5 Mar 2012

RAVENLOFT Expansion for the Age of Conan Board Game


This expansion is designed to add flavour to the Age of Conan Strategy Board Game by introducing two new characters, the Ravenloft Heroes, who take part in three adventures that take place at the same time as the Adventures of Conan.

The Age of Conan game, although it may appear at first to be a war game like Risk, actually places a lot of emphasis on players taking control of Conan in the game and guiding him on his adventures. The expansion builds on this aspect of game play, making the adventures of both Conan and the Ravenloft Heroes an important part of the game.


You can either print this page out or copy and paste it into a Microsoft Word document if you like. However, you may NOT attempt to use it for any commercial purposes. If you do play this expansion, I would greatly appreciate any feedback, which can be given via the comments page.

Critical feedback is especially welcome.

Components

I originally designed this expansion for use by people who owned both the Age of Conan and Castle Ravenloft games. If you do not have the Castle Ravenloft board game, you can just use substitutes for the miniatures and tokens required.

Although the two Ravenloft Heroes I designed this for are Alissa and Kat, you can use the other Heroes if you prefer. The three Villains used are the Werewolf, the Howling Hag and Count Strahd von Zarovich himself. You also need the three Kobold miniatures, and the Feywalk Amulet and the Icon of Ravenloft tokens. The character cards for the Heroes you have chosen can be used to indicate which player currently controls them.

The Miniatures

Three kinds of miniatures from the Castle Ravenloft board game are used in this expansion – two Heroes, three Villains and three Kobold miniatures that represent the Kobold Horde.

The Heroes are Characters, like Conan, and can freely enter any province on the board, including the kingdoms of other players. Control of the Heroes is decided by a bidding process similar to that used for Conan. My own choice would be to use the Ranger Alissa and the Rogue Kat, both humans who would fit in well with the Hyborian theme. However, there is no reason why you should not use the other Ravenloft Heroes instead. Like Conan, the two Ravenloft Heroes can never be eliminated, although control over them can change hands during the game.

The three Villains are not controlled by players. They cannot be eliminated by army units, but only by either Conan or one of the Ravenloft Heroes. The Witch-Queen is a special case, and can only be eliminated after the three Kobold Horde units in Khoraja have been destroyed by a player army.

The three Kobold miniatures represent army units controlled by the Witch-Queen. They function exactly like player army units, but always remain in Khoraja. If these three units are eliminated, the province is freed from the tyranny of the Witch-Queen, and she can be eliminated from the game. Until then, she is protected by the Kobold Horde, and cannot be eliminated.

The Tokens

The two tokens, the Feywalk Amulet and the Icon of Ravenloft, represent magical items held by two of the Villains, and are referred to as the Ravenloft Artefacts. The Werewolf holds the Icon and the Witch-Queen holds the Feywalk Amulet. When each of these two Villains is eliminated, the item held by him or her is taken by the eliminating character. Each artefact provides a bonus against the Villain of the following adventure.


Setting Up

All three Villains are placed on the board at the start of the game. The Werewolf is placed in Zingara, and Strahd in Brythunia. The Howling Hag and the three Kobolds are placed in Khoraja. The Feywalk Amulet is placed under the Werewolf (to indicate that it is in its possession), and the Icon of Ravenloft is placed under the Howling Hag.

The two Ravenloft Heroes are only placed on the board at the start of the second Conan Adventure, in Zamora. This is the case even in a 2- or 3-player game.


Controlling the Ravenloft Heroes

When the first Conan Adventure ends, the second is drawn up and Conan is bid for. After control of Conan is established, the players bid for control of the Ravenloft Heroes. This is done in the same way (with a Bid Token and one Strategy Card). All tokens and cards used for this bid are then discarded in the same way that they are after a Conan bid, so players must decide how useful control of the Heroes is and how much they are willing to bid. The winning player is given the character cards for the two Heroes, to indicate that he is now the Ravenloft Player, and places both Hero miniatures in Zamora.

The two Ravenloft Heroes are always controlled by the same player. The same player can control both Conan and the Heroes if he wins both bids.

Control of the Ravenloft Heroes lasts until the end of each Age. In an Age Change Phase, control over the Heroes lapses and players must again bid for control over them.


Hero, Villain and Artefact Effects

The presence of Ravenloft Heroes and Villains in a province has certain effects.

Ravenloft Hero Effects

Ravenloft Heroes affect Intrigue Contests, but not Military Contests.

If the player who controls the Ravenloft Heroes (who is known as the Ravenloft Player) is involved in an Intrigue Contest in a province where a Ravenloft Hero is present, he or she can roll an additional contest die in the contest roll (up to a maximum of six dice). Hit + Conan results only count as a single success for a Ravenloft Hero.

When a non-Ravenloft Player initiates an Intrigue Contest in a neutral province in which a Ravenloft Hero is present, the defender (the player rolling for the neutral province) adds an additional contest die (up to a maximum of six dice). Hit + Conan results will still only count as a single success.

The presence of both Ravenloft Heroes in the same province does not allow the player to add an extra contest die to the contest roll for an Intrigue Contest.

If two non-Ravenloft Players participate in an Intrigue Contest in a province in which a Ravenloft Hero is present, there is no effect on either dice roll.

Ravenloft Villain Effects

The presence of one of the Villains in a province causes a great deal of disruption.

In an Age Change Phase, if a player controls a province containing a Villain, he or she loses an empire point for that Villain, as though that province contained a Raider Token. However, unlike Raider Tokens, Villains cannot be eliminated by removing an army unit. If a player controls a province containing both Raider Tokens and a Villain, he or she can still choose to discard all the raider tokens by removing an army unit, but the Villain will still remain in the province until eliminated in an Agent Contest.

Villains do not have any effect on either Military or Intrigue Contests undertaken in a province.

Artefact Effects

The Feywalk Amulet provides a protective effect against the Witch-Queen. If a character with the Feywalk Amulet initiates an Action Contest against the Witch-Queen, the Witch-Queen can only roll three contest dice, instead of four.

The Icon of Ravenloft provides a protective effect against vampires. If a character holding the Icon of Ravenloft initiates an Action Contest against Strahd, the Count only rolls three contest dice, instead of five.


The Ravenloft Adventures

The Ravenloft Heroes participate in three adventures in the game. Successful completion of each Adventure results in a reward being awarded to the Ravenloft Player.

The Ravenloft Heroes always have the same adventures. The Ravenloft Player can choose to not complete these adventures, and use the Heroes for the benefits that they provide in the game. The adventures can also be disrupted by Conan who can eliminate a Villain and take his or her artefact. If this happens, the Adventure Reward is awarded to the Conan Player, and not to the Ravenloft Player.

The three Ravenloft Adventures are described in the following sections. The aim of each Adventure is to eliminate its Villain. The Adventures do not have to be completed in the right order; although doing so means that the Heroes can use the two Ravenloft Artefacts to their best advantage. If Conan eliminates a Villain, the item held by that Villain will be taken by him (stack it under the Conan miniature) although it is still possible for the Ravenloft Heroes to get it back from him.


The Ravenloft Player Turn

At the beginning of the Ravenloft Player’s turn, each Ravenloft Hero can take a Ravenloft Action. Ravenloft Actions that require the presence of two Heroes can only be performed if neither Hero moves on that turn.

Ravenloft Actions

Several different Ravenloft Actions are available to a Hero.

A.     The Hero can move into an adjacent province.
B.     The Hero can attempt to eliminate a Villain, by initiating an Action Contest.
C.     If both Heroes are in a province containing a Raider Token, they can remove one raider token from that province. This counts as a joint Action, and neither Hero can move after doing this.
D.     If a Hero is in the same province as Conan, she can distract Conan. This action will always be successful and lasts until the end of the Ravenloft Player’s turn. Its effect is to cancel all Conan effects on contest rolls for the Ravenloft Player’s turn. If Conan has any of the Ravenloft Artefacts these are given to the Hero who distracted him (this is meant to represent Conan’s well-known generosity towards beautiful women). The Ravenloft Heroes can distract Conan any number of times during the game. However, if both Heroes are in the province with Conan, one cannot initiate an Action Contest while the other distracts him. Both Heroes must always participate in an Action Contest that is initiated when they are in the same province.

After this, the Ravenloft Player takes his turn as normal.


Action Contests

A Ravenloft Villain can only be eliminated by successfully performing an Action Contest against the Villain. Action Contests can be initiated by either Conan or one of the Heroes. However, Conan and the Ravenloft Heroes cannot perform Action Contests against each other. Villains cannot initiate Action Contests.

A Ravenloft Hero can initiate an Action Contest by using a Ravenloft Action. Each Hero can undertake a separate Contest only if they are in different provinces. If they are both in the same province, they can only start a single Action Contest as a joint action (when in the same area, the Ravenloft Heroes will always assist each other and act as a team). This works to their advantage, because they can add their dice together in a single contest roll.

Initiating an Action Contest with Conan

Conan can also initiate an Action Contest against a Villain.

To use Conan to initiate an Agent Contest during the Conan Player turn, Conan must not have been moved on that turn. He cannot be moved into a province and initiate an Action Contest. If he initiates an Action Contest, he cannot then also move out of the province.

If Conan is used to initiate an Action Contest, the Conan Player foregoes the progress of the current Conan Adventure as if he had kept Conan from moving towards his objective for any other reason. The leftmost adventure token on the adventure track is removed and returned to the reserve pile. This is still the case even if the objective of the current Conan Adventure is in the same province, because Conan has expended his energy in the Action Contest instead of furthering the current Conan Adventure.

If the Conan Player used Conan to initiate an Action Contest at the beginning of his turn, he can then use a Court + Conan die to move him after that.

Conan can also be used to start an Action Contest by using a Court + Conan Die. In this case, it is the die that is used for the Agent Contest, so it can be done even if Conan was moved at the beginning of the Conan Player Turn. If Conan uses a die to start an Action Contest, he cannot also move or add a Raider Token afterwards. The die is considered to have been used up for the Agent Contest.

A Court + Conan die cannot be used by a non-Conan player to initiate an Action Contest. A non-Conan player can only use a Court + Conan die to take an adventure token from the adventure track before going on to his Court action.

Use of Strategy Cards and Sorcery Tokens

Strategy Cards can never be used in an Action Contest. Sorcery Tokens can never be used to reroll the results of an Action Contest.


The Action Contest Roll

The Action Contest Roll is conducted in the same way as Military and Intrigue Contests, by rolling contest dice. The maximum number of dice that a player can roll in a Contest is six.

During a contest, the attacker rolls first. Then, the defender rolls. If the two players roll the same number of successful die rolls, the defender wins the contest.

A successful die roll is determined by the result rolled on the contest die. The attacker counts any Hit, Hit + Conan and Hit (Attacker) results as successes. The defender only counts Hit and Hit + Conan results as successes. If Conan is involved in the Contest, he will always count a Hit + Conan result as two successes instead of one. Shields, Axes and Misses are counted as misses.

The party with the higher number of successes wins the contest.

Number of Dice Rolled

Conan and the Ravenloft Heroes function separately in Action Contests. A player cannot add the dice for Conan and a Ravenloft Hero together into a single contest roll, even if he controls both of them at the time. The two Ravenloft Heroes, on the other hand, always act together and add their dice rolls in a single Contest roll.

A.     Conan rolls four dice in an Action Contest.
B.     The Ravenloft Heroes can each roll two dice in a Contest Roll. If both Heroes are in the same province, they act together and roll four dice in the Action Contest. If only one Hero is present, she rolls two dice.

The three Villains each roll a different number of contest dice. The player to the left of the player controlling the attacking character rolls for a Villain.

A.     The Werewolf rolls three dice in a contest roll.
B.     The Witch-Queen normally rolls four dice, but if an Action Contest against her is initiated by a Character who holds the Feywalk Amulet, she can only roll three.
C.     Strahd normally rolls five dice, but if an Action Contest against him is initiated by a Character who holds the Icon of Ravenloft, he only rolls three.


Outcome of an Action Contest Roll

The party who rolls a higher number of successes wins the contest roll.

-      If the attacker wins the contest roll, the Villain is removed from the board and the attacking player wins the Adventure Reward for that Villain.
-     If the Villain wins the contest roll all of the attacking characters are neutralised. The characteristics of a neutralised character are detailed below.

Neutralised Characters

A character becomes neutralised if he or she is unsuccessful in an Action Contest against one of the Villains. The character’s miniature is tipped over to indicate this, and he or she must forego his or her next turn. The miniature remains in this position until its next turn, when it can be stood up again to indicate that the character is now active again. As long as the character is neutralised, he or she does not have the effects on Military and Intrigue Contest Rolls that he or she normally has.

If a Ravenloft Hero is neutralised, she remains in this state until the next Ravenloft Player Turn. At this point, she can be stood up again and becomes active. If the both Heroes are in the same province, they always participate in an Action Contest together, and will be neutralised together if unsuccessful. The Ravenloft Heroes cannot move or undertake any actions on the turn that they are stood up, but must wait for the following turn before they can function normally.

If Conan is neutralised he remains in this state until he can be stood up, either during the next Conan Player Turn, or by using a Court + Conan Die. If he is only stood up in the next Conan Player Turn, he cannot then move out of the province he is currently in. He is considered to have foregone the progress of the current Conan Adventure as a result of having been neutralised. The leftmost adventure token on the adventure track is removed and returned to the reserve pile. This is done even if he is already in the province which is the objective of the current Conan Adventure, because he would be unable to further the current Adventure when neutralised.

Only the Conan Player can use a Court + Conan die to stand him up when he has been neutralised. A non-Conan player using a Court + Conan die can take an adventure token from the adventure track, but must go on to his Court action without standing Conan up.

Once Conan has been stood up, he exercises all the effects that he would normally have for being present in a province.





Adventure One

The Wolfman of Zingara



Set Up

The Werewolf begins the game in Zingara. It can only be eliminated when a successful Action Contest is taken against it.

The Icon of Ravenloft

The Feywalk Amulet token is stacked under the Werewolf. If a character eliminates the Werewolf, he or she takes it, and the token is now stacked under him or her. If the two Ravenloft Heroes eliminate the Werewolf, the Amulet can be given to either. However, the Amulet cannot be passed on to the second Hero at a later time, it must remain with the Hero who first obtained it.

If Conan eliminates the Werewolf, he takes the Amulet, and the token is stacked under him. The Heroes can still get it back from Conan by distracting him.


Adventure Rewards

When the Werewolf is eliminated, the player who is controlling the eliminating character receives a reward. If the Werewolf is eliminated by one or both of the Ravenloft Heroes, the reward is given to the Ravenloft Player. If Conan eliminates the Werewolf, the reward goes to the Conan Player.

The Adventure Reward for eliminating the Werewolf consists of

Two Gold Tokens
One Sorcery Token

The successful attacker also gets to draw one Kingdom Card.



Adventure Two

The Witch-Queen of Khoraja

Set Up

The Witch-Queen (represented by the Howling Hag miniature) begins in Khoraja, where she is placed at the beginning of the game, along with the three Kobold miniatures. The Icon of Ravenloft token is stacked under the Witch-Queen.


Eliminating the Kobold Horde

The Witch-Queen is the ruler of Khoraja, and protected by the Kobold Horde. She can only be removed from the board after the Kobold Horde is destroyed. The Kobold Horde is represented by three Kobold miniatures. Each miniature represents an army unit. The Kobold Horde never moves out of Khoraja.

If Khoraja is invaded, the Kobold Horde defends like a player army. The attacking player must conduct a Siege against it. The contest rolls are carried out exactly like a Siege Contest between two player armies. The Witch-Queen does not provide the Kobold Horde with any bonuses by her presence.
                                                                                                              
When all three Kobold army units have been removed, the Kobold Horde is considered to have been destroyed. The attacking player receives the Adventure Reward for doing this (detailed below), and the province becomes a normal neutral province. The Witch-Queen remains in Khoraja, but is now in hiding, and cannot be destroyed by any army units.

The attacking player can continue with a Campaign to try and subjugate the province, by performing a forced march. However, even if the attacker fails to subjugate Khoraja, the Witch-Queen cannot raise a second Kobold Horde.


Eliminating the Witch-Queen

Once the Kobold Horde has been destroyed, the Witch-Queen can be eliminated like the other two Villains, as the result of an Action Contest.

The Feywalk Amulet

The Feywalk Amulet provides protection against the Witch-Queen’s magic. If a Character who holds the Amulet initiates an Action Contest against the Witch-Queen, she can only roll three contest dice in the contest roll, instead of four.

The Icon of Ravenloft

The Icon of Ravenloft is held by the Witch-Queen. The character who eliminates her can take it, and the Icon of Ravenloft token is stacked with him or her.

If the two Ravenloft Heroes eliminate the Witch-Queen, the Icon can be given to either. However, the Icon cannot be passed on to the second Hero at a later time, it must remain with the Hero who first obtained it. If Conan eliminates the Witch-Queen, he takes the Icon, and the token is stacked under him.

The Icon of Ravenloft provides protection against vampires. If a Character who holds the Icon initiates an Action Contest against Strahd, the Count only rolls three contest dice in the contest roll, instead of five.


Adventure Rewards

The Adventure Rewards for the second Ravenloft Adventure are in two parts. The player who defeats the Kobold Horde receives a reward for destroying it. This reward is received immediately, before the attacking player has to choose whether to use a forced march to then try to subjugate Khoraja.

The Adventure Reward for destroying the Kobold Horde consists of

Six Gold Tokens
Three Sorcery Tokens

The successful attacker also gets to draw one Kingdom Card and one Strategy Card.

When the Witch-Queen is eliminated, the player who controls the eliminating character receives a reward. If the Witch-Queen is eliminated by one of the Heroes, the reward goes to the Ravenloft Player. If Conan eliminates her, the reward is given to the Conan Player.

The Adventure Reward for eliminating the Witch-Queen consists of

Two Gold Tokens
One Sorcery Token

The successful attacker also gets to draw one Kingdom Card.





Adventure Three

Ravenloft




Set Up

At the beginning of the game, Strahd should be placed in Brythunia, where his Castle is.


Eliminating Strahd

Strahd can only be removed from the game as the result of an Action Contest.

The Icon of Ravenloft

The Icon of Ravenloft provides protection against vampires. If a Character who holds the Icon initiates an Action Contest against Strahd, the Count only rolls three contest dice in the contest roll, instead of five.


Adventure Rewards

When Strahd is eliminated, the player controlling the eliminating character receives a reward. If he is eliminated by one of the Heroes, the reward goes to the Ravenloft Player. If Conan eliminates him, the reward is given to the Conan Player.

The Adventure Reward for eliminating Strahd consists of

Two Gold Tokens
Two Sorcery Tokens

The successful attacker also gets to draw one Kingdom Card.




Gameplay and Balance Issues

I have tried to make this expansion as balanced as possible, so that the new elements will not make any one kingdom too powerful. Khoraja was chosen as the province of the Witch-Queen because of its proximity to both Turan and Stygia, as most reviewers have suggested that the game is tilted in Aquilonia’s favour. This allows either Turan or Stygia to defeat the Kobold Horde early in the game, in order to give themselves a boost.

To balance this, the location of the first Ravenloft Adventure was placed in Zingara, so that control over the Ravenloft Heroes would most strongly benefit Aquilonia in the early stages of the game.

The abilities of the Ravenloft Heroes were specifically designed to counter the advantages of controlling Conan during the game. The Ravenloft Heroes can be used to counter many of Conan’s effects. The player controlling them can either distract Conan by moving one of the Heroes into the same province as him, which makes it harder for the Conan Player to use him for his effect in Contest Rolls, or use both Heroes together to remove a Raider Token. Because bidding for the Ravenloft Heroes involves using the same tokens and cards used for Conan, it is unlikely that the same player will gain control over both the Ravenloft Heroes and Conan at the same time.

Please feel free to post any comments or feedback on this expansion below.

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