Saturday, 5 November 2016

First Play of Conan

We played Conan for the first time this week. There were five of us so we started with "In the Clutches of the Picts". I took a few photos of the board set up before the other players arrived.
This scenario involves three or four heroes attacking a Pict village. Their mission is to rescue a captive and kill the leader of the Picts (Zagor Sag), bringing back his head as proof of his death. There are Picts, hyenas, and a giant snake occupying the huts as well as Zagor Sag.   

The giant snake is the toughest creature the overlord controls in this scenario. The overlord can choose where the captive is held and secretly notes which hut she is in, so the heroes have to search the huts and find her.

Two of the heroes:
 I played as the overlord, and placed the captive in the obvious place, in the hut with the giant snake. The heroes injured Zagor Sag early on but he managed to escape to safety. The heroes searched nearly every hut and finished off most of the Picts before Conan entered the hut with the giant snake. He slayed the snake in one huge blow, and after stopping for a rest, picked up the unconscious girl captive, and then went to finish of Sag, leaving one of the other heroes to recover his head, before just making it off the board on the last turn. 
We all enjoyed the game and the scenario seemed well balanced. The activation mechanics for both the heroes and overlord make for a challenging and interesting experience, with constant decision making about how much energy to expend on actions throughout the turn, and how best to utilise the actions.
We made a couple of rules mistakes. The first was caused by a translation error from the original French. Conan has an ability which allows him to burst through walls, and he used this to get into the hut occupied by the Pict leader Zagor Sag on the first turn. However, this was a stone hut and the ability is only supposed to apply to wooden walls. Sag is deliberately positioned in the stone hut so Conan cannot get to him in this way, so it would have had an impact on the outcome. However, we thought the turn in which the heroes escaped was the last turn, when they should have actually had one more turn, so they would probably have completed the mission anyway.
Even though it was the first time we had played, we got through the scenario in reasonable time (probably around 90 minutes) so we had time for another game. I would have happily played the same scenario a second time, but the other players wanted to try a different one, so we played Hunting the Tigress, which uses the board with two ships. The setting for this scenario is that the heroes are on Belit's ship, and it has been grappled and attacked by an enemy ship. The enemy pirates with their captain, Zaparavo, and a wizard (who can sacrifice himself to turn himself into a winged demon) have to kill Belit within 8 turns. As well as the heroes, Belit also has a squad of guards to protect her.
We had another enjoyable game, but this one seemed a bit one sided compared to the first. The heroes won quite easily, and it seemed like it would have been very difficult for the overlord to win this scenario. Some other players have posted similar observations on BGG about this scenario.
My overall verdict is that is an excellent game, probably the best of this type of game  I have played. However, it needs more scenarios. You only get a handful with the base game, and as they are each designed for a particular number of heroes, there are only two or three for each number of heroes. So if you normally have the same number of players in your group, you only have a small number of scenarios to play at present.

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