower more regularly now. Having failed as “game master” I joined another team’s triples game against a fancy hat and a couple of sword carriers. That was my first mistake. The second? Joining another team’s triples game against a fancy hat and a couple of sword carriers, who know what the hell they are doing. What an idiot I am. But having killed my Voice of Reason in the last issue, I just went with my Voice of Idiocy and Stupidity… the one that gets me kicked in the nads more often than not. I talked two other players into joining me (who are no longer speaking to me by the way) and off we went, arm in arm to our Merry Death (if I ever start a Clan that will be its name). I think we whistled show tunes as we went along as well. It was nifty. Maybe even keen. The "Sound of Music" (isn't Julie Andrews HOT) as you die. Awesome. Things got ugly quickly. Here is part of the game log: Yeah? Really? Well bite me. I’m Team Two Leader and I say “bullocks” to that. After we shared our mutual grief together and had a team hug, we stormed back. We took out one of their players. Sweet. 3 turns later we took out their other player. Double Sweet!!! During our Team Two “ Anticipate the Victory” party I get this phone call: : Hello? Elf : Can you hear me? Future Elf : Yes… who is this? Elf : This is you… tomorrow. Future Elf : K. What’s up? Elf : SOB is gonna kill you all. Future Elf : What? You are nuts Future Elf. It is 3v1 now!!! Elf : Whatever you say idiot, you guys are toast. Enjoy! Future Elf ~click~ In a blink of an eye... in a heart beat... in any other trite and irritating catch phrase you can think of, The Elf was dead, Elf Buddy #1 was dead, Elf Buddy #2, while uttering heart-felt and sincere swear words? Was dead. Stupid Future Elf was right. SOB wrapped up our crew, put us in the oven, cooked us at 450° and had us for dinner. I still can’t get over it. Haven’t played a trips game since. ~sigh~ I learned a couple of important lessons through this debacle. Firstly, if you get a phone call from your future self while playing a game? Don’t answer. It’s not going to be good news… EVER. And next time? Right. Between. The Eyes. Wounding them just makes them mad. Show no mercy brothers and sisters. No mercy till they are ALL dead. And you might want to poke them, just to be sure. With a stick. A really, really, damn SHARP stick!!! Disgruntledly Yours, Dead Elf
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A Newt's Tale gimil