Kristjan Lennuk
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In our first play most of the time we only battled against neutrals - we had only two battles between players. I don´t remember the other battle but one of them was when I took my 5 unit army and attacked a fort containing area of another player with 3 military units in it (and later subjugated it myself). And what makes me worried most is that in the end I think it was not even a wise choice. I would probably have been able to conquer two neutral territories with the same effort and resouces (there are plenty of neutrals on the map). I know this made the other player recieve 4 points less in the endgame scoring, but this does not seem to motivate enough. Why does this game punish attacking other players? Why can´t you receive points for destructing other player forts?

Other issue for me was that players get too few kingdom cards in their hands. And kingdom cards seem to be something that could make the game shine and are also very thematic.

We played with 4 players and we mostly started moving with armies and conquering neutral provinces. Should every player start with emissaries instead and make alliances with as much territories as possible during the first age? This is the only possible way I can see the map runs out of neutrals fast enough and also grants enough gold for players to get more kingdom cards and armies after the end of first age.

Also the adventure tokens seem to be too powerful, which means court+conan action is the most popular choice from the dice pool instead of military action.

I really want to like this game because I like the theme and components are great but the first play did not impress me. Nevertheless I am planning to play it again soon, but the fact that you are forced to start with emissaries kinda bothers me and I am not even sure it helps enough against the issues.
 
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Assalander
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I only played the game once, and I totally agree with your concerns. Actually there was no fight between players AT ALL, but I guess this is an extreme case due to the fact that we get very few military actions and that Conan was crowned after the very first quest of third age. Though it seemed clear that military actions against other players were too risky compared for their potential rewards. Next play I guess I will use the following house rules (inspired by some variant that have been posted here) :

_ Double the VP reward from completed objectives (no one really cared about them in our game, and some of them could really encourage fights between players)
_ At the endgame, give one VP for each Crom token (+ the usual bonus for the player who got the most of them)
_ When you destroy an ennemy fort or tower with armies, gain an additionnal Crom token (so an attacker will gain 2 Crom tokens from a victorious siege battle - should encourage aggressivity)
_ When you remove an ennemy tower with an emissary, steal one gold from him. If he hasn't any, take one gold from the "bank".

With these simple rules, you could be encouraged to meddle with the other players, for it will not only deprive them of something, but also make you gain something (even if you don't conquer the province afterward). Others have posted more interesting and drastic variants implying gains in cards and units, but I'm afraid they could change the game balance too much and thus I will need more plays before deciding whether I should use them. What do you think ?
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Mike Smith
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I think you are partially right. You are correct in thinking that the game's trajectory favours emissaries/towers at first. These provide gold and help you channel or block other people's attacks on neutrals, whilst providing a springboard for your own attacks. I don't see that as a weakness in the game - its a subtlety! Also don't overlook the value of Conan for attack (or defense) rather than moving towards the adventure destination - its very easy to get hung up on tokens even when taking them is of low value. The game does seem to end just as its shaping up for a bustup. I would lengthen it - and I have suggestions for doing that in my variant rules.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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For me, a game where you can see all the best moves the first time you play doesn't have enough meat to keep me interested.

pilot wrote:
Why does this game punish attacking other players?


It doesn't. There are times when it is wise to attack another player, and times when it is wise to just grab neutrals. A good player will pick his spots.

pilot wrote:
Other issue for me was that players get too few kingdom cards in their hands. And kingdom cards seem to be something that could make the game shine and are also very thematic.


If you didn't get enough kingdom cards, learn how to get more (gold is the key). If the game just gave them to everybody whatever they did, what would be the point?

pilot wrote:
Should every player start with emissaries instead and make alliances with as much territories as possible during the first age? This is the only possible way I can see the map runs out of neutrals fast enough and also grants enough gold for players to get more kingdom cards and armies after the end of first age.


There was a rules question thread last summer which turned into a lengthy debate about whether it is smarter to start with intrigues or military conquests. If you click the link, you'll see what side I'm on.

pilot wrote:
I really want to like this game because I like the theme and components are great but the first play did not impress me.


Don't give too much weight to what you saw in your first game with 4 newbies. If you keep plugging away, you'll learn to play better, and everybody will make better decisions, which will result in a better game. I don't think AoC is a great game, but it is a very good one.
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Raf B
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pilot wrote:
I know this made the other player recieve 4 points less in the endgame scoring, but this does not seem to motivate enough.


If it was a territory worth 4 empire points, then really the gain for you is a 12 point swing. Your opponent loses the 4 points he would have gained at the end of the game, and you gain those 4 points twice: once when seizing the territory and a second time assuming you still hold the province during scoring at the end of the game. That's a good deal more motivation.

By the same token, if you had captured two other provinces, you would likely have made similar gains (or not - depends on how you rolled against the neutrals). Other factors to consider in your choice to fight another player are the cost to your opponent of losing (in this case) three army units, the Crom token you gain, etc.

I have not played many games yet, but Conan's availability to affect the die rolls has heavily influenced who and where my friends and I have attacked.
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Kristjan Lennuk
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Mage de Taverne wrote:
Next play I guess I will use the following house rules (inspired by some variant that have been posted here) :


The problem with house rules is that they are just ideas and not playtested. Although these seem to be quite good ideas.

Mantuanwar wrote:
Also don't overlook the value of Conan for attack (or defense) rather than moving towards the adventure destination - its very easy to get hung up on tokens even when taking them is of low value.


True, Conan in battle can make a real difference - we saw it in our game very well. But the main problem is the logistics - adventures tend to be quite short (because of the high token grabbing with conan + court actions) so it is not so easy to get Conan where you need him.

Sphere wrote:

If you didn't get enough kingdom cards, learn how to get more (gold is the key). If the game just gave them to everybody whatever they did, what would be the point?


Even with spending gold to buy cards and taking cards with court actions, it just seemed that all the players barely saw 1/4 of their kingdom deck. This is a good thing for replayability (each game you would have new kind of cards even with the same kingdom) but bad thing for the game´s chance to shine - because the kingdom cards seem to be one of the best thing about this game.

Rafamir wrote:

If it was a territory worth 4 empire points, then really the gain for you is a 12 point swing. Your opponent loses the 4 points he would have gained at the end of the game, and you gain those 4 points twice: once when seizing the territory and a second time assuming you still hold the province during scoring at the end of the game. That's a good deal more motivation.


12 point swing is a great thing in 2 player game but with 4 players pure 12 points is better option (Assuming I would be able to conquer 4 point and 2 point neutral territory with same resources and hold them until the end of game). The net gain against this one player score would be the same but against two other player scores the gain would be much better.

Thanks for all the replies, I will play the game again with these insights and hopefully will enjoy it more.
 
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Mark Ramsey
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magic gecko wrote:
Re: Age of Conan - just fighting neutrals and collecting tokens?

NO !

There are no Neutrals by half way thru the second age.
What do you do for the second half of the game?

Ah. . .You only fight neutrals because you are a rank amateur, and dont get to the bit where you fight each other.




I played Chess once. I didn't like it.
The pieces were badly painted.
The rules are partly in French.
Fixed set up, so, little replayability.
Chess is obviously flawed since white is stronger.
Chess is only two player, but the three player variant looks OK.
I mastered most of the strategy in the first couple of moves.
I might play chess again, but I did not like it the first time.




While I generally agree with your point, I think you could tone down the sarcasm and mean-spirited nature of your post. There are certainly more supportive and positive ways to help your fellow gamers enjoy what is really a very good game.

To everyone else who is questioning the merits of this game, give it a few more tries. Be bold, try some moves that don't seem too safe - remember fortune favours the bold!
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Mike Smith
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Magic Gecko is certainly exaggerating when he says there won't be any neutrals by the middle of the second age. If the players are agressive there may be few in the central area of the map. If they are shyer there will be few on the peripheries and more in the centre. There are many other variables - the balance of intrigue against military die rolls in the opening stage- the more intrigue rolls the more the neutrals will disappear. The number of court/Conan rolls also makes a big difference because a high number makes adventures shorter.
 
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Jean-Philippe Tremblay
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hi, i m late in the discussion but... it is true that in the firsts games played we din't play as much the pvp fights(sieges)

but with a couple games in the pocket, we observe the nervehold to use this part of the game to break momentum for some specific objectives and some others point blank in the game situations...

be patient before throwing judgement and hative conclusions... tasting our own foot tastes like sewages....
 
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Danick Cloutier
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St-Fabien
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The more I play, the more i feel the need to destroy everyone.
The game get really better when you understand all the intrigue...

Cannot wait to see the expension.
 
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Fritz Mulnar
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maedhros wrote:
.

Cannot wait to see the expension.


freudian slip right there!
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