Do you want to play a game created by a magically immersive game master? Someone who knows how to guide an experience toward immediately wanting to play more? Then you probably want to play a game by Seppy Yoon. Conquest Princess is a 1-4 player cooperative game from Fight in a Box. It was co-designed by Peter Yang and has art from Mark Eberhardt.
Conquest Princess has been a years long passion project and it was worth the wait. The game is fun, thrilling bag building from the start. Players get pop culture references without having to need them to enjoy the game.
The very first, impossible to fail introduction mission is about bringing the captain back to the ship. It gets you immersed in the game quickly with little overhead. It's called "Captain Ashii Marooned" and it is good enough that even though it is an introduction, it makes you want to play more right away. Some introductions feel overly simple and without consequence whatsoever. We could have theoretically lost the mission, but with some guided actions it was just learning and thematic joy.
The ship of the player is abstracted in the game, but there are wonderful standees for the minions of the bad guys, and the heroes all have nice acrylic standees. I have come to prefer these over minis in many games and in this one they felt especially appropriate given the bright colors and thematic style choices.
The bag building is done with nice, thick block counters which have easy to remember icons. Really, once you get into the game, the icons are quite straightforward and lead the players toward agency and choice. There aren't always obvious choices, but there are some better choices which is what you want to see in a cooperative game.
Another nice gameplay element and mechanic was the planet of the baddies approaching. It featured double-sided boards with even more thematic and appropriate art. That's one of the things that really struck me, for a new universe, the art was quite harmonious in telling the story in a visually compelling way. The art style may not be for everyone who wants something somber or serious in tone, but isn't forgettable in any sense.
The ultimate aim of the game is both to transform your characters into their final girl form and finish each mission. Our intro game played in about 25 minutes. Each player can use other player's powers, with informed consent of course. The game does a nice job of not allowing the quarter backing effect to happen. Each player will decide how and when to do things without having to have too much of a mental load. In that respect, the game even makes reference to the stressors people can face and how sometimes the leader is just the one who has the least of those. Very nice and subtle ties of things like that.
The bag building and mitigation was my favorite part of the game mechanically. I can't wait to play more of the missions and see how difficult they become.