PAX AUS 2014: ‘Conjure’ Quicklook and Overview

Conjure Dragon

IMG_9988‘Conjure’ was one of the games I checked out at PAX Aus 2014 in my endeavour to expose myself to as many new games as possible. ‘Conjure’ is an Australian home grown CCG that was initially Kickstarted on February 2014 with a goal of $15,ooo. After raising $4400, the Kickstarter was cancelled in March and relaunched with a goal of $2,000. With over $8,000 pledged, the Kickstarter was a big success this time around and the game was funded in April 2014 and became available to the public in August.

‘Conjure’ stands apart from the crowd as a CCG played on a board. It also has a flexible evolution system for its conjured spirits in order for the game to flow well. The game currently boasts six types of spirits in total with Dragon, Knight/Warrior, Mounted/Beast, Dark/Demon, Light/Angel, and Vehicle. All of these types have been released so far with the mysterious last spirit type to be announced later.

At PAX Aus 2014, I managed to have a quick chat with Nathan Hawkins, the creator of ‘Conjure’. In the video below Nathan gave me a quick run through on the basic rules of the game as well and also answered some of my questions about the game.

IMG_9985Unfortunately, since I had another pressing appointment, I was unable to play a full game of ‘Conjure’ at PAX. From what I’ve seen of the game, it seems promising, though perhaps not necessarily something I am looking for. Other CCGs, especially a number of Japanese ones such as Yu-gi-oh, Vanguard, Weiss Schwarz and Buddyfight have had boards in which characters positions and movements are essential to the game. However, none have definitively offered as much movement as ‘Conjure’ does with its massive checkerboard mat upon which the conjured spirits may move.  This is sure to add another layer of strategy to the game and it would be interesting to see what it means for competitive play.

The flexible evolution system of ‘Conjure’ also reminds me of Vanguard’s ‘ride’ mechanic where the next level monster can override any monster a level lower. This is a welcome addition to any games that have a tiered evolution system and I am glad it’s present here.

My only criticism of the game is the faction types.  In my opinion at least, the factions or ‘spirit types’ of ‘Conjure’ are a little ‘odd’ for lack of a better word.  For example ‘Superhero’ is a subset of ‘Knights/Warriors’ and ‘Dragons’ have a subtype called ‘Brothers’.  It may be a lack of imagination on my own behalf but the idea of conjuring a ‘vehicle spirit’ seems a little odd too.  All this aside however, the naming conventions whether they be odd or not have little impact on the overall quality of the game.

Conjure Demon

While ‘Conjure’ failed to immediately hook me like some of the other games at PAX, it certainly holds a lot of promise. Everything I’ve seen of the game indicates that the game is solidly designed and the art is compelling. There’s definitely the right combination of new ideas present for it to warrant a closer look. Especially due to my desire to support locally developed games,  I will definitely be keeping an eye open for an opportunity to have a more hands-on look at the game in the future.

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