Hyborian War is a play-by-mail war game published by Reality Simulations Incorporated (RSI). The game advertises over "30 different Kingdoms recreated from Conan Legend".
Gameplay and Rules[edit | edit source]
Each player takes control of a nation in Hyboria. Some are more famous Kingdoms, such as Aquilonia, Stygia, and Cimmeria, while others are more obscure, and potentially more challenging. Following a list of commands and a choice of characters to give these commands to, players write down their orders and mail it to the company (RSI). The company, dependent on the size of the game (number of players) and the distance of the sender will see the players receiving mail within either a week or a month, with the outcome of their decisions. Included with the report is another command sheet (for players to follow up their plans) as well as an order form to continue playing the game, with certain payment plans. Note, that players have other game material, such as maps and manuals to help inform tactical decisions.
In short, Hyborian War by its nature is a slower paced game, but with that slowness comes a depth of mechanics. Hyborian War allows direct actions for players to win the game, such as sending armies to neighboring provinces, and hostile spells to cause general chaos. For subtle actions, diplomacy between nations is possible, as well as subterfuge (spies and assassins). Players however must take care to familiarize themselves with their nation, as laying trade routes, knowing troop composition, and the terrain of your potential conquests will either hinder or aid their chance at winning.
Note that Hyborian War can be played with multiple people at once, as up to 3 players can participate in the same game. Most games will be played against strangers across the nation, but with this the player nations are allied in their game against said strangers, (or potentially betray one another). The only caveat to this advantage is that the allied players must be separated by at least 3 nations. An example given by RSI; "Cimmeria and Stygia is acceptable, Cimmeria and Shem is not".
On one final note, Conan is present in the game. As an event that can occur in any players nation, Conan in his usual ways can cause either great ruin or fortune for the player, provided you don't directly antagonize him.
Current year[edit | edit source]
Hyborian War was first published in 1985, and can still be played up to this day (2021). Given this age, different fan sites have hosted private communities to help organize games, as well as help new players understand their nation.
Lore Changes[edit | edit source]
Hyborian War is set very much in the Conan universe, but includes many third party sources beyond the main work done by Robert E. Howard. Many kingdoms and provinces are taken directly from things like comics, such as Conan the Barbarian, and The Savage Sword of Conan. The rationale is for nations that received little to no attention, are given more detail in the individual nation manuals and maps. For example, Juma's Kingdom, a comic and novel nation, is given playable rules and characters. In addition, being a war game by its very nature necessitates conquering land and provinces. Therefore mysterious and vague lands like the Black Kingdoms have hard definite territories and borders. For those who play RPGs in the conan universe these maps may be of some worth
Maps[edit | edit source]