There are two types of Civ players: the ones that love to spend an endless number of hours building civilizations and taking them from the past to the future, and those that do not have that much time or patience to dedicate so much to a game and are more likely to enjoy scenarios. I believe Civilization III: Conquests should please both groups of gamers. This expansion offers such a huge list of changes that they cannot all be mentioned. This new expansion brings seven new civilizations to the game, and nine brand new heart-pumping and well thought out scenarios. The main gameplay is still the same, but many new improvements made a difference.
The new scenarios come with many differences. To start off with, each scenario has its own set of units, wonders and technologies. The new scenarios now have pre-determined alliances. Meaning, some civilizations have the faith to become your enemies and will never make peace, no matter how many gifts you may give. But to level it out, other civilizations will be on your side and ready to fight with you no matter what. The scenarios aim at reducing gameplay time for the players who do not want to play forever, as some feel about the Civilization series. They are a bit unique in the sense that more things are decided for you; as you have no control over the new units, wonders and technologies the scenarios stand out and become interesting to any type of gamer.
First off, let's have a quick review of each of the nine scenarios. Scenarios are not what I like best, but I did my best to try and summarize what each scenario is about. To start, the Mesopotamian campaign. At the beginning of civilization you have very little resources to start with, and you must build an empire from the ground up. Seven civilizations are in a race to build all of the seven wonders, and the first civ to achieve that goal wins. This is not my type of gameplay, as I do not usually push hard on building wonders early in the game, so I really had trouble with this scenario, which is great because it totally got me into wanting more challenge from the game and learning new strategies that I had never bothered to think of before.
Then comes the Rise of Rome which focuses on a battle between the Carthaginians and the Romans. I loved using the Romans in this scenario for their ability to build roads early in the game. The map consists of a large road all over the map; expanding fast can be attained without much difficulty, and building convenient road paths without slowing down military production is a big advantage with the Romans. The disadvantage I found myself with, was being the biggest, as it brought many enemies and made it much harder to complete. I also enjoyed using the Persian civ as they find their own way to power and expansion into the future.
Of course, the Rise of Rome was followed by the Fall of Rome. Here I think you can all guess that the Roman Empire is separated in two fairly equal groups and do not to forget the barbarians. It takes some thinking and a good approach for this scenario. As the barbarians you need to destroy almost ten cities from one half of the empire to erase it from history. Each side of this battle must ensure to make the right decisions for their civilization if they wish not to fall.
I was disappointed by the Middle Ages campaign, but then again I had no idea what to expect or what I was looking for in this campaign anyway. It consists of three groups with their own paths and a small group of AI civs. The Muslims race the Vikings to find the three kings of Europe and protect them as the Christians try to get to Jerusalem. This one bored the hell out of me but you can not always like them all.
The next scenario I loved. The Mesoamerican campaign is a cultural challenge with a twist. Three civs in a very small portion of land must strive to cultural supremacy. The catch in this scenario is the ability to capture and sacrifice your enemy's workers for culture points. This is where the game is very different than just culture. The scenario becomes an outgoing war of capute where you sometimes see the control of a worker be switched up for many times before one of the civs finally gets the worker to his altar. The gameplay of this scenario was one that amused me lots. I really liked it.
The Age of Discovery campaign is a close action between many civs. The Europeans are kind of stuck against butt with each other as they have small space, but need to stop the American civ from winning with their cultural and land advantages. Therefore, if you play as a European civ, you must remember that you need your enemies as allies in certain aspects, such as colonization of the new world. Producing treasure units is the smartest thing to do as the Europeans, and culture is the way to the easy win with the Mesoamericans.
The next scenario was my favorite. Maybe because I have a thing for Asian flavor or maybe it's because during this scenario the benefits of gun powder come in play. In this violent Japan scenario, more than a dozen warlords are scattered in a really big map of Japan. Samurais, ninjas and other units give it that unmatchable Japanese feel. With gun powder being discovered you can imagine that the wars fought in this scenario are brutal and fierce. You control a key unit, the king unit, that is incredibly powerful and can assist for a very long time and cause major havoc to normal units as it is much too powerful, but precaution must be taken. If this unit dies, all your efforts have gone down the drain because you will have lost. This scenario is a real no hold back wage of wars until the strongest still stands.
Nearing the end of the scenarios, comes Napoleon's campaign. In this campaign, you have a good number of civs such as the Great Britain, the Naples of course, and more that all feel a certain anger towards France. If you like an incredibly hard challenge that might even seem impossible to some of the best Civ players, France is the way to go. If you feel you just want to go through the scenario without much difficulty, the other nations might be your best pick.
And the final scenario. It's WWII and is set in the Pacific. The scenario consists of a very big naval battle with islands between the Americans and the Japanese. One thing different about this scenario is that each naval unit is named individually. Of course, the Japanese or Americans are the civs that give you the most gameplay out of this scenario, but I enjoyed trying out the Chinese and saw that I had a pretty big influence on the allied supremacy.
That's all for the scenarios, but if you're a player like me that loves to spend long hours to build your own history, this expansion saved us many surprises. You can now pick the Dutch, the Hitties, the Sumerians, the Incas or the Mayans to mention some of the new civilizations. These new civs have their own units. All of the civilizations in the game, including the old ones, now have either one of two new traits - agriculture and seafaring. So what is seafaring? Seafaring civs are better at sea and bring more commerce to coastal cities. The agricultural advantage is the food bonus that allows the civ to expand much more early in the game. Many small adjustments make a considerable difference in the game. New governments come into play. Feudalism has returned for more war focused civilizations. Fascism is another new government that has appeared for the war and military kind of civilizations, but has less population. On the other hand Republican governments will have to pay twice as much for war unit production. This really separates the war-like and peaceful civilizations.
Naval units under attack in port will have more damage inflicted than usual. Submarines can now decide which unit to attack in battle, bombers can destroy ships through bombardment, and although these changes may seem small, they improve these units incredibly. Other than the new units that all the new civilizations have, all civilizations got nine new units to add a cherry on top. Five wonders have been added and satellites can be researched to discover the map's layout, but there are too many new small differences to mention them all.
In conclusion, this game has brought enough to please both the short-term and the long-term player. One thing that needs to be mentioned is that this expansion also includes the "Civilization 3: Play The World" expansion, so no need to dish out for both. Yes, that means that multiplayer support is included, and is fully functional according to a few games I've tried. I definitely prefer playing this game in the core form rather than playing the scenarios but I suggest it for both of the interests.