I've worked out the basics for my Conan skirmish rules (imaginatively entitled CROM at the moment) and so the time has come to start the actual testing. Since I plan to post the final rules on this site for free there seems little reason to keep any secrets about the development process or the ideas themselves which means I can regale you with my thoughts as I go. You lucky, lucky people.
Here then is the first play through, I'll explain pertinent rules as I go. The basic idea is that each character has a number of dice which they allocate at the beginning of each turn to three pools; movement, combat and special actions. Initiative is determined by card draw unless one or more characters have allocated dice to initiative in which case they roll those dice and take their turns in order with the highest going first.
The situation: Conan and Sonja have been hired to steal the Atlantean snake crown currently in the possession of the High Priest of the ancient and terrible Snake People. The High Priest and his followers, two lesser priests and two groups of minions, are currently distracted by some religious ritual they're undertaking and so Conan and Sonja are able to creep up on them undetected.
Turn 1: Since the Snake Men cannot do anything except continue the ritual until either of the two interlopers makes themselves known by doing something no one allocates any dice to initiative.
The High Priest allocates some of his dice to his magic (the ritual) and the other Priests do likewise. The minions don't allocate beforehand, they decide what to do when it's their go because they have so few dice to use.
Conan and Sonja allocate three dice each to movement and the rest to combat, not going to be much negotiating here.
The cards are turned to see who acts first.
First up are Minions 1, the group nearest Conan and Sonja but their go is wasted because they can't act yet. Next is Sonja who rolls pathetically low on her movement so decides to move behind some rocks and await developments.
Minions 2 go next. They can act, unlike their companions, and have three dice each. They each use one to move hoping to reach Sonja and attack her with their remaining two.
Only one gets close enough to attack, Sonja allocates three of her combat dice to defend herself. Dice are rolled, totals are compared and Sonja stabs the reckless Snakeman twice. (She inflicts one wound for the highest total and a second because she rolled a six). Each wound received removes a dice from a character's pool, no dice remaining and you're dead. Minions don't actually have a dice pool so I'm recording hits with little skulls.
Conan is next. His movement dice total allows him to spring forward into the midst of the Snakemen.He determines to finish things quickly and attacks each minion with reckless abandon. He allocates two dice to each attack and 'burns' a further one to give him three attack dice against each; the 'burned dice' count as sixes but are removed from his pool- the extra exertion saps his reserves of strength.
However, his gamble pays off and he wins both rolls as the Snakemen have only two dice each to defend with (they used one for movement). He inflicts two wounds on each for his successful attacks (successful attacks do two wounds, successful defenses only inflict one) and a further wound on each for the sixes from the burned dice. (each six rolled in a successful combat throw is an additional wound). Three hits and the minions are dead as planned.
The Priests go next and continue their ritual with all their dice allocated to whatever it is they're doing.
Turn Two: Both Conan and Sonja allocate a couple of dice to initiative, Conan wins the roll.
Turning his attention to the High Priest Conan delivers a devastating attack with all his combat dice. The priest has been donating dice to his ritual magic (it's tough, not to mention dangerous, being a sorcerer) and currently only has four dice to defend with. Conan out rolls him massively with enough sixes to kill him outright which is how it should be when barbarian meets sorcerer.
Judiciously Conan uses his movement dice to retreat out of range (he hopes) of the other minions since he has no way of defending himself.
Sonja goes next and rushes up to one of the remaining Priests. The chanting is continuing even with the High Priest dead which is worrying.
Against all the odds she fails to kill him. He out rolls her with a six as well and Sonja has to discard two of her dice (discards are taken from unused dice first and this robs Sonja of another attack).
The Priests go next in quick succession. They manage to allocate enough dice (leaving them only a single one each to keep them alive) to complete the ritual.
A dreaded Worm of the Earth appears!
The minions are next. The elect to charge towards Conan and avoid the Worm. With the High Priest dead things might not go according to plan.None of them reach Conan but they're poised to strike next round.
Turn 3: Again the priests activate one after the other. Each receives another dice (magicians regenerate a dice a round if they've spent them on magic) and each uses all their pool to flee. The first one escapes off the table.
The second doesn't but tries to hide anyway. He knows that without the High Priest to control it the Worm will attack randomly.
The minions launch themselves at Conan who hacks them about a bit for their trouble.
The Worm attacks Sonja as she's the only thing near it. She loses half her remaining dice to the hideous beast (lots of sixes).
Sonja goes next and uses her few remaining dice to flee. Not very far however.
Turn 4: The minions try again to overpower Conan but they've been weakened and two die easily whilst the third is wounded.
The Worm split it's dice to allow some movement and decided to chase Sonja. She defends with all her dice and burns all but one of them. This is do or die for her. She just wins the roll and inflicts six wounds (successful defence and her five burned dice which each count as a six). Now she only has a single die left, she's nearly dead and the Worm's still alive.
Conan is the last to go. He has to burn a couple of movement dice to give him the movement to get to the Worm with enough dice left to attack it with some hope of success.
More dice burning in the combat ensures the terrible creature dies (just) and, after collecting the crown from the dead High Priest, the pair of bloodied heroes limp off towards the sunset, victorious.