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Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Thoughts on first "solo" session rss

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Hi all,

The game arrived today, so this evening I set it up as for a 4-player but played all 4 kingdoms myself for a "solo" game just to try it out. Here are my first impressions.

First of all, it's a beautiful-looking game. I had misgivings at first about the provinces being colour-coded by "Strategy Card" region rather than looking more natural but discounting this the overall look of the board, pieces, cards and counters is very appealing.

Secondly, there is a dizzying array of choices for each player to make, which at first seems a bit overwhelming, as outlined below.

Bid for Conan:
Do you bid your highest value strategy card even though it would help you conquer the next province you are planning to attack? If you don't think you'll win the Bid, do you just play your "3" bid token (so you don't lose a higher value one) and dump your least useful Strategy Card?

Fate Dice:
Do you try to get rich first (Intrigue) and conquer later, or go for Empire points straight away (Military)? If another kingdom is on the last track of a Campaign, do you take the last Military die just to stop him taking it? Do you pause to regroup (Court, Military used for Recruitment) or push on with what you've got?

Contest:
Do you boost your odds at the loss of Strategy cards and gold (for Play-on-the-Table cards), or just roll and hope you get lucky? Do you Force March knowing that it will mean you lose an Army Unit and thus will roll fewer Contest Dice?

You get the picture! There are lots of decisions to make, the outcome of which is not always certain, but as board games are supposed to be about exercising your mind as much as having fun, this is all to the good.

I do now understand the complaint that the game is not really "about" Conan but rather just has Conan in it. When you have so many choices to make, Conan's adventuring can seem like an unwelcome distraction as much as anything. However, as I say, this was only a solo session to learn the rules, so maybe the player who controls Conan the most, and controls him well, will have a decisive advantage. This is something I will enjoy discovering for myself.

I did run into the problem with one kingdom of being unable to recruit two army units using a Military die due to not having conquered anyone yet (Stygia was campaigning in The Black Kingdoms and was down to just one Army Unit, when I discovered that recruiting fresh troops was going to be a little slow). I assumed (hopefully correctly) that they could still place 1 Army Unit in their Home province if they could not place the 2nd unit.

The Kingdom Cards are also a nice feature - I had Aquilonia send an Emissary into the Pictish Wilderness and then use them as Spies to gain me three Strategy Cards and a free Campaign there the following turn. I have not looked through all the Kingdom cards but they do seem to add lots of "character" to each kingdom.

I was not so sure about the Objective Cards though. 3 of the 4 in play before I had to pack up for the evening were only worth 1 Empire Point, so I was not sure they were worth paying too much attention to. However, they do seem to overlap (you can get the points for both "Sea Power" and "War Against the Pirates" by having two coastal Forts) so if the same action can achieve multiple Objectives, they might be more worth while pursuing.

To sum up, I was impressed by the game and am looking forward to my first "proper" session with some actual opponents! (hopefully this weekend).
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JC Connors
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I really enjoy this game, but only find that it works with groups that don't mind being aggressive and taking risks. The game's fun comes from rewarding (and punishing) bold players, so when you play it for "real" be sure to encourage them to play the game like a Cimmerian!
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J Weintraub
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The thing I liked best about this game is that it seems to offer a variety of paths to victory, and is NOT just "control Conan the most to win". Can he be decisive? I'm sure he can be, but I don't think he's always going to be, even if he's well played.

As a fan of Conan, I don't see a problem with this at all. It's set in the "age of Conan", it's very nicely Conan-themed, and it's a good game. That's more than enough for me.
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Alexandros Boucharelis
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Warbanner wrote:


As a fan of Conan, I don't see a problem with this at all. It's set in the "age of Conan", it's very nicely Conan-themed, and it's a good game. That's more than enough for me.


Well said! thumbsup
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