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Subject: Time for a serious OL strategy thread rss

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Chris Poor
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OK, I have played about 10 games now as OL. Have won about half of them, but the wins were early games. Later games, the Heroes have become much more challenging, and I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

At one level I am blaming the scenarios, because at the end of both games last night we all looked at each other and could not see how I could have done anything different. We played "The Final Ritual," where Conan and Company protect the priestess of Mitra against the Pict Hordes, and "Trapped Like Rats," where Conan and Company are imprisoned in an inn, and must escape.

Without spoilers, I could find no way to threaten the priestess. Conan stayed within range of her hut, and no matter how many picts I could have moved in there, he had the ability to slaughter them all with one attack. Taking out the relics was not much easier; I managed to destroy 2, and threatened about 3 more, but was slaughtered. My blockers were not a problem for Shevatas (Agile), Conan (killer) or Hadrathus (Teleport), so any time I threatened a relic, someone could usually get to it. Can't bunch up because of Lightning Storm and Circular Strike, but spreading out is costly and not real effective. And eventually you have to activate the Reinforcement tile, which will end the game through the Ritual mechanic. I have found in 2 plays that the 3rd activation is likely the game ender. Don't even think about winning by killing all of the Heroes.

Second scenario was not much more fun for me. They snuck about for the 4 allotted turns, were able to explore all of the rooms but one and found all items except Conan's sword, and opened the last chest on turn 5. My alarm guards showed up, but were unable to reach the upstairs room where they opened a window and left unchallenged.

I am left with the thought that I am missing a major rule or the scenarios are terribly balanced. I have played a lot of games over the years, and I am usually the one who reads the rules and teaches the game, so I think I understand the rules pretty well. I am planning to read through them again just to be sure, but figured I'd start here.

I have won the first scenario easily against the heroes by a stalling strategy, the second by killing Belit. Lost the Heart of Darkness when Shevatas ran around the backside of the fortress, climbed the wall and assassinated Skuthus on turn 2 - still not sure how to stop that move - even if he survives, a lot of gems must be spent to guard him.

As an aside, after the "Trapped Like Rats" scenario, we discussed house rules to help the next time, and the most interesting one we came up with was that if the Heroes are not in the same space, the players may not discuss strategy or moves. Their pre-turn coordination talks were extensive and very effective at nullifying my guards.
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Aditya C
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For Heart of Darkness, bring out Khosatral Khel and wreak havoc. Shevatas can't come near you when you're smashing his face in with a 12 armor monster. Skuthus also has protection when he's in the same area as a unit.
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anthony dybacz
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My experience with scenarios mirrors your own and have around 25 plays as OL under my belt.

The real truth is we have no clue if we are playing scenarios as they were 'meant' to be played because, when it comes to terrain/LoS/certain scenario rules we are left guessing what the designer was thinking because the published rules dont help you.

All that said, the scenarios are not well 'balanced', with most (but not all) being in the heroes favour.
The OL usually has a 'line of best fit' move in any given scenario that, more often than not, means positioning a blocker or moving a named character.

My advice is to play each scenario more than once because there is a learning curve to playing OL that is not present with playing a hero; a hero can make a few mistakes with their moves and, more often than not, is able to correct them (due to there being multiple heroes and the way gem management works).

Conversely, the OL not only has to manage his gems but also contend with only activating 2 units a turn (before 3 or 4 heroes go in between). If the OL screws up and performs a subpar movement he would have to spend a ton of gems to reposition that unit/monster/character on his next go (if it is not dead).

I am not saying heroes dont have to think about moves because they do, but the OL has to approach it like a chess game where every move really matters.

Hope that helps.
 
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Does Conan start with a two handed weapon (3 encumbrance). If not he can't use his cleave ability. This rule is often missed.
 
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Brett Petersen
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My group hates me, I am currently 5-0 as overlord and I even pulled punches to keep them from giving up. Here are a few of my strategies I have been using.

Let the river flow: With a few very rare exceptions I only activate space one of the river. Time I will activate bosses or large monsters is if a hero has no gems in their reserve and I can reach them or if they will kill it on their next activation. I have never paid more than 4 for this.

Sometimes hold a monster in the one space Activation just for the sake of activation is a bad move if the timing does not make sense.

Be cheap: Try to stay within your recovery limit, 3,5,7, or X. What ever the scenario is try as much as possible.

Know your role: if the scenario requires you to be defensive or offensive. Generally speaking I have found it easier to win if I only need to stop the heroes.

Hindrance: is your friend.

Be really cheap: Never spend gems on extra moves, defense, or re-roll unless it is life and death for the scenario.

Bluff on the Board: The overlord is as much a bluffing game as anything else. Watch where heroes never go and stick the priest or princess in those locations every once in a while. Sometimes do a fake reactive move to throw them off.

Use reverse psychology
: in hunting scenarios. I grouped a few of my guys near a priest tile and they took the bait that it must be the one I did not want them to find. Wasted three turns getting there and three to back track to the real goal when they figured it out.

Be the devil: Encourage players to rest when they should be aggressive or be aggressive when they should rest. Encourage them to spend gems when they should save a few. Feed their ego or pride. When they rest or run out of gems you can jack them up. The weak dice rolls are your best friend to spend gems. I do fake math about their chances to beat character X. In most cases always talk them into spending gems and over blow a weak character. Understate, how easy it is to beat a boss. Try to get them to break-up what should be a all out attack.

Gangs: Try to attack in a gang. If the two tiles you activate can attack the same person do it.

Finally, Never kill a hero on purpose: Leave them with a gem or two and move you focus to the next hero. Unless the scenario wants you to kill one person. That requires a different approach.

These are a few of my ideas that have seemed to work so far.
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anthony dybacz
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Certain scenarios hugely favour the OL and certain scenarios hugely favour the heroes.

The OL has it easy in:
In the Clutches of the Picts (the OL should never lose this scenario, unless lady luck REALLY hates you).
The Crawling Shadow

While the OL has a hard time in:
Hunting the Tigress (Conan and Shevatas are totally expendable and can kill Zaporavo easy)
The Final Ritual (Conan should be able to kill every pict that enters the hut if Shevatas runs relic defence and Hadrathus Lightning Storms picts)

Then there are Scenarios that have flaws, where YMMV:
The Wrath of Anu (possible to end after 1 priest)
The Key of Kuthchemes (key can be in first chest)
The Name of Ibis (Shevatas and Hadrathus can turn 1 blitz)

The rest are fairly balanced, imo.

I am yet to play Infernal Pursuit (but it seems fairly easy to kill Zaporavo, like in Hunting the Tigress) and Red Dawn.
And I have not played any SG scenarios, yet.

Conan is one of those games that really does depend on your group. If your group play aggressively, splits up, focus on the scenario, and use Shevatas well, then they can give the OL a hard time.
They can also use the OLs tactic of leaving a hero barely alive by killing all but 1 of a group and clogging up your river with useless units.

Conversely, the OL can do all the things Brett mentions (but YMMV with the pshychology/devil stuff; my group would just ignore me).

But you also need to react to what the group is doing and your scenario goals; sometimes staying cheap just doesnt cut it. But if you conserve gems by playing within your refresh limit then you will have the gems when you need to react.

As for how to deal with each hero (generalisations follow)?
Use blockers on Conan; force him to kill them.
Hurt Hadrathus; he needs gems to fuel multiple spells.
Despair at Shevatas; if the player is good then Shevatas is king!

Proposal: rename the game 'Shevatas' and change the cover on the box to Shevatas laughing at a crying OL...
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Chris Poor
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CardboardAnt wrote:


Proposal: rename the game 'Shevatas' and change the cover on the box to Shevatas laughing at a crying OL...


That's brilliant. Thanks for starting my day with a good laugh.

These all sound like great tips. I'll try them. Thanks for the great replies, but I'd like to keep the thread open for more discussion too.
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Abdelrhaman Mohamed
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What about the extra minions and monsters? Add on and SG.. tweaking each mission by swapping out tiles for add on could help the OL?

I have yet to play all missions but considering tweaking the monsters used a bit for more exciting play.
 
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Donato
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Regarding the scenario The Final Ritual it seems that giving Hadrathus de spell Lightning Storm is a bit of a gamebreaker.

It takes on average the Overlord 3 turns to destroy the barricades.

In the player's first turn Hadrathus teleports to the southern entry point (blue group) and throws Lightning Storm on the green group attacking the barricade and teleports out. If he throws an average roll the whole green group is killed.
In the player's second turn Hadrathus does the same with the northern group. He teleports into orange group and kills the red group.

This means that before the Overlord has entered the village 2 of the 5 groups are destroyed.

Hadrathus needs to rest after his two turns, but Conan and Shevatas have rested for two turns are full with energy, so they can pretty easily kill the remaining two groups on their side.

So, at the end of round Three the Overlord has only left Zogar Sag and his three Pict Warriors.

This means that the Overlord must use his Event tile in his third turn to gain reinforcements. And if the players are luckily - they roll 6 yellow dice - the ritual can be finished or is almost finished.

Okay, activating the Event tile means the Overlord gets 4 tiles back (12 models) which he can get close to the hut with the Priestess, but the game will be almost over.


 
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Jim Ant
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crispy66 wrote:
. . . Can't bunch up because of Lightning Storm and Circular Strike, but spreading out is costly and not real effective....


I haven't played as OL and have never even opened the rulebook (I play Conan in our group at my FLGS where we've played about 6 or 8 scenarios) but in my brief experience, I'd say the quoted part above is the key to OL weakness in this game. Also, the ability to activate only twice per turn.

Even if Conan's cleave is nerfed (per the poster above), Conan could still easily attack four times using four gems. That would guarantee four kills. Also we have a mage who uses some sort of insect summoning. She walks into the middle of a mob and kills them all. Our ranged attacker is also deadly, all he needs is line of sight.

Some people have suggested giving the weak mobs 2hp instead of 1hp but this would unbalance the game against the heroes IMO. Mobs would be too deadly.

It would be very sad if OL "strategy" had to depend on psychological warfare against the players (as another poster seems to suggest). In any case, our group would pay no attention to stuff like that. That post also had some other (good) ideas, though, worth considering.

I kind of like the idea of activating only the lowest level of monsters to save gems for a better time, but I suspect most OLs are already doing that.

At this point our group is just enjoying our Conan "experience" (the experience of always winning) but we've also pondered how to help the OL and frankly we've come up with nothing. He's a very experienced OL.

We're jut kind of assuming the game is tilted in Conan's favor and we take it for what it is.

I'll keep an eye out here anyway, to see if anybody comes up with some workable OL strategies (other than a complete redesign of the game).

 
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Mark Ramsey
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I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked. I was throwing everything I had at the heroes and was almost totally ineffective. At the end of the scenario only Hadrathus had taken any damage (2 points). I was unable to destroy any of the relics, and couldn't get close to the Preistesses' hut. I was actually rolling quite well, I thought, but the heroes had very little trouble blocking any damage that got through.

It seemed dumb that I had Zogar Sag, but he had no access to spell casting. What the hell is he there for then? Did I miss something and play this wrong? Sure, he can move quick and has decent armour, but one red die against the heroes doesn't do much.

As a group, we had a little debrief after the game and collectively we couldn't come up with anything the OL could have done to have a significantly different outcome.

We've only played twice now, but I worry that this game is a bit of a one-trick pony. I love the energy allocation system - it is fantastic. Unfortunately, some of the scenarios seem very much thrown together with little consideration for balance.
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Brett Petersen
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If your group thought it was too easy for the heroes here are a few things you can adjust. Pick one.

1. Combine the four groups of picts into two groups reducing the total tiles by two.

2. Give Conan a sword.

3. Give the overlord the recover 7 tile.

Or

Replace one tile of Picts with giant snake and remove that many Picts for that tile.

Honestly the scenario should be one crow not two for difficulty.

I believe the design of the game is to be more fluid then most traditional games of this type. That is why movement and line of sight are so simple. I look at it as more of a sandbox game then a serious campaign game. I have witnessed some tragic dice rolls and some epic comebacks. When a roll fails etc. we just make up a story and visualize that moment as if it were in a book or movie.
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Brett Petersen
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VanMark wrote:
I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked.


I just played The Final Ritual and won. After I had broken through the three fences I spread my guys out going after the relics while as quietly as possible moving Zogar Sag into position. On turn ten when the heroes had spent a ton of gems and were spread out, I made my move and ran an uninjured Sag into the hut with with Mitra and ended my turn with all but four of my gems.

Conan was the only close hero he ran in spent 5 gems to attack got a decent roll I blocked all but four of it. Conan was out of gems. I had three gems and two health left. Shevatas did not have enough movement (one gem over limit needed) to make it to the hut. Hadrathus teleported and spent his remaining two gems on a crappy dagger attack. Nothing they could do.

Zogar Sag sliced her throat at the start of the Overlord's turn.

I should add I only attack the heroes a few times when it was convenient otherwise I focus them on the relics.
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Jim Ant
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thatach wrote:
VanMark wrote:
I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked.


I just played The Final Ritual and won. ... On turn ten when ...


Isn't this the one where the heroes get to roll yellow dice every turn and after "X" successes the scenario is over? It doesn't seem mathematically possible that this could last 10 turns. When we played it, I believe it ended on turn 4 but only because we (the players) couldn't endure the thought of winning in 3 turns so we gave the OL one extra turn AND we allowed the last gate to open by itself. But that didn't help at all. Maybe if there's only one hero? it might go 10 turns?

Anyhow we just played another scenario (the one with yet another princess to be rescued, a trebuchet, and a bunch of jackals). We decided to give the OL some big bonuses to see if it would change the balance. We gave the OL extra gems, extra gem recovery each round, and 3 activation instead of 2.

The OL won but it was still very close. On the final turn (8) Conan had the princess but didn't have enough gems to exit the board. The OL did manage to inflict a lot of wounds in this one but didn't kill anybody.

Our OL has now said that he's probably going to use the minis in this game to supplement Mythic Pantheon when it comes out. We've played Mythic Battles and it's an excellent well-balanced game.
 
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Jim Ant
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thatach wrote:
If your group thought it was too easy for the heroes here are a few things you can adjust. Pick one.

1. Combine the four groups of picts into two groups reducing the total tiles by two.

2. Give Conan a sword. TAKE CONAN'S SWORD AWAY!!

3. Give the overlord the recover 7 tile.

Or

Replace one tile of Picts with giant snake and remove that many Picts for that tile.

Honestly the scenario should be one crow not two for difficulty.

I believe the design of the game is to be more fluid then most traditional games of this type. That is why movement and line of sight are so simple. I look at it as more of a sandbox game then a serious campaign game. I have witnessed some tragic dice rolls and some epic comebacks. When a roll fails etc. we just make up a story and visualize that moment as if it were in a book or movie.


Bret, I just noticed this post, and I appreciate your efforts to help the OL but I had to laugh -- Conan with any weapon is a deadly force.

Unfortunately when I hear the game defended as a "sandbox game" it reminds me of Myth (?) which is a game I'd rather forget.

For the record, our group has enjoyed all our Conan games -- but the scenarios are simply not well balanced, or maybe not balanced at all.

 
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Mark Ramsey
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JimZam wrote:
thatach wrote:
VanMark wrote:
I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked.


I just played The Final Ritual and won. ... On turn ten when ...


Isn't this the one where the heroes get to roll yellow dice every turn and after "X" successes the scenario is over? It doesn't seem mathematically possible that this could last 10 turns. When we played it, I believe it ended on turn 4 but only because we (the players) couldn't endure the thought of winning in 3 turns so we gave the OL one extra turn AND we allowed the last gate to open by itself. But that didn't help at all. Maybe if there's only one hero? it might go 10 turns?

Anyhow we just played another scenario (the one with yet another princess to be rescued, a trebuchet, and a bunch of jackals). We decided to give the OL some big bonuses to see if it would change the balance. We gave the OL extra gems, extra gem recovery each round, and 3 activation instead of 2.

The OL won but it was still very close. On the final turn (8) Conan had the princess but didn't have enough gems to exit the board. The OL did manage to inflict a lot of wounds in this one but didn't kill anybody.

Our OL has now said that he's probably going to use the minis in this game to supplement Mythic Pantheon when it comes out. We've played Mythic Battles and it's an excellent well-balanced game.


No, in this scenario the heroes are protecting the priestess while she completes her incantation. They only roll yellow dice when the Overlord activates the event tile. They roll one die for each relic in the village.
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Brett Petersen
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JimZam wrote:
thatach wrote:
VanMark wrote:
I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked.


I just played The Final Ritual and won. ... On turn ten when ...


Isn't this the one where the heroes get to roll yellow dice every turn and after "X" successes the scenario is over? It doesn't seem mathematically possible that this could last 10 turns. When we played it, I believe it ended on turn 4 but only because we (the players) couldn't endure the thought of winning in 3 turns so we gave the OL one extra turn AND we allowed the last gate to open by itself. But that didn't help at all. Maybe if there's only one hero? it might go 10 turns?


Jim you are playing that wrong and I can see why it would make the scenario seem impossible. See post above that the dice roll only happens if the OL activates the event tile for a third time.
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Jim Ant
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@ Mark and Brett:

Aha, thanks for that info! Maybe I'll suggest to our OL that we try that scenario again to see how we do with the correct rules

But it did seem that our OL had a very difficult time getting through those gates (he missed his first gate by a single axe roll, so we gave it to him anyway, otherwise he would have had to waste another activation). The third gate he never even tried to open. With the proper rules, it should be a lot more interesting!

Well, with apparently dozens of additional scenarios either in hand by way of KS, or coming in the future, maybe there is no such thing as a perfect strategy for either side; everything is situational. That would be closer to the Descent game(s) which is fine by me. Descent is my all-time favorite of tactical battle games with attached campaigns.
 
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Donato
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Does Lighting Storm damage the barricades?

I think it does as they have life points and can be attacked as an enemy character.
 
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Mark Ramsey
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thatach wrote:
JimZam wrote:
thatach wrote:
VanMark wrote:
I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked.


I just played The Final Ritual and won. ... On turn ten when ...


Isn't this the one where the heroes get to roll yellow dice every turn and after "X" successes the scenario is over? It doesn't seem mathematically possible that this could last 10 turns. When we played it, I believe it ended on turn 4 but only because we (the players) couldn't endure the thought of winning in 3 turns so we gave the OL one extra turn AND we allowed the last gate to open by itself. But that didn't help at all. Maybe if there's only one hero? it might go 10 turns?


Jim you are playing that wrong and I can see why it would make the scenario seem impossible. See post above that the dice roll only happens if the OL activates the event tile for a third time.


Wait, what? I don't have the scenario book in front of me, but do the heroes seriously only roll the yellow dice on the 3rd activation of the event tile? If so, then we did something wrong. I was pretty sure at the time that each time the OL activated the event tile, you had to go through all 3 events (re-spawn all monsters, move one group of monsters, roll yellow dice to advance the ritual marker).
 
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Donato
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VanMark wrote:
Wait, what? I don't have the scenario book in front of me, but do the heroes seriously only roll the yellow dice on the 3rd activation of the event tile? If so, then we did something wrong. I was pretty sure at the time that each time the OL activated the event tile, you had to go through all 3 events (re-spawn all monsters, move one group of monsters, roll yellow dice to advance the ritual marker).


You are correct.

In this scenario the Overlord only gets to activate the Event tile two times at the most as the Ritual will be complete after the third activation.

The players can win the game if the Overlord activates the Event tile before he has had a chance to destroy some of the 6 relics. But this is unlikely.

We rules that the yellow summoning dice cannot be rerolled by the players. Because if they can the scenario will be over when the Overlord activates the Event tile the first time.
 
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Brett Petersen
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VanMark wrote:
thatach wrote:
JimZam wrote:
thatach wrote:
VanMark wrote:
I played "The Final Ritual" as OL last night and it sucked.


I just played The Final Ritual and won. ... On turn ten when ...


Isn't this the one where the heroes get to roll yellow dice every turn and after "X" successes the scenario is over? It doesn't seem mathematically possible that this could last 10 turns. When we played it, I believe it ended on turn 4 but only because we (the players) couldn't endure the thought of winning in 3 turns so we gave the OL one extra turn AND we allowed the last gate to open by itself. But that didn't help at all. Maybe if there's only one hero? it might go 10 turns?


Jim you are playing that wrong and I can see why it would make the scenario seem impossible. See post above that the dice roll only happens if the OL activates the event tile for a third time.


Wait, what? I don't have the scenario book in front of me, but do the heroes seriously only roll the yellow dice on the 3rd activation of the event tile? If so, then we did something wrong. I was pretty sure at the time that each time the OL activated the event tile, you had to go through all 3 events (re-spawn all monsters, move one group of monsters, roll yellow dice to advance the ritual marker).



You are correct, haha stupid me, I played it wrong haha. Well that changes a few things.
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