So, I sat down to play Beast Hunters last night. Overall, not a successful game, unfortunately. This was largely a matter of preferences, rather than the game failing to deliver.
We both made up hunters, and had a good time with that. The allocation of traits and resources as you make up your life story worked well and made interesting characters. We also elected to be from the same tribe, and that led to some nice touches (one hunter was the chief's granddaughter, the other from a line who were once tribal chiefs but now impoverished).
Once play began, however, it didn't go so well. Our challenges quickly got bogged down in less than stellar narration and rather too much dice rolling. The dice rolling in particular was a problem for the other player (who doesn't like things to be too complex or involve much arithmetic). The lack of interesting narration was because of two things - on the one hand, we'd had a long tiring day. On the other, the setting didn't really spark the interest of my partner.
Contributing to this was the fact that you have to go through quite a few conflict turns to win. Our first conflicts revolved around a family argument and a vision quest, with the hunter beset by spirits. Both of these were fine at first, but we began running out of ideas long before the conflict was over. I don't think this was just our lack of inspiration either - my preference would be for conflicts to be significantly accelerated. If I were to play again, I might halve the advantage cost of strikes, just to move things along faster.
We found that each conflict began with a fairly boring turn or two of both sides activating traits, then a few maneuvers, then a low level strike, a few more maneuvers, another strike, etc. Actually finishing the conflict off turned out to take a lot longer than I expected, and felt rather drawn out to me. This was particularly the case with the conflict that was rather further from the combat metaphor - the vision quest.
The idea here was that the hunter needed to get guidance to track down the beast they were to hunt, while hostile spirits and the environment tried to confuse her. However, after a few rounds, both of us found that we had no more material to keep the conflict interesting.
As challenger, it also broke me out of the swing of things a bit to have to make a numerical offer in response to each maneuver. My natural inclination was to just roll the dice and see if it worked, instead.
There's also a lot to keep track of, so the first go was quite difficult in that sense. Particularly in a conflict, you need to make sure you know several different numbers that can change each action.
In the end, we decided to stop before completing the adventure, as it just wasn't working out.
So. Overall? None of that should be taken as criticism of the game, itself. This was mainly a case of 'not the right game for us, then'. I'd been keen to try it, even though my partner had expressed some reservations about the game, and it was for my benefit we played it. And, it turned out to not be her sort of thing. I also didn't enjoy it as much as expected, mainly due to the issue of conflict length mentioned above.