Just after the Age of Conan Strategy Board Game release, the three designers of the game - Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi, and Francesco Nepitello - started to work on an expansion to widen the scope of the game. Now, that expansion - Adventures in Hyboria - is finally on the way, with a Kickstarter campaign starting on October 9th to fund its production. Let’s see what it is going to add to the game.

Adventures in Hyboria, the upcoming expansion.

Adventures in Hyboria, the upcoming expansion.

Age of Conan focuses on the strife between Hyborian Kingdoms – the players sit on the throne of one of the major powers of the Hyborian age, reigning with guile, sorcery and an iron fist. It is a strategy game, not an adventure game. In the original design, therefore, Conan is not controlled by a single player. The game focuses more on his role as a reaver, general, and king, rather than on his individual feats.

However, it was soon clear the players wanted more Conan, more details about his adventures and a greater role for him in the unfolding strategy. Adventures in Hyboria is designed to improve and expand the role of Conan in the game, enhancing the players’ experience.

The Hyborian Age is not a time of all-out conflict, so the Age of Conan Strategy Board Game includes several paths to victory beside warfare. This remains true in Adventures in Hyboria, and the expansion opens more opportunities for player-vs-player conflict.

New mechanics and game elements

Adventures in Hyboria introduces the following new mechanics and game elements in the game:

  • Conan – From Warrior to King
    In Adventures in Hyboria, Conan's adventures are tracked by a special board, charting his progress from lowly beginnings to the most powerful throne of his age. His life is divided in three stages: Warrior, Mercenary and General. With each adventure, Conan gains experience, and develops from one stage to the next, becoming more and more powerful. He can only become King if he reaches a certain experience level, so not every game may end with Conan being crowned.

  • The Mood Wheel
    As readers of REH's stories well know, Conan is capable of bouts of energy and fits of melancholy. This is represented by the Mood Wheel. Conan's "stats" are used to resolve stories - his Strength, Agility and Cunning - and they improve as the Barbarian gains experience - But Conan's mood also must be considered, as the current value on the Mood Wheel modifies his rolls!

  • Some contents of Adventures in Hyboria: Conan dice, Companion cards and Spies tokens.

    Some contents of Adventures in Hyboria: Conan dice, Companion cards and Spies tokens.

  • New Conan Dice Conan's effect on the game varies as he develops from Warrior to King: A different special die is associated to each stage, to be rolled whenever Conan is involved. The dice also includes new results, like "Gold" (Conan needs gold to be hired) or "No Sorcery".

  • Story Cards Story Cards add a greater level of detail to Conan's adventures, and add a new level of interaction. In Adventures in Hyboria, each player has a hand of Story Cards. As Conan travels across the land, you may play a Story Card as soon as he's in an appropriate location. Then, you try to complete the Story, using the new mechanics (Conan's stats and mood). If you are successful, not only you reap the rewards, but you also have a chance to take control of the Barbarian away from the current Conan player.

  • Companions From Taurus to Valeria, from Bêlit to Juma, many of the best Conan stories feature great characters fighting alongside the Barbarian. Now these characters are also featured in the game, appearing during an adventure and used to specific effects (normally to help Conan during a Story).

  • Spies Often, wars are not won with armies alone, and Hyboria is far from an exception! Spies are a new playing piece available to Kingdoms. At the beginning of an age, they are spread out all across Hyboria. The presence of a spy can help your chances to conquer a Province, forge an alliance, or hinder the attempt of your enemies to do the same. Conan has quite a dislike for this sneaky, 'civilized' way to deal with conflict, and the presence of the Barbarian often has a fatal effect on a Spy...

  • Prisoners Slavery and ransomed hostages are common occurrences in Hyboria, and the rules for Prisoners are meant to represent this. The possibility of ransoming back your defeated troops and exchanging prisoners means the loss in player-vs-player conflict is less punishing than before, especially in multi-player games, adding yet another level of player interaction.

  • New Kingdom Cards Kingdom Cards give each player the ability to "break the rules", providing each Kingdom a unique gameplay flavor. With many new mechanics added by Adventures in Hyboria, new Kingdom cards allow players to manipulate them and further differentiate the abilities of Aquilonia, Hyperborea, Stygia and Turan.

Now that you know more about Adventures in Hyboria, get ready: the "Age of Conan Strategy Board Game - It's Back!" campaign debuts on Kickstarter on October 9th, at 03:00 PM CEST (01:00 PM UTC/GMT).