Thoughts on Crom: Skirmish Games in the Hyborian Age


Now I've a bit more time to reflect on CROM, I think I'll revise my orginal conclusion from my previous games:

" ... unless the author develops the game more, it’s not all that suitable for solo play, mainly because for character models, you have dice pools that you can allocate to move, fight or perform special actions. So for example the Lich Wyrm has 10 dice ... but how to allocate?

Now after some thought, one way to do it would be to have the heroes allocate their combat dice first, then roll a d6 for the monster to allocate its dice. 

The spider was easy as it had 4 Move and 4 Combat and Zero Special dice. 

I like the game as it now flows well and the random nature of activations (unless you use dice to grab initiative) helps in solo play. The emerging narrative really helped me get immersed into the story of the scenario. 

I can even split the scenario in two. First part: find the hidden entrance. The longer the heroes take, the further along the summoning ritual will be. Each turn taken is +1 to what’s needed to summon. 

Then exit at newly discovered exit point. 

Scenario part B could be labyrinth where Conan and Belit face more skeletons and they have to stop the ritual or kill of everyone including the summoned monster. 

So given a competently designed scenario or campaign, and playing with at least 2 players, this game will be a blast!"

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That was then. 

Now after having pored through the rulebook scenarios and the CROM companion, I realised that having "hot spots" with markers are key to making this game work for solo. The markers trigger random events, key plot points and provide loot/rewards.

With that in mind, I designed some random events and loot, and some specific ones for my upcoming Conan and Belit adventure which will have 3 chapters.

Chapter 1: Conan and Belit come upon a village being attacked by the Warlock's minions. They must rescue as many villagers as they can. Game ends when all search tokens have been searched.

Chapter 2 : Conan and Belit search for the Warlock's lair. Game ends when all search tokens have been searched.

Chapter 3 : Conan and Belit must stop the Warlock before he unleashes the Lich Wyrm on the village. Game ends when Warlock is killed and Lich Wyrm (if summoned) is killed.

Events from each chapter will affect subsequent chapters.

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Once I did that, I trid it out with some quick and dirty cards, and some Battle Systems and Pedion terrain. 

Overall, I think the basic premise worked well for solo play, although the game conditions probably need a bit more tweaking.

Here's a teaser shot of the game:

Batrep to follow.