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Subject: Can someone help me to understand Monolith's release schedule? rss

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Quintin Smith
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Hi all,

So I'm the member of Shut Up & Sit Down doing our Conan review, and I'm just trying to piece together what's going on with Monolith's release schedule for people who didn't get in on the Kickstarter.

So, this month they're releasing the core box for general purchase, and they've announced that the first two expansion boxes will be Yogah of Yag and the Crossbowmen, which were add-on boxes for the Kickstarter. I understand that much.

My question is whether they're planning to release all of the add-ons and stretchgoals that were in the Kickstarter for general purchase, and if so, do we know if they're all going to come in individual expensive boxes like Yogah and the Crossbowmen?

Because if that's the case, and I really hope I'm wrong about this, wouldn't that cost new Conan fans something like $600 for what cost $80 in the Kickstarter?

Thanks in advance! Full disclosure: I'm basically trying to figure out if Monolith have split this game's community in half.
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Clanggedin Silverbeard
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As far as I aware they planning on releasing all non-exclusive items at retail at some point.
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Itai Perez
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Well, rather than Monolith, the retail schedule is in the hands of Asmodee, their distributor. From what I understand, they will be the ones deciding what will be released in retail.

Everything not KS exclusive could potentially be sold in retail. Now how much will effectively be released, in what form, and for what price, that will be the choice of Asmodee, and will certainly depend on the success of the game in retail stores.
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The Game Steward
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Quinns wrote:
Hi all,

So I'm the member of Shut Up & Sit Down doing our Conan review, and I'm just trying to piece together what's going on with Monolith's release schedule for people who didn't get in on the Kickstarter.

So, this month they're releasing the core box for general purchase, and they've announced that the first two expansion boxes will be Yogah of Yag and the Crossbowmen, which were add-on boxes for the Kickstarter. I understand that much.

My question is whether they're planning to release all of the add-ons and stretchgoals that were in the Kickstarter for general purchase, and if so, do we know if they're all going to come in individual expensive boxes like Yogah and the Crossbowmen?

Because if that's the case, and I really hope I'm wrong about this, wouldn't that cost new Conan fans something like $600 for what cost $80 in the Kickstarter?

Thanks in advance! Full disclosure: I'm basically trying to figure out if Monolith have split this game's community in half.


From what has been shared here on BGG and on the Kickstarter, there is very little hard information beyond their plan to "eventually" release all the additional non-Exclusive content to retail. However, as a practical matter, that is conditional on the retail success of the core game.

With Asmodee involved going forward, I think owners of the retail edition of Conan can expect a steady stream of expansion material that is financially sensible, if a bit pricey. I also don't think Asmodee is going to be overly concerned with Kickstarter backers as some kind of benchmark to compare retail owners of the game. They'll offer expansions in a way that is attractive to potential buyers, and financially profitable for them.

To the extent that some retail owners feel that they are getting a bad deal compared to KS backers, you can just look to Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients as a similar situation. There have been very few public complaints from retail backers that they have ended up paying more than KS Mine Cart Backers. If anything, it's the Kickstarter backers complaining that they don't have stuff that is already available at retail.
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Quintin Smith
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Thanks Itai, that's really interesting. Is there any proof available online that this is the case... ?

I mean call my crazy, but since the Kickstarter's already paid for the tooling it seems like the reasonable thing to do would be to put a whole lot of miniatures in a box, like Fantasy Flight do with the Hero & Monster collections for Descent. 4 plastic heroes and a few different monster groups for £20. Releasing individual boxes for individual miniatures, when this game is clearly going to want post-release community scenario design, sounds a little crazy.
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Itai Perez
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Also, it is kickstarter which is, by essence, divisive. When a gamer pays 100$ on KS, the publisher receives 90$ before he needs the money for the production and when he pays 100$ on retail he receives 25$ quite a long time after production. (I'm not sure those are the exact numbers, but they should be about right).

Either you give the same thing to the guy who gave you 90$ in advance and the guy who gave you 25$ late, which is really unfair, or you give more to the first guy, and have the second unhappy because, from his point of view, he gave 100$, just like the other...
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Quintin Smith
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
From what has been shared here on BGG and on the Kickstarter, there is very little hard information beyond their plan to "eventually" release all the additional non-Exclusive content to retail. However, as a practical matter, that is conditional on the retail success of the core game.


Yeah, that makes perfect sense. But as someone who's currently in the position of having to recommend that people buy this game, I'm looking at the expansion support that Asmodee has revealed so far and it's not what I want to see. It looks like they're going to nickel and dime new customers to death.
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Quintin Smith
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Itai wrote:
Either you give the same thing to the guy who gave you 90$ in advance and the guy who gave you 25$ late, which is really unfair, or you give more to the first guy, and have the second unhappy because, from his point of view, he gave 100$, just like the other...


Oh, sure. I'm not saying the current customers shouldn't pay more, just that the amount new customers are expected to pay seems ungenerous.
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Quinns wrote:
GreenLaborMike wrote:
From what has been shared here on BGG and on the Kickstarter, there is very little hard information beyond their plan to "eventually" release all the additional non-Exclusive content to retail. However, as a practical matter, that is conditional on the retail success of the core game.


Yeah, that makes perfect sense. But as someone who's currently in the position of having to recommend that people buy this game, I'm looking at the expansion support that Asmodee has revealed so far and it's not what I want to see. It looks like they're going to nickel and dime new customers to death.


I have no particular desire to defend Asmodee, but have you read something to indicate that Asmodee will release expansion material in a particular way? I haven't seen anything except that they are in control of the process, and I would imagine that the contents of each expansion release, beyond those already announced, has yet to be determined.

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Itai Perez
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Quinns wrote:
Thanks Itai, that's really interesting. Is there any proof available online that this is the case... ?


Well, this has been discussed at least on Tric Trac forums, but it isn't easy to search the gigantic Conan thread.
Here's part of one post from Fred Henry (designer of Conan and member of Monolith), from february 2015, for instance (translation is mine):

Fred Henry wrote:
You need to understand that KS and Retail are 2 distinct markets. In the first the clients are the players, and we produce in fonction of the players demand. In the second our client is our distributor et we produce in fonction of his demand. So it is obvious that the expansions will appear in retail only in function of the game success on that market, meaning in function of the retailers demand to Asmodee.


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Mark Taraba
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Quinns wrote:
GreenLaborMike wrote:
From what has been shared here on BGG and on the Kickstarter, there is very little hard information beyond their plan to "eventually" release all the additional non-Exclusive content to retail. However, as a practical matter, that is conditional on the retail success of the core game.


Yeah, that makes perfect sense. But as someone who's currently in the position of having to recommend that people buy this game, I'm looking at the expansion support that Asmodee has revealed so far and it's not what I want to see. It looks like they're going to nickel and dime new customers to death.

Well those releases are optional so I would think that your recommendation would be on the single retail box alone. You can do whatever you like of course. Since you're asking about known future expansions, do you go back and change your video review if a game comes out with an overpriced expansion a year later that you didn't know about? Imo, just mention as a warning that on the horizon it looks like there might be small expensive expansions released.

Edit: and to address your original question if they split the community, yes they have. There are KS exclusives that will have to be proxied if people make up scenarios with them. It's hard to make a substitution in this game without messing with scenario balance so a proxies will have to be done. In which case the expensive expansions are irrelevant once you start making proxies, right?
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Quintin Smith
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GreenLaborMike wrote:
[q="Quinns"][q="GreenLaborMike"]I have no particular desire to defend Asmodee, but have you read something to indicate that Asmodee will release expansion material in a particular way? I haven't seen anything except that they are in control of the process, and I would imagine that the contents of each expansion release, beyond those already announced, has yet to be determined.


I'm waiting for word back from Asmodee on my inquiry, but this is all we have to go on so far.

https://www.asmodee.us/en/news/2016/10/7/tools-in-the-hand-o...

One enemy type and one hero, each being released in separate boxes, and I'd guess they'll retail for some $15 apiece.
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Quintin Smith
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taraba wrote:
[q="Quinns"][q="GreenLaborMike"]Imo, just mention as a warning that on the horizon it looks like there might be small expensive expansions released.


That's the plan, yeah. But it's complicated a bit by Monolith not releasing many scenarios, which makes me think this game will be vastly improved by a community-deesigned scenario scene, which becomes less likely if the expansion support isn't particularly generous.
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Mark Taraba
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Quinns wrote:
taraba wrote:
[q="Quinns"][q="GreenLaborMike"]Imo, just mention as a warning that on the horizon it looks like there might be small expensive expansions released.


That's the plan, yeah. But it's complicated a bit by Monolith not releasing many scenarios, which makes me think this game will be vastly improved by a community-deesigned scenario scene, which becomes less likely if the expansion support isn't particularly generous.

The community will be all over the place with scenarios. The Conan RPG released some tiles which work with the game. I didn't back that and have an all-in Conan pledge and I know there will be scenarios made I can't play. It'll be worse for base game box players for sure.
 
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Itai Perez
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There's a bit more in here. under products. Both Yogah and the crossbowmen have an MSRP of 24.99$

Both were add-ons in the Kickstarter and were sold in it at a price of 15$.
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Mark Taraba
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Itai wrote:
There's a bit more in here. under products. Both Yogah and the crossbowmen have an MSRP of 24.99$

Both were add-ons in the Kickstarter and were sold in it at a price of 15$.

surprisesurprise
 
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Alan Shirey
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taraba wrote:
Itai wrote:
There's a bit more in here. under products. Both Yogah and the crossbowmen have an MSRP of 24.99$

Both were add-ons in the Kickstarter and were sold in it at a price of 15$.

surprisesurprise


To be fair, I think the price for the crossbow men isn't too bad. $25 for 10 minis isn't too excessive.
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Paul F
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Not sure how you calculated $600 vs $80 above. There were obviously a bunch of stretch goals that retail buyers will not get and will have to pay for if they want them (and nobody is forcing them to do so), but the main expansions and many other bits were sold in the KS as add-ons and it seems likely that those will be available potentially cheaper at retail (with normally expected discounts) compared with what backers paid. Sure if you are a completionist you really should have got in on the KS, but that is true of any games. Take a look at Myth retail pricing for what was given away in the KS. Doesn't mean you shouldn't recommend the game because of that or that the game is somehow overpriced at retail IMHO.
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Sam Sanchez
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You are right buying each stretch goal piece mail will be expensive and suck however the crossbowmen and yodah of yag are each only $10 more per box ($15 add on during Kickstarter) now considering online retailers such as minature market sell those boc sets for 20-25% off and the Kickstarter backers paid shipping. You are not getting a bad price.

In other words the crossbowmen cost me $15 plus tax and shipping and it costs a retail purchaser $18.75 plus tax.

Now that's just the addons the actual stretch goals even if asmodee sells box sets is going to be significantly more than kickstart king pledge. However monolith isn't going to release every stretch goal or addon in retail. So far they only confirmed (on Facebook) 4 addons for retail crossbowmen, yodah of yag, dice, and witch hunters. Every other addon or stretch goal is not planned (at this time). Your best bet as a retail purchaser is the view box and the expansion sets which are all good value.
 
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William Aull
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Asmodee is a publisher. People bring them games and they front the dinero to get it produced and slap their name on it.

Be more concerned with Monolith's role in this and less with Asmodee's.
 
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Shawn Garbett
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There's this thing in business called cash flow. A business could be turning a profit, and still die because of cash flow issues. Board gaming companies are repeatedly hit hard with learning this essential truth. When you use Kickstarter, you're giving money at a 10% cut to the producer to eliminate startup costs. So instead of the producer putting up his capital and sitting on it with massive negative cash flow for a year plus. That money comes up front and the producer gets to go into production--the cost to the Kickstarter backer is that he gets to wait while his capital is tied up (but this is spread across all backers) and it may be of lower quality than what ends up in the market. So, by backing through Kickstarter it's discounted a bit as it direct from producer to consumer, and there's no capital hit and I'm waiting to get the goods at a risk of lower quality. The demand forecast for this cycle is perfect as well. If the producer planned well, there's little risk of negative cash flow (still happens though).

Now, when it goes into retail market. The producer pays the production cost, then sells to distributors and then they sell to retailers which each have to mark up the cost to stay afloat themselves, which then goes to consumers. So there's two more mouths to feed in the chain, and quality issues are hopefully fixed at this point. Forecasting the demand at the retail level is now risking capital of the producer. The cost overall on this side is higher and the producer is assuming more risk. Commonly there's even NET90 deals in which the producer takes on even more risk in trusting that a distributor will pay him later within 90 days. Market downturn and NET90 deals fall through like dominos and a bunch of people get burned. Risk is cost. Additional members in supply chain is cost. They might even be making less when they're charging more.

So, there's no whining about fair. It is what it is. Yes it will cost you more because you didn't get on the Kickstarter. You will get an improved rule book. Not all things will be available in retail market. Kickstarter has allowed for a lot more product to reach a later market stage with fewer bankruptcies. This has created an explosion of options in boardgaming. Cost in retail will in general be higher than Kickstarter prices. Get over it.
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Hillean wrote:
Asmodee is a publisher. People bring them games and they front the dinero to get it produced and slap their name on it.

Be more concerned with Monolith's role in this and less with Asmodee's.


I have to disagree here. When it comes to pricing and publishing decisions, Asmodee is driving this bus. Monolith is just along for the ride from this point forward. They will produce what Asmodee tells them to produce. They will design what Asmodee tells them to design.

And I'm not sure that Monolith would want it differently. Asmodee has the institutional knowledge and fiscal resources to conduct extensive market research to figure out how to best grow the Conan game line. The Conan IP is potentially worth millions of dollars. Asmodee is not going to waste this opportunity.
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Jebus10000 wrote:
taraba wrote:
Itai wrote:
There's a bit more in here. under products. Both Yogah and the crossbowmen have an MSRP of 24.99$

Both were add-ons in the Kickstarter and were sold in it at a price of 15$.

surprisesurprise


To be fair, I think the price for the crossbow men isn't too bad. $25 for 10 minis isn't too excessive.

What about 11 minis for $50?
 
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Brian Franzman
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I agree it would be awfully silly for Asmodee to not produce more of the add-ons and stretch goals now that the up-front costs of development and tooling are out of the way. I'm sure that a lot of KS backers didn't go all in and would be interested in picking up some add-ons at retail. I think it is up to Asmodee to determine how best to package these extras to make them profitable enough to bother with yet enough of a value to the customer that they will buy. To me, a $25 Yogah ($18 at online discounters) isn't worth it for a single hero, no matter how large or powerful the figure. However, a stretch goal box (or divided into two or three boxes) would seem to be a good value proposition all around.
 
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Paul Chamberland
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Gungo wrote:
You are right buying each stretch goal piece mail will be expensive and suck however the crossbowmen and yodah of yag are each only $10 more per box ($15 add on during Kickstarter) now considering online retailers such as minature market sell those boc sets for 20-25% off and the Kickstarter backers paid shipping. You are not getting a bad price.

In other words the crossbowmen cost me $15 plus tax and shipping and it costs a retail purchaser $18.75 plus tax.


Unfortunately, we have to deal with Asmodee - so just a 15% discount.

I wish I had known about Asmodee while the pledge manager was still open. It would have been an easy decision to go all in.
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