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Subject: So, was Conan worth the hype ? rss

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Alain MOYA
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Chapter One : The Campaign
Judging by the numbers, we've been more than a few swept over by the marketing juggernaut that was Conan's Kickstarter campaign. It was one of those rare moments of madness when new miniatures pile over one another, each more gorgeous than the previous one, and Stretch goals were attained on a daily basis...
We lived the dream, paid the price and... waited quite a long time. The coming of Conan the board game had been a running gag among my gamer group for a while when it finally arrived. I know some of you are accustomed to this kind of events, but this was my first KS campaign so please be gentle.

Chapter Two : Opening the Box

Anyway, I went for King Pledge alone, but the package was huge and the boxes full of good stuff I honestly forgot (a pack of tentacles ? Sweet !). Then came my first letdown : just beside a wonderfully detailed Cthulhian monstrosity was a lion so crudely modeled it was shocking. And it was not an isolate case : some miniatures look REALLY better than others. It is a pity than most of the heroes and good guys are in the worst of the bunch.
But miniatures aside, every component is top-notch. Boards are huge, sturdy and pleasing to the eyes, and so is the rest. One could be nitpicking about the smallness of the cards, but since the game takes so much space on the table, I believe it’s a good thing.
COMPONENTS : 7/10

Chapter Three : Reading the Tome
Lots have already been said about the rule book, so I won’t be long. To put it simply, the authors tried to gain time when they wrote it and ended up making everyone lose some. The rules must have been clear in their minds, but they forgot to have them be read by someone who didn’t know anything about the game. Because if that’s your case, you’re going to end up deeply puzzled.
I was not that kind of newcomer, having followed eagerly every bit of info Monolith was feeding us during the KS campaign. BUT I was left nonetheless with too many questions unanswered : can you attack many times in a row ? How much does Teleport really cost ? How can Conan wield a two-handed weapon and a shield ?
And keep in mind that, being French, I was blessed with a rulebook (mostly) devoid of bugs and errors… I really hope a new rule book with FQ is underway !
RULE BOOK : 4/10

Chapter Four : The Trial

I must admit that my disappointment with some of the miniatures and the rule book didn’t hamper my enthusiasm, so I played a solo game straight, then five multiplayer games in two weeks. The scenarios tested were : the first one, Hunting the Tigress, Wrath of Anu and the Thing from the Swamp.
How did it play out ? Very well. We quickly didn’t need the rules (and that was lucky) and figured out how to resolve some situations using common sense.
Did we enjoy it ? Very much ! Everyone got into character really soon : Conan roared when he crashed the huts’walls, the thief and the wizard were sneaky and dealt deadly ranged attacks, Belît followed her man to support him and the Overlord (me) cackled with an evil laugh each time my minions were doing some damage.
At first, my buddies were frustrated, wanting to be active every turn, but when they got the hang of it, they were able to manage their gems and alternate rounds of action with rounds of rest cleverly. Similarly, I learned that a crippled Hero is better than a dead Hero, since the latter gave extra actions to his remaining friends.
Once you are aware (and happy) that Conan is much more a game of resource management than a dungeon crawl, everything falls into place.
GAMEPLAY : 9/10

Chapter Five : The Verdict
So, was it worth the hype ? Well, yes and no.
It really depends on what you expect this game to be. If you love miniatures, you’ll have plenty, most of which are gorgeous, so you’ll be delighted. If you were tricked to think it might be some light Rpg, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. If you like fast-paced tactical combats with a lot of dice-rolling, you’ll be in heaven. If you want to use every Stretch goal right out of the box, you won’t be able to…
Let’s compare it to similar games I know :
Conan is not Heroquest. I played during long, long years with my beloved HQ box, always coming with new ideas, new rules, new mazes, new traps, new abilities for the monsters… In fact, some folks are still playing with it ! I don’t think Conan is that durable. As I said earlier, the boards are nice, but there are only six of them. We won’t be able to come up with original ideas forever. Of course, I’m already trying to create new boards, as some of you surely will, but right out the box, the possibilities seem limited and that’s a shame.
Conan is not Zombicide, but I think it’s better ! Both games are elegant and similar in their fast and furious gameplay, but Conan wins thanks to three features : 1/ there are no brainless zombies lurching towards the noise, but a human Overlord who actively tries to beat the Heroes (even though the odds are slightly against him, I think) and that makes the gameplay more tense 2/ every Hero and every monster are very distinct from the others : they each have traits that makes them unique. 3/ Action gems is a clever way to always know what your character can or can’t do, even when you play whenever you want.
FUN : 9/10

To sum it up : Conan is neither a Rpg, nor a wargame. But if you want a (reasonably) quick combat game with smart resource management and shiny-looking components, go no further !
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Jens Larsen
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This review to a very large degree matches my own experience.

Difference:

Components: 9/10
I have nothing against the card size. In fact, given limited table space around the board, I may even prefer this size to standard card sizes. I'm not saying I couldn't possibly fit standard sized cards on my table when playing, just that it is easier with this size. Also, when we have to drop a card on the board for dropped equipment, it is easier to fit it in any zone/area.
As for he hero miniature being less distinct, I think I will hold my judgment until we see them painted together with OL miniatures. That way we can see if the apparent lack of detail is really "just" a matter of the light color. Which is not going to help people that are not going to paint them, of course. But in that case, they (me?) will still have it easier keeping good guys and bad guys apart based on the color of plastic. Which may or may not be the lesser of two evils, depending on your milage.


Regarding the verdict: was it worth it? Definitely yes!
With all the videos and samples, you should not be expecting a light rpg. So I would not include that in the verdict (as in the lukewarm-ish "Well, yes and no."). And therefore I end up with a "definitely yes".

But I am a fanboy at heart, so...

--------------

EDIT:
Not sure if it counts as a component, but I just thought of one thing to say, about the box. It is not high enough.

In most other games I have that use a board, the box is of a certain size which is just way too big for the components inside. I figure it is a psychological trick to make people want to buy the game since, clearly, there needs to be a lot of goodies in boxes of that size.
All that empty space allows all the components, once punched out of the punchboards, to still fit inside the box. With room to spare for an expansion or two maybe. (Depending on the game and expansions, naturally.)

For Conan, once the punchboards have been punched, there is no way - short of meticulously reinserting the tiles and tokes into the punchboards again - to fit everything in the box again. (Or at least I am not able to.) Unless you do away with the plastic inserts that hold and protect the miniatures. Which is messy and not an option for painted miniatures.

So adding a centimeter or more in height would have allowed to keep the game in the box, even after unboxing. Eventhough that might increase cost for shipping (less boxes per pallet/container).

That's it, my two cents are up.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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TheGreatGonzo wrote:
If you love miniatures, you’ll have plenty, most of which are gorgeous, so you’ll be delighted... If you like fast-paced tactical combats with a lot of dice-rolling, you’ll be in heaven.

That's all I'm hoping for...

-shnar
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Daniel K
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In a beasts of war interview a guy from monolith says:

"It's like the boss/final fight of an RPG adventure"

..and it feels exactly like this!

---
the right feeling: 10/10
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Rafal Areinu
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My opinion varies as well.

Components: 9/10 and 5/10
Seriously, there's a lot of goodies there. The sheer number of minis is overwhelming. It took me one hour to sort the tiles in a way to make them fast to find. I have so many versions of Conan! So many heroes. Those amazing bosses, the stuff!

But at the same time if someone goes into the shop now and will buy retail version, or if someone got Barbarian pledge? They will have quite a few generic pirates, mummies, some "bosses" and whooping number of 4 heroes. That feels... Very underwhelming. I have more Conans than "normal" players will have heroes in total. What gives? I'm a backer, and I still wish at least some of SG heroes went into barbarian box.

This is bad even for kick pledge players - the scenarios resolve mostly around 4 heroes from base game.

One more problem with components are typos and general language used. I've found bad grammar, missing space etc. The empty spell cards, which you can fill for yourself still contain spell names, which is stupid. Oh, and let's remember about some ministrations, like using Unarmed when it shouldn't be used(I mention this one because I spent 10 minutes wondering how is counterattack supposed to be valuable if it's unarmed and gets -2 to attack).

The rules 6/10
Yes, yes, there are few things missing, and it's not the best written set of rules. Yet... I gave them to read to my friends before we played the game, and decided not to provide them any support. They managed just fine to start and play the game.

When rules seem unclear from explanation the example will often fix it. I think this rulebook is written too much like Takenoko or some eurogame, which is limited in scope of components. It's not as generic as ameritrash games tend to be, to take into account all possible combinations.

Oh, and the rulebook lacks rules to exchange heroes(and possibly monsters) in the scenarios. It also lacks pointers to make your own scenarios. And with lack of flexibility current scenarios gives this is serious problem.

I have seen retail games which much simpler rules, which had much worse rulebooks. Recently I have played Haru Ichiban which I'm still not sure I played right. I had at least as many questions as people tend to have after reading Conan rules. But Haru Ichiban has only 4 page rulebook!

**************

That said -
* last update already works on fixing the rulebook. A bit too late, since a lot of issues with the rules have been made during the campaing itself, when they made PnP version.
* More scenarios are in the works, apparently
* There have to be some rules to exchange heroes, and the sooner the better(I'm not so concerned about the monsters, in my opinion they can be scenario specific)
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si Mon
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Just to be precise barbarian pledge do get sg from the kickstarter. You were talikng about the retail version of the basegame.
 
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Rafal Areinu
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Yes, you're right The extra scenarios in the main overlord rulebook use stuff from SG as well, don't they?
 
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Alain MOYA
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Areinu wrote:
Yes, you're right The extra scenarios in the main overlord rulebook use stuff from SG as well, don't they?

Yes they do, but just a tiny little bit ! Only Valeria and the tentacles, if I remember well...
 
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Mad Halfling
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Keep an eye on the images section - at some point I'll be getting a bunch of extra board pieces from the Conan RPG crossover bundle, with adventures, so there should be some more board options available - look at Modiphius as you can probably buy them direct, or get PDFs if you are happy to paste up your own versions.

Edit: just checked my e-mail and there's an update from Modiphius which has some of the tiles they're making for the crossover stuff https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/modiphius/robert-e-howa...
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Montgomery Mullen
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'Valeria and the Tentacles' is the name of my new band.

Very good overview. I just received my King pledge today and went through the components. Generally, my impressions were similar (though I haven't had a chance to play it yet)... but I do want to mention one specific thing.

In general, I was very pleased with the minis and I do think that the light gray ones will 'pop' into better detail after a good ink wash or something, but.... did anybody else expect the spider and the scorpion to be larger? I found them significantly underwhelming.

The only other exception was Khemsa. I really wish they had stayed with a more passive stance for him. The 'angry man in a bathrobe' doesn't really fit with him in my opinion. Everything else was great.
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Ed Bielcik
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For me, the minis are the big draw. I'm not a painter, and I don't want to have a pro do all of those minis, so I would be a lot happier if they were molded in a nice flat gray, like Star Wars: Imperial Assault. That would be good enough for me. So, I wonder if complaining to the company would do any good to get them to mold the minis in a more attractive plastic.
 
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Sam Sanchez
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4rch1t3ct wrote:
'Valeria and the Tentacles' is the name of my new band.

Very good overview. I just received my King pledge today and went through the components. Generally, my impressions were similar (though I haven't had a chance to play it yet)... but I do want to mention one specific thing.

In general, I was very pleased with the minis and I do think that the light gray ones will 'pop' into better detail after a good ink wash or something, but.... did anybody else expect the spider and the scorpion to be larger? I found them significantly underwhelming.

The only other exception was Khemsa. I really wish they had stayed with a more passive stance for him. The 'angry man in a bathrobe' doesn't really fit with him in my opinion. Everything else was great.

I haven't got my game yet however don't forget the scorpion is not suppose to be massive just large because it's really a swarm mini. The stygian expansion has more of the swarm scorpions and then a massive scorpion broodmother.

The spider should be a swarm minion as well imho. We could use more swarm beasts for the game. We only have hyenas, giant wolves, foo dogs, giant crows and scorpions right now (I guess tentacles too). However giant spider swarms and a spider queen is good for a future expansion.
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Manuel Ingeland
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Let's have a nice little poll here!

Poll
IS CONAN WORTH THE HYPE?
Yes! Of course!
All in all, yes.
Definitely not!
No, because of several issues with the components.
No, because of bad gameplay, an underwhelming game experience.
      224 answers
Poll created by magneheeli
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Montgomery Mullen
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Good point, re: minion swarms. It's been so long I forgot that part!
 
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T C
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Here are a few figures with a zenithal highlight primer applied so you can see more details.
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Aditya C
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Wow, now I'm tempted to do that. Just need to find a shade that differentiates the heroes from the villains. I might just leave the villains as is.
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F W
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Almost 2 years and the rule book still has problems? They should have had more proofreaders.
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Ed Bielcik
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Caibre wrote:
Wow, now I'm tempted to do that. Just need to find a shade that differentiates the heroes from the villains. I might just leave the villains as is.


I think that's what i'd do. Just prime the heroes as the villains look pretty good as is.
 
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Ed Bielcik
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morpheus133 wrote:
Here are a few figures with a zenithal highlight primer applied so you can see more details.


Did you paint the primer on or dry brush it on?
 
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John Di Ponio
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I'll start checking it out tomorrow. I have a shipping tracking number stating delivery for Thursday the 26th. Just in time for the weekend!
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Ukko Kaarto
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Gunhawk wrote:

Did you paint the primer on or dry brush it on?


Looks like spray or airbrush primer.
 
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Sam Sanchez
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How does the lion that everyone complains about look primed?because the heroes look good.
 
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T C
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I used an airbrush, but you can also do it with spray cans, though it's not quite as smooth usually. The first part of this tutorial does a great job of explaining how to do it with either airbrush or spray can, starting at the 3:50 mark:


If you were just planning on doing the priming you could just paint the bases a different color to mark the villains, or heroes from one another.
Here are a few unpainted and primed models side by side:
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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morpheus133 wrote:
I used an airbrush, but you can also do it with spray cans, though it's not quite as smooth usually. The first part of this tutorial does a great job of explaining how to do it with either airbrush or spray can, starting at the 3:50 mark:


If you were just planning on doing the priming you could just paint the bases a different color to mark the villains, or heroes from one another.
Here are a few unpainted and primed models side by side:

Thank you for posting this. I never realized he did more videos. These are fantastic! Subscribed.

-shnar
 
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CK Lai
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Gungo wrote:
How does the lion that everyone complains about look primed?because the heroes look good.


No amount of priming will help because the detail isn't there. I was shocked when I saw the lion compared to the Overlord minis. The lion is on the level of normal boardgame minis like Scythe (decent but nothing to write home about) or Pandemic : Reign of Cthulhu (ditto).

FirstWave wrote:
Almost 2 years and the rule book still has problems? They should have had more proofreaders.


Proofreading isn't the issue. Even after extensively playtesting the game for 2 years, they never did any BLIND playtesting. Basically, the rulebook was written with the writers assuming a lot of stuff because they were so familiar with the game rules and set up.

For first timers opening the rules to play their first game... not so good since some important info is just not there or not well explained.
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