Home Forums The Gaming Room Age of Conan – sudden death

This topic contains 18 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Uthoroc Uthoroc 1 year, 2 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 19 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #13929
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    I’ve played AoC with the Adventures in Hyboria last Sunday and as UH mentioned he played it recently too, so I thought I’d put this out here (haven’t gotten a response on BGG):

    We’ve played two games with the expansion now, and both times we had a “sudden death” end to the game, when Conan reached max experience. The first game this happened right after the change into the 3rd age. The second game it was even before the 2nd had ended!

    This does not feel right, but I’ve double and triple-checked the rules and I can’t find anything we’re doing wrong. Conan gains xp each time a story card is played, no matter whether he is successful or not. With 4 players holding 2 story cards each, it is very common to be able to play a card (about once per turn on average).

    The other option would be that we are doing something wrong with the adventures and adventure tokens and the ages take too long. But adventure tokens are only taken or discarded on the Conan player’s turn, and when a non-Conan player uses a Conan&Court die right? And adventures only end when the tokens are all gone. There is no way to short-circuit an adventure, or is there?

    Do other people experience the same? Or if not, do you have any idea what might be going wrong in our games? Any help appreciated.

    #13930

    Universal Head
    Keymaster

    That can’t be right! Surely this is the kind of thing that would pop up in playtesting. Sounds very anti-climactic.

    I’ve only played once with the expansion and I must admit we spent so much time keeping track of the fiddly new rules I can’t remember what happened at the end – it was a long game, I remember that. I immediately thought that I need to improve my summary so it has small references for the various micro-processes that take place during the game. I enjoyed it, but I really wanted to speed things up!

    Perhaps this is worth an email to Ares? Though you’d think someone on BGG would have some thoughts.

    Keep us posted Uthoroc!

    #13937
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    The forums on BGG are very quiet. I guess the game is simply not played very often at the moment.

    I actually contacted Francesco on Facebook, but he’s very busy with other game designs at the moment and he seemed reluctant to wrap his head around an older game (which I can perfectly understand). My question is also kind of vague, because I can’t really pin the cause down.

    #13938

    CK Lai
    Participant

    Hmmm. This makes me wonder if I should even bring out my copy of the expansion to play … it’s been a year since I last played the base game. Wanted to wait for the expansion to come out first but that was so severely delayed it wasn’t funny.

    #13939
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    Don’t be put off! We still had great fun with the game, Conan plays a much more central part now. And with only 2 games played, it might just be an artifact of our play style and/or plain dice weirdness. Needs more analysis.

    #13941
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    I’ve wrangled (and probably mangled) the statistics a bit:

    Let’s look at expected game length without sudden death or crowning Conan first:

    – Each age has 4 adventures, with each adventure taking an average of 3.8 adventure tokens to complete (adventure cards: 10×3, 15×4, 4×5), for a total of 15.2 tokens per age (let’s say 15).
    – Each round (assuming a static Conan player) one token gets removed when it is the Conan player’s turn.
    – Among the other players’ 3 turns on average one Conan & Court die result will be available (2 in 6 chance of rolling it on the dice).
    – That means on average 2 tokens will be taken each round, for a total of 7.5 rounds per age, or 22.5 per game, if it goes all the way to the end of the 3rd age.

    Now let’s see how Conan gains experience. This is more difficult.

    – Let’s ignore xp for killing spies. This was very uncommon to happen in our games and in fact we forgot about it often.
    – The Conan player cannot play story cards on his turn.
    – The other three players each have 2 cards available to play as story cards. On average each card can be played if Conan is on 6.27 provinces of the 33 on the board, or a 19% chance (I listed all provinces shown on story cards with how many neighboring provinces they have). This is a very rough approximation because it doesn’t take into account that Conan will be in the center of the board (where more regions are adjacent to each other) more often than on the edges. But it should be a good lower boundary estimate.
    – That means each player has a chance of 65% of not being able to play a story card: (100-19) x (100-19) = 65,61. Inversely, a 35% chance to play one. Correct me if my probability math is off here, I haven’t done this in a long time. Also I don’t see how normally a player would NOT want to play a story card if he can.
    – Again, on average that means that very roughly one story card will be played per round.
    – A story card gives 2 xp on average (10×3, 10×2, 10×1), so without spies Conan gains 2 xp per round.
    – The Conan track has 36 spaces, i.e. it only takes 18 rounds for Conan to reach the maximum (he starts on space 1).

    So, 22.5 rounds expected game length versus 18 rounds to sudden death by Conan xp.

    No wonder we are running into these, especially if you take into spies into account and that I think my estimate of a chance to play a Conan card is on the low side. But I am surprised no one else seems to experience this.

    Can anyone spot a major error in my math or assumptions? A mistake in the rules as we play them?

    I do have a couple fixes in mind, but don’t want to clog this post even further. Might post them later.

    #13942

    Universal Head
    Keymaster

    This is why you’re an experienced playtester. And my math sucks. And yet the sums are relatively simple and I don’t understand why designers/playtesters wouldn’t have worked them out.

    #13944

    CK Lai
    Participant

    Good analysis! Have you contacted Ares directly?

    @UH: something tells me playtesting was lacking in this small expansion.

    #13945
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    I’ve done so just now. Let’s see what Roberto says, though I’m not holding my breath. They are pretty busy.

    #13950

    Universal Head
    Keymaster

    Quick question while we’re discussing this game – when Conan reaches the adventure’s destination province, do you take an adventure token? Of course you do when he moves toward it, but do you when he arrives?

    #13951
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    Yes, you do. Even if Conan already is in the destination province, you do get one (as the Conan player) if you don’t move him out again. It’s in the rules in the text box “The Conan Player Turn” on page 10.

    Also I do have an official reply to my question over on BGG.

    Roberto:
    From what I remember about the expansion development – the number of adventure cards in hand is a little tricky, because 1 is not enough to make the mechanics meaningful enough. 2 works just fine in 2-3 players, but I can see it’s a little too much in 4 players.

    Originally, the mechanics used 1 card only. When it was changed to 2 cards, we playtested it (but mostly in 3 players games), and I guess we did not realize it could make the game too short in 4-player games.

    I think only allowing the “sudden death” in the 3rd age would be a positive change. Or, as Christoffer suggests, removing the rule completely in 4 player games.

    Amado (lead playtester):
    After having discussed with the game designers, they agree that the rule could be reverted to the playtest variant we previously used as a possible fix, if this issue is coming up in your games:

    Page 9, under Drawing and playing Story Cards.
    In two-player games, a player may never have more than three Story cards in hand (two in a three-player game, and one in a four-player game).

    #13952
    Uthoroc
    Uthoroc
    Participant

    Yes, you do. Even if Conan already is in the destination province, you do get one (as the Conan player) if you don’t move him out again. It’s in the rules in the text box “The Conan Player Turn” on page 10.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 19 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.