If you've ever wondered how well Napoleon Bonaparte would have fared as a military strategist against Julius Caesar then Conflicting Legends from Indie Boards & Cards probably isn't the game that will help you find out. To be sure, Julius and Augustus Caesar are both represented on cards in this game, as are Napoleon and dozens of other persona from military, scientific and cultural history. And, yes, you'll often be pitting some of these figures into battle but Conflicting Legends is no 'what if' simulation game...
Conflicting Legends is actually a fun party game that makes innovative use of the rock/paper/scissors mechanic. The 3–6 players each start off with a hand of six Persona cards. On your turn, you can play a card; pay the requisite tokens to claim an 'uncontrolled realm' (continent) card; develop (pay the required tokens to flip) a realm you control; or Pass. When you play a card, it goes into a tableau in front of you and you take the action on that card. If it's a card that invites you to 'attack an opponent' then you do this by initiating a rock/paper/scissors contest. In most cases, a successful attack will allow you to steal an undeveloped realm card from the defender or to flip one of their developed realms to its undeveloped (lower star points score) side. When all players have Passed, players all take income (military, science and culture tokens) as indicated on the cards in their tableaus, their tableaus are all wiped and players embark on another round with a new hand of six cards. This continues until a player achieves 10 stars worth of points from their realm cards.
Surely every schoolchild will have played rock/papers/scissors so the core mechanic is intuitively simple. And Conflicting Legends gives it several extra twists. Some persona cards, for example, give you a bonus or advantage if you play a particular symbol. If you play a card that rewards you extra for playing rock, I might reason that you are therefore more likely to play rock, so I'll player paper. Of course, that might be exactly what you want me to think... This simple bluff/counterbluff mechanic is almost guaranteed to generate squeals of amusement, which is what makes Conflicting Legends such a great party game and an excellent light games-night filler.
Tho' 'combat' always comes down to rock/scissors/paper, there's still scope for some strategy in the way you manage and play out your hand. Because of their text, some persona cards will be more effective if they are played early or late in a round. Some require an opponent to be in possession of particular realms or to have played particular persona cards or card types... Often timing will determine victory as much as the hand you draw and how well you psych out your opponents at rock/scissors/paper. We're not for a moment suggesting here that designers Shen-Hao Chang, Chih-Fan Chen and Wei-Chung Wu have come up with a game involving deep thought or strategy, just that there's more to Conflicting Legends than merely waving fists and hand gestures at each other.
The choice of persona in the game is genuinely international, and we liked the stylised art by Wei-Cheng Wu. Our one gripe was that it's hard to read your cards' text when you have six cards fanned in your hand. The cards in our Board's Eye View picture are all shown face up but, notably, you can see that we were using card racks to play. Like us, you may find card racks to be a helpful addition when playing Conflicting Legends.